The Path Not Chosen

Our friend Nicole Kircher recently wrote an article on how she’s seeing God at work. These short articles – called Missional Moments – are published weekly during the academic year. If you’d like to receive them, you can do so here.

The Path Not Chosen —  Nicole Kircher

I’m thinking about what I do today, and how I’ve come to where I am. I am privileged to teach where I do (at a large private university in the San Francisco Bay Area), and there isn’t a week that goes by since I started several years ago where I am not personally thankful to God for where He’s placed me professionally. 

But no, I would not have intentionally chosen the path I have been on. I am skilled in the discipline wherein I teach, but I would’ve chosen something slightly different. Something flashier and higher profile, and more reflective of how I saw myself as an undergrad.

And: I wouldn’t choose to be divorced after a relatively short marriage. I wouldn’t choose to be a single mom and for my son to not experience living in a home where both of his parents are committed to each other and love each other. I wouldn’t even choose to live and work where I do, primarily because of the exorbitant cost of living. I could go on.

But God.

I am not interjecting “God” here because it is the Christian thing to do or say. That would be simplistic and would diminish how God has orchestrated every gut-wrenching, shameful, confusing, and isolating moment in my life to get me to where I am now.

He has been faithful when I haven’t. He has been consistent when I forgot what I believed in en lieu of getting my needs met in unholy ways. He has been gentle because He is a good Father.

I pray that each one of us, with our own broken pasts and our own regrets and mistakes, uses our influence to show our students what God can and wants to do for them.

Even though I wouldn’t have chosen my personal history, because of it, I can now connect with many students who have gone through similar circumstances. So many of my own students are single mothers trying to earn their degrees so they can provide for their children, and I can relate to them at a heart level. Occasionally, as I feel the Holy Spirit leading, I’ll share with these women (and some of my other students) about my faith. While I pray diligently before I open up in this way, I have yet to have a student be unwilling to hear what I’ve had to say.

Nearly all of my students have expressed feeling encouraged and thanked me for opening up and sharing hope. 

I know that many of us are pouring into the lives of our students; they see that we care about them and love them. Let us please remember to point back to the One who cares for and loves us! The One who placed us intentionally in this position of privilege and honor, and the One who will use both our peaks and valleys to minister to those we serve.

Nicole Kircher (Academy of Art, San Francisco)

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Faculty Commons: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
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