February 17, 2017

...The End of a Season...

We often think of the word season as a short time during the year.  Fall, winter, spring, and summer.  There are seasonal fruits and veggies that are best during one of those times.  People often refer to football or baseball season.  But in reality a season is simply defined as a period of time.

The most recent season of my life has been one of testing.  I'd be hesitant to call it a season because it's gone on for ten years.  It's been a time of character building and faith testing.  It's been a time where I've discovered who I am and what I'm truly capable of enduring.  The last decade I have bounced from job to job, apartment to apartment, and have had emotional and mental strength tested.  It's be a really rough "season".

Ten years ago my parents split up.  Dealing with that during my last two years of college presented it's challenges in having to overcome the grief while still remembering to do assignments and get to class on time.  I graduated in 2008 which most will remember as one of the worst years to have to find a teaching job.  So I got a job as a TA and made less than $15,000 that year.  I only managed to do that because I lived in a dirt cheap apartment and didn't have a car payment.  The following year I got my first teaching job.  But by the end of that year, I watched as an unfair and uncaring principal torched my teaching career. Over the next three years I tried to salvage what was left.  I taught preschool, worked side jobs, and endured more supervisors that just didn't seem to care. After that, tired and soured, I decided there was nothing left to salvage and tried to convince myself that I wanted nothing to do with education.  I tried to believe this for the next four years.  But, no matter how I tried, it was just something I could never truly let go.

After so many hard years I made the move to Grand Rapids.  2016 was a year of adjustment and transition and soul searching.  Weight crept back on, finances were tighter than they'd been in a long time,  and by the end of the year and faced with yet another supervisor who just didn't seem to care I decided enough was enough.

But now, a new season has begun. I got a job offer this month that has allowed me to re-enter the world of education.  Not as a teacher, but as part of a team of administrators.  This opportunity has already proven to be an answer to years and years of prayer.  I will be working with a demographic of families that I am passionate about.  At my new school there are 70 different cultures represented, 30 plus languages spoken in the students' homes, refugees, and 76% on free or reduced lunch.  There are children from broken home situations and children who just need positive role models and caring people to love on them.

I feel in my gut that a combination of the work I did in schools and my office experience have prepared me for this exact place.  For the past ten years I've wondered what God was up to and sometimes even wondered where the heck he was during my struggles.  But I'm finally starting to understand as I enter a new season that healing from past hurts and experiences can still take place as we move forward from them.  Everything I've gone through has led me to this exact place.

Hope has re-entered the picture.

Not only will I be back in my field and serving a community of people I have a heart for, but for the first time in seven years I will be able to pay bills on time.  I will be able to stop living on credit and finally be able to work towards being debt-free.  I will be able to start planning for the future instead of just worrying about today.  This means starting to save for retirement and saving to buy a home. I will be able to be as generous as my heart desires to be without fear of having enough.

My  pastor recently said, "we can't know how good God is if we've only known him in good times". Never have I understood this more than I do now.  To see His plan start to come together is an amazing thing to watch.  To finally start to have answers to all those "why's" is a weight lifted and proof to me that God is truly working through any and all circumstances.  There is hope for the future. As my bestie has said so many times over the last week, "it's time to bask in the sunshine".

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