My journey as a Christian began whilst I was working full-time in a photo lab. I had spent 4 years training to be a teacher and, here I was, printing photos all day, every day. Not exactly how I’d planned my career to unfold!
I began to ask God if this was what he wanted me to do for the rest of my life. I knew that He had a plan for me and that it was the best plan for me and so I spent time praying and asking for him to show me what he wanted me to do. I really wanted a clear message from Him about whether or not he wanted me to be a teacher or a photographic printer. These prayers, and how God answered them, really strengthened my faith and gave me a clear understanding of what God’s plan was for me; I just needed to ask Him and He would show me. It was the start of many ‘God coincidences’ (although, I now don’t believe they were coincidences!)
"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 a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
God “Coincidence” Number 1:
I had learned ballroom dancing a few years earlier and so, one night, my house-mate, Alan, and I decided to go to a dance lesson. We drove all of the way from Glen Waverley to North Balwyn for the lesson and, on the way, we drove past North Balwyn Primary School. Out of nowhere Alan said, “That would be a good school for you to work at wouldn’t it?” I replied, “Yeah, it’s a school!” I didn’t think about it again until…
The next day – It was my monthly rostered day off from the photo lab and so I was planning on having a sleep-in. God had other plans!
At about 7am in the morning the phone rang. As I was sleeping in Alan answered it. The next thing I knew he was knocking on my door trying to tell me that Balwyn North Primary School was on the phone. I didn’t believe him, thinking he was playing a practical joke because of what had happened the night before. I reluctantly got out of bed and answered the call, expecting to hear a dial tone. To my utter amazement, it was indeed Balwyn North primary school wanting me to work as a casual teacher that day. It was such a significant confirmation that God did want me to be a teacher.
"If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me." Jeremiah 29:13
God “Coincidence” Number 2:
A short time after this, whilst still praying to God about my future, I drove past Glen Waverley Primary School on the way to work. Whilst stopped at the traffic lights I wondered whether or not I had actually sent that school a letter advising them that I was available to do casual teaching or whether I’d planned to visit them personally. That night, after I’d returned home from work, Glen Waverley Primary School phoned me to ask if I was able to work the following day. God was proving to be faithful at answering my prayers!
John, my boss at the photo lab, was amazing and gracious about giving me days off if I was asked to work at a primary school. However, I started getting calls from more and more schools and felt God tell me it was time to trust Him, to resign from my job and to just do casual teaching. This was really my first leap of faith but I know God was just waiting to prove how faithful He is to me.
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take." Proverbs 3:5-6.
Very soon after resigning from the photo lab, I was employed to teach PE at The Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind for a short-term contract. This was followed by another short-term contract in the Upper Primary classroom room. It was a real blessing because I had trained to teach vision impaired students. I loved every moment of it! Unfortunately, this is the only school for the blind in Victoria and so full-time jobs in this area were few and far between.
I continued to pray and seek God about my future. I felt Him prompting me to apply for teaching positions in Queensland, specifically the Toowoomba region. So, I began the application process whilst asking God to open and close doors for me. True to His word, he closed that door and I would soon realise why!
My application to teach in Queensland required that I include a reference letter from a previous employer. I asked the principal for a letter of recommendation and he said he would be happy to write one for me. However, he kept forgetting and I ended up missing the application closing date. I immediately felt God say He had closed that door and that I wasn’t meant to move to Queensland.
After my stint at the blind school ended, I continued to do casual work at quite a few different schools. The most significant of these was Mountain Gate Primary School in Ferntree Gully. It was a fairly rough school and the students were very difficult. Apparently, I was one of the few casual teachers that would actually work at the school! This worked well for me because I ended up being asked to teach the challenging Grade 2 class for the whole of Term 4 because their teacher had had enough of them and decided to take leave. It was a challenge but, being a new teacher, enthusiastic and determined, I managed to tame them and ended up having an amazing term.
Nearing the end of 1995, whilst I was working at Mountain Gate Primary School, my best friend from university phoned me one night to inform me that the school where she was employed needed a Special Education teacher. She immediately passed the phone to her boss who asked me to apply, by fax, the next morning. This position was in a Catholic secondary school in the small town of Leeton in NSW. It seemed like God was opening up a new door for me. I applied, attended an interview and got the job. God is so good!
I spent the next 11 years teaching at this school. I met my husband at this school. I had my two daughters in this town. I gained lots of teaching experience and made many friends. It was such a blessing!
This proved to me that God did care about me. He knew why He created me and He would guide my steps if I allowed Him to.