Looking Expectantly

There are 74 days left until the end of the school year, and to be honest, I'm not in a big hurry to get them over with.

That's pretty typical for me, because I don't like to rush through my life in anticipation of something better. And I really enjoy the springtime with my students: state testing is over, we're doing fun and meaningful projects, I rarely get new kids added to the roster, and my group has bonded and learned to get along so that things flow relatively smoothly.

But this year, there's a slight apprehension that comes with the end of my school year.

You see, my life after June 5th is still undefined. Our wedding plans for the summer are progressing at long last, yet there are still so many unknowns about where we will live after the big day, since my fiancee and I are currently 1,000 miles apart. There are so many doors opening professionally, and yet there is nothing of solidity and certainty, no one development that I can base the next phase of my life upon. Should I return to teaching next fall, or take the leap into writing (or something else) full-time? Will I need to begin a new career in New York? And what about all those discouraging things I hear on the news about jobs and housing?

There are many aspects of my life that are coming to a long-awaited culmination, and that has a tendency to bring moments of anxiety. Most of the time my mind can rest in the peace of knowing that God is in control, but even that knowledge can sometimes set my brain racing. It's exciting to think what God has in store, and I'm always on the lookout for the next part of his plan to be revealed.

Last weekend I attended the ASCD conference, working as a reporter covering the event for the blog In Practice. The night before the conference began, I felt like I should read the Bible, but I was really too tired, so I went to sleep. When I woke up (at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday), I again felt in my spirit that I should read the Bible. Yet I dismissed the feeling, thinking that I needed to get ready quickly and could it read that night. I got dressed and looked down at my Bible on the nightstand, and for the third time, I felt that prompting to read.

"Alright, God, I'll do it--but you know I need to leave in 5 minutes. I'm sorry for procrastinating, but whatever You're going to show me, please give it to me quick!" I knew that reading the psalms would be give me focus and perspective, so I flipped open to the middle of Bible, in Psalm 145. My eye was immediately drawn to the words 'due season', which is a phrase in the scripture I named my publishing company after. I didn't even know that due season was used in the psalms! My eyes scanned through the passage eagerly:

The LORD upholds all who fall,
And raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look expectantly to You,
And You give them their food in due season.

You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

My heart began to sing with joy at this latest confirmation that God was orchestrating everything and meeting my expectations for provision in His perfect timing. This scripture was just one more reminder that He knows the desires of my heart, because He planted them there. The Lord was truly looking down on me at that moment and filling me with a deep sense of purpose and peace and knowing about His promise to fulfill all of my desires: to be with my husband, to have a family, to touch the lives of educators all over the world.

In reading that passage, I saw an image of myself surrounded by hundreds of thousands of living creatures throughout the planet, all of us with our heads upturned to the heavens, like baby birds waiting to be fed. What a beautiful vision, to see myself with eyes fixed expectantly upon the Lord, knowing that He will provide everything in due season. He will open His hand and satisfy my desires. All of our desires.

I am reminded of Ecclesiastes 5:20: For he [humankind] will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joys of his heart. And I know my task is to focus on being fruitful with those things that bring joy to my heart: teaching my students, enjoying my family and friends, loving the girls I minister to in jail, and sharing my thoughts and ideas through writing. When I'm focused on those things, I won't 'dwell unduly on the days of my life', because the focus is no longer on my life. It's on Christ. And I know that as always, He will provide everything in due season.


TeachEnEspanol said...

Thank you for this post. It was especially poignant in the place where I am in life and with my teaching career. It is hard to be uncertain but I know that everything will work out. Congratulations on your engagement and future wedding and I wish many blessings on you both!

CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

"...I don't like to rush through my life in anticipation of something better."

One of the things I gleaned (obliquely) from your meditation is that we already have the "something better" in Christ and we don't need to look any further.

Thank you, Angela.