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April 12, 2008

“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path” (Psalm 143:10, NRSV).

Every time I shop I buy the same thing. Black pants. Probably made of some kind of sweat material. A couple of t-shirts. If I am in an especially good mood, I may pick out a cute pair of socks. Yesterday I went to buy a new outfit for my teaching observation this week. I knew I needed something new, and I was pretty sure that it couldn’t be my black sweatpants.

“So, how was your second interview?” friends have asked.

Confident Jess has said back “Great. The only thing left is my teaching observation next week – and, to be honest, I am not that worried about it.”

I didn’t realize how nervous I really was until I stood in my foyer yesterday, clutching my Nordstrom bag full of new clothes.

Nordstrom. As in “my family could eat for three weeks on the amount of money I just spent on this outfit and what the heck am I thinking” Nordstrom.

Standing there, I realized that my confidence had been more an act than a reality. My expensive clothes were a sign to me that I was trying to buy confidence I didn’t actually feel.

I started to cry. And cry. I went and found my green blanket, crawled up on my bed, and made a safe, soft cave.

I have been a stay-at-home mother for eight years. I have loved being at home full-time with my children, and honestly, I never thought I’d consider teaching again until they were much, much older. I have fully embraced all aspects of being at home, and I may have even judged women who work outside the home.

Until I wanted to work outside the home.

As I am setting out on this totally unexpected course, I feel so deeply unprepared. I am no longer the fresh-faced, childless, extremely cute, recent college grad who bounded into the classroom. I am older, seasoned, somewhat scarred.

I do not feel ready. Staying at home, planning playdates, having flexibility in my schedule, being one hundred percent available to my children at all times – that is what I know.

But I feel like God is calling me to this now. Saying, “Daughter, it’s time. Time for something new. Time to get out of the boat and step on the water again.”

I would like to stay in my boat. I am afraid that in stepping out into something new – I will make a mistake. I am very aware of my fragility and my shortcomings.

This morning Hugh gave me the morning to myself. I knew I needed to get alone with God and tell Him all my fears. To let Him know exactly how I was feeling.

I opened my Bible and read Psalm 143:10 – a promise that God will teach me to do His will because He is my God. His Spirit will lead me on a level path. As I read this verse – I felt something I hadn’t felt before.


Not in me. Not in the woman who overspends, doesn’t make dinner, and cries, but in MY GOD. He is leading me on level ground. So I can trust Him as He takes me to an unfamiliar place. He is in charge of my life – and even if I do feel scared, I can have confidence in the Lord while I am afraid.

God is not content to leave me where I am. He is leading me somewhere all the time. He is about finishing the good work that He started in me (Philippians 1), and if I spend the next ten years under my green blanket, then I’ll miss His plan for my life.

And, you know, I really am excited about teaching. I know God will fill me up with His confidence when I once again stand up in front of a classroom. But the greatest reward will be that I am growing in Jesus – that my faith and my trust in Him are deepening as I allow Him to lead me in this new season.

I am fairly sure that the first place He is going to lead me is back to Nordstrom to return my clothes.

Father, Psalm 16:11 says that, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” Thank you, Holy Spirit, for showing me – step by step – the way of life and for filling me with your awesome Presence. God, please build your faith in me so that my life brings honor to the name of your Son. Fill me up with confidence in you alone, Lord. In you I trust, God. I love you so much. In the name of your Son, Amen.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2008 11:14 pm

    You will be a beautiful and successful teacher that all the kiddos will love because you are “Trusting and Obeying”….excited for you! You go girl!!

  2. April 13, 2008 9:06 am

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  3. April 13, 2008 1:37 pm

    “He is in charge of my life – and even if I do feel scared, I can have confidence in the Lord while I am afraid.”
    Oh Jess, that is exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I got hit with such fear this morning on the way to church that I had a full blow panic attack, like I haven’t had since this summer. I got there and asked my pastor to pray with me (I had to sing on worship team up front this morning). I calmed down enough to do it…
    But for some reason, i have been thinking that to have confidence in the Lord means that my fear has to be gone… Thank you for this revelation that I can rest in my Jesus’ lap, and have confidence that He will get me through this stuff I need to deal with, and still be in the midst of my fear.
    Thank you… you have no idea how much this helped me today.
    God bless you!

  4. Carol permalink
    April 13, 2008 3:14 pm

    I always thought that teaching was the perfect job for a mom because you are on pretty much the same schedule as your kids. You will be great!

  5. April 14, 2008 10:49 am

    I was soooooo behind, but I have read all your entries since my last comment… and here’s what I have to say about all of that;

    Your willingness to share your journey is not only bringing you closer to who God created you to be, but many many others…. keep it up.

    Blessings for your week!

  6. April 16, 2008 7:10 am

    I went to Kohls and spent $100 on clothes for my Disney trip… does that mean I am nervous about Disney and don’t know it? And what does it say that I went to Kohls and not Nordstroms? Does it mean that I don’t value myself enough to go to Nordstroms? Hmmm. You have got me thinking about my shopping habits (or lack of) and what they reveal about my inner thought life.
    Actually, Kohls was a place I could think of that involved less walking than other stores. Have hubby drop you off at door, hobble to the women’s section (front of store), pay for items, hobble out where hubby is parked in front of the store again.
    But a $400 outfit at Nordstroms does sound good!
    And just think, you can wear it at She Speaks too- more bang for your (400) bucks!

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