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Posts Tagged ‘high school teaching’

IMG_20190915_165700397I own an interesting, old sewing machine, a Husqvarna 3610 model I must have bought sometime in the seventies. I used it to make our younger daughter’s uniform when she began school—and now she is over forty! It sat relatively idle for some years after that, until I lent it to our older daughter who eventually returned to me. But alas, there is one slight problem with it—it is determined only to sew backwards! However much I might clean and oil and wiggle and jiggle that reverse button, it stubbornly remains stuck fast.

As I reflected on this phenomenon, I remembered how I too have at times become stuck in life, unwilling or unable to make any changes that might help me move forward. Sometimes I have not wanted to let go of the past or put aside some dream that has little chance of coming to fruition. Sometimes I have been afraid to move on or launch out in a new direction. I remember thinking at one stage I could never give up high school teaching because that was what I had studied hard to do. Yet, by the grace of God, the opportunity to move into editing school curriculum material presented itself and my working life took a whole new turn. Not only did I enjoy that job, but, unbeknown to me, God was preparing me through this editing experience to become a writer myself many years later.

But we can also become stuck in our spiritual journeys—and that to me is even sadder. Sometimes we power on, growing rapidly in our knowledge and experience of God and hungry to learn so much more about spiritual things. I can remember many exciting periods in my own Christian journey, when I felt as if I was almost bursting with all the wonderful truths I was learning about God—as a new Christian in my teenage years, later as a young mum, then even later as I understood more of the Holy Spirit’s role in my life. But then there may come times when everything seems so much harder, when we become discouraged or disillusioned with other Christians, when the busyness and pressures of life cause us to take our eyes off God and stop growing in our faith. When that happens, we may even find ourselves going backwards, like my sewing machine, perhaps doubting God, becoming critical of others, unwilling to change and even deciding we do not need God at all.

Yes, things may happen that cause us to stray into such dangerous territory. Yet, whether we feel like it or not, that’s when we need to seek help and encouragement from someone we trust whose faith is real and honest. I’m so glad God has always provided me with such people to talk to—and I hope you know such folk too. But wherever we are at, may we all continue to press on, just as the Apostle Paul chose to do, ever moving forwards rather than backwards in our spiritual journeys.

But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13 (New Living Translation)

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Don’t you love it when everything fits perfectly into place – when you put that last piece of the jigsaw puzzle together with a satisfying ‘click’ and the whole picture emerges, or when you plan that overseas trip where you’ll be moving from place to place and all the transport and accommodation arrangements work out exactly right? It makes us feel good, doesn’t it? We have actually done it – we are cleverer than we thought!

In the last few weeks in particular, I have realised again how good God is at putting things perfectly in place. Nothing is ever wasted with God, I believe – and that has certainly been true in my own life.

I began my working life as a high school teacher – apart from a regular holiday job in a music store. Many years later, after staying at home looking after our three children, I returned to teaching for a while, but then obtained a job as an assistant editor of teaching material for Christian schools. I could not have obtained that job without my high school teaching experience – and I could not have managed the role I took up after my editing job as office secretary for the community ministry arm of our local church without this editing experience. I needed to be able to use a computer for my secretarial role at a time when computers were just coming into their own – and I had learnt at least the basics of computing in that editorial job.

After a few years, I went to theological college, eventually obtaining my theology degree. Then I was appointed as one of the pastors at our church, a role I could not have undertaken without the experience gained in my teaching years of speaking in front of a large group or without the experience of working in our church office. When I left that role, I began my writing journey – something I could definitely not have done without my knowledge of the English language gained through teaching foreign languages. Also, without the experience gained in my ministry role in our church, I could never have spoken in churches and other places as I do today, promoting my books in the process.

Yet in recent weeks it has dawned on me that something else I learnt and practised in my college and ministry years is now bearing fruit in my writing career. I have always loved mentoring younger Christians. I have written and conducted mentoring courses and still mentor younger women leaders today who are doing amazing work for God. Now the time has come in my writing journey for me to take up the opportunity I have been given to mentor others in aspects of writing.

What an amazing dovetailing of all my skills, knowledge and experience gained to this point! What’s more, even as I mentor others in writing, God is still very much part of the picture in what we talk about and the way I approach this mentoring. Lately too I have been able to offer writing workshops, which for me bring together so much of who I am – a teacher, a pastor, an author, an editor.

Only God could do this, don’t you think? Only God could weave the threads of our lives together in this way and enable all the pieces to fit so perfectly. Only God, the perfect, loving Shepherd, could have led and enabled me to do what I’m doing today, gently guiding me, encouraging me, showing me the way forward.

As for God, his way is perfect, Psalm 18:30 tells us – and I believe that totally. How about you?

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