South Africa

Don’t worry, it’s just a test.

Many of you have been following my progress and adventure teaching state side. Recently I found out that I would have to transfer to another school in the district after spending one week with my class. But thankfully, God made a way and I found out that I will no longer have to uproot and move to another school and start my year all over again. So, it is final. I will be staying at Pleasantdale teaching the 3rd grade!!!

Although I am extremely happy and pleased with how things worked out, I can’t help but remember how confusing and hard it was when I first got the notice that I might leave. In fact, as I reflect on the past months of my life I can’t help but notice that I have been faced with many confusing and hard times. Ever since this year began I have been faced with many confusing and hard times. I noticed that they all had a common thread: they were all very unexpected but they didn’t destroy me. They were all a test. God has been sending test after test ever since the year began.
The first test came with the delay of my trip to South Africa. I am sure all of you remember that wonderful snow storm that impacted the entire Southeast. Well it was fun and pretty for about one day. But after about a week of being trapped in my house and the entire state being shut down it got very annoying. But the worst part was it kept the mail from being delivered and from me receiving my travel VISA inside my passport. This delayed my trip three times! Three times I had to change my flight. Three times I had to push back my departure date. Many nights I cried myself to sleep asking, “Why God”. My blood pressure was very high and I did not know why my trip was being delayed. I did not understand why God was allowing all of this to happen, when He already made a way financially and physically for me to go to South Africa. He already ordained it and told me I could go, so why was He keeping me from going. A test.
Well all of you know how it ended. I finally received my passport back and I boarded a plane headed to South Africa which would be the most amazing and mind blowing trip and experience of my young life.
The second test came a few weeks after I returned to the states. I went to visit my boyfriend at the time and come to find out he enjoyed the time apart a little too much. So he broke it off a few weeks before the most exciting time in my life which was graduating for college. I did not understand why. I felt like my heart was falling to pieces and I just couldn’t understand why God was allowing this to happen. Especially at a time when I needed him and I wanted to share this amazing time with him. (Then to find out a few months later after we broke up that he is engaged to be married?!) A test.
Well I prayed for strength to push aside the hurt and confusion that was weighing me down, so I could enjoy and celebrate all of my accomplishments.
The third test came that summer. I graduated from college. I received my degree and my certification, but now it was time to obtain what I was working for the last four years of college: a J-O-B. This was much easier said than done. I had been applying for positions even before I returned from overseas. I even told myself that I wanted to have a job before graduation. This was not the case at all! I had applied to almost every adjoining county in the state. I had sent out resumes and went to job fairs. I had visited schools. I had people telling me they would put in a good word for me and talk to their contacts in the districts I was applying for. Finally I received a call about an interview. I went in for the interview and in my opinion it went very well. I had a great feeling about the principal and the school and I was confident that I would receive an offer. A week went by with no reply. Then I found out that the school I interviewed for was not a good place to be and I was told in so many words that, “The principal was crazy.” Now I was feeling even more confused. I thought this was where God wanted me to be and He was going to bless me with this job. I was confused and almost to the point if I was ever going to get hired. A test.
Then I got the phone call that changed everything. I was called for another interview for another school. I went in and interviewed with the outgoing principal and the new principal. The interview went well and I felt confident about the possibility of being hired. A few days later I received the best phone call ever! They offered me the job!!!
You all know about the next test. When I was told the first week of school that I would have to take down all of the things in my classroom. Say goodbye to my wonderful class and colleagues, and transfer to a new school I knew nothing about and readjust to a new atmosphere. Once again I was confused and I didn’t know what to think. I thought God wanted me to be at Pleasantdale. He made a way for me. He blessed me with a great school, great students, great administration. I couldn’t ask for much more. A test!
Test after test after test. All of these tests were completely unexpected. They left me confused and hurt. I almost wanted to throw in the towel and give up but God reminded me of something: Don’t worry, it’s just a test.
These prophetic words are words that I share with my students all the time. Because of the nature of the data driven education system we are constantly testing. Each time the tests are unexpected for my students. A lot of the material leave them confused and hurt. They don’t understand why we have to have so many tests throughout the year. They are hard and very stressful. But at the end of the day they have to know that it’s only a test. They will not be destroyed. I use the test results to measure how much they already know or have learned from previous grades and to help me plan how and what I will teach them.
God does the same for us. He sends us many tests. Sometimes one after the other. They are hard and confusing and unexpected. They leave us hurt and asking “why?”. But He reminds us that they are only a test. He is only trying to collect some data. He is trying to figure out how much we have learned and grown from past lessons. And then to determine what He needs to teach us and show us in the future. Tests are not meant to destroy us. They are only meant to make us better. They show us what we have learned and what we need to work on. In my case, trust, faith, forgiveness, and learning to appreciate His blessings. They are not meant to destroy us but to make us grow. All I know is God is working on something AMAZING for my life because He has been testing me like crazy. Even thrown in a few pop quizzes! He is preparing me for the next level and I must be ready. The next level doesn’t have room for certain people in my life anymore. The next level requires bold and consistent faith and trust. The next level is coming and God is getting me ready. But as more and more hard times come remember one thing:
Don’t worry, it’s just a test.

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