I knew about God my whole life, but I never understood His love until I was in my second year of university during my trainee teacher placement.
It was definitely, without a doubt, the worst time of my life. I had to wake up every day at 5am, walk half an hour to my friend’s house, where it would then be an hour drive to school. I was placed in a class of 30 children, and the mentor who I had to work alongside with every day hated me. She gave me more work than I was supposed to do. When the rest of my cohort was teaching 25% of lessons, I was teaching 100%. She would observe one of my lessons every week and graded how well I was doing. She chipped away my confidence and self-belief daily.
Halfway into the placement I fell really ill. The university had told us beforehand that we weren’t allowed more than 4 days off placement, otherwise we would have to redo the whole thing (meaning we wouldn’t graduate on time). My mentor also didn’t want me to take a sick-day off of work. I was so ill, I couldn’t speak (I genuinely had to whisper to 30 nine year-olds throughout the day, which isn’t the easiest thing in the world). I was so stressed, I couldn’t sleep at night. I was so tired, I couldn’t think. Getting up every morning was so painful.
During this time, Hillsong United released their album, Zion. I didn’t think much of it as I downloaded it onto my phone to listen to during my morning walks. The song ‘King Of Heaven’ came on the following morning and immediately peace entered and calmed my heart. God told me He wanted to dance with me.
Every morning and every evening from then onwards, I imagined myself in a beautiful dress slow dancing with God. He would lead me across a massive ballroom floor, with His hand on the small of my back. He’d turn me around and around.
One morning I asked Him with tears in my eyes why I had to go through this placement – why was it so difficult? He touched my chin and gently moved my head to face His.
“Keep your eyes on Me”
And that’s when it clicked. That’s when my whole world shifted into place. This whole time I’d been looking around me, looking at my own feet and focusing on myself. Imagine a couple ballroom dancing – how weird would they look if one of them is constantly looking at themself, or their surroundings?
Do you know what a difference it made on my placement when I shifted my focus from myself to Him? It was still difficult, don’t get me wrong. But I started to learn more about Him and what He had to say about me and my future. I no longer had to rely on what my mentor was writing about me on a piece of paper. I didn’t have to rely on my own strength to get me through each day. He had lifted that weight from me. He says He has a plan for my future, not to harm me but to give me hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
I’m sat here, two years later with an overwhelmed and thankful heart and I am able to say that He’s still slow-dancing with me today. Even the days when I don’t have my eyes locked on His. He’s still faithfully guiding me and twirling me through life. He’s never let me go and I know that He never will.