It was with great pride that I watched my bride-to-be march down the isle of her parent’s church in the Los Angeles area of California. The day went by in a dream, as did our brief honeymoon, and then, as she busied herself in settling into our first home together, I found myself back in the classroom.
My wife had completed her undergraduate degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences earlier in the year, but in order to complete her dream of becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist, she needed a post-graduate degree, and at the end of our second year of married life, which was also the end of my third year of teaching at that university in eastern Washington State, we decided to move away to a place where she could pursue her studies: The University of Arizona in Tucson.
I decided to pursue my PhD in French at the same time so as to be better qualified to teach university-level French, and both my wife, who by this time was fluent in French, and I received TA positions in the Modern Language department of the University of Arizona. Unfortunately this didn’t bring in much money, and besides, I would learn just a few weeks into my doctoral program that people with PhDs in French who lived in the United States generally did ended up doing something like driving taxi! I didn’t want that, so at the end of my first semester, I quit the program, and I convinced myself that my teaching days were over.
My first goal was to seek employment, and it wasn’t long before I learned of a position that was available as a financial planner. Of course, my training was not in anything that vaguely resembled numbers, but I had always had a love for math, and to my amazement, I was given the job.
Somehow I knew, even from the first day, that I was in the process of leaving my first love behind, that I was abandoning the career path that God had laid out before me. Nonetheless, I pursued this job with all of my might. It was actually fun at first, and according to my boss, I did well. I met some really great clients who immediately put their trust in me; and most importantly, I was able to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. My wife and I also fell in love with Tucson. We loved the desert, the cactus, the winter — or in our view, the lack of it — and we were content to stay where we were.
Ever in the back of my mind, however, was the idea that this was not what God wanted me to do. But how could I go back to teaching? French wasn’t exactly the second language of choice in the southwestern part of the United States. I would have been far better off if it were Spanish I was offering instead of French. And despite my early successes at the university and high school in eastern Washington State, I knew it would be incredibly difficult to return to a similar post. In fact, the university where I had met my wife had cut the French program for funding reasons as soon as I resigned.
I had only one thing to do: I had to trust my Heavenly Father that this was all only for a season, that somehow He would guide me back into the career He had given to me. I began to lean on this text from Psalms: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.” (Ps. 28:7 ESV)
I would learn one very important lesson from those days when I was not walking in God’s will: Despite having turned away from teaching, God still loved me; and as we will see in later devotionals, He already had a plan in place for bringing me back into His will. In the meantime, I knew from my success as a Financial Planner that my Heavenly Father was still with me.
In His love,
(To view the entire “Lessons From the Classroom” devotional series, please click here.)