The word Strong is a word that I have heard off and on in my lifetime. Recently, it has been a word I have heard more frequently. It is a word that I honestly did not want to hear. I did not want to hear it only because to me that means that my life has had so many rough waters, that I have had to learn what the word Strong really means. But it is a word that over time I have had to embrace and I am very proud to say that I am a Strong woman. However, I know exactly where I get my strength from. “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13 I cannot be a strong woman without the grace and love of God.
Now, this is not going to be my typical running blog post. I will soon get back to those once I get more consistent with my running. This post is about what has been happening in my life and telling how I have seen God firsthand working in my life. I have gone back and forth on if I should write anything about what I have experienced, but then after multiple prayers, I just felt like that it was the right thing to do. Even if only one person who is going through something tough, or nothing tough at all, gets touched by this, then it is worth it to me.
Divorce is a very ugly and sad thing. Many people go through it alone because it is a very negative event in someone’s life and they are ashamed to admit that it is happening to them. Most people who come together in a marriage, never imaged that they would be going through a divorce. But let’s face it, it happens and it happens all around us. Now, this post is not about why this is happening in my personal life, because that is only between him and I, but it is about God’s unconditional and unfailing love during this process. It is about having faith in the unknown and trusting Him that He knows what He is doing. It’s about giving Him the glory every day and every second even during times that you don’t know what to do. So let’s get started on my journey…
First off, if anyone knows anything about the school systems, they will know that a Physical Education teaching position is one of the hardest positions to be hired for. It is so difficult mainly because many teachers/coaches don’t leave their position until they retire. Many teachers who are licensed to be a Physical Education teacher wait years until they can get into a position. Well I am a licensed Physical Education teacher. Before my student teaching, I was already a mom to my twins and they were at my graduation from college. For the next 3 years, I was a full stay at home mom to them until I worked part-time at Running Etc. I had plans to teach one day, but it wasn’t going to be until after my twins were already in school. However, life changes. When life changed, I continuously prayed at what I should do. God put Tennessee on my heart immediately and I spent many late nights getting my resume ready and very soon after, I was applying for Physical Education teaching positions all around the Nashville area. Nashville is home to me. It is where I was born and raised, where my family and lifelong friends are and I always dreamed of coming back and raising my children in the area I was so fortunate to grow up in. The chance of me even getting an interview was slim to none. But I prayed. I prayed every single day for God to be beside me while I go through this new path in my life and to be showing me what I should be doing next. I gave it completely all to Him to take control. A very short time after I put in my resumes to countless schools, I got an interview. It not only was an interview at any school, it was an interview at a dream job school. On a Monday I was asked to be at the school on that Friday for the interview. I lived 12 hours away in Virginia Beach, had a job and children that would have to travel with me. I let my boss know and he told me to go because this was a chance in a lifetime for me. Two days later, I was in the car alone with my twins traveling to the Nashville area for the interview all while my daughter was getting sick in the car the entire trip. It took a lot longer than 12 hours this time. But I prayed. I prayed every single mile of that trip that I could just get to Nashville (which I finally made it). Once I got there, I thanked God over and over for giving me an opportunity and to now give me the strength to bring the job home. I had the interview that Friday and a few days later, drove back to Virginia Beach. I was very hopeful but at the same time, knew that it was out of my hands. It was in God’s. That following Tuesday morning while I was at work, I got THE call from the principal asking me if I would like to accept the job! UM YES! There is absolutely no way that I deserve my dream job on my very first try, but God clearly thought that I did.
Two weeks later, I traveled back to Tennessee with so much thanks from God, knowing that I was going to have a way to provide for myself and children. This trip now was to iron out the details of this big life change. But as God was already showing me, He went before me and made a path for me. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” -Deuteronomy 31:8. My goals for this trip was to teach half the week in my new school to learn the ropes, find a place to live, and to find a preschool for the twins. I thought my only option was to get a small apartment that fit into my budget and I really did not like that idea. There is nothing wrong with living in an apartment, I just did not want to feel like I would have to constantly get onto the twins for being too loud or that they wouldn’t have a yard to play in and I wanted a place to feel like a home for them. So I prayed. I prayed that wherever we were suppose to live, to let it be safe and to let it be an easy adjustment for my kids. Randomly, a friend texted me who knew I was going to be moving back and said that a family that I have known for years had a duplex that was about to go up for rent. Not only was this not an apartment, it was perfectly within my price-range, only 7 miles away from my new job, had a yard and even though it is not far from stores, it feels as if you are in the country with lots of little local farms around. My heart was beaming with joy! God has once shown me that He is with me.
