The Obedient Servant

Written By: Ashanti Carter

December 19, 2018

Reading Dr. Parker’s message titled, “Your Relationship with God”, I began to reflect on my life. The words, “obedience” and “servant” struck me. I thought about my time as a teacher and my students. I also thought about what I wanted, not what God wanted for me. Coming full circle, I realize that I have to be an obedient servant and as I continue to walk with God, the Holy Spirit will guide me to my destination.
After graduating from the University of California, San Diego, I went from job to job, searching for my purpose. At the Los Angeles County Office of Education, I honed my skills in teaching. Starting as a paraeducator, I assisted the teachers with lessons, but being good at math, I was pushed to teach lessons in algebra and geometry. Students scoffed and cursed at the teacher and absolutely hated math. I felt like Daniel in the lions’ den. In the room filled with spiritual darkness, I took my place and vowed to be the light. I watched these at-risk students go from hardened criminals to wide-eyed children who were excited about math. The principal urged me to take an exam and get an emergency teaching license so that I could have my own classroom. I had no desire to be a teacher, but being obedient, I did so and my life forever changed.
It was as a teacher, that I truly learned what being a servant of God truly meant. My students were not giddy, polite children. My students were on probation for committing serious crimes such as burglary, assault, and even attempted murder. Their everyday language consisted of profanity, vulgarity, gang culture, and violence. My spirit was grieved, but I could hear the Holy Spirit telling me not to give up and to keep teaching. Dr. Parker stated, “God can enter the human heart and make room for himself without expelling the integrity of human personality.” I found this quote to be true because although I was a strict disciplinarian in my class, students saw that I cared about them. Soon, many began to advocate for me, “We don’t speak that way in our class,” some would say, indoctrinating the new students.
In my classroom, the energy was different. There was an atmosphere of peace and tranquility and every spirit of chaos and destruction had to flee. My students would say to me, “You’re so different,” or “I really like being in this class.” It was fulfilling to watch them change their life for the better. The only thing I could do was give God the praise for allowing me to touch the spirits of my students and transforming their lives.
To close, Dr. Parker stated that to be a servant of God is the greatest economy of God. My job as a teacher for justice-involved youth did not pay much, but I was spiritually rich. Seeing young people transform their mind gave me joy. To hear that my former students are now in college or have gainful employment makes my heart sing. Being obedient to God has opened doors that I could not imagine; one being a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration Program. Being led by the Holy Spirit to pursue a terminal degree in education is something that I would have never done. However, I now understand my purpose, which is to transform the lives of justice-involved youth and heal through education as His obedient servant.