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July 17, 2012

My Story

I am a pastor's daughter. When people find this out, they always look at me in complete shock and say, "Really?!" I never have understood this common reaction. When I've asked why they're so shocked, the typical answer has been, "You just don't seem like the typical 'pastor's daughter'." What is a typical "pastor's daughter" like? I wonder. The weirdest response was, "You don't dress like a pastor's daughter." What does that mean? Do pastor's daughters dress like a Duggar? (You know I love the Duggars - I just don't relate to the long jean skirts and poofy hair.) Anyway, while I don't understand the reactions I receive when I'm asked about what my father does, I can tell you that I am very proud of the fact that I grew up with godly parents. They have always encouraged me to love God and reach others with my faith. I accepted their Savior as mine when I was a little girl and knew - from that young age - that I wanted my life to have purpose. In some way, I wanted to serve other people.

My parents encouraged me to serve in church ministry and also with a children's organization that they worked with for several years, and looking back, it is clear that God was establishing a pathway in my life that would lead to my serving as an elementary educator. Why in the world I entered college as a Psychology major, I will never understand. It was clear that my heart was in teaching, and I quickly changed my focus to elementary education. A soft nudge from my mother helped to get me on the right track. I did enjoy the Psychology classes that my education major called for, and I must admit, the information definitely came in handy during my years in the classroom. In fact, I've decided that all teachers need a minor in Psych and another minor in Social Work - but all of that is for another post. The next phase for me? Homeschooling my little ones is the plan, and I can not wait!

I had I attended a small Christian college, and to describe this school as legalistic would be the understatement of the year. During those four years, I was surrounded by some of the most frustrating people and situations that I have ever known. Rules - not people - were the focus of this institution:

How sad it is to see people living without freedom and joy in their life! At my lowest points during those years, my parents would remind me to "Take notes. Allow these people to be examples of who you don't want to be. Allow these situations to teach you how you can be different." This encouragement carried me through some very lonely days. I promised myself that - after I graduated - I would never again put myself in that type of situation, and I have not. Needless to say, I chose a different university for my graduate program - which I very much enjoyed! Why did I stay at school #1? Well, the honest answer is that my scholarships paid for it, and I was determined to stick it out in order to be able to start out on my own debt-free. I am so thankful for a wonderful church (near the college) that I was able to be a part of during that time. It was my light in what felt like a dark place. Looking back, I see where God allowed me to cross paths with individuals there who I consider very special life-long friends. Some of these friends' hometown location is exactly where I live now - Ironic? Nope! Definitely God.

I fell in love while I was in college - with David? No - someone else. This someone else was alot of fun. This someone else had a great family. This someone else had a heart of gold. This someone else wanted alot of the same things I did. However, this someone else was not for me. I knew this even apart from the fact that he suffered from a severe case of "Apron-String-Attachment". You know what I'm talking about here - the apron strings had never been snipped. In fact, I don't even think the umbilical cord had ever been cut. In all seriousness, though - God very clearly showed me in my heart that I needed to end what had been a long-term relationship. Was it easy? Absolutely not - It was one of the hardest things I've ever done; but have you ever known in your heart exactly what you were supposed to do and felt complete peace - even though it was terribly painful? I am so thankful for this peace from God - the peace that whispers, "Trust me. I have a better plan for you." and He did. A few years later, I met David, and I am so, so thankful that I waited on God's best. Was the waiting easy? Nope - In fact, along the way I allowed a friend of mine to set me up on a blind-date - Big Mistake. I even spent a few months in some kind of pseudo boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with a guy I met at church, and it was as if God was asking, "When am I going to be enough for you?" I replied with, "God, I told you I was supposed to be married and have a bun in the oven by now - twin boys to be exact." When I finally gave up trying to fill that "hubby/bun-in-the-oven void" in my heart, along came David. (By the way, David still reminds me that he was waiting for me to "break-up" with Mr. Pseudo Boyfriend before he swooped in to ask me out on a date.) Anyway, back to the story...

This same whisperer [God] is the same one who very clearly directed me to my first teaching position - at a precious school where I intended to stay for a long, long time. I loved the staff. I loved the families. I loved the kids. What I did not love is when - after I'd been there for two years - it was announced that our school was closing its doors - for reasons that were never fully explained. This was heart-breaking for me. I had moved away from my home and family to become a part of this school family, and now I'm left wondering what to do when I hear that same whisper: "Trust me. I have a better plan for you." He did have something better for me. Days after the closure was announced, I was hired at an incredible academy that quickly became my new home. There, I immediately fell in love with the staff, families, and kids. Not only that, but financially, professionally, etc. it was better. God majors in better!

As you see, I've learned that when God closes a door, it's because He has something more for us. The change - The wondering - The waiting - The confusion - can be so difficult, but He has never failed me. I can look back on every piece of my story and see His hand at work - weaving together a pretty cool tapestry.