Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Time for Everything

Last day of school celebrations at Downtown Academy

Whoop, there it is. I blinked and somehow six years of teaching are behind me. How in the world did it go by so fast? God has given me some truly unique opportunities in my teaching career. I began with teaching in Chihuahua, Mexico at Colegio Binimea. That journey was a dream that had been placed in my heart at the age of fifteen- to live in Mexico, become fluent in Spanish, and be a missionary among a people who were very dear to my heart. The time spent there was so precious to me, and I was able to learn so much about myself and God's faithfulness in that season. It was also a time of sweet simplicity, and I truly loved my life there. God provided some amazing friends, some of which I am still in contact with today. At Colegio Binimea, I was able to teach the same kids for two consecutive years, with ten students in my fourth and fifth grade class, and twelve students in my fifth and sixth grade class. Those kids were so amazing- talented, kind, smart, and so knowledgeable about God's word.

Memories from Chihuahua, Mexico

When I came back to Athens, I taught at Timothy Road Elementary School, where I had student taught two years prior. My time at Timothy Road was a challenging season, as I was in the midst of reverse culture shock while adjusting back to life in the United States. I taught third grade both years at Timothy Road, and I had a wonderful team that I loved working with. My heart was still stirring though, and I missed my small class size from Chihuahua and the privilege of being able to talk about the Lord with my students.

Fun times with Timothy Road Elementary School

Fast forward to the fall of 2014, when I was given the honor of joining the staff at Downtown Academy. Talk about a God-thing. This school was literally my dreams come to fruition; I just had no idea that it actually existed until God literally dropped it in my lap. There is no other place like Downtown Academy. It is a place where kids come to love and be loved. Their siblings and parents are automatically adopted into the Downtown Academy family, too. The staff works their hind parts off to meet the varying needs of each child. Every child is given grace upon grace. God has His hand on that place, and it is amazing to watch how He is using ordinary people as a part of His extraordinary plan.

Last year, I taught second grade. I had a class of characters, with nine boys and one girl. It was a roller coaster of a year, and God taught me that I am not the Savior. He is. I began the job with a little whole lotta pride, and it didn't take long for me to realize that the job that had been placed before me was monumental and virtually impossible without Him. I cannot change a child's heart and make them want to learn. I cannot fix any hard stuff that's going on at home. I cannot make them want to read or write or memorize their math facts. But God showed me that I could love them, and I could love them well. And it was crazy and tiring and difficult, but a whole bunch of fun, too. So I asked if I could teach the same kids again. I just knew we weren't done with each other yet.

This year, I was able to teach the same kids in third grade. One of my sweet babies moved to Atlanta, and we also had two new kids come to our school. Everyone was excited out of their minds  rejoicing when another girl came to third grade. :) Teaching the same kids for more than one year has its positives and not-so-positives. It is great to get to know the kids you've already spent a year with on a deeper level and watch them grow over the span of two years, which for them is a huge chunk of their lives thus far. However, they know you well and also get tired of each other easily, so sometimes classroom management can be quite taxing.

Sweet Downtown Academy kiddies

Little did I know that when I asked my head of school if I could teach my second graders for third grade that they would be my one and only crew at Downtown Academy. Little did I know that when I began preparing for the first few days of school in August 2015 that I would not return to do the same in August 2016. God's plans were definitely different than my own.

As far as Downtown Ministries goes, Rory and I will be involved there as long as we live in Athens, which I hope is a very long time. There are many things that the Lord has laid on my heart that I hope I can be a part of now that I will not be on staff. I will greatly miss being a part of my kids' everyday lives, and I am grateful that I will still be able to be in contact with them and their families. So while I grieve the "end of an era," I look forward with hope to a new beginning and to continued friendships with those whom I dearly love.

In just about a week, I will begin a new job for a new season. I am honored and overjoyed to say that I will be the new Administrative Assistant at my home church, Watkinsville First Baptist. I will be managing the office and assisting our pastor and director of operations. It seems crazy and not real in so many ways, but I am very excited about this new position. Leaving teaching is not what I thought would be the next step in my journey, but I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity that the Lord has given me. I have been a part of WFBC for about eight years now. In college, I began attending at the end of my sophomore year and been able to be a part of various ministries within the church. Many of my friends and I attended WFBC in college together, and it is there that I have been loved, discipled, and mentored. The first time I walked into a service, it felt like home, so being on staff is a dream I didn't even know my heart held. My pastor, Carlos Sibley, is the kindest and most humble pastor I know, and I am excited to serve him and our congregation. What can I say except that God is good and His ways and timing are perfect?

Ok friends. That is all for now. As always, thanks for reading, and thank you for your friendship.

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