Note: This week, I will be sharing stories of my spiritual journey. Feel free to share yours in the comments or in an email. I would love to read them!
God’s stories, like those of an expert novelist, have unexpected twists and turns in them. When we anticipate the perfect ending, often a few details can change, making that ending completely different.
For 17 years, I thought my story would include a college education. My parents prepared me for college mentally and academically. They both went to college. It was the thing to do.
Nearly every spring and fall a new group of jubilant college students would come to our church and sing their hearts out. In the middle of the program, they passed out their little cards. They asked everyone in junior high or high school to stand so they could be sure to get a card. That was the target marketing group. I attended Christian school, so we had college groups in chapel as well. I also went to youth camp every summer, and there was sure to be at least one if not three college groups representing there.
So, I filled out my cards and got the brochures. I decided on a career path, chose a college and took my ACT test. I got letters from two schools offering scholarships. Then, God edited my story.
Cue the romance. Yes, God inserted a tall, blonde and (oh so!) handsome character into the plot. But it’s not what you think. I wasn’t exactly swept off my feet. I didn’t just let all remnants of my brain float out the window at the sight of him. I was a woman on a mission. It was my junior year of high school, and I was getting close to the culmination of my life plan. I was going to be a college music teacher.
I actually resisted dating him for a period of months. But God began to show me that He couldn’t continue my story unless I gave up my piddly little manuscript, and let Him put in a few edits.
Some people struggle with giving up the American dream for the mission field. I struggled with giving up my “mission field” for marriage. This was a different (non-alcoholic!) cocktail than I had sipped from over the years. All successful Christian kids went to college. And the really spiritual ones went to Bible college. If they didn’t have a calling already, they got one while they were there. That’s the way it always worked.
Until it didn’t. Until God said to me, “The calling I have for you doesn’t require a degree. It requires obedience and giving up your own plans. And it is going to give you rewards spelled out in much more than letters after your name.”
I fell in love with God’s edit to my story, and I fell hard. I can’t say he was all I ever dreamed of because I would have never known to dream of someone that perfect for me. He has been steady when I have wobbled. He has led us in major decisions and stuck with me through hardships and joys.
Today, I don’t teach music to a group of Bible college kids. For one thing, I’m not trained to do so. But every week, thirteen students come into my home and I teach them to love expressing themselves creatively through music. Four more students live in my house. We learn music and obedience, science and turning the other cheek, grammar and speaking in love.
In the process of the last 15 years, I’ve learned much more about myself, too. Teaching music would have been a noble calling, but it would have been too narrow for my multi-faceted interests.
Instead of taking me to the classroom, He has brought the classroom to my home. And I am always the student.