I have to smile when I think of how impressed some of my high school students were that I had waited so long to get married. When they saw the guy I was marrying, the girls were really impressed. Wow! Waiting is worth it! To young people ages 14-18, we were so old — meeting at age 24 and marrying at age 26! And I must admit that I thought I had waited pretty long too.
Now, I’m still holding you in suspense! In my last post, I told you that Paul was born in Edmonton, Alberta, was adopted, and grew up on the northern coast of California. However, I grew up in the mid west! How did we meet? Well, my character theme is self-control (and qualities related to this), so the part of my story that I’m to share must relate to this. I have really struggled with what to share with you. Putting our story “out there” was never my plan, but as we’ve been looking at helping children grow in character, we have seen the power of story, and especially the power of parents’ stories as shapers of their children’s worldview and character. So, storytelling some of my own life seems the right thing to do.
We’ve said that self-control is “choosing to do right even when it is very hard by depending upon God’s help.” Self-control is a fruit or product of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Our part is to cooperate with God by listening to Him and obeying Him as best we can with a spirit attentive to Him.
From my perspective, this part of my story is the most blatantly awesome part of my life story (beyond my salvation as a very young child). It takes my breath away to share it with you now. When I was a senior at Grace College, I actively searched for a teaching position, wanting to teach in either Ohio or Indiana at either a public or Christian school. My major was English Education with a minor in Art Education. I loved the Lord and wanted to obey Him, but as a naive, young adult, my idea of obeying was the idea that I had my dreams which I assumed were also God’s, because I both loved God and felt my desires were so good! After all, He will give us the desires of our hearts, won’t He? Ohio or Indiana. Stay close to home.
Grace Seminary (on the same campus as Grace College) at that time had a graduate program in Christian School Administration, so Christian school leaders from around the world came there every year, and especially during the summer. To shorten my story, the only teaching offers I found, public school or private, were not in the mid west. God tilled the hard (self-determined) soil of my heart by allowing me to be offered job interviews for schools in Canada, Florida, and California. He was giving me the idea that the mid west was not His direction.
Then, David Wallace, a school superintendent who was a leader in Christian school development in California called me and called me again. He had read my resume posted there at the college, and unlike other administrators who understood the word, NO, he did not. He pursued. I felt confused. I thought I was the one looking for a job, so I should be the pursuer, not the “pursuee.” What did I know? God was working through Mr. Wallace to fill a position that was left vacant by a young, single, female English teacher at his high school who was killed in a car accident on Route 17, a winding drive between San Jose and Scotts Valley, California. I guess he wanted a young, single, female teacher. Why me? The fingerprints read Providence.
I wanted nothing to do with him or his school. I had never heard of Santa Cruz or Scotts Valley or Mount Hermon, California — places that would soon become home to me. But at this point, I was 100% against any such possibility. No, no, no! That is enough of my story for now.
Connect this plot with the thematic issues of self-control, surrender, obedience, and love. It was the patient, gracious, wooing love of God — finally met by my responding return of love to Him that changed my character and the rest of my life.
Next week, I’ll continue this chapter of my story.
You are creating an arena for your readers to exhibit self-control while waiting for the ‘rest of the story’!!! Thanks for sharing, Karen. Love your writing.
God does bring up memories of my past to use as teaching platforms, if I allow him.
Jesus taught in a similar fashion and I find that very comforting.