“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to cast away; a time to fear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3; 1-8
I have always loved this verse and I go to it many times in life to think about the season I may be in. I am currently in a challenging season of my life and one that I feel will have the greatest impact on my future. Who am I outside of my career or my job?
I am on the threshold of my 20’s and soon I will be entering my 30’s- a totally different season than any I have been in before. All the things that I am working through right now will determine who I am in the future. Recently I have begun asking myself… ” Who was I before? Who am I today? and Who do I want to be?” I’m sure that you have asked yourself these exact same questions… and sometimes they are hard to answer and not always enjoyable, but these are three questions that I think are crucial in a person’s growth.
“Who was I before?” – When I look back at who I was during college and even 4 years ago, I know that there have been many changes in my life. While in college, I was a dreamer, thinking that I could do anything I wanted with my life, and was excited to be studying about music and how to become a teacher. I was meeting new friends, some of which are still my best friends even today. I was in a season of discovery and learning; Discovering who I was away from my family, discovering who I was as a friend and a student, learning how to manage my time better, learning how to not spend the little money I made, learning how to study and practice effectively, and learning how to teach and structure lessons.
Going into student teaching at the end of my college career, I was terrified yet excited. I was nervous about having to lead classes and was worried that I may not be good at applying the knowledge from my 4 years of studying the art of teaching when it really mattered. At the end of my student teaching, I realized how much I had grown through the experience- It was nothing like what I had pictured or studied about! Although I had studied and worked really hard during my undergrad, student teaching was a whole different beast of its own. I applied techniques I had used, but many times was challenged with the fact that one way does not work for all students, one method may not make sense to all the students. I found new ways of teaching the material, but beyond teaching, I loved the students! I loved being around the students and I wanted to make an impact in their lives. While some days were still difficult, I felt overall that I was where I was supposed to be.
I will never forget my last days of student teaching and feeling a sense of accomplishment, excitement for the future, humbled and loved. It was my last day of my student teaching at Glendale with the high school orchestra and the day after an amazing concert, i walked in to the school pretty sad knowing that that day was my last day with the students. There was a little breakfast put together for the teachers in one of the teacher workrooms and I remember walking down to get some food trying to think about something other than it being my last day. As I walked back into the orchestra room, food in hand, I was overcome with emotions as I stood in the doorway and the whole advanced orchestra cheered for me as they stood behind a banner they had made that read ” We will miss you, Miss. Hefta.” All the orchestra students in the program had signed the banner and written me little notes, apparently the night of the concert and I was completely humbled and shocked. I still have it rolled up in one of my closets.
The end of my season as an undergrad student had come to a close and I began a new season of waiting, praying and more self-discovery. I knew that I wanted to teach, but was unsure of when a job may open up and where. I felt in my heart that I was to stay in Springfield, even though I had a desire to explore and continue my education in another area. This was a hard season of my life, but a wonderful season of internal growth. It was during this time that I began to journal more and more, asking God about future plans, and waiting on the Lord for guidance and wisdom. It was the first time in my life that I truly had to place my trust in God and in His plans… I had to be okay with waiting. God came through and knew the desire of my heart to continue my education pursuing my Masters degree, and I was awarded the Graduate Assistant position of Orchestra at Missouri State University. Not only would I be able to get my Masters degree without adding to my school debt, but I was getting paid to work with incredible people while I was learning and gaining more knowledge for my career!!!!
The season of pursuing and applying came next. I was ready to begin my career as a teacher and unsure of where God would lead me again. Dave and I were engaged at this time and he was still living in Nashville and touring. We were not sure where we were going to live after the wedding, which at that point was 2 months away, and I had applied for a couple school positions, some in Nashville and 1 in Springfield. I was not ready to uproot from Springfield yet- my best friends were here, my violin/ orchestra communities were here, and I had a lot of connections through my universities, so when I saw that there was a job posted for an orchestra director with Springfield Public Schools the day I graduated with my Masters, I thought “This is my job!” God again knew the desires of my heart and I was given the privilege of teaching orchestra in Springfield.
I remember the night that I got the call from the principal saying he would like to offer me the orchestra position at Carver- I could not believe it! I was extremely humbled, blessed, and taken back that God would allow me to get the position. After getting off the phone, I was so ecstatic about being offered my “first Big girl job” that I screamed out the patio door of my apartment ” I got it… I got it!!! and not caring who heard or if I was disturbing anyone…. I was just happy and I had to shout! Here are a couple pics from my first couple weeks of teaching!!!
I look back on all the events I wrote about prior and I know that I am still happy with my job and being in Springfield, I am still reaping the benefits of God giving me the desires of my heart, and I am still enjoying life in Springfield with my best friends, amazing musician friends and colleagues in various orchestras in Springfield, and having connections with teachers and leaders in the Universities I went to. But honestly, I don’t truly know who I am today. I know what I do and the things that take up most of my time and energy and space in my mind. This year has been a hard teaching year for me with lots of challenges and new schedules that have made it harder to do my job but also to connect to the younger orchestra students. And I have allowed my thoughts to become more negative and my responses have not been as uplifting- which is so unlike me. I want to always encourage my students and be there for them, but it is really hard to do with the expectations I place on myself, others place on me and the challenges of this year. I have an board that i have written inspirational quotes and positive statements on throughout this year, the funny thing is that the particular quote i chose this last month has really been speaking to me. I know it to be a true statement, but man is it hard sometimes…
I am currently in-another season of life of discovering who I am despite the things I do or my job title. I have fallen into a rut of thinking I am just my job… I am a teacher. Yes, this is a part of who I am, but it is not the whole of who I am- I guess you could say I am having an “almost 30 crisis”. I am taking back my life and I am asking myself the next couple questions instead as I journey to find more meaning in the things I do, the person I am, and the person I want to be.
Who do I want to be? Who am I in Christ?
Also re-reading Captivating again by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you have not read this book, I would definitely recommend reading it to any woman who is asking themselves the questions that I have, any woman who is feeling discouraged, or a sense of failing at being the woman you want to be or what others expect you to be.
Happy Sunday All- Be encouraged- We all go through seasons and it is what we do in those seasons that determines our future.