I vividly remember this exact date, January 23, 2014 just like it was yesterday. There were so many emotions all wrapped in an insurmountable amount of peace and joy all mixed with fear in a raggedy fragile looking box aka me. I remember waking up in such a pleasant and overwhelming amount of love mood because my birthday was the day before and it was full of so much love and gifts that I was not expecting. Prior to my actual birthday on the 22nd, I went back to my hometown to have an 80s theme skating and bowling party with my dearest friends. So once you layer on all of the love from my family, friends, students and colleagues, all of this yielded the exact emotions and overwhelming joy that I had in my heart as I woke up on the 23rd to enter what that day had in store for me.
2010: The fight against my destiny
Let me give you the brief backstory to catch up just in case you don’t know my journey story. I used to be a full-time teacher. I did not go to school to become a teacher. My degree is in Biology Pre-med with a minor in Chemistry. I had NO desire to become a teacher because I know that the way that my attitude and mouth are set up, I would probably be in jail somewhere if a child tried to get out of line with me. Thank God for his grace and guidance/power over that area in my life because I am happy to say that I have never gone to jail or disrespected a student in spite of what I felt would happen. This is a perfect example of how we view ourselves in one manner and tell that to ourselves which will becomes our narrative in which produces a block/blinders over our lives to become that person we were created to be. The crazy thing was that I loved children and was a natural teacher. A lot of people would tell me that they could see me as a teacher throughout my childhood and I always told them “ABSOLUTELY NOT, I’M GOING TO BE A PEDIATRICIAN!”. How many of us know that saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ― Woody Allen
Let’s just say that I had ALL of Heaven laughing at me every time that I would say “No, I’m not going to do that.” Up until my last semester of college, I was semi-secure on my plans moving forward. By the end of my sophomore year, I decided that Medical school was not the path that I wanted or should pursue. I was forced to recalibrate my life and future due to that decision. Looking into different Grad school programs would become my next obsessive and daunting tasks that I committed to and to always have the perfect answer to everyone’s questions that everyone always asks anyone while they are in college. What are your plans after college? What job are you going to get to cover your bills? When are you going to actually graduate? Are you sure that you are making the right decision? Those are just a few questions that we tend to always ask someone when they are transitioning into a new season especially after college. Those questions are way much heavier than I thought which at the time I didn’t know that it was what I built my identity and based my decisions off of. The question that I believe that we should start asking is “Where do you think God is leading you to next and how can He use your gifts and talents to carry out your purpose and calling that He has sent you here to complete.” I have grown to understand that the intentions of people can be very pure and intended to be helpful which sometimes silence the voice and leading of God into the areas that He has for us to influence and shine his light brightly.
Now back to my final month of my senior year, when the infamous question was asked to me by my brother-in-law which at the time was a teacher at a Charter School in San Antonio. At that point I was narrowing down my plans to attending a Physical Therapy school in San Antonio and going to get my masters in Hospital Administration somewhere outside of Texas. So when he asked me that question, I was ready and answered boldly with my options. I was so surprised by the question that he responded with, “Have you thought about becoming a teacher? I think you would really like it or until you figure out what you really want to do. You never know, you may really enjoy it and be good at it.”
I don’t know what it was about him presenting me with that opportunity in that moment which caused me to say OKAY. I prepared my resume which barely had anything on there because I didn’t have much work experience prior to this. The skills that I obtained were from growing up, mainly high school and college up until this point. If you can think back to your teenage years and childhood, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that those skills wouldn’t help you stand up boldly when entering into a completely different arena/career that you had no prior experience in. I know that I am not alone. But in spite of not feeling fully adequate to become a teacher, I can recall feeling a secure/bold inner amount of confidence that would carry me into the classroom where I had to prepare a math lesson to teach to Middle school students who were not the typical age of middle schoolers. These students had either failed many times, got kicked out of schools for behavioral issues, quit going to school or never received the proper accommodations to set them up for success.
Knowing just that part alone somehow didn’t bother me as much as I thought that it would. Oh did I mention how much I hated the subject math? Even though I was good at it, I did not like it whatsoever. So by that being the subject that I had to create a short lesson on plus teach a lesson to complete strangers, forced me to use my creativity that is embedded in my essence to produce a lesson plan that would impress the principals and the students to hire me.
Fast forward to interview day, I remember walking into that classroom feeling like I belonged there with a new level of confidence that I hadn’t experienced before. It was like I was a completely different person who possessed superpowers which caused the students to be completely engaged and the Assistant Principal to be impressed with my teaching delivery style. I interviewed with the AP and the Principal that day and was hired that very day to become the 4th and 5th grade teacher (I will share that journey at another time).
