I want people to know that God has given us passions and desires for a reason. He has given each one of us gifts and abilities, and He wants us to use them to bring Him glory.
As a child, Christianity was always something that came easily for me. I grew up in a Christian home, attended church and youth group each week, went to a Christian school and had plenty of Christian friends. It wasn’t until I went off to college that my faith truly became my own.
After high school I attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Although Miami was a public university, I knew they had a strong Campus Crusade ministry on campus where I would still have plenty of opportunities to grow in my faith and be challenged. My personal challenge going into college was to step out of my comfort zone and see that my faith was my own and not something that had always been decided for me.
Upon arriving at Miami, I applied for the Interior Design program and was denied. Although I was disappointed because design had always been a huge passion of mine, I quickly decided it was clearly not God’s plan for my life at that point in time. He had bigger plans. I enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program at Miami and met many wonderful, godly friends and was given opportunities to serve and love God’s children throughout my four years there.
Through my involvement in Campus Crusade, the Lord grew me immensely in my walk with Him. For the first time in my life, I learned what it looked like to spend daily time in the Word with the Lord and to be accountable to others. I developed many positive relationships with godly women who to this day challenge me and love me. I was involved in a Bible study with other women my age, led a Bible study for younger women, and even went on a spring break evangelism trip to Rome, Italy. I surrendered control over areas of my life that I had held onto for years and saw God work in wonderful ways. Junior year I started dating my now husband, who is such a strong man of God and always points me back to Him.
Like many recent college graduates, finding a job after college was a challenge. I really struggled with knowing what the Lord’s plans were for my life in the years following graduation. Being a planner at heart, I hated not knowing what was next. As my friends continued to get jobs and I didn’t, I asked myself questions like, “Why me?” and “What is my purpose?” Missing the community of believers I was surrounded by at Miami, I deeply craved a sense of belonging and a feeling of purpose.
Since graduating in 2011 I have been placed in numerous roles in various schools within the education system. Although some have been more challenging than others, one thing has always remained the same -- my desire to be creative. Through many challenging years, the Lord taught me that my job title neither defines nor limits me. Though my job path was somewhat unsteady at times, I was able to pursue some of the other passions the Lord had placed on my heart such as wedding planning, home improvement projects, interior design and blogging. I started a personal blog in 2012 as a creative outlet and a place for me to use some of the gifts God has given me. Today, I have teamed up with another Dayton creative to start a collaborative blog and I am still in the classroom as a Reading Intervention Specialist.
Through my story, I want people to know that God has given us passions and desires for a reason. He has given each one of us gifts and abilities, and He wants us to use them to bring Him glory. To be completely honest, I still do not know what the Lord’s plans are for my life. Each teaching position I have held has been short-term, meaning at the end of each school year I am left not knowing what’s next. This time of the year is always an anxious one for me as I feel like I am walking around with a huge question mark above my head. Although I may not know what my future holds in terms of a career, I do know that He holds my future and I can rest securely in that. Year after year, I find myself trusting God to show me a way and provide and year after year, He does. Giving up control can be hard, but in the end it is so rewarding. God’s plans for our lives are immensely bigger and better than any plans we could dream up for ourselves. I am excited to see where the Lord takes me from here and how He chooses to use the gifts He has given me in new ways.
Author: Jacqueline Brown