Friday, November 15, 2013

Lessons from Second Grade Girls

At my church this school year, I'm teaching the second grade girls in the mid-week program. I saw the appeal for teachers on Facebook on a Monday night and I felt drawn to it, but I'm not a religion teacher.

Surely there was someone more qualified. I argued this point with God.

Besides, I had other plans on the first night of class, so it had to be that someone else was destined to teach second grade this year. Tell you what; I bargained with the big man upstairs, if the ad is still in the Sunday bulletin, I will talk to Amy about it. But, I'm not the person, so you need to have someone else step up.

Do you know that bargaining rarely works with God?

Yeah, but I had my hopes. And here I am with 6 adorable, innocent little girls looking up to me one night each week.

And the truth is I feel inadequate. Surely, there is a soccer mom or a home schooling mom or a pastor wife mom who would be so much better at this than I would. The key word in that sentence is mom, and that is something I am not. Momma Girl to a fur baby doesn't count.

But I show up each week, and I ask God to give me the words and to fill in the gaps I might create. I pray that He will give me what I need.

It came to me as I lay here tonight, that maybe my being not a mom is the reason God has called me. My singleness isn't a topic of conversation with the second graders, but it's no secret. Maybe one of these sweet children will one day need to know that it's okay to be single and going on 50. Possibly 40 years down the road, it will be one of them struggling with being single in a married church. Being childless in a mom population. Needing to know there is life and love and happiness without a husband or children.

I'll be honest. Singleness is something I have never wanted to claim. I was the girl who wanted to get married young, have six kids, and be Grammy by the time I was hitting 50.

When my two younger sisters got engaged before me, I railed at God about the unfairness of it all. My baby sister was only 18 when her husband popped the question. I told her, it's not right, a younger sister getting married before the older.

Her response was a simple; I want to have kids before I'm too old.

Wow, she couldn't have known at that age how true her words would be because I'm still not married, and she has approached the age at which it soon would be too late for her to have kids. Good thing she's strong willed and has always known what she's wanted.

Both of my sisters became incredible moms, and I never once held it against either of them that they got married before I did. (My brother went off and got married young and had kids also, but it wasn't quite the same when the older brother got married before me!) I love all of their kids and relish my role of auntie.

Somewhere in my early 40s I came to realize that my having kids was not part of God's plan for me. He had another road for me to travel. It was hard and beautiful and heartbreaking, but truth is I wouldn't have walked away from this road because God had an incredibly important role for me, and he was there holding my hand the whole way. Along that road, he showed me how he had been working in my life. He filled me with the amazing knowledge that this was part of the plan.

And part of that plan was to teach second grade girls.

There are still nights that I wonder if I am really teaching them anything, but I try to remember that showing up, loving on them, listening to them - that's important. I trust that God is using my participation to minister to them in some way. Then a couple of weeks ago, one of the moms told me that her daughter loves coming because she really admires me. That made my heart sing!

No, most of life is not what I would have chosen, but God has his plans. And one thing I've learned is that God's plan is always better than mine.


  1. This is such a beautiful heart felt post. You know you can love and "mother" those girls as you teach them. There is nothing more powerful than loving them and they will always remember you for that. I'm sure singleness can't be easy. But, it sounds like you are accepting His plan for you and having faith that he is guiding you in what is right for Tamara.

    1. Thank you for your sweet comments, Lisa. Singleness is not easy, but neither is married life. It took me a lot of years to realize that. I'm loving teaching the second graders and just keep trusting that God has a plan in this for me and for the girls.

  2. Sharing your heart is bound to touch someone. I know that I know a little of what you have gone through. I was married later in life than most my friends, I was 38. I ranted and railed at God, asked Him for the Gift of Singleness if I was meant to have it, or to send someone my way. Never got that contentment, In my own life, He said that I had to get the courage to help myself to finding someone. This was before the days of internet Christian singles sites. So, surrounding myself with understanding friends, I placed an ad in our very large local paper. I am in a large Texas town. I had 8 replies and I spoke numerous days on the phone and prayed that I was not answering the ad of a lunatic or murderer. God intervened and I met my husband. Not sure what God has in mind for your future, but I know that you are pursuing one of your goals to be published and like Paul says, It is better to remain single to keep your eyes solely on God, if you have that gift. Like you, I am a mom to furry creatures and I am fine with that. I am with the little ones 12 hours a day at work, I am a school teacher while pursuing my writing in spare time. I admire your courage to pursue your dream unencumbered with work, by faith. The singleness thing is just there. Like you said, marriage can be hard and singleness can be hard. But because I knew I did not have that gift, God has given me and my spouse a contentment together (17 yrs) that I never had as a single. I will send up a prayer that God will give your peace or help you to find someone. Blessings on your dreams.

  3. Laura, thank you for visiting and your kind comments. What a great story you have. May God bless you in your marriage and your pursuit of writing.