I think I'm finally ready to share this post!!!!
I love planning!!!
Over the last few years, as I trained to be a classroom assistant / teaching assistant, I thought about continuing my education and going the whole hog to train to teach. I was excited. I was doing my CA course, enjoying my placement at the boys' school and loving learning again.
I decided on my life plan. I'd finish this course, get a job in the school, get on the part-time BA Honours degree course at Stranmillis (our local teaching college/uni), work while I completed it, then do my PGCE and start to teach! Easy as pie!
So I started off. My course started in September. By November there were several jobs up for CAs in my school - I thought this was it! Happy days!! I applied for them ALL - all 5 or so! (By the way - that's an awful lot of application forms to fill out at the same time!!!) I waited. I heard rumours of the interviews and I didn't get one.
Realistically I knew that it was because I didn't meet the criteria - I was only in the middle of my course, and I had no experience. But I was a bit sad. I had thought my plan was starting. But it wasn't. I had to be patient.
Christmas came and I got the surprise of my life. Unfortunately one of our staff wasn't well and I was asked to do some emergency cover hours. Wow... I was on top of the world, apart from also feeling gutted for M as she really wasn't well. It's a very weird situation to be in - feeling happy and sad at the same time! But yet again my plan was starting to unfold in front of my eyes. I was getting experience and that could only help get me a proper job!
And so we reached the end of my course. I was still working, so that was great, but I found out I was too late to apply for Stranmillis (our local teaching college). I told myself it was probably for the best and that a year to get used to working was a great idea, before continuing my education.
Fast forward six months and I got to apply for my course. I was more excited than anything, and when I finally got an interview I was more nervous than I've ever been in my life. This was my chance. I could do this. I'm smart, I'm chatty and I know what I'm talking about. All I have to do is show them!
And then I got this letter...
How did I not get in?
It's not a big course but there are places in two campuses. How on earth did I not get in?
I asked for feedback. I wasn't planning on appealing - I just couldn't understand why I had failed.
And the result - I didn't talk enough.
It was fine that I knew what to say and had it all planned out, but unfortunately the staff at Stran are not mind-readers and since it didn't come out, they had nothing to go on.
I can talk ten to the dozen, but I didn't talk enough when it mattered.
I have to admit I took it quite hard. This was my plan. And it was wrecked. This was what I was going to do and now I couldn't. I felt like a failure. And I cried all afternoon.
And the devil jumps when he sees saints crumble like this. Straight away I found all my thoughts going back to other times I'd failed, to other times when I had felt not good enough, and to other times that I had not performed as I needed to. I felt awful. And the worst was still to come.
Instead of it stopping there, I had another important interview to come. My job - the one I'd been doing for 18 months now - had to be advertised as M had officially retired, and I had to apply for it.
Thankfully I did get an interview, but now all I could think was that I was also going to fail it, and have my job taken away for good. I was convinced that someone else would interview better than me, or would have better experience or just be better... It was debilitating.
But it's funny how God gives you the exact verses that you need when you need them? I got a couple of verses right after each other - from this one :
To this thought :
Our Heavenly Father is amazing, isn't He!!!
Alls well that ends well and I was overjoyed to get my job permanently!! I did have a very funny interview, as God does have a wonderful sense of humour, does He not, but I'll maybe share that another time!!!
My point is this. You cannot let the devil and his minions into your thought process. He comes to kill, steal and destroy and he will do it any way he can. For me, he started by helping me plan my life away - in a plan that took no account of God's divine plan for me. I decided what I wanted to do and figured out how I could do it. But that's obviously NOT God's plan for me right now.
Then he took my disappointment, which was perfectly natural, and made it into a time of self-pity, failure and self-loathing. I was lost for a couple of days in a 'what if' scenario and it was horrible. He killed my self-esteem, stole the joy of getting an interview for my job in the first place, and destroyed all my confidence. And I let him.
But then I turned to the one person I should have started with. HE took my self-esteem and reminded me how much He loved me - enough to die for me. HE took my disappointment and showed me a bigger plan than I could have ever imagined. HE took my mess and reminded me that He is in control.
Hallelujah!! What a saviour!!!
So next time you get a rejection of some sort - pause and think whether it's really a sign of failure or a reminder that God is in control and we need to trust Him. (Hint: it's all about God!!!)
A year has passed since that letter arrived through my door. And what a year that has been. It's been hectic and full of activities, running here there and everywhere and lots of fun!
So today one of my prompts was this question and I finally thought it would be time for this!
And my reply?
"Thank you Stranmillis teaching college for giving me a group interview which I didn't talk enough in, thus leading you to reject me from joining your university. Thank you for seeing what I couldn't and for understanding that this mum of 4 was never going to be able to drive up and down to Belfast two days a week just to do another degree. Thank you for pushing me towards maths yet again, as I enjoy getting to prove things day after day and getting giddy when I get things right! "
Keep shining xx