On True Stories

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Happy Friday! This lovely morning I’m joining Lisa-Jo and the Five Minute Friday bunch. Today, everyone’s writing on the topic of true. Will you join me and read, write, or both for five (ish) minutes? Here’s how it works:

  1. Write for 5 minutes – no editing, no over-thinking, no backtracking.
  2. Invite others to join in.
  3. And then: go visit the person who linked up before you and drop them a note!

Five Minute Friday

T
rue story: Once upon a time, I graduated college with a social studies education degree and two minors that my adviser convinced me would make me more marketable.

Turns out all I ever got from those minors (besides extra history and political science knowledge) was raised eyebrows and “why didn’t you just double major?” But that’s another story.

I got married and moved to Chicago a few weeks after graduation.  Teaching jobs were slim pickins, but I got an offer from a school on the south side.  In the hood.  There’s really no getting around it; by any definition, it was the hood.

Terrified as I was to begin my teaching career in one of the roughest high schools in the Chicago public school system, I had a strong sense of God calling me there.

That and I didn’t get any other offers.  And I figured if the girl who interviewed me (who was both smaller and whiter than me) could teach there, I probably could too.

It was always hard to describe my job to people.  There didn’t seem to be the right words or enough words.  Most days, I was too exhausted to use any words.

The crazy circumstances, combined with my own perfectionism and emotional sensitivity, made for one of the hardest years of my life.

It felt like I was working in a war zone.

Circumstances didn’t change much over the course of that first year, but thankfully, my perspective did.

I started drawing clearer lines between work and home life.  I became aware that I had been finding too much of my identity in being a teacher.  I realized I had believed that God was completely absent from my circumstances.

And then…I began to enjoy those precious kids more.  As I stopped worrying about perfectly performing, I connected with them better.  Over the course of that year and the next, they became very dear to my heart.

Yesterday, I read an article about my old school and the memories came flooding back.

But while I’m now in a different season of life, the lessons I learned nearly ten years ago on the south side of Chicago are strangely relevant to my roles as wife, mother, and keeper of my home:

Boundaries are good and healthy.  I love what I get to do every day as a wife, mom, and homemaker, but those roles don’t completely define me.  God is intimately acquainted with me and my circumstances; He is my ever-present help in time of need.

Which feels like pretty much all the time lately.

Confession: This was totally not written in five minutes. My need to reflect and process kind of took over.  Thanks for sticking around! 🙂

This entry was posted in Intentional Living, Musings on by .

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, having dinner guests, and elevenses. She is not afraid to lead a one woman crusade against the rampant misuse of the apostrophe. She is afraid to adopt kittens before the baby turns three.

  • soulstops

    Hi Jenn,
    I’m glad you took the freedom to write and process what you needed..I’m familiar with perfectionism and how letting go of it allows more freedom and joy to enter in my life…blessings to you 🙂

  • Rebekah

    Jenn, It is good to take the time to process – I did the exact same thing. Thank you for sharing your true story!

  • Somer

    i was encouraged reading this…my baby sister is in the trenches of teaching her first year and is somewhat rattled all the time..that treading water in a storm feeling..thank you for affirming that this is normal and the fruit was good!

    • Oh man, she’s totally not alone. First year of teaching is hard regardless of where you are. She’ll learn so much and the following year will be so much easier.

  • This is so open and raw, thank you for sharing Jenn. It’s never easy to admit to perfectionism but there’s also never any room for God in it either. Thank God for perspective changes and His ever present help! I never cease to marvel at the way He works.

  • “As I stopped worrying about perfectly performing, I connected with them better.”
    Oh Jenn, I take this and wrap it around me today. Thank you. Thank you. Again, thank you.

  • Amber Cadenas

    This is so encouraging, Jenn. I honestly love hearing about other people’s journeys – and especially today, after what I wrote for my FMF post (also, by the way, NOT in five minutes), it’s so timely to hear what you share here. About how, even those things you learned in what seems like a totally different context years ago, are “strangely relevant” to your roles today. Thank you.

    • I so enjoy others’ stories, too. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words, Amber.

    • I so enjoy others’ stories, too. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words, Amber.

  • Beth

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t help but to wonder…are you still in Chicago? I live near Chicago. 🙂

    • We moved to Texas (where I’m originally from) from Chicago 8 years ago and recently moved back to a more farmland-ish part of Illinois :). But I still love the city and we go when we can.

    • We moved to Texas (where I’m originally from) from Chicago 8 years ago and recently moved back to a more farmland-ish part of Illinois :). But I still love the city and we go when we can.