There has been a lot on my heart lately... April being Autism Awareness Month, Easter approaching, and of course my dad. And the many dreams I keep having about him. Almost every night.
The thing that has been on my heart even stronger lately, and why I feel led to write this week, is the one thing that has been ever constant and powerful over my life: God. His Grace. His Timing. It's more than my heart can process or understand. I wish I could write God a thank you letter for all He has done in my life. All He did in my life prior to my dad's passing...and the amazing love He brought into my life immediately following.
Growing up, it was apparent that I had a passion for teaching. I was always creating some sort of classroom and worksheets at home...my brother and sister being my students. Marissa being the easy student, and Colin being the...challenging student.
I also had a passion for the medical field...my favorite thing to do when I got home from high school was make a bowl of popcorn and turn on the Discovery Health Channel (I know my mom remembers this well).
When I graduated high school, I immediately began my college education studying nursing.
It didn't take long for me to realize that it wasn't for me. To be honest, I didn't know what I wanted to do. It was stressful. But even then I believed that I was supposed to trust in God's timing.
During the summer of 2009, I had my experience teaching ESL to Muslim women in Hamtramck. Soon after I changed my college major to elementary education with a major in math and a minor in language arts. This is where I felt God leading me, although I wasn't totally sold on it.
Then the big day came for me to graduate from college in May of 2013. My parents were so happy. And I was ready to begin looking for a job as a middle school math teacher.
The teaching market was tough though, and I began to feel discouraged. I questioned if I had made the right career move.
Fast forward a month into a new school year, and I began subbing in the Rochester school district. My friend was/is a teacher at an elementary school there, so when a sub job popped up at Hamlin, I took it.
Because of the subbing experience, I found myself falling totally in love with working with children with autism. It surprised me how much I loved it actually. It was a natural fit.
I never had any intention of beginning grad school as soon as I did, but I listened to my heart and this new passion and ran with it. I applied to a master's program and began taking graduate courses the summer of 2014.
Even though I knew what I wanted to do with my life, career-wise, I still hit some road bumps along the way. I was rejected a lot (both in the work field and by men). But deep down inside, I held tight to the dream and vision of being able to teach in Rochester as a teacher of students with autism. It was also during this time that my dad and I began to make peace, so he began to reach out to me more.
At the time I had this conversation with my dad in May of 2015, something inside me told me that I needed to save it. It was so special to feel my dad wanting to connect with me and encourage me along the way.
Before I knew it a year and a half went by...
September 13th, 2016: The day my dad found out his cancer was growing again.
September 17th, 2016: The night I had my first date with Jared (after not seeing him in almost 5 years).
September 18th, 2016: The day I got a call from the Director of Special Education for Rochester Schools saying they had a potential job opening for an elementary ASD teacher. They asked if I would come in for an interview the following day.
I had my interview in Rochester on September 19th. Had my follow up interview on September 26th. Signed my contract with them on September 27th. And started teaching in my very own classroom for students with autism on September 30th.
My dad lived long enough to see me get my dream job. He left this world just 5 short weeks later.
He always wanted the best for me. Through all the pain, of this I am sure. He always wanted me to be happy and successful. He wanted for me and believed I would get my dream job someday and find happiness with a man who could take care of and love me.
Although my dad never got to meet Jared, he did hear about him. When my dad was in the hospital for his biopsy on November 4th, the Friday before he passed away, I told him about how I had a date the next night with a good man that I really got along with well.
I think my dad's prayers for my life were all answered in just the right time so he could go in peace knowing that I was taken care of, loved, and would be loved.
Good things take time.