Where did the past 5 years go?! As I graduate and take the time to reflect on my undergrad, this question repeatedly floats in my mind. Dedication to writing papers, exams and what seemed like endless assignments, has now ended. To think I have been a student for 17 years and then all of a sudden not anymore? It’s freeing but shocking at the same time. I thought I’d be in school forever considering I was in school to be a teacher.
I also always thought that graduating with a BA and a BED meant that I would go out into the world and start teaching right away. Whether overseas, or across Canada, I was going to find somewhere to teach even if everyone told me that the job market for teaching wasn’t looking so hot. Instead, I find myself on a different path in life. While discovering my passion to teach young people about literature and to become the world’s greatest high school English teacher (LOL I’m more like the world’s greatest “I don’t know what I’m doing” student-teacher, but we’ll save those lovely teaching stories for later :P), I found myself not satisfied.
I found myself living through the small moments when I met Christian students, and Christian teachers and felt encouraged that we shared the same faith. Though I loved teaching and getting to know the students (honestly loved my students SO much!!), I needed something more. It didn’t seem enough for me to be teaching about literature when eternity was on the line; when all of the eyes of the students that stared back at me were empty with a longing to know the truth. The truth about eternity, the truth about our world, the truth about God.
So why not teach the truth?
Why not go into the very heart of education, on a university campus, and teach those students that a God who loves them more than they possibly imagine is out there and wants to connect with them on deeper, meaningful level that gives satisfaction when nothing else does? Why not break down the religious stereotypes, the belief systems that destroy human minds and life, and replace them with life-giving abundance and an incredible, everlasting love that has the power to change hearts? God is good beyond measure, more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20), and I completely trust him (some days are better than others) to bring his amazing plan to completion (Phil. 1:6, Romans 8:28).
“Completion” might not look like how I want it to, but I believe that is a part of accepting that there are some things you can control, and some things only God can control and it’s my job to place all of those things in God’s hands in full surrender each and every day. I was reminded on 4 occasions this week, by 4 different sources who did not know each other (I think God was really trying to tell me something LOL), that God is the vine and I am only the branch – without being truly rooted in Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). With God alone is anything possible (Phil. 4:13), and I am learning what it looks to be truly rooted in Him. Not rooted in what others might think of me, not rooted in shame or guilt or lies that the enemy constantly tries to manipulate me into believing. Not rooted in old soil, going back to my old ways, but rooted in the nutritious soil of the word that will help me grow into the woman of God that He is shaping me to be.
And growing sometimes means shedding the old leaves so that new ones can bloom come spring. This is a season of change, a time of transition, and new and exciting beginnings in my life – yet saying hello also means giving sad good-byes. Goodbye to the support group I had in university, goodbye to living with some amazing people, goodbye to the apartment I lived in for 4 years (which sounds a little silly, but it holds sentimental value to me as I remember the many deep talks and laughter shared within those walls). I had to say goodbye to my associate teachers, my students and the schools I taught at. The deepest, most sorrowful goodbye, was to my friend Steph, who passed away from cancer on April 28th when she was not yet 21. And as I enter into this new chapter, I can’t help but think how much I ache to have her enter it with me, supporting me, as I know she would have loved the ministry I will be doing.
But as her parents read a beautiful poem at her funeral, the lines that resonate and echo in my head to this very day were at the end of every stanza of the poem: “But God had other plans”.
God still has other plans. Plans to sow the seed, to establish the roots through offering the most nutritious soil, and to cultivate its growth through patiently attending to its exact needs. God knows the perfect amount of sunlight we need whether we are a cactus plant or an orchid. He will take care of us (Matt. 10:29-31).
So all of this is to say that I believe God has different plans for me than teaching (for now) as I head to Montreal in September to work for an organization called Power to Change, where I will be doing exactly what I’ve discovered I’ve been longing to do: share the life-giving truth. I will be doing that on the McGill campus and I am super excited to start this journey of working in full-time ministry!
Maybe one day I’ll teach in a public school system and use my experience in ministry to share the gospel there. Maybe one day I’ll teach at a Christian high school and encourage young teens to follow the Lord. Maybe one day I’ll be a youth pastor and teach students how to share their faith in their public school.
All I know is that there’s a plan. A great and amazing plan that I might not know, and might not trust at times, but it’s still there because God is constant, faithful and forever good. Thank you, Jesus <3