I never intended to head off to college at Missouri Baptist University. Growing up in the sweet little 'burbs that is St. Charles, I just always assumed I'd attend Lindenwood. I was an average student (I say this, jokingly, but seriously. My graduating class had 644 students. My rank? 322. Smack dab in the middle of mediocrity. I knew I wasn't going to community college, and equally knew Purdue, and even Mizzou were out of my ACT score reach. So, when my BFF headed to MBU and said "You should TOTALLY come with me!!" I went.
I never intended to cheer in college. Again, that same BFF said "You should TOTALLY come to tryouts!" so I did. Unbeknownst to me, my future was already lining up.
I never intended to teach Special Education. I graduated with my BS in Education, and passed the praxis exams that I needed to teach Elementary school in the state of Missouri. When a friend said "You should TOTALLY come take the SPED praxis with me" I went. I passed on the very first try. In the mean time I took up substitute teaching. After subbing for 6 months, my parents sat me down and said "any job is better than no job. You didn't go to school for 4 years (okay, it was 5) to be a sub." So, one day the stars lined up. I had taken a week long gig in the SPED classroom at one of the districts elementary buildings. When the teacher asked "Have you ever thought about teaching specials needs children? You have a knack for it." I thought she was just being sweet. When I went to lunch, she called the director and within a week I had an interview for what I like to think, is hands down the best job in the Francis Howell School district. I spent 2 years in the intensive autism classroom at one of the early learning centers. The friendships I made, and the lessons I learned are still with me today. Near the end of that second year, my well meaning parents sat me down again and said "GET.A.FULL.TIME.JOB" (you see, Howell went year around. 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off. Paycheck, no paycheck. paycheck...no paycheck.) With a heavy heart, I put my application on MO REAP and began applying for jobs. Within 3 days, the director of Special Education in a town I'd never heard of CALLED ME. For a job I didn't even apply for. I went for the interview and graciously accepted the job. You see, they had a little boy with Autism and in reading my information, she thought I would be a great fit. I still think of that little boy and his role in where I am today.
During my 3rd year of teaching, the cheer squad was without a coach. I'd cheered, but coaching? I wasn't a coach. There wasn't anyone else to do it, so I said "why not." Thinking I would do it just until they found someone else. They never did find anyone else. Fast fwd to the first game of my second season. One of the football coaches dropped off a flag for our squad to run with after we scored touch downs.
I never intended to buy a house in Montgomery, but the 2 hour round trip daily commute was to much. I found what I think is a cute little two story farm house. And I've lived here ever since. The farm is long gone, and the location is considered "in town" by the locals. It is still very country to me :)
I never intended to go to MBU, never intended to cheer. I never intended to teach Special Ed, never intended to become a coach. I never intended to move to Montgomery, or to buy a house. I never intended to date (let alone MARRY ;) that football coach who dropped off that flag. I had no clue, that while I was simply taking on one new task after another, that God was laying the framework for a beautiful life. I am so so so thankful that God had this plan. That all of those pieces fell together, just as HE intended. Because, with out ALL of that, I wouldn't have the amazing little boy that I do.
An amazing little boy who just last week, celebrated his first birthday. Just this week, we got to visit our favorite NICU nurse. In seeing Evan sit up, stand with support, hold his bottle, babble, and smile......she said "I remember when they told you he wouldn't do any of that. And how you told them ; Oh yes he will." Ups and downs, twists and turns. At times my heart hurt so badly that I literally felt like it was broken. I've felt joy and love so intense that I believe it can move mountains. I now have the grace and insight to know that no twist, or turn is without cause. That every little moment is shaping your life. In driving home from that last ultrasound appointment, I celebrated my own little victory. Then this song came on the radio, and I instantly knew it would be mine and Evan's song.
It spoke to EVERYTHING I INTENDED to do.
(I wont give up on us, by Jason Mraz)
"Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am"