I may have been the least likely one from my first grade class to become a teacher. I was probably the least likely one to sing in front of large crowds, and especially to speak at churches and teacher conferences.
I was very shy and apparently, I was a slow reader. I recently stumbled across my old first grade report card, and I noticed that every six weeks my wise teacher would write something like, “She’s very quiet…needs to work on reading.”
I lacked confidence. Maybe I lacked ability, too.
I remember how my class divided into groups to go into different first grade rooms for Reading instruction. Now, I know this process as something like “Walk to Read” or “Reading Rainbow” or some other fun name that simply means the kids are going to be divided up to meet with a teacher who will come to whatever level they are presently reading on and take them up from there. It’s a good concept and I’m sure it gave me a great foundation. But…
I. Was. Terrified.
I had just become comfortable with my new first grade class and teacher and now–BOOM–I was going into another room for about an hour a day with a different teacher and different kids. And I had to try and read when I couldn’t really figure out how to get started.
“She’s very sweet…her Reading needs improvement. She is very quiet and shy. She needs to gain some confidence in her abilities. ”
I was the least likely one from my class to become a teacher. Or a speaker. Goodness, maybe even a writer.
But God, He had other plans for me.
I eventually learned to read, as many, many kids do. It wasn’t on the timeline that was dictated by a set of standards created by non-educators. It just happened with time, practice, and patience from great teachers and great parents.
And then…I didn’t just learn to read…I LOVED to read. When I was in fifth grade, I found a book in a yard sale pile from a series called The Babysitters Club. And just like that–I became an avid reader. I started saving money for Babysitters Clubbooks, begging for books at the grocery store, asking for historical fiction books at birthdays and Christmas, and hitching rides to the library. My school librarian came to know me by name, because I was no longer the girl who needed to work on her reading. I was the girl who was learning vocabulary, building up my comprehension and background knowledge, and even working on my speaking skills with each and every new word I read.
And I read all the time. I read on the bus, in study hall, in front of the TV, in the dark (“Paige–you’ll strain your eyes!”), in the floor, outside–everywhere.
I was now a reader. Albeit, a shy, quiet reader. And there’s nothing wrong with that at all, except that God had other plans for me.
Because of my love for reading, my writing abilities were honed and sharpened. My teachers encouraged me greatly as a writer and gently prodded (and poked, too) me to write out of my comfort zone. I wrote for the school newspapers and the yearbook. And then I started writing poetry. And then I started writing songs.
But sharing them was pretty hard.
You see, the devil, he is our enemy. And he will take things about us that are NOT bad, and he will make them seem like the worst possible traits to possess.
You’re too shy. You aren’t really a writer. You can’t even read the Biology book in front of your class without panicking. You won’t be able to share this.
I grew up in the “Singing Munchers”, you know, and I’d been singing with my family for awhile (if you call my whole life awhile). I’d even sung solos and duets with my friends.
But sharing my own songs, and talking about them…that was another matter entirely. Sharing words from your own heart can leave you feeling raw and vulnerable like nothing else.
I was the least likely person to be doing those things.
But God, He had other plans for me.
He had songs, He had words, He had women’s conferences, He had an army base full of singing soldiers (and a skipping CD), He had roomfuls of children waiting to learn, He had teachers wanting some inspiration. Yes, He had lots of plans for me.
Even though I’m the least likely one to work on His plan.
He has a history of doing that, you know. In the Bible, we see so many least-likelies. It almost seems like the least-likelies are His favorite ones to use! Could it be?
A tongue-tied Israelite adopted into Pharoah’s family, who later leaves his adopted family, only to murder someone and run away into the wilderness. That’s who God chose to use to guide His children out of slavery and towards the Promised Land. Moses was certainly an unlikely leader.
A harlot. That’s who God chose to aid His people in the fight for Jericho. And Rahab did exactly as He purposed.
A scrawny shepherd boy who slayed a giant, became a mighty warrior and leader, and then fell to temptation and committed adultery. That’s who God appointed as a King after His own heart.
Jonah was a runner who became a great prophet.
Mary was a young virgin who became the mother of Jesus.
Matthew was a despised tax collector who became a disciple.
Peter was an impulsive loud-mouth, by some standards, who became a leader of the New Testament church.
Paul was a Christian-killer who became a Christian and wrote much of the New Testament letters to the Christian churches.
And I was a sinner who became saved.
I was a struggling, shy reader and writer who became a teacher, writer, singer, teller of God’s faithfulness, and disciple of His love.
Even though I was the least likely one.
Where are you at now? Where are your struggles? The Lord delights in taking you right where you’re at and healing you, growing you, changing you. For BIG things. For GREAT things. For His glory. Through the blood and grace of Jesus Christ, His only Son.
He has great plans for you.
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7