Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Voice of Truth

When I embarked on my journey towards national board certification, I thought it would be a journey of professionalism, encased in sound teaching principles.  I had no idea that it would be a spiritual journey, full of battles.  Let me explain.

Twelve years ago, God called me to be a nationally board certified teacher.  How's that?  I was still in college.  I hadn't even started student teaching yet!  He specifically told me "after 10 years, when your children are in school."  Ahem, Joe and I just got engaged.  What children?

I explained how I had to consciously forget about national boards as I carried on with life.  Last year, God awakened the dream once again.  I will never forget it.  Joe and I were in the hotel on the Mayo Clinic campus.  We were there for his initial testing to determine if his body was healthy enough for a transplant.  I prayed.  We talked.  I prayed some more.  This was it.

Only after the transplant (a success!) and the healing process, did I remember God's promise to me all those years ago.  "After ten years of teaching".  Last school year was my 10th year of teaching.  "When your children are in school".  Last year, Joshua started Kindergarten.  If God is "I Am", why am I always amazed when He is proven past, present, and future?

The first day I sat down to work on my certification, I was hit with advice from all angles.  Good advice.  Advice intended to help me succeed.  But, it wasn't what I needed.  I shook it off like David shook off the king's armor.  I was armed with a rock and a promise.

I continued on the journey; a grueling one.  I believe the hardest part of national board certification is that it doesn't happen in a vacuum.  Teachers don't take sabbatical and sit around thinking lofty thoughts.  They are in the trenches of the classroom every. single. day.  They are working their fingers to the bone every day to raise test scores.  They are crying their eyes out every night, praying for their children students.  In case you weren't aware, teaching is NOT a 40 hour per week "job".

I am also a mother.  I promised myself that I would not allow national boards to separate me from my children.  Although I dedicated many Saturdays to working towards certification, I also spent time with my boys.  We went to museums.  We went hiking.  And when they were sick, I comforted them.  National board certification is a piece of paper.  I am Jack and Joshua's MOTHER.  That came first.

Actually, it came second.  I am a wife first.  Now, some of you might get upset that I put my husband before my children, but I believe it to be God's plan for families and He will bless us for that dedication.  In fact, He already has.  This was an amazing, watch-God-work-in-our-lives kind of year.  If my husband wanted me to sit on the couch and watch some car get fixed on TV, guess what.  I watched.

Which led me up to last week.  My documentation (all 90 pages of it) was due last week on Friday.  I worked diligently every day toward my goal.  I was on track.  I was remembering God's promise and reading my devotional every morning.  And then, I listened to other voices.  The voices that told me I was inadequate.  The ones that told me I was being pretentious to even go for national board certification. Voices that reminded me of past failures.  I looked down.  I took my eyes off Jesus.

But, I am surrounded by amazing friends.  Blessings from God on my life.  They prayed for me.  They showered me with scripture.  Perhaps you were one of those friends.  Thank you.  My prayer throughout this entire process has been that God would bless the work of my hands and that it would be all be for God's glory.  Not mine.

This song is the embodiment of my journey toward national board certification.  It begins with Peter stepping out of the boat.  Voices are telling him that he can't do it.  But, he looks to Jesus and can walk on water.

The song continues with the story of David.  Not dressed in armor.  Not listening to all the voices of doubt.  Armed with just a rock and a promise.

The refrain speaks volumes.  "This is for My glory."

I send this message into the blogosphere as I am finishing up my final preps for the board exam.  I leave in a few hours to drive to Tucson.  My board exam is tomorrow morning; early.  I won't know if my documentation (did I mention it was 90 pages?) and exam will be enough to pass muster.  I do know this: this was an amazing journey that kept me by God's side through the entire adventure.  It is NOT for my glory; yet His.  "Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth."

where Glory meets my suffering