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Plucked from Behind the Plow

Last January, I listened to a sermon by Christine Caine (one of my present day heroes) who was speaking to 40,000 college students about their life purpose.  She read the story of Elisha and how God basically plucked him out of the field from behind an ox to serve in one of the biggest and most intense jobs of his time.  She admonished the students to never shy away from hard and less-than-glamorous work but rather, to get behind the plow and work hard and trust that God is using your today to shape your tomorrow.  She told her own story and ways that God plucked her from the "plow" with jobs she never thought she'd do.  She challenged us to be okay with where God has us now.

One of the most beautiful and terrifying things about living a life of faith is God's ability and propensity to change directions in our lives with hardly any notice.  There have been a few seasons where I sensed God might move, but rarely have I known how, when, or why.  For the past 18 months, I have sensed that God had me in a holding pattern of sorts.  My transition back to the US was not a pretty one and it took months for me to find an equilibrium, much less be able to articulate God's purpose for my life post-missionary life.  Preschool was a happy place to be -- the kids are adorable, the work itself is not terribly taxing, although it's not boring either and I found great purpose in my investments into the next generation.  I enjoyed learning about the very first moments of formal education a child receives-- I began to LOVE that my job was to teach kids how to learn.  But I have always sensed I would not be at my school forever; I just didn't know where I was going after my season there was done.

In a matter of 9 days and three phone calls, that all became clear.  It started with a friend of mine from church mentioning that his boss' wife was looking for someone to help at her daycare.  He knew she was looking for someone reliable and who has the capacity to lead well and also teach.  He mentioned that she wanted to eventually pass off the entire business to someone, preferably a Christian woman or couple.  He told me I should consider it and to let him know if I wanted contact information.  My first thought was that I could not own a business -- I teach preschool for crying out loud!  And then I thought, even if I wanted to be part of this, what are the chances she'd consider me?  Remember, I teach preschool!  I temporarily wrote it off and sort of hoped it was never mentioned again...

But over the next two weeks, I kept finding myself thinking about that conversation and my reaction.  Sure, I'd never owned a business, but that portion seems secondary and much farther into the future than the actual teaching portion of the job described.  I remembered that my church friend had told me this woman was a single woman herself when she started the business 20+ years ago -- and she did foster care along side!  I no longer considered myself an unlikely choice due to my marital status, since she started as a 20-something as well.  And gradually, I began to think about the job and the hundreds of ways I've been prepared for a job and a season such as this, and I knew I at least had to check into it.  So I asked about it and was blown away by the responses.

After two phone calls with the daycare owner and a heart-to-heart with some trusted voices in my life, I went ahead and said yes to starting to seriously consider this job as my life calling.  The next step was to see it in action, so I took a personal day from work to go meet the kids and see my potential boss in action.  The morning I visited was rainy, chaotic, and anything but perfectly timed, but it was a very realistic picture of what exists and what could be utilized greater.  I saw how my gifts matched the needs and expectations of the job and how my dreams that I once thought only viable through church ministry could actually all be realized within a daycare.  I took a few days to really wrap my head around what it means and to examine my heart, but ultimately ended up saying yes to becoming the next generation of in-home daycare at this home.  I had, figuratively speaking, been plucked from the field of preschool and thrown into something far more intense.

Along with the job comes the house (free rent and five bedrooms -- yes please!), a higher wage than my current one, the carriage house (a nicely remodeled garage apartment), a 15-passenger van, a Costco membership , and a location/neighborhood that is safe and beautiful and near one of my favorite lakes.  In return, I'm being asked to give not just 40-hours a week, but more like my entire life calling to this job.  Honestly, it wasn't the dream I had painted for myself -- it's not Broadway or Kari Jobe or a mega church youth pastor...  But everyday I will get the chance to be essentially a surrogate Mom for 10 children for 70% of every year.  I will not only be in charge of their food, potty habits, and clothing needs, but also in charge of teaching them valuable life lessons: the alphabet, numbers, shapes... Daunting, but not impossible.

But from a ministry perspective, I've been handed a golden empire.  I have been entrusted with the responsibility of teaching these kids spiritual truths they will need to survive and thrive in the world.  I can begin to teach them things I wish I had learned, like how to react kindly to people who hurt you, or how to manage conflict between your friends, or how to genuinely accept a compliment.  I can shape the way they view themselves and show them powerful pictures of what God thinks of them.  We can learn and grow together, like a family, even though almost none of us are related.  We can learn to do life with people who are different than us -- a skill that is invaluable in today's diverse and expanding demographic situation.  And because these kids are young, they soak up EVERYTHING.  It will be a great opportunity for me to grow and learn, much like a first-time mom.

Am I scared?  You bet.  This is a big-deal job to me.  Big deal.  But I can see how God has used portions of every season of my life to shape me for this purpose.  Am I sad to leave preschool?  You bet... Giving my two-weeks notice was not an easy thing to do.  For someone who doesn't like change, this process sort of feels like a self-inflicted deep wound.  I finally felt settled and content, even though I knew it wouldn't be forever.  Telling my kids yesterday was harder still... Friday (my last day) will probably not be easy.  But I'm trusting that God is faithful and I'm resting in the hope of a future greater than my wildest dreams, even if it still means I'm wiping boogers and bums for a living.

Comments

  1. Beautiful, Jacque! thanks for sharing this huge step in your journey so eloquently.

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