“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
When my Small Group signed up for a Brookside Road Trip in May, I figured it would be a good opportunity to see what was going on in this part of the city. I did not, however, anticipate that this Saturday morning event would directly impact me, and my career, like it did.
As a teacher, I was most eager to learn about the emphasis on strong educational structures as one of the five pillars of a healthy community. I was somewhat familiar with The Oaks Academy but was looking forward to learning more. We visited two of the schools, and Andrew Hart, the CEO of schools, explained The Oaks’ mission to provide a rich, Christ-centered educational experience in order to facilitate community renewal. Everything he shared resonated with my beliefs about what true education should look like – ideals that are often not a reality in today’s educational climate. It was encouraging to see such an example of what education could be.
As the tour concluded, I felt prompted to consider stepping outside of my comfort zone to invest in eternally significant ways; however, I wasn’t sure what that meant or if it was even related to Brookside. I just had a vague sense that I needed to be open to change of some sort.
Later that day, I couldn’t get The Oaks off my mind, so I explored the school’s website. I was further drawn to its emphasis on cultivating purposeful diversity and valuing students as whole people made in God’s image. Their core values of the personhood of the child, relationships first, authentic learning, and education as a catalyst for renewal appealed to me as both a Christian and an educator. Everything I learned struck me as deeply intentional and worthwhile.
Suddenly, I found myself seriously considering applying to teach at The Oaks even though I’d had no intention of leaving my current public school position. The only thing I could not find on the school’s website was a list of specific job openings. On the off chance that they needed a middle school language arts teacher now or in the future, I decided to send in my résumé, not really expecting anything to come of it.
To my surprise, I heard back from The Oaks that they were indeed looking for a middle school language arts teacher! Two weeks and several interviews later, I was offered the position. After much prayer, I accepted the job and now continue to be amazed by the opportunity God placed in my path. The more I learn about The Oaks’ curriculum, culture, and philosophy of education, the more grateful I am to be part of this unique school. I am humbled and excited to be involved in the work of not just educating students’ minds but also their hearts.
Although I was not looking for a new job that Saturday morning, I can clearly see God’s sovereign hand orchestrating the whole situation. Without the perfectly-timed Brookside Road Trip along with other “coincidental” details, I would not have applied to The Oaks. This experience has shown me that God can use anyone’s experiences and gifts in meaningful ways, and I am thankful He provided this opportunity for me. I have seen firsthand the importance of responding to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and walking through the doors God opens. His plans are perfect and far above what we could ask or imagine! I look forward to continuing to experience that sovereign guidance as I step out of my comfort zone and into my new role at The Oaks.