“Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.”
With what I am about to share, I realize that I am opening myself up to your thoughts and opinions. But before you send them my way, allow me to share my story…the full story about what has been going on over the course of this past year. Following a great deal of prayer and counsel from several whom I respect and trust, I have shared with my Jubilee family that at the end of this school year, I will not be returning as principal. I know…when I finally came to that conclusion I was also stunned…and then, a little scared…and then a combination of scared and peaceful. But as I said, let me take you back.
I say this all began a year ago, but that is not entirely true. It actually began several years ago when I nervously shared with Jaime that I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to stay in education for the long-term. She rightfully said, “Well, what else would you do? You have a gazillion education degrees. There is not much else for you to do.” Jaime was partially correct. I had spent a considerable amount of time and money on my education-pursuing the end goal of becoming a school principal. And to be honest, I have enjoyed the experiences I have had as a classroom teacher, an adjunct professor, and a school principal. But even then, as I shared my wonder about the future with my wife, I could not articulate what I truly believed was missing. There were times I felt guilty for wanting to do other things. I am a man of faith so I battled whether or not my desire to do other things was a slap in the face of God who had given me a job to do. More times than I care to admit, when I would pray about “the future”, I wouldn’t even mention those other things to God out of fear He and others would think that I was ungrateful that I even had a decent job. Even typing that makes me shake my head in disbelief. How small I made God in those moments.
A positive outcome from the journey I walked with Jaime was that I found that God stood ready to meet me in my weaknesses and reveal Himself mighty. Early on, when I was crumpled on the floor, sobbing in my loneliness, God picked me up, encouraged my heart, and reminded me that my wife was just fine and that there was still a lot of life to be lived. And it was about a year ago, that I was praying and that “What if?” thought came to mind again. I was quick to dismiss it. We were starting over. I have my dream job. It is a good paying job. I cannot even begin to think about doing something new. Yet, it wouldn’t go away. I began to share this with others and asked them to pray with me. My prayer was not that the feeling would go away, but rather that I would be quiet and patient for His voice. A year later I can share with you that God has been step-by-step leading me to the realization that it is time for something new. He has confirmed this in His Word, through the peace of His Spirit, and through the confirmation of so many others who have joined me in prayer.
So what is the next thing? I am not entirely sure. And you know, I wasn’t entirely sure of the “next thing” three years ago, when God specifically led me to Pittsburgh. There are so many monuments of God’s faithful provision and powerful presence in my young life, though, that I knew my only response to the Lord had to be obedience. I can trust Him for this leap of faith because He has shown Himself time and time again to be trustworthy. I am well aware that to others this decision seems very irresponsible and even crazy. I really am aware of that. And for several months I also thought it was very irresponsible and crazy! And then God reminded me that He once asked a man to build a boat to withstand a flood, in an area that had never seen rain. God also commanded an army to march around a city seven times, blow their trumpets, shout, and prepare for a military victory. As a man of faith, I am in the company of greater men and women who have been asked to do some really crazy things, and find themselves in situations where the only option was for God to show up. You can just imagine Noah and his family working away on the boat, the jeers of his neighbors, no-doubt wondering if he had really heard God clearly. I bet on the third time around Jericho, there were soldiers wondering if this was the best strategy. Can you just hear them whispering to one another – “What happens if we finish marching, and nothing happens?” In their humanity, of course, they probably wondered if they had received a clear message – if God was going to do what He promised to do? I get that because I have moments where I have asked myself the same question these past couple of days. As I sat with my board president and let her know what God was doing in my life, though, I confidently shared what God was up to and what He had asked me to do. When I sat and prepared my letter to the families of my school, the words flowed from my heart and I was able to share how God had lead me through this process of discerning His will. As I shared with them, it isn’t about knowing the full picture, or even doing what is convenient or easy, it is about being obedient to what God has called me to do. I don’t share that in an arrogant way – but I do confidently stand in the peace that God has provided.
I still have several months of service at Jubilee and I look forward to giving my very best until my time at Jubilee is done. I returned to school today with such a joy. It isn’t because I feel “free”…well, actually I do. This burden I have carried for a year was lifted this past week. Although this new bend in the road is going to lead me in unfamiliar territory, my guide is very familiar. He has proven time and time again that He knows what is best for me – better than I could ever plan for myself. Once again, I sit on the edge of my seat – serving faithfully in the ministry He called me to almost three years ago – awaiting the exciting journey He has planned in the days ahead. I appreciate your prayers and I look forward to sharing more as His plans unfold.
*Before someone asks, I am praying that God keeps Felicity and me in Pittsburgh and provides for Felicity to remain at Jubilee. That’s up to Him, but I am praying specifically for those two items.