How do you grieve the death of a life you almost knew – a dream you were living & forced to wake up from? What do you do when you feel called out of something you felt called into?
I poured my whole heart and soul into working with my students, and huge parts of my identity were wrapped up in the work. I thought I would be with them for several years, but God has other plans for me and for the church. Losing this position has been deeply emotional, and my identity has been shaken. This is one of the most difficult and painful experiences I have ever lived. But I’m learning.
I wanted to share how my spirit has been encouraged through all this. I get a verse of the day on my phone. I think they are pretty random, and we need to be careful with verses out of context. But I do believe that God uses these to talk to me, and this is what I feel He’s been telling me over the last week.
I learned my position was being cut, and they gave me a couple days to decide if I wanted to try and do my job part-time. Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Let me be clear – no one is persecuting me. But I was really definitely attacked by the enemy that day, so this was good to hear.
I had to tell the church I was officially moving on, and then I had to tell my whole team. Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” There is a lot of anxiety here for me. I don’t know what’s next. I have so many questions. But every time I think of this, I feel like my heart is being wrapped up in a blanket of peace.
The announcement went out, and I had to write a letter to our families. Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” I had a plan. I had so many plans with my students and for my students. But God is in control here, and He’s the one leading, and I know He has a better plan for them and for me at work here.
Things got very quiet. I started to feel very lost. Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Those words made me feel found again
I haven’t had a Sunday with my students since March, and I had no idea that was my last one. So the grief became very present and very real. And I got 1 Peter 5:10, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered for a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” Right now, I’m in that suffering for a little while part, but I know that soon I’ll be restored, strong, and faithful again.
Now these verses came from all over the place, and they are all very different. And right now, I’m all over the place, and all the hurts and hard things I’m dealing with are very different. But we have one great God who just covers & comforts it all. And He is working to redeem and restore and bring us to better and better. And it will all be better. If there is one thing I want my students to take from me and my story and my time with them, this is it: Sometimes everything sucks and we have to suffer, but God is doing some beautiful refining work.
I don’t always know what is going to happen next. I have no idea what is coming next for me. But I wholeheartedly trust that God is in control and whatever is next is going to be for the best.
I know, and I hope you know – God has already won.