It’s a story I’ve shared countless times, but one that is able to explain how I found my way.
I was a freshman at Southwest Texas State University, and an elementary education major – determined to follow in my mother’s footsteps. She had died less than a year prior to me setting foot on my college campus and I wanted to be every part of who she was as a human.
“I’ll carry on her name,” I told myself and my father.
Enter the “Music for Elementary Education Teachers” class. Three times a week, an hour each meeting, we were taught how to play a recorder and the organ – and then taught how to teach children to play. At the end of the semester, we took an arm full of recorders and visited a local elementary school, distributing them among the children in a classroom.
Within seconds, they all began blowing them. All at once. All very loud. No, no, no.
The following day, I declared English my major. True story. I was 18 years old, and told my academic advisor about what happened, and that, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t do that. So many kids. So much noise.” I loved my mother, and missed her terribly, but her path wasn’t mine.
For two years, I flip-flopped between English, back to Elementary Education, and back to English. I was completely unsure of my future. And I panicked at age 20 that I didn’t know what I would do FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.
Remember those days?
I met a friend of a friend who knew I wanted to make some extra money, and he suggested I write for the university’s newspaper… because they paid. So, timidly – I am an introvert – I walked into the newspaper office and asked if I could write an article. I was assigned to write about two professors on my campus who had authored a book.
I called them and asked questions. They answered them, and I wrote my first article. And I thought, “I can do this. I can make a difference, and a living, doing this.”
It was humbling. And it was then I felt relaxed and at peace for the first time in a couple of years at school.
I found my calling, my purpose in serving, and spent more than 20 years in the newspaper business telling story after story. Throughout those decades, I knew I was making a difference in the lives of others. Through my words, yes, but through their stories and vulnerability to share. It was a privilege to meet every single person.
We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Romans 8:28
I called my father after I knew in my heart that I had secured my future, and told him I would soon declare Mass Communication-Print Journalism as my major. He asked, “How much more school am I paying for?” Fair question. We still laugh about it more than two decades later.
But, still. Our talents and gifts, which we use for our calling, are not chosen by us. God endows us with these gifts and talents. We are called by Him.Women of Noble Character
My job didn’t define me, but what I was able to do through it for so long defined my passion.
In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. – Proverbs 16:9
It reminds me of the saying, “We make plans, and God laughs.”
I went to college wanting to continue my mother’s legacy. To reach out to children and nurture them the way she did. That was her calling. I walked onto campus in the fall of 1989 resolute in my plan.
And there was misstep after misstep – and every sign I was on the wrong path – until I walked into the journalism building not knowing my future was on the other side of the door.
I never picked up another recorder again.