Third times a “charm”
Let’s jump back into the significance of this day. As I am typing this out, I am reminded of so many pivotal moments and stepping stones that played a significant part in my life in this very situation that occurred on January 23, 2014. I won’t go into every single detail but to sum it all up quickly for you. I left the other school after 3 years of teaching there and got hired as a High School 9th grade Biology teacher on the spot from a job fair. I needed to take my certification test for that position. I failed that test 3 times all while teaching in my classroom plus having a degree in Biology minor in Chemistry.
I was extremely devastated and crushed each time and left with so much confusion to why this was happening to me when I know that it was nobody but God who got me this job so quickly. I even put myself out there to get help studying with my colleagues to help me pass. I was ashamed that I wasn’t certified and that I couldn’t even pass a test for a course that I truly know AND was already teaching it. My story was not like anyone else’s that I knew which caused me to question God more and more. I remember after receiving my last failure results, I literally fell down on the bed very dramatically full of pain and anger all while crying out “NOOOOOO, WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME WHEN YOU KNOW THAT THIS WAS MY DREAM JOB?” It was in that moment I heard God say “TRUST ME I HAVE A PLAN FOR YOU!”
I was so confused and felt like God had forgotten about me but in that moment I took a deep breath to quiet my broken heart enough to tell Him “OK”. That last test that I took was back in October 2013. Moving forward with that last failing test results meant that the school had to open up my position for anyone to come in and apply for it since I was considered a long-term substitute at that point. Nothing changed until January 23rd when I was asked to go meet with the Principal and the Science department head.
I walked down there full of the peace of God which was a very powerful experience for me , especially at that time with everything that was going on with my job being up in the air. I can still close my eyes and replay that exact scene in my head like it happened just yesterday. Both of the Principal and Science department head sat in front of me with a very saddened but hopeful look on their faces as the principal tells me how highly impressed he was with me especially being a first year high school teacher. My teaching abilities and the way that I captivated my students all while building a deep relationship with them was very impressive and something that he had not seen before especially in a rookie year teacher. He proceeded to say that they found a full-time teacher to fill my position that would be starting on Monday. This was Thursday after school when I received the news. Hearing that news surprisingly did not take me out like it would’ve done just a few months prior. The principal encouraged me to never lose hope, this is not the end. They asked me if I had anything to say and all I could say was that “God has a plan and that I’m going to trust him.”
I left his office with so much peace but tears filled my eyes because reality set in that I didn’t have a plan and how in the world will I tell my students that I would no longer be there teacher. I started packing up a few things with the intentions to get everything over the weekend. My heart truly heart more for my students than anything because I know how it feels to be abandoned without a warning or explanation. To make this matter worse, the next day was a potential ice/snow day so school was subject to be closed if the weather was bad enough. The ice storm did come and that took the chance away from me to be able to say goodbye to my students in person. My heart shattered and I was left with this huge hole in my heart. This could not be happening and to make it worse, all of my stuff was still up in my classroom. I contacted the department head asking if I could have the number of the new teacher so I could come in on Sunday to prep her for it all and to get my belongings that I wasn’t going to leave.
We met up on Sunday afternoon in my classroom and instantly hit it off. When I say this was nothing but God type of interaction. We actually graduated from the same University with the same major and minor. She just passed her certification test and was working at Sylvan Learning center which she gave me their information to check out if I was interested in. By the end of our time of chatting, we talked about God and how his timing and plans are perfect. I left pretty much all of my decorations and supplies for her to use since she didn’t have anything. I remember how overwhelming it was when I first started teaching and not having anything starting from scratch and stepping in for someone who was before me. She said “I was so nervous about meeting you because I didn’t know how you would respond and react to me since I’m technically taking your job. The fact that you’re being so nice, is shocking to me because most people wouldn’t respond in this way.” I told her that God clearly has a plan for this all and has it all worked out so why respond in a way that does not show that I trust him.
We ended our conversation by me telling her to reach out to me at anytime so I can help her to be successful with our students. They were not the easiest, but they were great kids. I asked her if I could write my kiddos a letter telling them goodbye since my last day to see them was on Thursday. I emailed it to her to print off to have each student pick it up as a form of closure for me. She actually connected me to my job at Sylvan which played another huge part of my pivoting journey and God connects.
Embrace your disruptions
I know that this was a long read and sincerely thank you for making it all the way down to this point. I want to end by saying that when disruptions are sent to your life, God is desiring to redirect you in another direction that will lead you on the journey of BECOMING THAT PERSON WHO HE HAS CREATED YOU TO BE. There will be numerous times when you will feel the pain of losing what you once held so close and near to your heart and even had your identity wrapped within it. You will be tested and stretched like no other but in the midst of all of that, you must remind yourself that God is right there with you and that his plans are far greater than our own. Trusting God is very challenging but is the most rewarding experience that I wish more people would be open to him taking them on the journey of BECOMING THAT PERSON which means tapping into the greatest version that Heaven sees you as.
Grab ahold of His hand and WATCH GOD HAPPEN!!!
Comment below your takeaway and send this to encourage someone who is going through a tough season of transitions and disappointments