Jun 21, 2012

You Were Made For Something

Yesterday my daughter wanted to dance for the beautiful sunset.  It was long and involved giants leaps and dance moves on the sidewalk.  I was the strange one with my camera phone down on the ground cheering and taking pictures of her silhouette as she danced for me and the sunset.  

The cars continued to drive by.  A few people walking by stared.  No one else seemed to think the beautiful dance on the sidewalk was all that great.  It fact it was probably straight up strange to see a little girl doing a lively dance, humming and singing, while her mommy was down on the ground shooting pictures up at the sky.  

We were both marveling at God's creation.  

We were made for that.

You know, we were all made for something.  It makes my heart sink a little when people read my creative blog posts and ask me, "How do you do it? I feel inadequate."  Well, I do it because I was made for that.  Creativity is the beating of my heart.  It's the way I show love for people.  It's the way I was designed.  We were all designed.  You are not designed like me.  Oh, you may be creative, or not.  But there is so much to be admired and celebrated about you.  
There is nothing more beautiful to see people joyfully being what they were designed to be.  Nothing is more delightful to God to see us enjoying what He carefully crafted in us.

How did Ainsley respond to the sunset?  She danced and sang her little heart out.  I responded by seeing a beautiful picture and the artist in me wanted to capture the colors and movement.  And you know what? No one else noticed or cared.

The beauty of being what you made for is that it brings the freedom to dance your heart out.  It breaks through the prison bars of rules, laws, and constrictions. I can be free to create my heart out.  I know I have the freedom because the designer of the universe speaks to my heart and  breathes life into it when I do these things that He designed me for.  I create and He delights.  It's a joyful outpouring of love to the One who loves us.  It may benefit those around as it spills over into their lives, or they might drive on by.  They might think it's silly.  It's not.

You were made for something.  
Do it.
It might be strange. It might be radical.  It might be different.
I promise you will find your own kind of beauty.

Tomorrow morning I am heading off to a job interview.  Tone and I have decided that it is time for me to go back into teaching.  Besides creating, teaching is my other great love.  

But here is the clincher with what you were designed to be.

You can't be a hoarder.

Did you know that I taught in one of the "worst" schools in the state of California?  And it was middle school, 6th grade?  My class was overloaded.  I had more special needs students than I was supposed to have legally. CPS was called regularly. The test scores that were handed to me from my students were very very low.
And I LOVED it.  I loved my students.  I loved the parents.  And I saw a bunch of beat down kids who didn't know they were designed for something.  That they were really special.  I made it my mission those years to let them know it.  Test scores went way up those two years. I was so proud of them.
Some of them still call me.  

And then I got married and had my own kids. I took some time off teaching. I used my teaching gift to pour into them and there has definitely been a season for that.  But there comes a point when there is a fine line between sharing your greatest talents that you were designed to sing with all your might to God with, with those who need it most, and hoarding it for yourself and with family and comfortable people only. 

Well, with Ainsley going into kindergarten, Hunter in third grade and mature enough to handle going back into school, excellent daycare for Tessa right across the street, Tone's flexible current schedule which means Tessa will be home most of the week anyways, and a probable change in Tone's airline (thus a huge cut in salary at first) all looming all the horizon, it seemed we were being tipped out of our comfort zone once again.

No big deal, I thought, I'll go back to teaching.  Here's the kicker.  There are no jobs.  There was a surplus when I got out 5 years ago.  What is God doing?
Taking away the "prime" jobs to push me to where He wants me most.

Guess what kind of school I am interviewing with tomorrow?  
God is not subtle at times when He calls you out.  
I am interviewing for a second grade position at a school that is 100% hispanic, 87% are on free lunch, and test scores are low but climbing and making great strides.  I am so very familiar with this scenario. I am actually excited to possibly be a part of a school that is making such a difference in the lives of the students.  I belong in this type of environment.
Can I add another kicker to this?  Tone and I decided that wherever I teach, I should bring our children if possible.  Now that's another whole ball of wax.

Why?  Why would we DO that? The school one block from our house is one of the best in the state.  

We believe that celebrating God and His design for us, means sharing that as a family.  It means getting involved in people and community.  It means letting our kids be the only blonds in the school and become friends with kids who live on much less than we do. It means believing that the only way to actually show love to those people over there is to be where they are and really love those people over there.  It means showing them that God's design and love and use for people does not have color, affluence, educational benefits or any other line you can draw.  I believe those students are all precious, beautiful people designed on purpose to do something. It means putting my own kids in a school where something good is happening and believing in a cause and getting behind it with the vote of my children too.
They are people we want to know and join.
And that is quite a radical statement.  And sometimes it's really really scary.
I know some people will think I am really really stupid like Ainsley's pretty dance on the sidewalk.

Now I don't actually know if I will get that position tomorrow.  I do know I am willing to place myself AND my kids there.  Being willing in itself is quite humbling. I do know that God will place me where He thinks I can best "dance" for Him.  I also know that when the interview ends, I will be asking:

"Can I bring my children to this school?"

You see being who God designed us to be brings joy and freedom.  It brings the freedom to break through barriers, it brings the freedom to know that God can have us dance wherever we are placed.  
I have a deep seated confidence that whoever we encounter needs to know they were designed for something and that they are intimately loved, and that the ultimate in life isn't to have the best education, scramble up a ladder, or achieve some amazing feat.  

The ultimate is to know I am loved deeply, crafted wonderfully, and I am willing to say to my breathtakingly lovely God, "Take this dance you have given me to whomever to bless whomever you want. Make me excel in it as love for You."

Dance on Ainsley.  

PS. I wrote this two days ago and waited to post it.  I am meeting with the superintendent as a final canidate for the job this next week.  Look like I got it.  
And I asked the question.  We will be doing the steps to get my kids in school there if possible.


  1. Wow! Congratulations! It's almost like going into a mission field in your own backyard, really. This was a good post to read right now for me, too. Luke will be starting kindergarten in a school with a high ethnic population, too (we were denied our application to a different school), and it's a good reminder of one of my favorite quotes: "Bloom where you're planted."

  2. Love it, Jenny. I needed to hear that. And a huge congrats on the job!! This is a big deal!! You are definitely a fabulous teacher, and I hope you can look back on this post when you are frustrated and overwhelmed about 2 months into your new job... I will be praying for you!

  3. Jenny, I've been out of my blog circle for a while and sat down today to do one of the things i love the most....write, record, plan. your blog got me choked up....i am so thankful for your insight...wisdom....humility....and reality. you brightened my day immensely today and i am smitten for you that you are re-entering the teaching world. i get it, and i'm PROUD of you too (and i hardly know you!!)

  4. What a beautiful post! It gave me goosebumps. Your excitement for God's plan in your life makes me so happy for your family. I know that you will be a huge blessing to those kids! What an exciting year you have ahead of you!

    ♥ Bethany