All my life, I wanted to be a teacher. When I was in first grade, I would round up the neighborhood kids as soon as school was over, sit down with them at my little plastic picnic table, and teach them what I had learned that day. I give myself half the credit as to why my siblings are so intelligent :)
My favorite fictional characters were Anne Shirley and Christy Huddleson. I wanted to be just like them: inspiring young minds everywhere through love and encouragement. I pictured myself with classrooms full of grubby hands and jelly-smeared faces, little children lisping words and doing their best to reenact a scene from our history book.
I went to college and loved every minute of my education classes. The dream of becoming a teacher was so close at that point. So tangible.
The year that I graduated from college, 2 of my classmates out of the 25 of us who had worked toward our credentials together got teaching jobs that fall. We graduated on a high of dreams and ideals into a world swirling with pink slips and tenure. There was no place for us.
I blogged a lot in the next two years about the heartache and emptiness of waiting for a teaching job. God didn't see fit to answer my prayers in the way that I was hoping--expecting--Him to.
After 3 years of praying for a teaching position, 3 years of being a "nobody" as a substitute, I gave up and returned to the life of being a preschool teacher. What a year that was! The day that I was hired was the day that I found out that I was pregnant. God works in funny ways, doesn't He? I worked up until 2 weeks before my due date, and then I came home indefinitely.
And now I have a job that I'm happy to get up for at any hour.
I love being a mom. Taking care of Kayleigh makes every feeling of emptiness and inadequacy melt away. I'm doing what I was called to do. I thought God created me to be a teacher (and someday, I still hope to be one) but now I know. God created me to be Kayleigh's mom. Jesse's wife. The homemaker of our family.
I don't need to feel like less of a person because I never got to put my credential to use. I have it, and someday I'll look forward to being in a classroom full of little ones again. But I can honestly say that this is the first "First Day of School" where I'm not wondering why God hasn't put me to use in a classroom. I'm not arguing with my Creator and trying to convince Him of what a great teacher I would be if He would just give me the chance. I'm thankful for where I am and what He has given me.
I've been set free. Free of guilt, free of wondering why, free of feeling inconsequential.
God hasn't given me a classroom full of little ones, but He has given me this little one.
And she's just about all I need to know that God has given me purpose.