Writing contribution by Stefanie Rouse
Have you ever planned something out in your life and it not go the way you wanted it to? That has happened to me—a lot.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. ~Proverbs 3:5-7
…my mother and father-in-law. They have both worked at the same Christian school together for many years. They watched all three of their boys go through the school and Kay (my mother-in-law) had the boys in her art class. John (my father-in-law) coached all the boys in cross country—my husband even winning the state championship his senior year with the team! Caleb (my husband) and I were both working at a Christian school that are sports rivals with our families school. It was special visiting each others schools and introducing the “Rival Rouse’s,” but each with the same purpose—All four of us have a mission on our hearts to love and serve kids. We all see the value of speaking into the lives of young ones and the impact it has for the kingdom of God.
I loved waking up and going to work everyday with my husband. I loved that he brought be a snack at ‘nutrition’ time and I loved eating lunch with him everyday! I loved my students, classroom and getting to disciple kids along side my husband. I loved running after school with him everyday and feeling like my prayers were answered of getting to do ministry with my husband.
I thought about our future kids being in my classroom one day and Caleb coaching our kids as we worked together. But our thoughts are not God’s thoughts, and His ways not our ways. His path looks different than ours.
I was the Spiritual Formations and Biblical Studies teacher for our middle school that focused on family and friend relationships. It was an extremely challenging yet rewarding position because I could see real change in the hearts and lives of my students. I loved the impact I was making. But there was one person in a place of power at our school that seemed to have it out for me since the beginning. I thought it was all in my head, but as the years of working and examples I had written down increased, the more I couldn’t explain what was happening. When the person got some other people to go along with her during my third year of working there, it was too much for me to bear. In times I asked for support, I got the opposite and knew I couldn’t continue in that way.
I asked God why this was happening, I wanted to have nothing but love in my heart for everyone.”
And I continued to get this answer: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.~Genesis 50:20
There were other signs we weren’t supposed to be working at this school any longer, but we kept praying and seeking, making sure that we were going along God’s path. We wanted to handle everything in the most honorable way possible. The cry of our hearts was for God’s guidance and leading. It was over a year ago now that we saw that there were big changes about to happen in our life. And we went through a huge mix of emotions last year.
I’ve struggled through so many feelings of being unworthy, a failure, and not good enough but also knowing I worked my hardest, did a wonderful job and we made a huge impact in the lives of many students.
‘You can have it all, Lord,’ has been our safe landing in the midst of this uncertainty. Where would we work, what would we do, how could God heal our hearts from this? It’s been less than 6 months with the changes of our jobs. Caleb works at a public school and is the Athletic Director and I have started our own photography/mentor business that Caleb is apart of. It’s not all roses for us—the changes have been hard in a lot of ways, but I am honestly so grateful. I’m grateful for the way it has made me trust God in a deeper way—especially about surrendering our will to His perfect will and to trust him for healing from any hurts or bitterness. He is our great counselor, leader and teacher. We don’t know what our future holds but we know who holds it, and He is good even when we don’t understand.
It’s scary starting something brand new. I was just looking back at my journal from three years ago and I wrote about a company I wanted to start with my husband. It would involve counseling (I have a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy), combined with social media, making classes for others online, along with pretty pictures and inspiration. Although it’s a young company and things are challenging, I see we are starting something we could have never done if we continued working where we were. So far I’ve been working on some helpful marriage and family therapy courses that people can take online, getting to shoot engagement photos and even a wedding. I’m hoping for many more great opportunities and hopefully the chance to impact others for good.
What things in your life are you taking control of today that God might be asking you to surrender? For us it has been our finances, relationships, church, jobs, moments spent, and our hearts—everything. He’s leading us. He can have it all.
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As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.~Isaiah 55:9
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.~Psalm 16:7
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.~Psalm 32:8
Stefanie and Caleb Rouse are bloggers, photographers and educators at Unshakable Crown. This LA couple are hopeless romantics, photographers, love pretty pictures and sweet stories. Stefanie has her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, has taught Bible for the last three years and photography has always been her passion. She also has classes towards a degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. Caleb played basketball in college and has his Masters in Education. They love people, and would love to connect with you. “We love Jesus and the healing and redemption He brings into our lives and the lives of others. We enjoy adventures, laughing, and animals.”
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