By Andrea Grigg
Twenty years ago this month, I ventured back into the world of primary school teaching. I’d been a stay-at-home mum, and had enjoyed three terms of ‘freedom’ once our third and youngest child had started school. Now, I was ready to dip my toes back into the Sea of Education, and see if I still had what it took.
What with moving countries, working in the clerical department at David Jones in Sydney, getting married and moving to the Gold Coast as well as having three children, it had been a long time since I’d been in a classroom, and I missed it. Missed the kids and the satisfaction of seeing them achieve and grow, missed the camaraderie with my colleagues, missed being part of a vibrant school community.
I filled out the paper work, started relief teaching at the same school my children attended, and loved it! I was back! Eventually, I was given a three-week contract, which ended up being extended for the rest of the year, and was then offered permanency.
I’ll never forget pinning on my identification badge. I wasn’t just Andrea Grigg anymore, I was Andrea Grigg, Teacher.
Of course, over the years I’ve belonged to many other groups too, some formal, some informal. I was a Christian, a wife, a parent, a musician, a singer, a worship leader, a soccer mum, a life group member … lots of things. Most of all though, I was proud to be able to answer the question, ‘And what do you do?’ with, ‘I’m a teacher.’
Unfortunately, I burned out. In 2010, I went from full-time, to part-time, which actually made things worse. Three years later, I had to give in my badge.
But you know what? It wasn’t hard, not hard at all. I had a new identity. I was a writer!
I finished teaching in 2012, the same year my first book, A Simple Mistake, was published. I used the next year to get well, then finished my second book, Too Pretty, which was published in 2014. And then it all went to custard. I had writers’ block.
Best thing that could have happened to me.
You know that song, ‘Heart of Worship’? It’s always been a favourite, and even more so now. It talks about the music fading and everything being stripped away. That was me. I wasn’t a teacher anymore, and I certainly couldn’t call myself a writer because I wasn’t writing! All the ideas I’d had flying around in my head vanished the moment I sat down at my laptop.
So who was I?
You know, the frustration of writers’ block got so bad, I didn’t care if I never wrote another thing. The thought lasted only a few days, but it was essential I went through the process. Because it was during those few days that something was engraved on my heart.
A couple of years earlier, I’d read a statement somewhere while waiting in a doctor’s surgery, and I’ve used it shamelessly ever since:
We’re not human doings, we’re human beings.
At first, it was simply a reminder to stop rushing around like a mad thing. Now, it has added meaning because of Acts 17:28: ‘In Him we live, and move, and have our being.’
Who gives me purpose? God. Who do I belong to? God. Who made me? God. Who am I? God’s child.
I am a daughter of the King. He has saved me, and filled me, and given me everything I need. He holds me in the palm of His hand. My beloved is mine and I am His.
If I never sing another note, never write another word, it doesn’t matter. Those things don’t define me. They’re not the essence of who I am. God is.
I am Andrea Grigg, daughter of the living King.
Maybe I should order the badge :)
Andrea Grigg lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and is a writer of two contemporary Christian romance novels, ‘A Simple Mistake’ and ‘Too Pretty’. Her Christmas novella, 'All is Bright', will be released September 27 in a boxset along with five other authors, entitled, 'An Aussie Summer Christmas'. She would love to connect with you via:
Twitter: @andreagrigg https://twitter.com/andreagrigg