Do you have regrets?
Swirling thoughts that wake you at three in the morning: a kaleidoscope of missed opportunities or moments that you wished never happened.
One of my biggest regrets is not becoming qualified.
A piece of paper in my hand proving to the world and myself that I was a professional in something.
Hey, I know what I am talking about and this proves it, ladies and gentlemen.
Growing up, I had plans to be a teacher, a writer and a mother all bundled up together.
My mother was the best mother in the world, so I was determined to be like her and bring up my children with a waiting lap, a snuggly body and delicious baked treats bestowed with love.
I wanted to be a teacher as I loved playing school on my outside verandah, using a brick wall ‘black board’ with my toy animals seated in an obedient row.
I wanted to be a writer because I was one of those kids who walked to school, whilst reading a book held up high in my left hand and carrying my port in the other.
It was tricky navigating the foot paths and the occasional car, but no more difficult than today I imagine, while texting on an iphone.
When not reading, I was writing stories or poems and pretending I was a Bronte sister, scribbling away at my tiny books.
To be qualified as an author with a published book would mean that officially I could write!
Even though I missed out on the journalism cadetship at my local newspaper.
To be a teacher would mean that I was officially intelligent and could plan whatever I liked in the classroom!
Though not receiving a Teacher’s college scholarship meant I had swallow my huge disappointment and lay aside that dream.
To be a mother would mean that I was officially accepted by others and I could love my beautiful baby just the way I wanted!
After missing out on qualifications of teaching and writing, God entered my heart and after marrying the man I loved, He gave me the gift of motherhood.
And it was wonderful and hard.
There are no qualifications on mothering. On loving unconditionally. We all learn on the job, an internship of broken sleep, never ending shifts, overwhelming responsibility and unbelievable joy.
But I was mother. That meant everything to me.
My other dreams sat by the wayside.
Now, a fully -fledged mother with subsequent promotion to Nanny status, while planning this curriculum about Noah, I realised something.
Noah built a huge Ark which took him about 100 years.
Now there was a man who needed a qualification!
After all, he would need to understand the complex dynamics of Marine Engineering and have the diverse carpentry skills to construct such a vessel.
Yes, there may have been boats of some form before the flood and he may have had some experience with boat building. We don’t know.
But unlike today, there were no certificates, diplomas or graduation ceremonies in Boat building for him.
No clapping, cheering acknowledgements that here was a learned man, an expert in creating a sailing craft for hundreds of wild animals and a family of eight.
And then, there was all the badgering & complaints from his neighbours about a boat being built next door, the flocks of tourists turning up to laugh and jeer.
Now that would have called for some family and marriage counselling at the very least.
Instead, the Bible tells us that Noah was a man who walked with God.
He listened to God. He followed His instructions. He drew up the blueprints and he hammered his way through a one hundred year- long double degree in Faith and Vessel Construction.
Truly amazing. Truly God.
But even before God called Noah to build the Ark, He had Noah in school. Instructing him through the vicissitudes of life to depend on God for everything.
So, by the time God gave Noah the job, he was already prepared in his heart, mind and body to trust the Lord no matter what.
Noah was ready to be used by God with the only qualification that truly matters.
Throughout my life, I have tried again and again to get my qualifications in teaching. I reached a certain distance until the journey was stopped. I have had some wonderful experiences teaching in the early childhood sector while in training.
Now I plan and write the children’s ministry curriculum for Momentum Church and teach the kiddies. I have also created my own children’s books to complement some of the curriculum.
God knows our hearts, our dreams.
In fact, He has placed them there. He has called me and you with an everlasting love to glorify Him in all we do.
To walk in faith, despite the ups and downs of life.
Nothing is wasted in Him.
He is taking everything in my life, lessons that I am learning, joys and trials in family life, subjects from my university studies, experiences in the classroom and my unspent love for my own children and lovingly bundling it all together and presenting me with a qualification in Him.
To be used by Him in any way He wishes. For His namesake.
God’s heart is for us, for you, to look further than dreams and plans on this earth.
He wants us to plan for Eternity. Noah understood this.
When that day arrives for me to meet Jesus face to face, my complete desire is to hear Him say:
“Well done good and faithful servant.
You have taken what I have given you and in faith completed what I asked.
Enter into your reward, receive your crown of righteousness.”
And finally, the joy of knowing that I am surrounded by a crowd of faithful witnesses who have also run the race with me and crossed the line in victory.
That will be my qualification.
And a graduation that truly matters.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day,
And not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
2 Timothy 4:7-8