It’s that time of year again when I feel the need to write a blog about what I’m going to be doing next year. Just over a year has passed since I let people know about my year’s post at Thornton, and the time has marched on by as it always does! My plans for September have sorted themselves out in the last few weeks, but, as ever there is a story that leads up the point I’m at today.
This year, in many ways, hasn’t been the easiest work wise. I missed Bridgebuilder more than I thought I would. I missed the insane schedule I kept while working with MKBT and studying at the same time and, at times this year, got incredibly bored. I developed a love hate relationship with teaching. I love the time I get to spend with my students, have lessons that I absolutely love and I adore sharing my love of all things Theology with young people. But I knew from the word go that teaching full time and forever is not where I want to be and struggled with certain aspects of the teacher/student relationship, as it seemed to jar so much with the way I naturally relate to young people. But far above any of these things is an issue within the school that has caused this year to be quite a dark experience; I can’t say any more on here but it has, at times, been pretty awful!!
Gosh, that was a jolly way to begin wasn’t it?! But don’t worry cos it doesn’t end there. Yes there are aspects of this year that have been pretty crud, but they don’t negate the fact that Thornton is still a school I love, I’ve made wonderful friends, had some amazing experiences this year and have grown up (yeah I know!) a lot. So during this year, pretty much since September, I’ve been stuck between a rock and a lovely place… Loving life the majority of the time and then getting occasionally smacked in the head with a rock.
So where does God, my career and future in ministry feature in all of this? Well back in September I assumed that my time at Thornton would be what it was intended to be when I got the job, a stop gap and breathing space for a year while I decided and discerned what the future held. But it became clear by the Christmas holidays that God maybe had other ideas. People started talking about how they didn’t want me to leave the school and more than that I started talking about how I didn’t want to leave the school. I decided to push some doors, January came and went and I wrote to the deputy and head basically telling them that I would love the opportunity to stay if there was a job for me. But there seemed to be no joy coming from that, the issue at school that was making life so hard was still raging on and I decided that actually the message was coming loud and clear that come July it would be time to move on, not that I wanted to though! At the thought of leaving this school, these girls and my friends that I loved my heart broke a little bit each time. I didn’t want to leave I just seemed to being told that it was right to.
But if only it were that easy!! In April, as I started to properly search for a job I couldn’t find anything that A) I wanted to do, B) I was qualified to do, C) I felt called to do, and D) Was close enough to my family (the promised addition of a niece/nephew come November was pulling me towards MK). I was so confused! I didn’t understand why, if the message was so clear that I shouldn’t be staying at Thornton, there was nothing out there for me. It got scarier and scarier that by May half term I had six weeks of my contract left and no prospect of anything to follow it up.
Towards the end of half term I finally found a job that ticked all the boxes for me and I knew that I had to apply for it. During a lunchtime in the first week back i read an email inviting me for an interview, during the afternoon I met with my head and spoke about my reference, and by 6:00 that evening everything had changed and I was asked to stay at Thornton and accepted! Crazy times hey!? The details are still being smoothed out, but the long and the short of it is that I will be staying in boarding and the issue that has made life so intolerable will be resolved come September.
This whole saga has taught me so many lessons about faith, trust and God’s timing. During half term I kept being pulled back t the quote that titles today’s blog, and at that point I reasoned that it meant my finding a job would come but rather late in the day for my neurotic need to be organised! But I now realise that it meant so much more; that I had to have the faith in God that A) he knew my heart’s desire and had it sorted, but more importantly B) it would come at the time that was right for him. Certain things needed to shift and be put in place before he could move to prepare my place here for September, and man when he moved did he move!!
The day after everything changed I was reminded of the story of Abraham being told to sacrifice Isaac. Now God never actually wanted Abraham to murder his adored son, but he needed to know that Abraham’s faith in God was bigger than his love for Isaac. And it wasn’t enough for Abraham to simply say that he he trusted in God, cos without action those words are pretty empty. With my lips I was saying that I trusted in God to provide a place for me come September, but with my attitude and actions I was communicating that I felt forgotten about and was relying entirely on my own ability; not quite the faith I was professing audibly!! I realised that I needed to have the faith to apply for a job that I actually wanted and show that I was willing to follow God and leave the school I loved before I could be told that I was actually allowed to stay. Saying you have the trust to do a leap of faith is easy when your feet are on solid ground, but when you’re in the air those words need to be followed up with action!
So today I thank my father God again for holding his perfect plan for me, for knowing the path my life will take, but allowing me to learn while I travel that path. And I also pray for us all that we would have faith. Faith to move mountains, faith to part seas and faith to back up our words with action. Because faith in God includes faith in his timing.