But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.2 Thessalonians 3:3
Sixteen times I have stood in the doorway of an empty room and looked back. Sixteen times I have uttered a deep sigh and whispered a heartfelt prayer. Sixteen times I have taken a step toward unknown territory. My life as a teacher has been one classroom move after another.
I didn’t set out to be this kind of teacher. Budget cuts, the birth of my children, and pivotal career moves have all been part of these equations. With each uncertain step forward, I have gained a renewed understanding of the faithfulness, grace, and love of the Father.
There is something about starting over that is both energizing and frightening. We may look back and wish to stay where we were. But when we feel called, nudged—or forced— into new territory, we have a choice to make about our reaction and dependence on God.
As I have processed each change, I rested confidently knowing that these are stepping stones in the story God is writing on my life. Men and women throughout scripture questioned the choices and decisions they were forced to make.
Moses had no desire to fight with Pharaoh.
Esther didn’t want to be the one to expose the wicked plot against the Jews.
Paul undoubtedly didn’t set out to be imprisoned and shipwrecked.
Despite when life appeared to be hard and uncertain, they were successful in accomplishing what God had called them to do. His mercy and faithfulness were displayed, and He was glorified.
At some point in my journey from one job to another, I started to learn a valuable lesson about the walk of faith. Early on, I counted each passing move as a mark on my resume. A place to say I had landed and belonged. Miles logged and journeyed.
I was constantly looking backward and proudly recounted what I had experienced.
Slowly a shift began to emerge and rather than look back at the mileposts, I began to look ahead for the next one. When our focus shifts from looking back to seeking, we find ourselves in the perfect position for God to work..
Looking forward allowed me the opportunity to see the pieces that God was lining up to complete His work. I grew in listening for His voice, following His lead, and praying for His wisdom.
Mileposts in our faith come in the most unexpected ways. We find them when we have gone through difficult or disappointing circumstances. We see them when we find answers to prayer. We glimpse them when we are waiting for answers in the darkest nights.
When we reach these places, we are encouraged to pause, rest, and reflect. It is here that God reminds us of our worth and that we can press on with Him. We see the beauty of His presence and find hope in the heaviness.
Each time I stopped at those doorways to my empty classrooms I would smile through tears. These were the places God met me. Here is where I listened and was encouraged. In those quiet spaces I experienced His gentle nudge to look and see what was next. I came away knowing Him more.
But the most beautiful part of God’s love is that when standing in the doorway of a new classroom He was with me, too. His promise to never leave us assures us that no matter where we find ourselves in this faith walk, we have a traveling companion who knows the end, beginning, and every stop along the way. His presence makes every step worth measuring.
Laura Sumpter is a native of the Pacific Northwest. She has been a teacher for over 20 years and she loves teaching children and women of all ages how to practically apply Scripture. She counts her husband and three children as the greatest blessings of her life. When she is not writing or teaching you can find her at the beach, in her garden, decorating her home, or playing with her family. Laura lives each day believing that God is faithful, no matter the circumstance. She desires to express the deep and satisfying hope that only Jesus can bring. You can find the lessons God is teaching her at her blog for-this-reason.org or on Instagram.