I remember getting the email late one night. It instructed all of the teachers at my school to start looking for employment elsewhere, they had decided to shut down my school. It was my first year of teaching and it had been a rocky one. The teaching part was great and the students were wonderful but there are always other factors at play. It was soon after news spread about Valley Grande Academy closing that I came into contact with the principal at Chisholm Trail Academy. He sought me out and told me that he wanted me to send him a resume. It wasn’t exactly an offer of employment but at least I had a lead on a possible job. He thought a new position might open up if their enrollment went up.
As the days and weeks rolled on I continued to chase other leads for teaching jobs. I sent my resume to any school hiring for a job that I was qualified for. A few leads were promising and I interviewed at different schools. Some of the schools were wonderful, absolutely perfect on paper and in person, but even though CTA hadn’t made a formal offer it always stuck in the back of my mind.
Being pragmatic I knew I needed to pick one of the schools that actually offered me a job. But as I went to make the phone call or write the email I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My heart had made up it’s mind and I had no peace picturing myself elsewhere. The more I thought about it the more I became convicted that I should wait on CTA and see if they would accept me. I decided to turn down the other schools.
What came next was the summer and the waiting. There were no more calls from other schools. They had all picked their staff members and I waited in faith that God would put me where I felt I should be. But first that meant CTA would need enough students to open the position. Looking back on it, it seems stupid. There wasn’t even a position and even if one opened up, who is to say they would offer it to me?
Finally, the school year was about to start. I called to see if they had enough students and the news I got wasn’t encouraging. This is when I remember the feelings of doubt starting to rise. It was at this time that a friend convinced me to send a resume out for a job other than teaching but I felt ambivalent about it. I tried to tuck away the thought of giving up on what my heart wanted most, a job at CTA.
The school year started. I got a call and learned they didn’t get enough students; they were close but not close enough. I was devastated. It’s hard even now to recall it and type it down. Just days prior I knew God would provide and now I doubted everything. I was painting houses at the time and became so overwhelmed that I couldn’t move my brush or hold my roller. I had to stop and pray. I mean, really pray. The kind of prayer you pray with your whole body, soul, and mind. I poured my heart out to God and wept and struggled because I thought he wanted something different for me than what I wanted. I felt like maybe he was guiding me away from teaching.
The school year already started and there were no more teaching jobs available. I felt at that moment that God had been impressing me to pass on those other jobs and had orchestrated this whole thing so that he could guide me away from teaching the only way I would be willing to; if it was the only door open to me.
So I prayed and I told God that if it was what he truly wanted for me for me then I would go but he would have to change my heart. He would have to help change my heart’s desire so that it would match his. It was one of my most honest moments with God. I was finally willing to go anywhere He asked me to. For the first time I knew what it meant to surrender completely to His will.
It was only then that God was finally able to give me what I wanted. It was only when I submitted that I finally got a call from CTA. They wanted to open the position; they had just learned of some extra money made available from the conference, money made available from the redistribution of subsidy to all academies due to VGA closing. It was just enough to make the difference and the irony was not lost on me. The job I lost had helped make my new one possible.
Three weeks after the school year started I walked into my new classroom because God had made it so. God put me in the wilderness to bring my will in line with His. He knew what I wanted before I did and made a way to get there visible to me after I finally submitted.
The passage found in Matthew 6:33 has new meaning for me, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” What things are you seeking? If you seek God first and submit to him, he’ll take care of all the other things. Have you submitted to God lately? He has untold blessings waiting for you when you finally do.
Johnathan Coker is one of the founders of Enspire Productions. He is currently a teacher at Chisholm Trail Academy.