Saturday, June 28, 2014

When We Suffer II

Sufferings II

I’ve reread this last post & thought something was missing from it. Perhaps it’s missing cause I don’t want to tell it {ya think!?}. Life hasn’t been easy lately – I have tons of blessings, yes, more than my fair share – but there are places of ache & hurt in my life that I can’t easily hide from myself, but I can hide em from you & the rest of the world - &, I guess, I feel safety in the hiding. But, l think I’d rather be free. So here goes…

My Struggles
If you’ve read here for awhile you may know that I’ve had trouble finding the job I went to school for – which is teaching – since I graduated college back in 2009. I taught a year in inner inner city & the deep “politics” {for want of a better word} of the job jaded my “I Can Do Amazing Things” attitude & left me without a position the next fall. I loved my kids there. I taught 5th grade & one tough boy, with an amazing talent for writing, called me “momma” & told any students who were behavior problems to “not mess with his momma” in no uncertain terms {he was African American & I’m a pale white girl, but God let me be his school mom just the same =)}. I created educational raps & “performed” em – my kids said, “I kilt' it!” I was glad I could be there for my students – the majority didn’t have someone to depend on at home. It was a mission field, but at the end it was over & there were some of the most painful invisible scars from the” higher ups” that I’ve ever known.

So, I did my best to keep trusting, & find another position. No teaching jobs opened up. I subbed every so often, but it was hard to be so close to what I wanted to do & yet so far. I fell into depression & often cried myself to sleep & wept again before my feet hit the floor in the mornings. Next, I found work at a call center – trying to get surveys from typically angry {occasionally very creepy} people on the opposite coast from around 4 to midnight. It took great courage to even get in the car & drive to work each night {I disliked it that much}, but I did it cause I had to {& God gave me the strength}.

An opening popped up at a Headstart program, which I took, & soon after that another position for a permanent substitute at an elementary school presented itself {again another urban setting very near to my first school}. I would be at the same place everyday & at least get to know the kids & teachers & hopefully get my foot in the door {again}. 

In November a teacher announced she was moving. However, her class was school renowned for being a difficult one {which is putting it extremely lightly}; one of her students wasn’t even supposed to be allowed at the school again, but at the last minute the principal’s bosses didn’t support her decision & the kid got back in {What else is new?}. I applied for the position, prayed about it, but then withdrew interest out of fear. I kept praying & praying about it, though, because I truly wanted to teach. I ask God that if this was what He wanted me to do that He would make it clear. The vice principal eventually called me to her office one day & asked if I’d reconsider & take the job. She said that after all the interviews I was who the other teachers in that grade wanted. I told her I had been praying about it & this seemed like a clear answer that I should take it. I got the job after withdrawing interest & never even had to interview! But, could I do this? I knew I could do all things through Jesus’ strength & that I’d have to for this class – I was their third teacher of the year & it was only November!

All in all, it started out better than I anticipated {thank you, Lord} & the vice principal was so supportive & kind. Then, right before Christmas break, we get the news that our vice principal has been moved to a principal position at another school starting in January! I had only been there about three weeks, & now my head cheerleader was being moved! To make matters worse, when we learn of her replacement, one teacher bursts into tears! This can’t be good, right? Right.

In January, right before students would return from break, my upstairs neighbor’s pipes froze & burst, flooding my apartment & making it unlivable, & forcing me to eventually seek legal advice & move {ick}. In February, a teacher died right before the school day started. It was terribly sad & hard for everyone – teachers & students, alike. It was an extremely rough/stressful year, & my position was only temporary – meaning it would be reposted for any & everyone interested to apply for & I’d have to reapply myself. Oh yeah, & the vice principal that causes grown women to weep at mention of her name was to become principal of the school for the next year, our principal had been forced out because of low test scores & such. So, I was not asked back, & shame & pain keeps me from telling others so. I wonder if I’m just not a good teacher, or God has something else in mind for me; I simply don’t know. All I know is I’m facing another summer of job searching since I graduated 5 years ago. My life hasn’t gone as I thought. But this I’m sure: my God is faithful & for me & “He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 1:6}

This was what was missing from my generic “Sufferings” post - my personal story of pain & lost dreams. The destroyer wants us to hide our hurts & struggles, & seeks to do so through shame, lies, guilt, pride, & so on. I have found myself down in his trap many times these last few years & I have done my best to keep the truth about my story under wraps for fear. But, what the devil doesn’t want us to know or believe is that the truth is a freeing thing, & a hand up out of his traps.

We all struggle in this corrupt & broken world, but there is healing in Jesus. He is the hand that lifts us out of the pit.  I pray you know that hope – even when the evil one temporarily succeeds & that hope slips away at times – I pray deep down that you’ll know the story will end well for His children if we just keep seeking, obeying, & taking one step at a time. He is the giver of Joy & I praise Him!

If you have sufferings in your own life that you have been desperately hiding, I encourage you to talk to Jesus in prayer & then to a trusted family member, friend, pastor, teacher, etc. You can also “chat” with me through e-mail at {type “Bess’ Bag” in the subject, so I don’t think you’re spam}. I’d be happy to pray for you! We all know pain in this world; tell your story & it just might help you - & someone else who needs to hear it.

Love in the Hurt,


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