Joy in Disappointment

Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5b

My husband dreads those mornings when I wake up and say, “Oh, my gosh, last night I had the weirdest dream…” He knows he’s about to endure a very lengthy, detailed account of the whole dang thing. He’s very much a “get to the point” kinda guy so this is a small form of torture for him. In the event that any of you share his feelings on this topic, I will do my best to take what is a very lengthy, detailed account of monumental disappointment (which really wasn’t that big of a deal compared to the disappointment that some people experience, but to me, at the time, it was devastating) and get right to the point.

So here goes…Cliff Notes version…

I was teaching at a small private school. My kids went there. On a personal level, I loved it! Amazing teachers, wonderful families, an education steeped in the Word of God. Love, love, love. I was a brand new teacher and had spent those first few years getting my footing. And then, on a professional level, I wanted more. I knew this teeny little school wouldn’t be able to give me the professional development that I was craving and God gave me total peace about applying to public school. So I did.

At the end of the school year, I packed up all my things and loaded them into my garage. The administrator at the time was sad to see me leave and assured me that he’d hold my spot as long as possible. I thanked him, but on the inside I knew that wouldn’t be necessary.

Applications went out, interviews were held. I was in the running for a position at one school, but because the other applicant had one more thing on her credential, they chose her. Completely understandable. No sweat. I still had other applications out there and would just wait it out.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. And then I got nervous. Again, in the effort of keeping this as short as possible, I ended up signing a contract with the private school and started moving my things back into a new first grade classroom. I felt okay about it at the time. I figured that even though God had given me peace about leaving, maybe it just wasn’t time yet.

And then the call came.

I was working in my classroom. It was the Principal from the school that chose the other applicant, and he was calling to let me know that there was a first grade position available, and he wanted to offer it to me. As calmly as I could, I let him know that I had signed a contract with my old school and would need the weekend to think about it.

As soon as I hung up, I sat in that classroom and cried until I could hardly breathe.

I thank God that my friend Amber (you met her last month here in the One Story series) was on campus. I just remember crying and her hugging me and I just kept saying, “Why would God do this? Why would He do this now? Why?”

I was crushed. I felt as though God was dangling this in front of me just to tease and taunt me. Obviously I know that’s not true, but that’s certainly how it felt. I was SO disappointed and SO confused as to why it happened this way.

Amber walked me into our administrator’s office. She had to do most of the talking because I just couldn’t stop crying. He was so kind and understanding. He said he of course hoped I would stay, but would void the contract if I really felt that God was calling me to something different. I asked for the weekend to decide.

I spent the whole weekend in prayer. I was honest with God and verbalized my disappointment. He didn’t answer my questions of why it worked out this way. The only word I heard from Him was: Be a woman of your word.

Really, God. That’s it? You’re kidding me.

But I couldn’t shake it. Over and over it rolled through my heart, mind, and spirt: Be a woman of your word.

So I was. I kept the contract at my small school. I told the public school Principal that I would have to decline his offer. He didn’t seem to quite understand it, but I felt it was the right thing to do.

There was definitely more than one night of weeping, let me tell you. And joy didn’t exactly come that next morning. God’s peace sure did though.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

And eventually, I was full of JOY! I had one of my best years teaching that year. My students were amazing. They were fun, gentle, sweet little ones. The families were incredibly supportive, kind, and generous. I was feeling fulfilled, loved, and like I was right where God wanted me to be.

To top it off, I learned a valuable lesson about obedience. Luke 11: 28 says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” I can confidently say that I have experienced God’s blessing of joy through obeying his command to be a woman of my word. It was hard. It was clouded with disappointment. It was confusing and scary. It was worth it.

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