Growing up the eldest of 3 children, I was often responsible for "looking after the boys" and helping out around the house. On occasion, I would be a bit rebellious and act out. Oh, ok, honestly, I was a brat, hung around an older, rougher crowd and was on the verge of being completely out of control. Just before my 12th birthday, my parents, I imagine out of exasperation and needing a break, sent me to a camp run by the Salvation Army. I had no idea what type of camp it was. I am not even sure they knew. But somehow, I ended up at a Christian camp. On the second night, after a campfire service, I surrendered my life to Christ. After a week, it was time to return home. I remember being worried about getting tangled up with the same group of kids. I prayed that the Lord would help me. I got home and my parents informed me we were moving in 3 days to a different state! The Lord was watching out for me. We moved to Savannah, Georgia. It was there I met an older lady who took me to church. When I was almost 13, I very clearly remember standing in my living room praying and feeling a tug/call on my heart to be a missionary one day.
Fast forward to college. When I was 16 and praying about what career to choose, I felt impressed by the Lord to be a teacher. I was very excited. Once at college, the desire to be a missionary resurfaced and my two dreams merged: maybe I could be a missionary teacher. Then, senior year hit, I decided to do my own thing and ignore God. The end result: pregnant and unmarried. My dreams were shattered. My life a mess. I graduated college 4 1/2 months pregnant. I decided to keep my baby. I rededicated my life to Christ and raised my daughter. I got a job teaching pre-K, and after 5 years, was hired to teach at a Christian school. During this time, my dream to one day teach over seas sat in the back corner.
Later in my adult life, I found myself the care taker of my ailing father. Towards the end, I was not even able to go out of town, let alone out of the country, for fear he would die while I was gone. He died on September 11, 2012.(you can read about it here)
In January, I decided to try to find a public school job so I could have insurance and a retirement plan. My dream of teaching overseas was long forgotten. As I began to fill out applications, the Lord begin stirring in me about teaching overseas. I looked up several mission organizations and filled out applications. Funny thing is, as I was doing this, I honestly didn't expect a response. I thought I had missed my chance to see my dream come true. But I received several emails and had a few interviews. After much prayer, and I do mean MUCH, :-), I felt the Lord leading me to accept the position at International Academy of Suriname in Paramaribo. I am beyond excited. I resigned my position at HCA. I hope to leave for Suriname in late July.
Whatever your dream is, if God put it there, there is always hope. Yes, life, and even ourselves can get in the way, but if we submit ourselves to God, I believe He can redeem our hopes and dreams. It might not be what we originally thought, but in the end, it will be what He desires. And isn't that what we want? To do has He desires? :-)