Have you ever faced obstacles that, in your own mind or way of thinking, there seems no way any good will come out of them? That has pretty much been my life! As a young girl, I had dreams of marrying the right man, having children and having a wonderful life filled with love. Not once did I dream that I would end up with an unfaithful husband or wind up divorced and raising two boys on my own.
But things happen, and life has been very different from what I expected it to be. As a single parent, I did not have the luxury of having someone to come home to, or someone to help me through the trials and tribulations. Still, failure was not an option for me because I knew I had God, and I knew I could trust Him for everything. The more I had to rely on Him, the more I learned how to talk to Him and lean on Him. He is faithful where people have not always been, and I knew He wanted me to succeed. God cannot fail, so I cannot fail with His help.
It would be easy to say, “Failure is not an option,” if you never try to do something that is hard for you. I mean, you can’t fail when you’re not doing anything new, right? Well, I didn’t have that luxury in my walk with God. When He told me to go back to school in order to become a teacher, it meant stepping out in faith because I had to quit the job I had for years. I had to give up a nice salary and benefits in order to do something with less pay and no benefits just so I could work around my school schedule. Not only did it take faith for my finances to follow God, but I had to exercise faith and trust in Him to even be able to take the college classes. I was not a straight A student in high school, and I worked hard to get the B’s and C’s that I had in my classes. It surprised lots of my friends and family, in addition to many of my college professors, when I graduated from college and passed my teaching exams the first time around! To be honest, it surprised me, too, to be able to do things in the grace of God that I had struggled to do on my own. But the more I followed Him, the more I realized that my success brought Him glory… I certainly couldn’t do any of the things I was doing on my own!
Following God is always full of surprises. I thought I had done all I needed to do when I began teaching in the public school system, but I kept feeling as if God was trying to put me into leadership for some reason. My first principal was constantly encouraging me in leadership and one day actually mentioned to me how to handle a certain kind of situation when I became principal. I had no plans to become a principal! I like being in the background. But as I continued to follow God, things like that kept happening to me every school year.
Two years ago, I went back to school for my master’s degree. My thoughts were to get an advanced degree in something I could do, like reading and math. When looking at the brochure that came with registration, the degree for educational leadership jumped off the page, almost literally! Well, I followed the leading of Holy Ghost and enjoyed my course work, although it took a lot of work and gave me many opportunities to quit. When obstacle after obstacle would hit me, I would just dig in and keep trusting God. I kept hearing my dad’s voice telling me “Chapman’s do not quit!” The Word would rise up and take a hold together with the encouraging words I remembered from my father, and, somehow, I would get the strength to make it through. I finished my Master’s in Education in Leadership with high praise from my professors and my principal. I give all the glory to God, because I wouldn’t have made it without Him!
Failure is not an option for me, even though things are not always easy. God will take everything and turn it into a testimony of Him working in your life if you do not give up and quit. He is truly awesome! I am excited about what the future holds for me because I know He holds my future!