Sunday, May 4, 2014

Harlan, IA

Time to catch back up on the story of where we've been.

After two years in Norfolk, and Nebraska Christian College (1999-2001), we left to go back to Iowa and one of the top high schools in the state, Harlan Community, in Harlan, IA.  We left NCC for two reasons.  I feel like every job we have is not just a job, but I believe it is our ministry.  I believe that my ministry is in the public schools. That's where I feel like I make a difference.  

Secondly, and maybe what I'm not the proudest of at that time of my life, but I was too competitive.  I was still too much into coaching basketball.  I liked working with the guys at the college, liked being the AD at that level, and enjoyed working as the Dean of Students, but coaching there was a different experience, and I didn't have the right attitude about it.  I'm not proud of that fact, but I think that's the truth.  God was still at work on that and He took me to Harlan to teach me.

Skip ahead to the fall of 2004.  That's the fall that my mom passed away.  That year of coaching was the most difficult one I experienced in all of my years on the bench.  I think I grieved the entire season.  We had a good year in terms of wins and losses, but the season ended with me frustrated and not being fair to the girls I was coaching.  They are good people, and some I know are doing great, great things right now in their professional and personal lives.  They were rewarded for their hard work the next year with a trip to the state tournament.  I was happy for them.

After the season I was planning to get regrouped, and get ready for the next season.  One thing haunted me though.  Knowing I missed mom, and realizing how short our time here can really be, I knew with the way we played games in the Hawkeye 10 Conference I would have a hard time watching A.J. play basketball as he got older because we played many nights with girls at one site, and boys at another.  I always loved my family very much and have been so blessed by them, but I think for a lot of years my priorities shifted back and forth too much, especially during basketball season. I was very torn in the Spring of 2005, but knew we'd probably just have to work it out.  

God had other plans and one experience changed that.

I was sitting at my computer before school one morning and I heard a voice. It was as if someone was standing in the room talking to me.  The voice said, "Call Kevin Elwood". Kevin is the Superintendent at Treynor.  I sat there for awhile, but then decided I had better act on what I'd heard, so I e-mailed Kevin.  I said, I don't know why I'm emailing you, but I feel like I'm supposed to, and asked if they had any positions open.  Kevin responded that just so happened they were getting ready to hire a P.E. Teacher/Athletic Director.  I about fell off of my chair.  Kevin said they were just getting ready to check references and make an offer that day, but if I wanted to apply they would wait and give me an opportunity. I still get chills as I type this and think about how the Holy Spirit spoke to me that day and set up our future.
"For I know the plans I have for you". 

That's the shortened version.  Needless to say, that set up a whirlwind couple of weeks for our family. Totally unexpected.  We ended up accepting the position in Treynor two weeks later, and I'm still in awe of how God uses broken people, reaches out, and begins to heal them.  How He shows up when we may least expect it.  Why?  Because He loves us.  More than we can, and will, ever be able to fathom.

One thing I learned through that experience is to listen.  The more difficult part sometimes is to act on what He tells us.  I look back and am so humbled that we were able to go to Treynor.  I was able to not only watch A.J., but to help coach him.  I was able to all of his, and Abby's games because of how we played in the Western Iowa Conference.  I was able to begin this journey of doing what I do now, being an Athletic and Activities Director.

I need to be clear, I don't say any of this as someone who deserved any of what God gives me.  Why did I have to hear a voice?  Probably because I was too dense to get any other hints.  It's not because I'm special in any way, just slow to figure things out at times.  I hope you know I write this humbled and amazed.  

I continue to be amazed at how much He loves each of us.  How much His grace covers us each and every day. His timing is perfect and He wants to bless us, but sometimes we have to step out in faith.  Who knows where that listening may take you.  Wherever it does it's great to know Who goes before us and with us.

May you be blessed and experience His hand each and every day.  Keep listening.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

He is Good!

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post, Todd. God puts you in places to not only be blessed, but to be a blessing to others around you - including me.