Continuing in His Plan, by Amanda Cornwell
CONTINUING IN HIS PLAN
By Amanda Cornwell
“You need to change your major. To Special Ed.” The impression was so strong and I knew it was the Spirit. Wow, where was this prompting coming from!? I am here, walking around the Parliament building in Jerusalem, studying Jewish and Palestinian history. Special Ed? What?!?!
I had a major. One I really liked. I was in my junior year in college, and I was a Math Education major. Math had been a safe place for me. It was “my thing.” It had built my confidence in the trying times of high school. It helped me get into college. I understood math. So why did I have to change it? And why did this come when I was on the other side of the world?
But it was so clear! So I did my part and did some research and it just became more clear. I looked up the courses and spoke with people in the program.
Upon arrival back from study abroad, I made the change and started classes right away. I remember sitting in one of my first classes for the major and having one of the most overwhelming feelings — this is exactly where you need to be.
Just a few years later, I had finished my coursework and student teaching, and I was ready to take on my first job. I had decided to spend a few years teaching general ed to build up some experience before jumping into special ed. And I was eager to get started!
The first year was painfully difficult, but I had heard that was normal. The spring time came and I met with my boss about decisions for the next year. As the conversation continued, it did not go as planned.
“You don’t have what it takes,” he said.
“I get nervous for you.”
“The blood, sweat and tears that you are going to have to put in…”
“You have no confidence.”
I was devastated by what I was hearing. By the end of the meeting, I was sobbing across from him, feeling so defeated.
I had worked so hard and so long all year, and my boss had no confidence in my ability as a teacher. Of course I did not like hearing those words after giving everything I had, but even more so, I felt so disappointed in myself and in God.
I had done what I felt like He had asked me to do and now I was failing at it! Why was He letting me fail? Why couldn’t He give me what I needed to succeed in His mission for me? It had been so clear. He had given me what I needed many times before. Why wasn’t He helping me now? Where was He?
I somehow floated through the rest of the school year and determined that I never wanted to be a teacher again. I threw out everything I had and left that last day of school with more hurt in my heart than I had ever felt. I decided I would look for a totally different job. I was so angry about where this path had taken me and any confidence I had, was gone.
I struggled through a summer of applications and interviews feeling like I had no direction of what was next. After several months of little success, I took a job, which happened to be at a school. I oversaw a volunteer program and tutored students. I was surrounded by good people and talented professionals, and I was really happy. The principal, however, was constantly telling me to go back to teaching. But the wound felt too raw. I couldn’t even discuss it. He continued though, and even had an opening for me so, he set up the interview.
I walked into that room and my stomach dropped. I felt so ill. I was so focused on not crying that I didn’t even answer the questions. All the insecurities came back.
I don’t have what it takes.
I have no confidence.
I can’t do this job.
Well, there we go, I decided. I don’t need to do that anymore. But word had gotten out to my co-workers and they were following up with me about teaching. They were so encouraging and that eventually gave me a boost. So I kept interviewing and it kept not going well. Finally, a couple months and about 18 interviews later, I got a call saying we need you.
So despite all of my hesitancies, I took the job. The first day of school came and in walked 26 eight-year-olds from 6 different countries. I was nervous, scared, and a million other things. But there was God’s voice again you are exactly where you need to be.
By the end of my time in that job, I had students from over 15 countries, 12 languages, broken homes, no homes, abuse, poverty, the list goes on. The job pushed me to my end every day. I think I’ve cried in every room in that building. These students had so many great needs and I was failing them left and right. I was so inadequate for this job in just about every way.
But I could love these kids. And I knew that God loved them. And that love began to heal my heart. I began to understand why that was where I needed to be. I began to understand the role I could play in someone else’s life and the role they played in mine. I began to want to be there too.
Well today I am in my fifth year as a teacher and my first year in Special Education. With God’s help, I learned who I was again. I reconciled the weaknesses that had taken over my life. I realized I did indeed have things to contribute to the world.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
My understanding had been that I had failed and that was the end. My heart hurt so bad that I kept it away from the only One that could heal it. And I certainly wasn’t trusting the Lord with it.
But my heart did begin to heal. I learned what God’s love was for all of His children, including me. I began to see the work that God could do through me. I am grateful for the way those “failures” have changed me. They have changed me into someone I could never have been by myself. They have changed me into someone who uses the Atonement of Jesus Christ every day to do what I need to. It has changed me into someone that is once again confident in herself as well as the inspiration I receive. As I have been back in the classroom, I have been part of miracles and felt a love that I never knew was possible.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
As I begin to understand His plan more, I see the beauty. I see small glimpses of this “promise”, the beautiful life God has in store for me. I haven’t had the life that I thought I would so far. It has been a lot more painful than I expected. I haven’t had the role as a wife or mother, which has been heartbreaking for me at this point in life, but He has blessed me with a job that has helped me through the heartache of that. I know as I continue with patience, the promises will continue to unfold. Because along with the pain, is even greater love.
So I continue. I continue to go to work each day to grow. I continue to build a career I never thought I would have. I continue to seek for inspiration. I continue to love my Father in Heaven with all my heart. I continue with that same faith that everything will work out. And God continues to show me His beautiful plan.