Beauty From Ashes SeriesPayton Flener
I don’t really share the teaching parts of my story, but I’ve actually never shared this part of my story and never even knew if I ever would. But, I feel like we are all at a place in our lives where we just really feel in the dark about what God is doing. Asking questions like, why would God allow this virus to happen to His people?
And the whole beginning of my teaching career was marked by that question: WHY GOD? I remember it so vividly. I’d worked SO hard to graduate college in just 3 years and had poured my whole entire heart into student teaching in my hometown, just married and sold my monogramming business to make it through the summer until my first paycheck, I was so sure I would be returning to that building to start my teaching career that I probably would have just left all my belongings there. A series of very unfortunate events, a phone call of the devastating “we didn’t choose you” news, and a 19 year old girl with her first bitter taste of the world. So many questions I needed answered, but no time for that because there was only a month until school started back and just about every position in surrounding schools filled, I just needed a job. I put my head down and applied to every school in the state it felt like with tons of “we’re sorry, this position has already been filled.” Slammed door after slammed door.
Then finally the interview call came and I was headed off to my first interview. At a place I had no idea which door was the front door. I had never met a person in there. Oh and they were known for over 27 different languages being spoken in their school. HIRED. Praise the Lord, right?! But now what? I thought the interview was supposed to be the scariest part, but turns out walking into a building with not even one familiar face is scary. It gets better, I was trained up to be the RTI teacher, but 3 days before open house, they needed me in Kindergarten. So I packed up my classroom and prepared to meet 28 5-year-olds of which there would be about 10 different languages and livin’ on a prayer seemed to literally be the theme song of life. I always liked a good challenge, but this one, well, it felt like one that was way too big for me.
But here I was in a place that quickly became home to me. I was the baby of the family (and they never let me forget it ;)), but none the less, those strangers became family. Those 28 5-year-olds became MY kids. My principal believed in me like I’ve literally never been believed in before and my assistant principal invested in me like I’ve never been invested in before. Kids that would walk in the room with very little English would walk out of that room reading books and so loved on. And God taught me 3 things: 1. He created me to do hard things. 2. His plan is greater than mine. 3. He specializes in beauty from ashes.
And in those 3 years of teaching, He taught me to listen to His voice. That if I would be obedient to His voice, there would be more open doors than slammed doors on my fingers. And I’m thankful for slammed doors, because He loves me enough to take action on my behalf when I’m too stubborn, but I am also thankful for growth to be able to hear His call and walk through open doors. And at this exact time last year, I answered the call to Casual Friday full time and closed the door on my teaching chapter. And I am forever thankful for that season that pushed me beyond what I believed I could possibly do, because He knew that I needed to be strengthened and sharpened for the next season. He taught me to let Him carry me in a season that I couldn’t walk on my own. He taught me a reliance on Him that I didn’t have before. He taught me to listen to His voice obediently.
So sister, I want to encourage you that if you feel like you’re in a season of picking up random puzzle pieces that feel like they came from an assortment of puzzles and not one of them fits together, lay them down at His feet. I can assure you that He is already making beauty from ashes. Even if you can’t see through the smoke, trust that He is there even in the smallest of details, because beauty is in the details. I’m cheering for you, friend!
But before you go, I have this free resource for you. If you are struggling to see what God’s plan for your life looks like or how his redemption is true to you, I think you will really love this. Just click here: FREE DOWNLOAD