I figured I wouldn’t do anything too crazy if I made the first TFA cut. I’d maybe mention it offhandedly to a few close friends, perhaps slip it into a blog eventually, but nothing else.
Um, I went CRAZY.
First of all, let me tell you how I was told it would go down. They told us applicants to log in to our TFA online accounts after 6 p.m. on Friday, and then we would be able to see our results. I had already decided that I wasn’t going to log in at 6 o’clock, instead I would go out with friends and not let my TFA status consume me. I’d check it eventually, maybe late Friday night or Saturday morning.
Well, early Friday afternoon, when I finished writing that whole “Jesus is my boyfriend” blog, I checked my email and saw that I had an email from TFA. You know how you can read the first few lines of the email before you open it? This is what i saw: “to view this email as a webpage, go here. Dear Hope, Congratulaio -” and then I FREAKED OUT.
I was screaming and running around my house and pumping my fists in the air and scaring my cat and being so thankful that no one else was around for me to scare. And then I was calling people and putting it on facebook and basically I felt like I had just gotten engaged, no lie.
So much for being cool about it all.
But really, it did feel like a proposal, in a way. It’s like when a guy convinces his girlfriend that he doesn’t have any money to buy a ring, and they won’t be getting engaged anytime soon, at least not until after Christmas, but suddenly he’s down on one knee in September and she’s all BUWAH!?! That’s what TFA did to me, those sneaky romantics.
My reaction amuses me, because just two hours prior I wrote in my diary that I was sure I’d make the cut, not because I’m awesome but because that’s where God is leading me. So why was I so surprised to make the cut? It’s because, in the exact moment I saw the letters “congratulaio” my faith became fact. What a wonderful encounter to have. It doesn’t happen every day, you know.
At the same time, I haven’t even been accepted into the program yet. I have a final interview in October, and then I won’t find out until November 21 or something. That’s three months away. But at this point, I just know this is it; this is my next season of life. I don’t need to stress and worry over the intense day of interviewing and presentations and group activities – I don’t need to worry because it’s not about me, it’s all about God. Of course I will still pray pray pray these next few months, and I will be on my very best behavior the day of the interview, but other than that it’s all out of my control.
When I told my mom how confident I am about TFA this afternoon she mentioned to me that even though God is leading me there, he often changes plans. And it’s true, he does. I was convinced I was called to India for three years – I sent out support letters to everyone I know telling them that I was moving to India. And then I didn’t.
I didn’t go because I was called elsewhere. And ever since I’ve been confused. “Did I make everything up in my head that God wanted me to India for three years?” I’ve often wondered. But no, I don’t think I made everything up in my head. I do believe that God called me there, and then plans changed, though I still don’t know why.
I’m beginning to wonder if my whole call to India was to get me to Teach for America, among other things. The essay I submitted in my TFA application was about my exposure trip to India, and how it affected me and made me want to pursue education.
All I know is that God’s plan is so big and beautiful, and all we have to do is trust and follow him. That doesn’t mean everything will be easy, or turn out the way we think it will. But it’s all so worth it. As I follow God, I can’t see the big picture, and it’s often scary because I want to know how things turn out. At the same time, there is such a peaceful, reassuring feeling to know that with each small step, I’m exactly where God wants me. And is there a better place to be?
Tonight I went to Starbucks and curled up in one of those comfy green chairs with a good book (a novel about India, interestingly enough.) Sometimes I had to stop reading, because I remembered that I made it through the first two TFA cuts, and a surge of excitement would overwhelm me. I sat there, smiling like an idiot, like a girl who had just been asked out on a date.
What can I say…Jesus is my boyfriend.