I had every intention of becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner when I was in high school. I even went to tour the neonatal unit of the hospital in Charlotte, NC while inquiring about their nursing program. Little did I know, that even though He totally changed the desires of my heart to pursue a completely different career path, that I would need that little bit of knowledge of a neonatal unit when my son would be born, 11 years later.
I became a teacher. I went to my admission advising session to enroll as a Preschool Education major. My advisor ended up getting stuck in traffic on the way to meet me and couldn't make it; her replacement had a degree in home economics and, after several questions, convinced me that was the path for me as well. I taught Family and Consumer Sciences in high school for four years and at the university for eight. Both times that I left my teaching positions, God had something awaiting me--unexpected to me, but planned by Him.
My last teaching position was at the university from where I graduated. It was my "dream job." I loved being there--my children were always welcomed with open arms to spend time with me in my office; they came to class sometimes; they were there for student events. It was a wonderful experience. I loved teaching. I loved teaching Family and Consumer Sciences. I loved teaching at Winthrop University. I loved building close relationships with my students. I loved where God had placed me and what He had me doing. Then, I became restless...
I had always wanted to be in "full-time ministry." I had always said I was willing to go anywhere and do anything God wanted me to do; yet, He had kept me in my same hometown, in my same church, in my same job for so many years. As I saw youth pastors and pastors come and go in our church as God led them to different ministries, I would always wonder "when was my turn?" He did move us to a different church, with the full blessings of ours, but it was only ten minutes away. Really?? Then, God convicted my heart: I was right where God wanted me to be. My workplace was my full-time ministry and my neighborhood was my mission field. Then, after God molded me and shaped me for several more years by showing me opportunities to make Him known right where He had placed me, He led us to pursue missions in Mexico. One of the neatest things about this whole process is to look back and see who our financial partnering churches are: almost every one are led by former pastors under whom we had served at one time or another in our home church. They are the most supportive pastors of us, and we are so thankful for the relationships God had built for so many years. We also have many individual partners from the relationships God had built through the years, from high school to now. Winthrop University let me stay on teaching part-time as long as I could until it was finally time to move to language school. God gave us ministry partners from our relationships there as well as opportunities to share about Him--from my students asking me why in the world I was leaving and moving to a different county to being interviewed by the university newspaper and being able to share His story that He had been working out in my life.
As all of us can, I could share so many more stories of seeing God's hand in my life. The pieces are still falling into place. My life's puzzle is still being put together. And, my prayer is that it shows the faithful sovereignty of an almighty God. Because He is sovereign, I can find joy in the journey; and because He is faithful, I can find comfort in the valleys.