“Where God guides He provides”Isaiah 58:11
That simple paraphrased verse, in simple but elegant fonts is printed in white on a black, chalkboard-like background. It could be hung, but instead the plaque is propped on my desk as a reminder.
It was a gift from the staff of the preschool I have ministered at for the last dozen years. They presented it to me on the day I announced my departure. I am sure it’s a Hobby Lobby find, but it means more to me than the sweet friend who picked it out will ever know.
This whole journey I am on this year started with God proving the truth of this promise before I ever asked Him to do just that.
We had just returned from “the” college visit. I could tell by watching her as we toured classrooms and dorm rooms, she was falling in love with the small, out-of-state, liberal arts college. She was seeking Him and had yet to know that was where He was guiding her to spend the next four years, but her daddy and I could sense that she had found the school. That night, that same night, I learned of an opportunity that could help pay for that school and totally change my life too.
I encouraged her that God would provide if that was where she felt He wanted her to attend school. He had done that for me at 18 years old too. I just had zero idea that His provision for her would mean a different kind of provision for me.
That was January. This is July.
Not in my timeframe, but definitely in God’s the last 6-7 months have brought about way more change than I could have anticipated. I knew she would graduate high school, commit to a college and turn 18. I didn’t know I would resign my position, start a teacher residency program, enroll in graduate school classes and schedule to take my first Praxis exam.
Some of these changes seemed to have happened way too quickly, others seemed to take far too long. Whatever the timeframe though, I can look back and see Him always guiding and always providing. He was never late, nor was He ever really early, but He was always on time, with whatever I needed whenever I needed it.
Financially. Emotionally. Relationally. Spiritually. There is nothing that He has forgotten, no detail He has overlooked. The pieces are all falling into place. I have done nothing to deserve such favor. Through it all, I have reacted more like tantrum-throwing toddler. Yet, He continues to guide and provide.
The oldest daughter’s first tuition payment was been paid. I received fantastic feedback on my project from my professor. My husband has voluntarily stepped up to take on way more responsibility around the house. And all of this is has happened just this week.
From the beginning of my application process to this program, God has stretched my hours and sustained my strength. He has given me words to say and the scriptures to cling to tightly. I can see His fingerprints directing me to spend these months studying the first chapter of Philippians. All this is happening to serve to advance the gospel in a way I never suspected (1:12). When times have been stressful -as I have been balancing ending a job, starting a job, taking 2 classes, enrolling in a program, going through my girl’s graduation and all that all entails – I have known and clung to the truth that it will all turn out for my deliverance because of the saints praying for me and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (1:19)
From the vantage point of today, this transitional journey I am on will last another 12 or so months. I will spend this year as a student, taking graduate school classes through Lipscomb University, and as a teacher resident, working alongside a mentor teacher at New Providence Middle School. At the end, I will be a fully certified and licensed middle school English Language Arts teacher having passed the state required assessments.
Life will look a lot different over these next weeks and months.
I will miss “my” staff at the preschool. I will miss the little voices, calling me “Ms. Tara” and the little arms reaching for mine. I will miss the hours that let me still meet up with girlfriends for lunch dates in the middle of the work week. I had grown quite comfy in my routines and life even though the upheaval of a pandemic.
My oldest will move into that out-of-state dorm room and our relationship will change. I will no longer drop the youngest daughter off in car circle at the elementary school. After spending all day with middle school students in my new job, I have to wonder how that might change how I relate to my middle daughter of the same age?
There are new co-workers to meet, new bosses to impress, new routines and responsibilities to learn – all while trying to get out of the house in the morning around the time I am quite accustomed to waking up. More classes to take in the evenings and more assessments for me to complete and pass, await me too.
Yet, I am sure that He is guiding me because of the ways He is providing for me.
My oldest has been home, here and willing to help me navigate the overwhelming new technology I need to understand to take my classes. My Ohio family is supportive and understanding that we haven’t been able to take our annual summer trip to visit. My teaching buddies in VBS this year carried the load so I could spend my afternoons studying. My girl gang friends switched our monthly meeting night from Monday to Tuesday (where it has been for over a decade!) just to include me. My husband volunteered to cook (not takeout!) every night for a week straight AND whenever else needed besides.
Where is God guiding me? A new job, a new season of life, a new start in many ways, but I really know it is into a new mission field. I didn’t see it coming. I was looking to really make a change. Yet, He knew. He did. He saw.
I can go confidently into this next season because I know without a doubt, He is guiding and providing. This morning He sent me another reminder. This Elisabeth Elliott quote was shared by a friend on Instagram:
God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.”Elisabeth Elliott
Those sweet ladies had no idea when they presented me with this simple wall plaque that its verse would be woven so deep into my story these months. I was already 5 months into this journey, when they gave it to me. I could look back then, as I am now, and see it’s truth. It is the same truth that I know God has provided to guide me through whatever comes next.
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