“There is no way in hell you will ever become an English teacher!”
This was the response I was hit with when I approached Ms. H. I had come to her in the final month of my junior year in highschool to ask beg her to open up just one more spot in the new AP English class for the next year. Two other students and I had missed the cut of 15 by just one point. I thought if I explained to her how much I wanted in the class, how hard I would work and that I wanted to be a teacher she would understand and let me in. But that was not the case.
Instead that short conversation changed the direction of my life. Soon after that I decided to give up the dream of being a teacher. I had planned on taking a full course load my senior year but over the summer change it. I walked into classes that August with only 2 basic classes on schedule. That was all I needed to graduate. This arrangement meant that by about 10:30 every day I was done with school. I would pack up my backpack and head to work at my dad’s delivery business. Sounds like a pretty good plan doesn’t it?
However, this also meant I missed out on a lot of the socializing that happened at school. I missed lunchtime conversations along with a few practical jokes, Friday afternoon pep rallies and just hanging out at the end of the day. Even now, some 25+ years later, that one conversation affects my thoughts and decisions. I had stopped reading book after book like I did when I was younger. When I would get caught up on a word or couldn’t easily follow the storyline I would close it and just never finish it. Each time I tried to step up to begin dreaming again I would hear her voice, so I would go back and take my place on the sidelines.
Her words rang in my ears and over my heart for years until I start listening to another One’s words. When I learned what God said to me and about me things began to change. But it wasn’t until I studied Joseph that I really got it. (You can read the whole story in Genesis chapter 37-50)
Joseph had a very vivid dream that he would rule over his brothers. He had already begun to picture himself in that place. Except it didn’t happen just way Joseph thought it would. First he was thrown in the pit to die, sold and then resold to Potiphar, wrongly accused, sent to prison, forgotten by those he had helped then at God’s perfect timing he is remembered. He finds favor that not only spares his life but the lives of a notion and his family.
“as for you, you meant evil against me;but God meant it for good, in order to bringit about as it is this day, to save many people alive.” Gen50:20 KJV
The more I have studied the life of Joseph I begin to review my own journey with all its twist and turns.
Ms. H’s words were hurtful. They did redirect the path I had laid out but God (two of my all-time favorite words) had other plans.
Today I may not stand in the front of a classroom trying to explain allegories in Edgar Allan Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher” but I am a teacher. I have taught my kids how to read, tie their shoes ride a bike, and even how to write a compare/contract literary essay. I have spent time each summer teaching bible stories in Vacation Bible School. I have been blesses to teach through the Chronological Bible for three years to an amazing group of women.
So I may not be the classroom teacher I dreamt of when I stood in front of my stuffed animals for story time but I have to say God’s way and His plan has turned out so much better.
“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11 NIV
What dreams have you sat aside because someone spoke against them? Today spend a little time to revisit them and see how God wants to use them in a different way.