If you were alive and old enough to remember the day, you know where you were and what you were doing on September 11, 2001.
I know I do.
And, like thousands of Americans, I knew after that horrendous day that I couldn’t continue to just live life as usual without regard for the world around me. For months I had been trying to decide if my life was making a difference.
I knew I was running the risk with the career I had of possibly losing one of the most precious things in the world to me, my son, AJ.
That morning, watching the twin towers crumble before me on TV, I knew that something had to change. I couldn’t lose AJ and I couldn’t continue to only care about making money.
While the change in my career didn’t happen immediately, the seed was planted that day and was confirmed through conversations with my dear friends Larry and Anna Lawrence.
You see, I’m a natural born teacher and Larry knew that. As the youth minister at our church in Tallahassee, he had spent many days, weeks and months watching me work with teenagers and he knew that this was where I belonged.
So, when I walked into youth group one Wednesday night with a postcard my older son had received from some college that read “Pursue Your Passions’, Larry chuckled and said. “Any more questions?” And that was the night that I knew I had to make a change in my life and make sure that I put into practice what I said I believed which is faith, family, friends.
I trusted God that if He really did want me to make this change that He would guide my steps and that He would open the doors to make it possible. I started researching schools and teaching, quickly becoming discouraged as I realized that I would probably need to pass a state test and be certified before I could teach. It had been almost 20 years since I had been in school, so I knew that was not going to be a good thing.
I began to research private schools in my area and on a whim sent an email to the Personnel Director as a local Christian school in town.
When I got a response and was asked to complete an application and bring it to the school, I was floored. I remember thinking this has to be God, because there sure wasn’t anything in the email that would have generated that kind of response. That day I completed the application and took it by the school. The following week, I got a phone call from the Personnel Director wanting to know if I could come in and spend a day interviewing, sitting in on classes and meeting the Pastor. Now what!!! How was I going to manage that since I worked full-time and didn’t feel comfortable asking for time off from work? Then she told me the date and I knew without doubt that this was a God thing because the date she gave me was one I had requested off anyway because of a family obligation. Hallelujah!
I went into the interview that day with no expectations but high hopes, and I was not disappointed. The most interesting thing that happened that day was the way the school administrator kept trying to talk me out of taking the job.
But, I knew this was where I was supposed to be and since AJ would be a student there as well, I knew that God would help me watch out for him and protect him. It would also give me some much needed time with my son to mend our broken relationship. But, I couldn’t just go home and tell him we were doing this. I had made that mistake too many times in his life and I needed this to be about him, too. So, when I got home from the school, we talked. The way we always talked, while playing basketball.
During our game, this precious child walks over to me and as he’s handing me the ball says calmly “Mom, you have to take the job. It’s a God thing.” and that’s where and when this phrase originated for my family.
See I had told him about my day and how well things had gone and he knew about my conversations with Larry and Anna and my desire to be closer to him and to be there for him. And, he confirmed for me what I already knew in my heart. This was the right job, the right time, and the right change for my family.
That was 2002. After a circuitous route that took me away from that Christian school and now back, I’m still teaching and still pursuing my passion.
It’s the only way I know to live.