Once upon a time, I thought teaching sounded like a trap. Like a job that would induce teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, frustrated sighs, and misery in general.
Yeah, I was that against it. Ha. And I’m so glad I was wrong. Toward the end of my first year of teaching, it became so clear to me that I had a gift for teaching and that it brought life to my soul. I was ready to spend the next several years, if not the rest of my life, teaching with the school and the students I had so learned to love.
And that’s when I received news that almost turned my world upside down. Actually, it’s more accurate to say that I misunderstood news and that almost turned my world upside down. I thought that the school I was teaching at was going to close for good.
Death and Resurrection
Even though it ended up not being true and the school is still running to this day, the Lord did wonderful things in me through my misunderstanding. After school that day I went to my room and surrendered the place and people I do loved to the Lord. I realized that the reason it hurt so much was because I loved the people around me so much, loved my students to much; and I resolved them and there that I would love them more and more, even if it meant a greater pain in the end.
A little after that time spent with the Lord, I had a meeting with a mentor. She asked me how I was doing, and I broke down in tears. As she listened to my story, a verse came to her:
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9, NASB
I had planned my way, but now it seemed that the Lord was directing me elsewhere.
Her next question changed the course of my life, “Have you ever considered world missions?”
My dream of missions, that I had laid to rest, came blazing back to life. She gave me some information for a ministry in Nicaragua, and several months later I was connected with them.
Death to one dream resulted in the resurrection of another; even though the dream that I thought had died came back to life the next day when I realized the school wasn’t closing after all. And a year later, I was ready to go to Nicaragua for six weeks, and step into the beginning of the dream born in my soul over a decade before.
This Isn’t Over Yet
Then in the weeks before it was time for me to go, civil unrest broke out in Nicaragua. I wasn’t afraid; I knew that if it was to Nicaragua the Lord was leading me, He would see to my safety. But things grew worse and worse there until hospitals had to begin turning people away because they were so full. It was decided that I wouldn’t go to Nicaragua, two days before I was supposed to fly out.
I was crushed. But as I lay in bed, crying to Jesus, the Comforter brought Scripture to my mind: “You are good and what You do is good,” “As for God, His way is perfect.” The one verse that brought me the most comfort, though, was Proverbs 16:9. I had planned my way. Clearly, the Lord was directing my steps elsewhere.
One of the pastors in my life told me, “Olivia, this isn’t over yet.” For a while I clung to that as Gods promise to me that Nicaragua would still somehow happen. That the door would open again. But it became clear that that was a door I wasn’t to stand beside and stare at. It had closed, and I had to move on.
But it truly wasn’t over yet. Because the greatest disappointment of my life set everything in place for God to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all I had asked for or imagined. But I’ll save that story for part four. 😉