My next step was to find a preschool for the twins. Education is very important to me and I also, believe that the first years of a child’s life is the most important. One of the reasons I was a stay at home mom was to raise them myself with good morals, manners and try to build good character within them. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6. Since the day they were born, I have prayed for their future friends and teachers and that they would have Godly people surrounding them to help them through the journey called life. There is a quote that I 100% believe is true, “Show me your friends and I will show you your future”. So I prayed that I would find a preschool that was Christian based, had a great reputation and proof for academics, not a lot of students for more one-on-one time, and would feel like home for their first full year of preschool and last year before kindergarten. God once again heard my prayers. He not only found the perfect preschool that has every single thing I was looking for, but He gave me more. This school not only has all of that, but some of my favorite parts are that it is less than 2 miles from my new house and they have gardens and chickens that the children get to help out with. My new job, new house, and new preschool for the twins are all on the exact same road. At this point, I was having a good laugh with God. How and why He was being so amazing to me, little ol me, I will never understand. But the beauty of it all that I am finding out is that to Him, you aren’t just ‘little ol you’…you are His child and He takes care of His children if you let Him.
So let’s keep going.
I have a career, I have a house to live in, I have a great preschool for my children. Now for some reason I thought it would be fun to apply to graduate school. Because when is a better time to throw on more stress than when your life is drastically changing. But I did and I applied to the University of Arkansas online program for a Masters in Physical Education…and would you believe it that I got accepted! (Note: Even though I will be getting my masters from the University of Arkansas, the University of Tennessee will always and forever have my heart…GO VOLS!) Right now, I am taking my first class towards my masters and after two major projects and a quiz, I currently have a 98 average in the class. Time to do more praying that I keep that average up! haha
Moving right along to more God moments…
The night before the big move, I was taking the queen size mattress from the guest room and it got left outside the night before without my knowledge. Well you guessed it..it rained and stormed all night. The mattress was ruined and there was no way of saving it. Now, it wasn’t a good mattress by any means, but it was a bed for me to lay my head on at night and to me that is all that mattered. I tried really hard not to let it bother me, but it did. On my long drive that day, I had another (or quite a few) chats with God about how I don’t have a bed to sleep on. I asked Him what I should do because I didn’t just have the spare change to go buy a brand new one. After talking with a family member and telling them what had happened, they offered to give me an almost brand new (yup, you guessed it) queen size mattress and box springs. What the What?! Are you kidding me right now, God? And not only give it to me, but have it delivered to my house where I would not have to sleep one night without a bed! My next thing on my list was that I was needing to purchase a kitchen table for our new house. There is no dining room so it needed to be a small enough table to fit in my kitchen. I prayed that I would find a sturdy, but cheap table that would be a perfect fit. Right before I was leaving, a friend gave me a “gift”. I didn’t know what that gift was, but it turned out to be enough of a gift for me to buy the twins and I a kitchen table for our house in Tennessee. God is so good! Once I got to Tennessee, God was still showing me that He has gotten me this far and that He wasn’t leaving me and never will leave. If you have ever moved a long distance away from the house you lived in, then you will know that you basically cannot take any food with you. I had spices. That is all. Just spices. Another family member (who had zero idea that all I had were spices) called me up and told me to meet them at Sams Club. That family member took me up and down the aisles and filled my cart full. I may or may not have broken down crying in one of the aisles…But that is between me, the family member, God and the security cameras. 🙂 But here He is once again, making my cup full and overflowing with blessings. Last but not least, another family member knew I was looking for a lawn mower so I could cut my grass. A few days later, I had an almost brand new mower at my house with a full tank of gas that was also being given to me. Wow just wow! I can guaranteed that God is not done with me and my life. He is just getting started and my heart is wide open for Him to do whatever He sees fit. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find it; knock and the door will be opened to you.” -Matthew 7:7.
As I am typing this, and I lived this myself, it is still hard to believe all the blessings He has poured down on me and my situation. I am not trying to take away from the sadness of this situation by any means, what I am trying to do is show how He doesn’t make bad things happen, but He does allow you to go through trials. And while you are going through those trials, He will not leave you. I think another reason I wanted to share what God has done in my life is just so I would never forget the grace I have received from God, to always remember the relationship I have with God, and to show other people that they can have this, too. I am a strong woman, a strong mother, a strong child of God. I do have hope and strength. But I know that none of this would have happened in my life if it wasn’t for Him making me strong, if it wasn’t for Him being faithful, if it wasn’t for Him showing me that at all times, He is good. Where God guides, He provides.