Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Potter's Hands

Thursday, September 19, 2013 
"Mold me, Make me" 

It is the 4th week of the 2013-2014 school year and for the first time in all 9 of my years of teaching, I am feeling a little blase about not just this school year but my career in general. In the past I have felt a little discouraged and uneasy about certain years or positions but this is different. I am feeling a little tug in perhaps a different direction. I have been thinking and praying about this a lot and while I still don't have a clear answer or any answer for that matter, I can tell that God is trying to "Mold me" at this time and I just need to sit back and let Him take the wheel, so to speak. 

If you would have asked me before this school year about my career and what I "wanted to be when I grow up" I would have said "Teach". Since I was 15 years old, I have known that I was going to be a teacher. I decided in my freshman year of High School that Band and music was the "Road" I was going to travel. I was selected to the Association of Texas Small School Bands (ATSSB) All-State Band in 1999 and 2001 as well as chosen to be awarded the Texas State Solo and Ensemble Contest Outstanding Soloist in 2001. These awards made me feel as if my career and life choice were accurate and I continued down the "Music Road" into college as well. 

I attended The University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK and majored in Music Education. I was one of the first graduates from my High School to attend a Major university in several years and again, I saw all signs pointing to teaching and Band. While at OU I worked long and hard to complete a 148 hour, 5 year degree in just 4 years so I could follow my passion of teaching and get out into the "Field" quicker. In fact, I was one of only 9 people to complete this degree in 4 year flat in the history of the OU School of Music. As I approached graduation in 2005 I began student teaching with one of the Best Band Directors in the State of Oklahoma, Susan Clothier. I learned so much for her and it is for her mentor-ship that I am the teacher I am today. 

After graduation in May of 2005 I began looking for a job and thanks to Susan I was offered a job teaching music and band in Bowlegs, OK. This was a learning experience to say the least. While working at Bowlegs, if you would have asked me how I liked it I would have said "Not at all" but looking back it was one of the most learning years of my life and once again, if it weren't for this experience I would not be the teacher I am today. This was a job of teaching elementary music to 1-4 graders and band to 5-12 graders which included marching band. This was a small school and the high school band was only 22 students large. Despite the smallness of the band, I still considered the position a "BAND JOB" and didnt focus too much on the elementary music side of the position. 

In March of 2006, Chris and I got married and I immediately began to look for a job closer to home, which was in Norman. After a spring and summer of looking, I eventually landed at Grove School in Shawnee, OK. This too was an elementary music and band job. I taught K-4 elementary general music and 5-8 band, which included Jazz Band. These 5 years were the most pivotal, enjoyable and incredible years of my career thus far. During my directorship, the Grove Band got the school's first ever "Straight Superior Ratings" on stage and broke many other school records. In addition to these performing ensembles, I was selected as "Grove Teacher of the Year" in 2010-2011 and "Pottawatomie County Masonic Teacher of Today" in 2011. But again, I considered this to be a "BAND JOB" with elementary music on the side. 

In 2011 when Chris and I decided to move to Texas I just knew that my career was going to EXPLODE. This was what I had been waiting for my whole career... to get into the great BAND state of Texas. My resume was packed with experience, a Master's degree and even a teaching award or two. Yet somehow after nearly 2 months of looking for a band job, all I could find was an elementary music position. I landed at Spring ISD in 2011 teaching general music to K-5. These 2 years were once again, a learning experience for me and while I spent about 60% of the time dis-liking the position I do appreciate the lessons I have learned while at Spring. My dislike for the job was because it was elementary music and not band... or so I thought. 

In the spring and summer of 2013 I looked anxiously for a band job and I went on several interviews for middle school and even high school band jobs. Yet after 8 band jobs interviews this summer, I was not offered a single one. In fact, I was offered 4 elementary music positions and even 2 CHOIR JOBS! I have not taught choir a single day in my life (In the school setting that is). 

This is when the light bulb began to shine in my head. "Maybe I'm not supposed to teach band, right now or at all"! Chris has always told me that I have a problem with looking towards HIS plan instead of going 100 miles an hour towards my own. I always kind of resented him for saying that BUT he is right. It seemed as if ever since I was 15 (HALF my life) the signs have been pointing to "BAND", but were those MY signs or HIS signs? 

If you asked me 9 years ago at the beginning of the 2005-2006 school year where I would be in 9-10 years... you cant bet your bottom dollar I would have NEVER IMAGINED here. In fact, my dream 5-10 years ago was to "Be a College Band Director". Just 2 years ago in 2011 when I was struggling to find a job my dream was to "Be a band director". Now if you asked me what my career dream is... I honestly don't know how I would answer that question. I would probably answer "The Potter's Hands"! 

Before I had kids I would ranked my titles as: 
1. Career (Teacher, Band Director) 

2. Wife 
3. Mother 

Since having Natalie and Luke and especially since moving to Texas in 2011 these roles are reversed and maybe this is God's plan. I am just waiting for Him to show me what His plan really is. Anxiously waiting. 

As I was meeting my new principal at the district I am at now, she mentioned that within the first 3-4 days of meeting me she sensed that I would make a wonderful administrator. I found this kind of odd since her and I had only met 4 days prior and she didn't even interview me for this position. Oddly, enough the 2nd week of school 2 of my teammates came to me and said that I had wonderful organizational skills and they could tell I love helping kids. This made me take off my "BAND" blinders and perhaps look towards a different road. 

A few Sunday's ago in our Sunday School we read about trials and tribulations and while this is not hardly a trial or tribulation, it is still an area of my life where I am having to RELY on God and Trust Him. This is not always easy, especially for me! But this same Sunday after our class was finished one of the special music selections was "The Potter's Hands". I sat up in the orchestra and played my saxophone with tears running down my cheeks listening to the words of this song: 

Beautiful Lord, wonderful saviour

I know for sure, all of my days are held in Your hands
Crafted into Your perfect plan

You gently call me, into Your presence
Guiding me by, Your Holy Spirit
Teach me dear Lord
To live all of my life through Your eyes

I'm captured by, Your Holy calling
Set me apart
I know You're drawing me to Yourself
Lead me Lord I pray

Take me, Mold me
Use me, Fill me
I give my life to the Potter's hands
Call me, Guide me
Lead me, Walk beside me
I give my life to the Potter's hand

I am at a fork in the road, with many different road choices, and I am trying not to selfishly think of my desires but to look to Him and what He desires for my life. I am enjoying my job at my new district and I am not unhappy but I can still feel that little tug on my shoulder... I just don't know what the tug is for!

God is good... All the time! 

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