Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

God’s Work

For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed working with children. When I had to get community service hours in high school, I volunteered at daycares and a children’s shelter. When my cousin had her first son, I was only fifteen years old but treated him like my very own; changing diapers, feeding him, rocking him to sleep, dressing him, etc. I am slightly obsessed with my goddaughter and her sisters. My father figure asked me what I was passionate about in life and the only two things I could think of was loving Jesus and helping children. I always knew I would work with children in some capacity.

I tell people children under five are my favorite age group to work with because there is something magical about witnessing the simple things in life bring one joy and the feeling I get while observing little humans make connections in this big world can’t be described. Not much gets me excited, but to be able to play a role in how children see themselves and the world is one of the many things I’m most proud of about myself. I am grateful I was able to do it as a therapist and a special education teacher, but to be able to play this role as a Pre-K teacher makes my heart smile. I am truly living my dream.

I was exhausted after the first day; I mean if I sat long enough I knew I was going to sleep but I couldn’t wait to do it all over again the next day. I can’t remember the last time I looked forward to going to work. I told my fiancé that this is the feeling I have been longing for in regards to the work I do. I am sure I helped some children along the way and made an impact and whatnot, but to feel like this is why God put breath in my body is such a blessing. My first principal used to say teachers do the Lord’s work. Although I knew that to be true, it didn’t feel like it until now. I am sure hard days will come but I will know I am pursuing God’s will for my life. I am grateful for my previous jobs and all the people I have met that have led me to this place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. My Pre-K babies will get to benefit from all that God has blessed me with.  

It may not be a job for you. It may be a hobby or a particular person. Whatever it is God is pushing you towards, don’t stop pursuing it. I applied to daycares after I graduated with my therapy degree to get income until I found a therapy job. I knew I wouldn’t be able to live on my own working as a daycare teacher but I knew it would be work I enjoyed. I almost started to believe I could not do work I enjoyed and afford to live, but God showed me otherwise. And if you remain faithful over the opportunities He gives you along the way, He’ll show you too.

Colossians 3:23-24 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ

August 2021

And to read more about me figuring things out and waiting on God, click here, here, and here.

To Teach at My School

If you’re a teacher at my school, you learn quickly that nearly half the students in your class are not wearing clean clothes. You’re no beautician but you’ve learned to twist hair and make ponytails. You know 1st graders cuss better than sailors. You know some students will tear up your classroom in the morning then ask you for a hug in the afternoon. You know there is a child who shows up to school like it’s a part time job, only coming a few days a week. If you thought children didn’t suffer with mental health issues, some of your students have proven you wrong. Even if you didn’t grow up below the poverty line, if you teach at my school you have intimate details of what it looks like. It’s not surprising to you that some parents take your call and others don’t have a working number on file. You don’t use standardized test to measure your effectiveness in the classroom, because you know most of the 4th graders in your class are reading at a 2nd grade level and you’re just happy they started writing their name with a capital letter. You want to forgive and forget the actions of these students who are often times just a product of their environment, but truth be told, there are some students you simply wish to forget. 

You question if you’ve made a mistake by going into this profession. Every other week you contemplate turning in a resignation later, but for whatever reason, you don’t. You pray today will be better than yesterday, and sometimes it is, while other times better is far away. People tell you that just because you can’t see the difference doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference. It sounds good, but it wasn’t quite what you had in mind when you signed up for this job. And as the years go on, it is painstakingly clear this is the job if you teach at this school. You could work somewhere else, but you choose here. Every day you show up, you choose this job, you choose this school, you choose this community, you choose these students. If you’re a teacher at my school and you’re not up for the job, you may in fact want to choose something else.

I went to a retirement party at the school I previously taught at and I was inspired to keep choosing teaching. It is not for the faint of heart at any school and when you choose a school in a particular area, you better be sure it’s what you want to do. I’m still figuring out the how of teaching, like how do I show love and discipline, and how do I set my expectations high while still placing them within reach. The two teachers who were celebrated at the retirement party reminded me to keep remembering “my why,” and the how will follow. I’m grateful to be in a position where I can choose my career and I choose to teach where I teach because I believe God has given me a unique ability to foster light in children no matter what kind of darkness they face. I am the light of the world and God has graced me to share that light with His children.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Light. (March 2019)

Maybe I Will, Maybe I Won’t

Nurse. Scratch that. Let’s do therapy. What about a school psychologist? Well, I like to travel so let’s try being a flight attendant. Working for the FBI would be pretty cool though. Let’s just go with nursing. Eh, still not feeling that. I’ll settle on therapy. Welp, that didn’t last long. Teaching. Yes, let’s be a teacher; being a teacher is definitely what I’m supposed to be doing with my life… Well, at least for right now, who knows what the coming months will bring.

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My first apple (March 2016)

I’ve always thought of myself as better than because I only changed my major once while I was in college (the first week of my freshmen year), but my friends and family are quick to remind me how many career changes I’ve considered. I genuinely forget about the many jobs I’ve imagined myself doing. Call it indecisive, a free spirit, commitment phob, or whatever else you can think of but I embrace it. I am in no rush to find my dream job. Some people have known what they wanted to do all of their lives. I have come to realize that I am not a part of that group of people. It can be quite unsettling to not have a clue as to what you want to do (I was there a few months ago, see Tip Tuesday: Figuring Out Life), but as long as I have a direction to start in, I’m pretty content. But I will say, as open to this idea as I sound, I was quite terrified of what I saw as switching identities; going from a marriage and family therapist working with teenagers on probation to a special education teacher teaching elementary school students with learning disabilities.

I left the world of therapy feeling like a bit of a failure. I had gone to school for two years, put myself in further debt, only to end up not working in that field. Of course people tell you, “oh well the experience you have can help you in whatever job you end up in.” That may be true but it doesn’t mean I didn’t feel like I wasted my time while allowing life to pass me by. I know I’m being dramatic but for a moment that’s what it felt like. However, once I got over that moment I 100% agree that I’ll be better at anything I do because of what I’ve already done. It all works for my good (Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose). I didn’t make a bad choice by deciding to do therapy. I made a choice and gave it a shot and further down the road, I may give it another shot, but today I am a teacher and would not want to be anything else.

Life is not a one size fits all. Give yourself permission to consider those ideas floating around in your head. Stop complaining and do something. God doesn’t want you to be miserable. He doesn’t want you to wait until you die and hopefully make it into heaven to be happy (Ecclesiastes 3:22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?). Get a plan together and make moves. When I decided I no longer wanted to do therapy and wanted to get into teaching (after much prayer), I knew my money was going to look funny on a full time substitute’s pay but I made the adjustments because I knew teaching is what I wanted to pursue. I did my research on how I could get certified. I used every opportunity I could to speak with special education teachers. I went all in. Although I absolutely LOVE what I do, I’m not convinced that this time next year I won’t be considering something else. This world can’t sell me on the idea that I have to pick one thing and stick to it. The only thing I’m sticking to is God, and where He leads me, I will follow.