A new beginning sounds a lot better than the word change, don’t you think? Imagine if every time someone was discussing change they just inserted new beginnings into the sentence instead.
I have a new beginning on the horizon with my new job.
My family is moving to another state. This will surely be a new beginning.
My wife is pregnant. Our life is approaching a new beginning.
See how much better that sounds? How much more bright and optimistic? New beginning. It sounds so full of possibilities and opportunities. It sounds like a fresh start.
Now, I’m not naïve to the fact that new beginnings are often terrifying experiences. I recently started a new job at the high school I graduated from as the middle school and high school counselor. I was excited about the change and could not wait to get started. Until I started. I have tried to think of a word that goes beyond overwhelmed and my vocabulary isn’t big enough, but overwhelmed did not cut it. I was swamped. I was defeated. I was discouraged. I was lost.
The transition to counseling was one that I had not been thinking about for very long. After losing my son David, I felt like God was pushing me out of the classroom. I had no idea where he was guiding me, so I applied for some random jobs in the area. I had no direction, but I knew that I needed to pursue something else. One day in April, I was talking with a student and working through personal struggles with her. I have always enjoyed doing this. Building relationships with my students was what made me come to school in the morning. Teaching was neither here nor there, but relationship building was my jam. After speaking with her I had an epiphany. I was meant to be a school counselor. It was totally out of nowhere, but I just knew that is what God had spoken to my heart. As I drove home from work that day, I called my husband and told him, he was right. He had been telling me that counseling was where I should transition to next. We decided that I would continue teaching and go back to school. I was so excited to start school and move toward my next goal.
Little did I know, there was a counseling opening in my hometown. It came to my attention and I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. My mother was the counselor at this school years ago and people have never stopped singing her praises, she was meant for the job. I was worried about being caught in her shadow. I also worried about the financial situation it would put my husband and me in to take a pay cut. Was that a wise decision? Shouldn’t I stay where the money is?
My husband and I talked it over and decided I should apply. I got an interview immediately and to make a long story short, they offered me the job. I was speechless. What was I going to do? I loved my current job and work-family. My principal was amazing and had supported me beyond any expectations with the terrible year I had had. Why would I leave? Then I could sense the Lord speaking to my heart and telling me to take the job. My heart was broken. This new beginning meant leaving a district I was proud to teach in and all of the friends I had made along the way. But I jumped. I called the school and accepted the position and then cried confused tears. I was going to be a school counselor. In the same position and office as my mom all those years ago.
Flash forward to August. I am preparing my office and getting excited for the new beginning. I make my space all pretty and then the work finally came.
Oh. My. Word.
I have never worked so hard in my entire life. Hours and hours of making sense of schedules and answering emails. Jobs just kept being stacked on top of me and I felt like I was going to be crushed by the weight of it all. I would love to say that there was a moment of all-consuming relief and I conquered it all. Nope. Not even close. You know what I did do, though? I put my head down and I worked. As I was regretting the new beginning I had chosen I pulled up my sleeves and got it done. There were many moments when I felt too overwhelmed to continue. Like I was doing everything wrong and I would never catch up. Well, I did catch up. As for doing everything wrong, the jury is still out.
As I cried myself to sleep regretting my choices, my husband told me that if God brought me there it was for a reason and that things would get better. Honestly, I didn’t believe him. I was too focused on the negative aspects of my life to see anything positive. Thankfully, he was right. Things did get better. I can even say that things got good as I continued to grow and learn about the students. I realized that the main part of my job was to build relationships and I have truly always believed that is what I am called to do. I finally learned to look up instead of down. To look up at Jesus and remember that I was created with a specific purpose. I can now say that I am where I am supposed to be and that God put me there.
New beginnings can be horrific and awful. You may feel overwhelmed and unsupported but take heart. God has placed you there for a reason and he is waiting for you to look up so that you can be used by him.