The start of this school year meant more to me than just my work load as an education reporter picking back up. It was an answer to prayer, but not really the one I wanted.
As most of you know, I felt God told me in January 2007 that I was supposed to have a career change. I enrolled in the nontraditional licensure program and believed the whole time that I was supposed to be doing that program because I had a deep desire for it and all the doors for it to work out opened up at the last minute for it to work.
Until the last, big door. For me to continue in the program I was required to get a teaching job. If I didn’t get a teaching job the first year (which was last school year), I was required to get one the second year of the program, which is this school year. If I didn’t get a teaching job by this school year, I would be out of the program. Out the estimated $4,000 that I spent to get in the program and on the program itself.
When I didn’t get a teaching job the first year, I figured God was testing my faith and I just said “OK God, I’ll wait it out. You opened all the doors at the last minute so this one will be opened at the last minute too.”
I thought that for sure, if God so clearly told me to do this, then surely I was meant to get a teaching job. When it didn’t happen, I was at a loss. I knew God had a reason for it and I have remained convinced that I didn’t misunderstand the direction.
But in the last few weeks I’ve struggled to understand the “why”s of it all. WHY was I supposed to go through all that when it wasn’t going to be fruitful?
I’ve realized three things in my search for the truth. For one, it has been fruitful. When I first decided to change careers, the message from God was very clearly “it’s time for a change.” Well, stuff has changed, but in my current career. I am not going into details, but the three top reasons I felt I needed to change have all changed themselves, and for the better.
The second thing I’ve learned is that sometimes God has us do things that don’t make sense at the time but it will all be revealed in HIS time. I know there was a reason I was supposed to go through all this and I’m choosing to wait for those reasons to be revealed.
The third thing I’ve learned is that sometimes when we have plans for our lives that are grandiose, they don’t work out. But it’s not because God is punishing us. It’s because he has something so much bigger, so much better planned for us.
I’m looking forward to finding out just what that bigger thing is for me.
OK, so now that you’ve read all that, you’re probably wondering what in the world this blog had to do with three trees. That last realization was the most difficult for me and the reason I have not been able to write this blog. I got an amazing e-mail from a friend last week and it helped me accept that final realization. Here’s what she sent, and I hope you get something good out of it too:
“Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said, ‘Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems.. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would see the beauty.’
Then the second tree said, ‘Someday I will be a mighty ship. I will take Kings and Queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull.
Finally the third tree said, ‘I want to grow to be the tallest and straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will
always remember me .’
After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, ‘This looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a Carpenter, ‘and he began cutting it down. The tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.
At the second tree the woodsman said, ‘This looks like a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard.’ The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to becoming a mighty ship.
When the woodsmen came upon the third tree, the tree was frightened because he knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, ‘I don’t need anything special from my tree, I’ll take this one,’ and he cut it down.
When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then
placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for.
The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end.
The third tree was cut into large pieces, and left alone in the dark.
The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams.
Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby, but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.
Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was
tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn’t think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and Said ‘Peace’ and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of Kings in its boat.
Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of a hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of the hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Jesus had been crucified on it.
The moral of this story is that when things don’t seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, God will give you great gifts.
Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.
We don’t always know what God’s plans are for us . We just know that His Ways are not our ways, but His ways are always best.”