Jesus told His disciples that whoever loses their life for His sake will find it. (Matt 10:39). I never understood that more clearly until we ended up at Whittier Elementary.
The following was originally posted in September 2012:
About a year and a half ago, the Lord began leading me on a journey. I couldn't deny that the road belonged to Him. You can read the specifics of it here and here, but the short version is that through a series of events, my youngest son ended up at an elementary school that I had no intention of sending children to again.
Knowing God's hand was in the change, the summer of 2011 was one of anxious anticipation. I always claim to want to follow hard after Him, but tend to waffle when the following is the hard part. Can anyone relate? We ask God to be evident and at work in our lives, then balk when we don't like the way it looks.
Anyway, this past summer, I was feeling a little like the Israelites when they realized they were making their second pass through the desert. I was weary and afraid; my heart was heavy. The scenery was a little less exciting; the journey tedious instead of awe-inspiring. Forget the cloud and the fire . . . we just want our old normal.
I cried, and cried out, for God to open the doors to the other school to us, and He did. On August 13th, about three weeks before school started, we got a call inviting us to enroll Justin.
On August 21st, we officially turned down the offer.
Honestly, I felt like I was throwing the life preserver that I'd been praying for back into the water, but I knew in my heart that the offer was a test, not a way out. I'm good at blooming where I'm planted, but God needed my commitment to this other school to be solid.
For whatever reason, my heart has been knit to the neighborhoods surrounding this school; the people and issues plaguing this area of my city have weighed on my spirit for years. God has given me a way to carry His light to people who need hope. I get to do life with them.
On the first day of school, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, wondering what difference I can really make, I found myself praying that God would "push back the darkness" from this school, these people, fill the hallways with light and laughter. Oh God, I cried, just push back the darkness.
I opened my Jesus Calling devotional book, and these are the words I read: "This is My way of living in the world-through you! Together we will push back the darkness, for I am the light of the world."
Amen, Lord. So it is written, so shall it be. Amen.
Did I mention that I ended up being the PTO President at the school I never intended to be part of?
Follow-Up: We are into our third year at Whittier and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I continue to be amazed at the way God works all things together. He has a vision for this city and this community and I am just trying to keep up.