A college professor once told me how they appreciated my “reflectiveness” in my classwork as a student pursuing a degree in education. Often times just sitting down in front of the computer and stopping to think or reflect about an experience has proved to be a most difficult task. There is so much to do especially when I fully grasp the role of full time college student, wife, and mother of 3 beautiful children. Yep, it can get pretty busy.
This morning I really felt compelled to reflect on this past year and take a moment to stop and think about what life has dished out. At the age of 34, I was finally beginning to embark on my final year of the college life. For those of you who may not know, I am a non-traditional student and some would say I did life backward. The family came first and then school. None the less I was blessed with the opportunity to pick up and pursue an educational goal that I was not prepared to achieve in the early stages of my life.
The things in my life that bring me joy are my relationship with Christ, my family, my friends, a strong devotion to my church family and working with children. I had recently been blessed to spend time working in the children’s ministry at my church and often felt the desire to serve in that capacity forever. However, I’ve recognized valuable lessons from my heavenly Father who gently creates moments of un-comfortableness in which to continuously move me forward. I had asked my Father several years ago to give me the chance to show His love to others and I often times felt perfectly safe and comfortable doing just that within in the confines of the walls of the church.
Now I know that my gracious Father was merely preparing me for this new journey of public education. The only perspective I can place on my thoughts about life and working in the church was that of sitting in my father’s lap daily and immersing myself in his love and care. I always laugh sometimes when I hear the statement of “Be careful what you pray for” and “Prayers are answered but not always how you want them to be” At first glance that may seem scary. Alas, I have felt both and am fully reaping the blessings of answered prayer.
Now back to my reflective thoughts over the past year, in the beginning I experienced a time of sadness and loss. Many experiences and people in my life were coming to an end. In order to complete my degree, I resigned my position in a job that was quite challenging yet rewarding. I lost contact with many close friends and colleagues as life began to transition not only myself but others into different seasons in their lives as well. Yet in the midst of change, I could feel a gentle reminder from my Father to “Be Still”. I could feel his overwhelming calm in my life as I embarked on a new chapter, a new season in my life.
Most days were filled with long nights of school work. Difficult revisions and the desire to do my very best as a college student, mother, and wife consumed my schedule. I truly believe God removed comforts of friendship and service so that I would fully devote myself to my family and my education, and most importantly a full reliance on my heavenly Father. He was answering a prayer. I had an extreme desire to do my very best. I wanted to be a great teacher and I wanted to have the opportunity to work with children and show them Christ’s ultimate love for them.
In the end, God has truly answered some HUGE prayers in my life. I have experienced some major road blocks over the course of my educational career that have created some “not so fun” detours. Although I was forced to get off the beaten path and experience the highs and lows of life, I can honestly say it would have been much nicer to hit auto pilot or stay on the interstate and sail through my college years. But upon reflection of my journey, I have gained a unique and fresh perspective of the lives of others. Because I have experienced my own set of disappointments and hurts, I have also gained a valuable asset, the ability to relate to others. Struggling with depression, anxiety, lack of self-confidence, negative self- talk, self-doubt and often times the realization that my biggest enemy is myself; I realized that this is how Satan has viciously and relentlessly attacked me, I was able to go to battle and win.
Picking up my cap and gown this week, I have such joy in the opportunity to stay persistent and achieve a long sought out goal. It has been much like running a long distance race. At times I have thought, “how can I possibly go this far” and then by just putting one foot in front of another I have finally finished the race!
If He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I’m sure that He’s gonna help you get through this
When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain’t gonna last forever
In time it’s gonna get better
This is gonna make you stronger
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Jayme lives in Warrensburg, MO with her family. She will be graduating cum laude on May 5, 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education. She will begin her first teaching position as a kindergarten teacher at Maple Grove Elementary in August.