There are words inside me that I desperately want to get out, to release, to set them free. There is a story I want to tell, but I am unable to.
That story refers to what we like to call…our “Vienna experience.” I am sitting in a coffee shop, applying for jobs/teaching positions, distracted, fighting back tears, and remembering it all. The good and the bad memories, though mostly the bad, come flooding back with an intensity. When we left, we felt on top of the world (okay, not quite, we were really exhausted, but excited nonetheless)—only by the grace of God was any of this possible. We were humbled, honored, and excited to serve the Lord overseas. I couldn’t contain my excitement—how PERFECT was this opportunity for us??? God had made it clear—we were meant to be there. So we faithfully followed. A 4th grade teacher at an International Christian School, a classroom diverse as a colorful crayon box. So many languages, cultures, and backgrounds represented in a single room. My students. My PASSION & dream. And I got to share Jesus with them. How perfect. Then soon enough…my confidence deflated. My dreams crushed. My hope left to a single thread from a once-thick rope. What’s going to happen next? That’s what I’m worrying about, even though my head and heart know that worrying adds zero days to our lives but subtracts life from our days.
I’m thankful for a great support system. For friends and family who still believe in me when I don’t. For a mom who sends the sweetest, encouraging pep talk texts. I’m grateful for others who see me as more than I see myself, who don’t focus on the “failures” I’ve had in the past year.
Not every teaching position is like the one I had. In fact, 99% of them aren’t. I had a million factors working against me. I was drowning & unable to get to the boat—because there wasn’t even a boat, as much as my husband tried to act as one. One bad experience. Will I let it define me forever? I sure hope not. But I need prayers for that. Prayers for hope and healing.
I have no idea what the next few months hold for me….we are PRAISING God for providing a job for Aaron, though. He’s settling into it, and I couldn’t be happier to see him happy again. As for me, I’m job hunting, and I feel blessed to have opportunities for the summer. But what will I do this fall? Will I get a teaching job again? My counselor recommended that I wait a full year before jumping back in as a full-time teacher. It’s been suggested I test out the waters again with an aide or paraprofessional position first. Who knows. Part of me wants to jump straight back in because I KNOW it will be 100% different here. I want to rediscover and restore the passion and enthusiasm I had for teaching. I still have a lot to process and work through. Most people don’t realize that. Deep down, I’m still hurting and angry from everything over there. Bitter, truthfully—bitter that we were left out to dry and were failed in so many ways. It would be easier to erase all of those memories or to even wish we had never gone. I fall into that pattern of thinking quite frequently—it’s easy to focus on how great life would be if we hadn’t gone (that’s a lie, I’m sure). Yes, I probably would have a full year of teaching under my belt, we’d be settled in this area, financially stable, maybe even looking to start a family soon. But that’s not how it is, and that’s okay. God brought us through these struggles for a purpose. Refinement.
I’m thankful that God is bigger than ANY situation we have or will ever encounter. Because of the cross, my citizenship is in heaven, not here. Life here is merely a breath of eternity, so I need to keep my eyes fixed above. Yes, I desire and strive to make my time here meaningful, but I am exceedingly grateful that my successes or failures do not define who I am: a daughter of the most High King.