Friday, December 30, 2011

Purposeful living

I read this post by Hayley at The Tiny Twig.  It was so good to read. She posed the question: "when did you realize your life had a purpose? How did you come to that realization?" 

I love sharing this story, however, I don't do it often enough. This will be a rather long post-just a heads up.

I was raised in a broken home. Dad and mom divorced when I was 3 and my brother was 1. I spent most of my childhood raised by my grandparents on my dad's side. My grandpa (Pappaw) was a pastor of a church and employed at BF Goodrich and my grandma was a school bus driver. So, I guess you say faithwise, I was raised to believe and trust in Jesus which is just what I do... It's not quite that easy though. You see, while I grew up surrounded by church and Jesus, I didn't come to faith in Christ until I was 13. That moment was at Bible camp. :)

Then I hit teenage years and struggled with identity as we moved to a new area. My grandmother was still close in distance and relation, but my grandfather passed when I was 14. It was a terrible loss for me as he was essentially like a dad to me. We ate dinner every night. I curled up in his lap to watch the Cosby show....  So, my mom & stepdad started going to other churches who said we needed to do all these diffferent things to demonstrate faith (which I later learned is a total lie!) Needless to say, I fell away. I gave up on churches and on God.

Time went by. Mom, being the Christian woman she is, continued to pray for her little lost lambs (my brother and myself). One day, I just picked up a Bible and started to read for myself. Don't get me wrong, I grew up surrounded by the Bible, memorizing Bible verses and trying to be the perfect person for my family- note to self.... It can't be done- but something about coming to a point where you want to investigate what you believe or were taught makes it a whole new experience.

My family found another church and I recommited my life to Christ at 19. I was baptized at 21. Little did I know that trusting God would lead me to where I am now....

I started really studying the Bible and doing many things. I was going to school and working part-time. I stopped because I wasn't thrilled with my major and didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I met my hubby while teaching ballroom dance, married, bought a house 6 months later, moved and went back to school part-time while working full-time. I went into middle childhood (school) education... yep, those preteens.

I ended up in a pickle. I was full-time in a great department with great people at my job working 7 - 3:15. My classes were getting more demanding and one day a week I needed to be on campus or in a school from 7 am - 7:30 pm. There was a small break in there of course. Because I felt I was doing what God wanted me to do, I knew he would work it all out. So, I approached my manager and asked to work a 4 day work week or 1 day on the weekend to make up for the 1 day during the week I needed to be in school. "No" was the answer. The proposed course of action was to work 3rd shift 11-7.... Not really possible with classes at 7:15 and half hour from work. We went 3 rounds like this. I finally felt I had tapped them out, but couldn't quite leave as they were paying my tuition- not that I didn't trust God to provide, but I also didn't feel like I should leave at that time.

My next course of action was the school. If the job couldn't budge understandably, the school may. I mean, I'm an adult student. They have to work with me right?? I met with the dean of the college of education. He pretty much looked at me and said my options were to leave my job or go into special education.... Do you see where I'm going with this?

Upon leaving his office, I walked over to the advisor and asked if I could talk with her. She was great, Joanna. Loved her. She gave me my options and told me SPED would add 1.5 years to my schooling. Not something I wanted.

I was beside myself.

I did what I knew I needed to do, pray and enlist others to pray. Essentially, my entire workplace was praying for me as well as some outside of work. I kept praying for God to send me a postcard because even though each door was closing (more schedule change requests and proposals to work), I needed something solid, so to speak. I wanted a concrete sign of what was to be my next step in life. It kept coming back to SPED... but I continued to pray for the postcard..... Stubborn, stupid humanity!

What you should know is, the work proposals and visit with the Dean all took place with 2 weeks left obefore school started. What happens next is sooooo clear, even to this day.

I remember it like yesterday. I had rushed home from work because I had a doctor appointment (dermatologist really). I didn't have much time to stop home, but needed to do so to take care of the dogs. I checked the mailbox. In my mail, no lie, was a letter from the Special Olympics with a postcard of a child with Down Syndrome. I simply laughed and said "No way!" I quickly said a prayer asking for verification that this was the right choice (duh! Cheri! You got the postcard you asked for... why do you need more???) . I continued to laugh and headed out the door.  I mean, why would God want me to add another 1.5 years to my education? Really???

The dermatologist I normally see wasn't available so I saw his partner. While checking out, my regular doctor was sitting at the counter talking with another patient. The receptionist wanted to schedule an appointment and I couldn't come up with a day/time to tell her since everything I knew would more than likely be changing. I said that out loud and my dermatologist heard me. He then told me about how he was almost finished with med school and decided to change his specialty when his daughter didn't recognize him without his mask on! Can you imagine? It took him 3 additional years I believe.

Well, by this time, my mind was set and I said "I'll do it." It was too late for me to call the school to officially change my major as the offices were closed. I went to work the next morning and told the prayer warriors what happened. They held me 150% accountable to making the phone call to change my major. I did.... That wasn't the end of the obstacles though.

Now, I would keep my job, my home and still get the education I needed to go into the education field I had dreamed of since I could remember.

I went to schedule the classes, but all the classes I had to take were full. I had to be put on a waitlist. Let me tell you about God- He will provide!  Here's what happened. I emailed the professors and they admitted me in to their classes! :) I was short on cash: 1 professor loaned me her book for the semester and another cancelled the book altogether! God is good and does provide. If you obey Him, He will provide for you. No doubt in my mind. It's been an amazing journey.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome story Cheri! Thank you for sharing. God most certainly answered your prayers.