From the time I was a little girl I knew that I was destined to be a teacher. That was my calling. I had a huge heart for children with disabilities and being a special education teacher was not a decision that I made lightly. Most people in my life agreed that I should be a teacher, but there were many that tried to discourage me from going into the field of special education. They thought it would be too hard and that I would get burned out quickly. I had never really ever worked with or been closely involved with children with disabilities other than volunteering at the Special Olympics a couple of times. I just had this feeling inside me, though, that was pulling me in that direction, but with everyone telling me that it would be too hard, I began to doubt myself. I began to think that maybe I would be better off just focusing on regular education. I was really confused so I started to pray about it. I was trying to find some clarity. This was during the summer before I went off to college. I was working at a local restaurant during the day to save up some money for school. I am from a very small town, and this is really the only real restaurant in the whole town. As you can imagine, most of the customers were regulars. They came in every single day. I pretty much knew most of them as well since it was such a small town. Everyone knew everyone. Anyway, I had been praying for a few nights trying to decide what my major would be, regular education or special education. Then one night, I asked God for some kind of sign to help me decide. That very next day at work, a family came in to the restaurant that I had never seen before or since that day. I’m not sure if they were there visiting family or why they were there, but they stood out to me in a big way. As soon as they walked in the door, I felt a sudden relief and peace about my decision to pursue special education. I knew that was what God wanted me to do. I knew that my instinct was right. God had sent me a sign. How did this one family do all of that for me just by walking in the restaurant? The family that came in had a daughter with Down Syndrome, and she was the cutest little girl ever. My heart instantly melted, and I just knew. As my old friends Ace Of Base used to sing, “I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes. I saw the sign.” Don’t you love how I can always find a song to apply to my life? LOL
I honestly have only told this story to a very few number of people. I thought that people would think I was crazy or that I was just looking for validation wherever I could get it. I also wanted to keep that moment between God and me. I know in my heart that the family walking in to the restaurant that day was no coincidence. People really may think I am crazy. People may not believe, but I do. It’s the truth. It really happened. Some may say that it was all a lie and that clearly I wasn’t meant to become a special education teacher since I am not teaching anymore. Yes, those things that people warned me about in the beginning were true. It was hard. It was frustrating. The days where I wanted to pull my hair out are too numerous to count. Yes, I did get burned out after 15 years of doing it. Would I change it for anything knowing what I know now? Absolutely not! Do I still believe that was what God had called me to do? A million times, yes! Although the tough days may have out numbered the good days, the good days were so good that they canceled out all the bad. I loved every single one of the students that ever walked in my door. I don’t care how miserable or how much of a challenge they were to me or how many times they completely trashed my classroom or the ones that spit in my face. I loved them all. There were those kids that I felt like I failed because I just couldn’t seem to reach them, but there were some of those kids that transformed right in front of my eyes. Nothing gave me greater joy than looking at how far they had come. Each of them was truly a gift to me. I gave my students everything that I had, many times to the expense of my own family. I will admit that I was pretty darn good at what I did. That’s not to brag or say that I was better than anyone else. It is just to show that I gave it everything, and it eventually just sucked the life out of me. I honestly believe that it would have been the same even if I had chosen to go into regular education instead of special education. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs there is and the demand and expectations on all teachers is unbearable for anyone. Most of my friends are regular education teachers and I can assure you that they would agree. Again, though, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The students whose lives I was able to touch, the friends I made along the way, and the growth of me as a person are all the things that made teaching such a blessing for me. When I look back on it now, I smile. Even though I got to the point where I just couldn’t do it anymore, I never lost sight of my purpose which was to help those kids. They were and always will be a big part of my heart.
When I received that sign from God all those years ago, I truly believed that I would be teaching for the rest of my life. I had no idea that He would have different plans for my future. While I am still trying to figure out just what those plans are, I really believe that writing this blog is one of those plans. It is my desire to help other women. I feel like that is my new calling. Whether it is helping someone to find their style, get organized, or just by sharing my life lessons, I feel like I have something to offer women. I need to have that greater purpose for my life, and I feel like this blog is a great start. The messages that I have already received from people and how what I have written has touched them truly warms my heart. It has already been such a blessing in my life, but I just don’t want to stop there. I feel like God is calling me towards more. I want more. A new opportunity has recently kind of just fallen in my lap. It would allow me to help women across the globe. I feel the same pull towards it as I did all those years ago when I knew special education was my calling. I have really been praying about this decision, and I would love another sign to walk through the door to tell me what to do. I certainly don’t expect God to smack me upside the head again, but I do feel like He is pulling me in this direction. Sometimes the sign isn’t as obvious as someone walking through the door. Sometimes we just have to be still and listen. That is what I am trying to do now. I am trying to be still.
I encourage all of you when you are facing a life decision, whether you believe in God or not, to really stop. Be still and listen. Listen to God, or really listen to what is in your heart. You will find your sign. It may not be a smack on the head like I got years ago. It may just be a feeling or a desire so strong you can’t ignore it. Your sign is there. You just have to look for it and receive it.
Anchored and Still,