Twelve years ago this year I left a job, a community, a culture that had been part of my life for 17 years....17 really good years doing something I absolutely loved—pouring my life into teenagers in the capacity of teaching them English, journalism, drama and speech, while I invested into their lives what God had taught me through the circumstances of my life.
I didn't leave because I wanted to....you see I am one of those people who is faithful to a fault. I will give a job, a cause, a town, whatever I am involved in everything I have—forever—to make "it" the best I can. And that is what I had tried to do there—I gave it my all.
But it was time for me to leave—to move—to let God take us into another part of the plan He had for us. But He had to bring people and their decisions to move us out—I need writing on the wall.
The writing on the wall came in the form of a letter telling me Larry was no longer welcome at school. His being able to come to school with me each day had been a condition 17 years before to my teaching. He spent his day in the lunch room, office, library or my classroom interacting with students and staff. He couldn't be home alone.
I was angry, hurt—actually devastated. I was extremely upset with the people whose actions "forced" me to leave and others that let it happen. Deep down I knew it was God's plan, after all He is sovereign, but I didn't like it much and I really thought He had made a mistake. I felt like I was leaving my calling in life—I left my identity on that campus when we pulled out of the campus that day in June.
But I was coming home....back to Colorado where I had grown up. To cooler summers, warmer winters, much lower humidity, wonderful tasting water and family....lots of family—brothers, a sister, my father, along with a huge extended family...and my daughter was in Colorado. I love Colorado— but I had been hurt...
We found a wonderful church with quality teaching—I was a sponge as I absorbed truth from God's Word...but deep down I still felt like God had made a mistake...
And then one Sunday in Sunday school, one of the pastors was teaching our class and he made a statement I will never forget. He was talking about God's providence, goodness and grace in our lives.
He said, "Why do we get so upset with the people and the circumstances that God brings into our lives to bring about the changes He has planned for us? To move us to the place He wants us?"
Suddenly, it was like the burden was lifted and I really understood what it looked like to really believe it was God's perfect plan that brought us back to Colorado ...and it was all okay. Actually it was better than that because God was at work and He had me right where He wanted me. No one had hurt me, no one had been mean—they had just been doing exactly what God meant for them to do.
After that insight, that knowledge God showed me through that pastor, who had also dealt with many unwelcome, mysterious, upsetting moves in his life, I was able to stop the negative victim thought patterns.
I am convinced that people do not hurt others on purpose. They are doing exactly what God is leading them to do. After all, He really does work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called by Him.
When we realize our life, every person, every circumstance, every move, every disaster, every single thing in our life is His plan, then, and only then do we find freedom to serve Him with abandon. We can love and serve Him as He leads knowing He is in control.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
And isn't that what He wants each of us to do? Seek him with our whole heart.
If you want to read one of Ann VasKomp's articles on being hurt by community click on THIS and be blessed.
The act of writing, of sharing the circumstances, the gifts and the graces planned and carried out by my Savior and God brings joy, peace, and contentment to know that He has my life in His hands. My prayer for those who read, who share in what I continue to learn each day, many times through my weakness, is that you will be encouraged to look for God's presence and grace in your life also.