Have you ever said it or thought it? "I will never ______!" You fill in the blank. I made a lot of these statements during my teenage years. Some of them I truly have never done. Others? Well, some were just kind of silly. With some, life took me in other directions. And for some of my "I will never" statements, I believe God had other plans.
During my high school years, I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what job I would be happy doing. "I know one thing for sure, I will never be a teacher!" I made this statement with certainty. I knew I didn't enjoy teaching, I was sure I wasn't good at it. As I prepared for college, I was planning to get a degree in Psychology. That was the goal until one day I felt God calling me to be an elementary school teacher. "Are you kidding me, God? I said I would never be a teacher! I'm not good at teaching!" But thankfully, despite my doubt and hesitation, I said yes. I spent the first 2 1/2 years of my time in college learning about things related to education and how to teach.
I spent countless hours volunteering in classrooms. And I hated it! I am terrible with classroom management. But I stuck with it, thinking it was God's plan for me. Until one day I felt God saying, "Okay, that is good enough. You don't have to teach. You can change your major." I was so relieved and so confused! I tried to understand God's purpose in having me spend all that time learning how to teach. Was God just testing me to see if I would say yes to him no matter what he asked? I compared it in my mind to the Bible story of God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham was obedient to God and was prepared to do what God asked, but thankfully God told Abraham to stop and not lay a hand on his son. Had I been similarly released from a task I dreaded doing?
Maybe, but as time has passed I can see that perhaps God had a bigger plan. After graduating with a degree in Sociology, I spent 3 years teaching in a prison. I didn't see that one coming. As a parent, I think my role as "teacher" is one of the most important things I do. Kids need to be taught everything! This has really surprised me a few times. Of course I need to teach my kids how to tie their shoes, ride a bike, and be polite. But who would have guessed I would need to teach them why you shouldn't eat mud (or a million other things that are too gross to mention). And most importantly, I get to teach them about Jesus!
When my son was born, I had a rough time adjusting to having two kids. He was not an easy baby and perhaps an even more challenging toddler. My daughter was not too happy about sharing mom and dad. And in the midst of it, I experienced severe depression. Here is a picture of one of our good days during those tough months.
I dreamed about the day when I would send my kids to school. I was quite surprised when I started hearing God gently guide me toward homeschooling my kids! "No way, I will never homeschool! I can't teach. My kids will be weird. I don't want to give up my time." I'm sure the list went on and on.
But I am so glad that I said yes to the adventure of teaching my kids at home. I love it! I feel very blessed to be the one to teach my kids and spend lots of quality time with them. We have so much fun learning about the Bible, about science and history, about math and reading. It is messy and sometimes exhausting, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
These days, I think a little more carefully before stating "I will never ________." I picture God watching me with a kind smile and laughter in his eyes. Who knows what the future will bring. I just hope I will never say no to God's plans for my life.