It was just a little over four years ago when the Bishop extended me a call to teach in the primary. Although I was very excited to finally have a non-music calling, I wondered a bit about the divine inspiration that had led to the offer. Kirk was serving as a ward clerk and had mentioned to the bishop that I had never had an opportunity to serve in any capacity besides music, and a week or two later, I found myself with a new calling.
That opportunity recently ended, with what seemed like about as much inspiration as it had begun. I was released after bursting into tears when, during Adam's baptism interview, the bishop asked me how my calling was going. After I explained that my increased hours with children due to student teaching made me very impatient in primary, he told me they would find a replacement. "But," I explained through embarrassed tears, "Shouldn't my release come as a prompting from Heavenly Father telling you, 'Sister Fife can't handle this?' If you haven't been told that, maybe I am just supposed to handle it." The bishop explained that my bursting into tears was the prompting, and I gratefully accepted my release.
But one week later, when Kirk's not so subtle hints to both bishopric and Sunday School presidency ended in an extended call to teach Gospel Doctrine, I started to feel a little... overlooked. Didn't Heavenly Father have any specific plans for me? Would I only ever serve in capacities suggested by my husband?
I accepted the call, excited to do something so challenging, and appreciative of a husband who is willing to advocate for opportunities for my personal growth. But I still wondered a bit at why it seemed the sequence of events was man-made, when I have been taught that callings come fro Heavenly Father.
I prepared my first lesson carefully, trying to adapt my experience with teaching kids to techniques for leading a discussion in a room full of people smarter than me. I rehearsed certain sentences in my mind, working out the rambling, choosing efficient words, basically writing it out like a blog in my mind. I prepared a graphic organizer to keep me on track and to offer as a take-away for the lesson.
I didn't really notice my lack of nerves until Sunday morning when I reflected back to day 1 of my student teaching. On that morning, I was sleep-deprived and nauseous from the extreme nerves. I paced at the back of the classroom until it was my turn to teach. But the morning of my first gospel doctrine lesson, I was calm and well-rested. And at that point, I realized something.
The Lord had prepared me for this calling. In the pursuit of my elementary education license, I have had so many experiences that contribute to my ability to teach adults (without freaking out). And I realized something else.
If the Lord had prepared me months and years in advance, then this must be a part of His plan. And how my Heavenly Father chose to carry out His plan should be no concern of mine. Just as I have been taught, callings are extended from our Father in Heaven, and I now get an opportunity to do a job for which the Lord has prepared me.
I am not overlooked. My Heavenly Father loves me.
Now I just need to pray that the nervous rash that starts at my neck and spreads to my chest and face will not appear during my next lesson so my brother-in-law and Kirk's friends will not feel it necessary to remind him not to give his wife hickies on days when she has to teach Sunday School.
I was not particularly prepared for that.