Over the winter break, everything had stayed pretty quiet. At this time I was not really feeling a lot of momentum towards the school, but I was continuing to pray for God's timing in all of this- being patient and being in the waiting is hard though. Physically, I was starting to feel better from being so sick the week before and I was able to return back to work. Little did I know, that this would be a BIG week for the school and for me in this journey...
On my way to work one January morning, the song “Giants Fall ” came on by Francesca Battistelli came on.
We could really live like this Can't you imagine it So bold, so brave With childlike faith Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving So whatever you may face
Don't you be afraid Of giants in your way With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight He's right there by your side The stones inside your hand might be too small But watch the giants fall Ask and believe You're gonna see The hand of God in every little thing
Tears swelled up in my eyes as I sang along, thinking about how confident I am in God to do this, and then on the other hand, how I doubt myself to get through these giants. Those “giants” were having an actual building and then wondering if I would have to quit my job, how that would happen and when it would have to happen. I felt so intimidated by those areas- they were huge giants for me. In my journal that day I wrote about how I was feeling so unsure of how to start the school without a physical building and how in the world will I be able to afford it? But God was continuing to provide confirmations to me in sweet, small ways that, He’s got this.
“...But God. Only you can take down these giants for me. Thank you God for being so faithful to keep giving me confirmations that it's happening, but just be still. Let’s work these things out together. I can’t wait to share this story, God- how you are orchestrating this all together. Lord God, may YOU receive the glory. May people be so drawn to you Lord. May this school be a ministry to this community, not just for education, but a place to fall in love with you- with Jesus.”
It was pretty incredible what happened that next day.
A few weeks before, I had shared with my church Pastor about this idea God was planting in my heart and asked for prayers over it. Then, that Wednesday night at church as we were finishing up our supper and preparing to head into class, Pastor Derek came up to Chad and I and said these words, “The building is yours to use- we believe in you, we believe in the vision God has given you and when you are ready to open your school, you are welcome to use this building.” I really didn’t even know how to respond. It was the best overwhelming shock. He went on to share how he met with the other pastors and leadership team. They had been praying over this as well and they felt that God is leading them here too. How crazy amazing is it that I was just praying about the giant of not having a building, and then for our Pastor to come out and share this incredibly generous offer was blowing us away. He said we could talk more about it and all the details, but he wanted to go ahead and share this news with us! Chad and I kept looking at each other like- this is really happening? We all pray for God to open doors or windows for us at times and I felt like this was like him swinging it WIDE open, like the way a door does when the wind blows smacks it open.
That next morning I sat down to journal about what had happened:
“God you are so on the move. WOW. I can’t thank you enough for the ways you are working. It’s crazy. I’m not sure how to respond besides feeling so grateful, feeling so loved- feeling so seen and known by you. You are so in tune with my heart, with what I need. Lord please align my desires with yours. Lord give me clear vision and discernment when making these next few big decisions. I am going to keep pressing forward Lord, but it doesn’t even feel like pushing. It feels like you have gone ahead and done all the work. I am in awe- really.”
So, at this point in the journey, I had not shared this vision with anyone at work because I honestly wasn’t sure when or how. I knew God was calling me to start a school, but before this night I wasn’t sure if it was this year, next year, 5 years from now. It had only been in the pages of my prayer journal, but I felt so at peace and excited, so driven to go for it. Now, with the offer of hosting the school inside the church, it was getting real. We had some big decisions ahead of us.
I knew it was time to talk with someone at work about this vision- to share with them this dream. This would be the first time I would actually speak about it with someone other than my family or close friends. I didn’t even know at the time if I could plan and start a school while working for the school system. I picked up my phone and text one of my supervisors, asking to meet with her to chat. She had been in my life for years and I trusted her advice, expertise, and her opinion. She is someone who knows me well as an educator and leader- my strengths and my weaknesses. I knew she was the person I needed to share with first. We set up a time to talk that week...
“God- Today I am meeting with her to spill- to share all of this. Lord God, I am going to need you to speak through me. Give me the words to share with her. Give her wisdom in any advice she gives, and God please soften her heart towards this, Lord. Holy Spirit please go with me, fill that space and be present in her office. God help me to speak with confidence in you.”
Before walking down to her office, I closed my door and kneeled down behind my desk to pray. I felt like the day had taken forever to get to this point, but now that it was time I was beginning to feel so shaky. I was so nervous because I felt like by sharing this vision I was basically killing any chance of growing in my career with the school system. This was it and I was going to lay it all out there- everything from when this idea was planted, to the school visits, to meeting with TDOE, and now having the opportunity to start out of the church building. It felt like such a huge leap of faith to come out and tell her all of this. I didn’t know how soon I would have to quit, would I be able to plan the start of a private school while working in this position? So many unknowns and it all felt really scary. Thinking of leaving a secure job with benefits, insurance, and retirement for something that may or may not happen, I could feel the weight of everything I was giving up- doubt was creeping in. I prayed hard- asking God to take away the nerves, calm my anxious heart, and to give me confidence in this- give my courage and boldness to step out and share this. He who calls you is faithful. He will do it. I kept looking at those words on my dry erase board.. God you called me here, I know you are asking me to take a huge leap of faith. Then, the lyrics to the song Burn the Ships kept running through my mind. There’s no turning back- let go of the comfort of this job Sara, cut the ties and step out in obedience- step into this calling.
I stood up and began to walk down to her office. She met with a hug and smile as we sat down together. Before I could even get the words out, tears started streaming down my face. I think she knew this was probably leading towards an outcome of me leaving the district at that point. I pulled myself together and began to pour out my heart and speak about the ways God has been working and growing this desire to start a school over the past several months. As I continued to talk, my nervousness disappeared. I could feel the confidence in what God was doing just pouring out of me. It was such a good conversation! At one point, after sharing all that had happened she said, Sara- you have to do this. God is calling you to this!! Holding hands, she prayed over the school and the families that would attend, over Chad and my own children, over the building and the funds needed, over my heart and leadership. We both had happy tears flowing at that point. I could feel her genuine excitement for the school and for me.
I left her office and felt like 1000 pounds had been lifted off of me. I felt so free of holding in this amazing secret. I went outside and walked around the parking lot, just talking to God and thanking him for getting me through that, for her response and for everything God was doing ahead of me.
“Lord, you are continuing to orchestrate and align it all. I trust that you’ll continue to do that- let’s do this Lord!