This is the second post of my Living out Your Childhood Dreams series! It’s about my beautiful mother, Kristi Koonce, and her childhood dream of being a music teacher! Her story encourages you to trust God’s timing because it really is perfect.
And no…you’re not seeing double. My name is her name + n.
I’ve both heard and shared her story on numerous occasions. Even so, I still get ridiculously emotional as if hearing it for the first time! She is my biggest inspiration and her story is so encouraging. I can’t wait for you to read it!
I have wanted to be an elementary music teacher ever since I was a little girl.
I was blessed with wonderful music teachers growing up, Bernice Blair and June Lewis. Sam Patterson made a huge impact on my love of church choral music. How I have been blessed with these mentors and how I have absolutely loved music my whole life!
My first and most important and influential music teacher, of course, was my mother, Myrna Hook.
I was fortunate to be brought up in a musical home. My mom taught piano and voice! She taught piano at Panola College and played the organ at church, as well as for weddings and funerals. She accompanied vocalists and instrumentalists for UIL events, talent shows, college musicals, recitals, choir concerts, and the Miss Panola County pageant — and rehearsals for all of these events. My mom would also dress up on occasion to sing in a talent show or music club event herself.
I watched her with bright little girl eyes, taking it all in and loving every minute and every song and every musical piece! With me being the youngest child and only daughter, she took me everywhere (except to the funerals, of course!). I grew up surrounded by all of this wonderful singing and music and entertaining!
All that to say this, music has always been a huge part of my life, with piano lessons, dance lessons, and singing in recitals, weddings, banquets and talent shows, from age 4 or 5 all the way through high school, college, and the present (our adult Chancel Choir at church). Music helped shape me into the person I am, and I wanted to share that love with little children — showing them that no matter what goes on in their life, music is a huge part of our lives and will be there to help us through anything and everything. For one small fragment of time it can make them smile and be happy, help them forget their problems and circumstances, or overcome shyness.
It’s importance is profound!
While at Baylor, I decided to also major in elementary education because I knew that elementary music jobs are hard to come by. I needed and wanted a job when I graduated. It would better my chances of getting a job if I could also teach in a regular classroom.
When I graduated, all of the schools I interviewed with, of course, did not have any music openings but they had classroom openings, so that’s what I was hired to do. I loved my principal, my fellow teachers, my school district and campus. Plus, it was only about 4 miles from my home! I fell in love with teaching 2nd graders and knew that’s where God wanted me. I bloomed where I was planted — for 27 years!
And for most of those 27 years in the classroom, I was blessed to have a piano in my classroom!
So although I couldn’t be the campus music teacher, I COULD sing with my students and teach them songs. I was even able to do musical programs for Thanksgiving and Christmas with other willing classroom teachers!
In all of those 27 years, my campus only had 2 music teachers, although the classroom teachers would come and go frequently.
My last few years in the classroom, I could feel a change taking place in my heart. I just was not as happy.
During these years, on several occasions I thought the music teacher was going to retire, and I was getting really excited about the possibility of finally reaching my ultimate goal and childhood dream!
Our faculty meetings were always held in the 2nd grade music classroom, and every time we met in there, I had a really hard time concentrating and listening to the principal (sorry, Mrs. Mitchell!) because I was making mental notes of what I wanted to do as a music teacher…how I would decorate the music classroom if I were the music teacher, things I wanted to teach, etc.
Then, after the meetings I would write all of my thoughts down on paper so I wouldn’t forget them.
Ideas just flowed endlessly, and I knew that God was working in my mind and heart to let me know that He wanted me in that music classroom!
I also knew I needed to trust God’s timing.
Finally, that wonderful day came when I DID become the 2nd grade music teacher, and it was one of the best days of my life! I knew exactly what I wanted to do because I’d ended up with lists and lists of ideas!
I loved every aspect of teaching music…from teaching songs and theory lessons, to teaching my students how to read songs in the music book, teaching songs that correlated with math, social studies, history, geography…allowing students to play instruments using a variety of fun activities, making costumes and props, planning programs, making scenery and decorating the stage for my programs — I LOVED IT ALL!
And I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be, doing exactly what He wanted me to do. I was living out my childhood dream!
Even though I am retired now, I am happy and content knowing I was able to finish out my career doing what I’d wanted to do my whole life — and fulfilling the dream that God had placed in my heart as a little girl all those many years ago — being an elementary music teacher! God is so good!
Here’s why it matters…
1. We’re called to be faithful stewards of our gifts and passions NOW, regardless of our career.
Although she wasn’t a music teacher AT THE TIME, my mom still found ways to implement her gifts, talents, and passions. Not only did she utilize the piano in her classroom and put together musical programs, she also directed the children’s choirs at our church for MANY years. And, she played the piano on our Youth Choir tours each summer (where we Koonce Kids coined the phrase, “Hit it, Mamma!” during This Little Light of Mine).
My mom didn’t wait until she was a music teacher to share her love of music with those around her. Instead, she chose to be a faithful steward of her gifts and passions.
And we are better people because of it.
In the same way, we should each be striving to use our gifts, talents, and passions for the benefit of others regardless of our location.
Our level of impact is not dependent on our career or dream job. It’s dependent on our willingness to be used as a vessel to capture the hearts of those entrusted to us.
Don’t hold off on each other.
Be a faithful steward while you trust God’s timing.
2. Trust God’s timing.
God fulfills His promises to us in His time and in the way He knows is best.
My mom didn’t fulfill her childhood dream of being a music teacher until AFTER she had been teaching in the classroom for 27 years…27 YEARS!
Let that sink in.
God placed that dream in the heart of my beautiful mother. So, she kept it close and within arms reach. She was unsure of how or when it would unfold, but sure it would unfold nonetheless. Her job was to trust God’s timing!
My mom didn’t let the unknown cripple her from fulfilling the tasks God had presently assigned her.
She didn’t try to rush God.
Instead, she learned to trust God’s timing and bloomed where [she] was planted for 27 years. She walked faithfully as God gently watered her childhood dreams until it was time for them to come to fruition.
She enjoyed the journey and patiently waited for God to nudge her.
When that day finally came, she knew it, and she was ready!
Likewise, we may not know how or when our childhood dreams will surface. However, we can trust God’s timing. He’ll fulfill the dreams He placed in our heart when He’s ready.
Rick Warren reminds us, “A delay is not a denial. Children must learn the difference between ‘no’ and ‘not yet,’ and so must we. Many times we think God is saying, ‘No,’ but he is saying, ‘Not yet.'”‘
My mom waited 27 years.
Moses waited 40 years.
Abraham waited 99 years.
Noah waited 120 years.
Trust that there is purpose in the wait. In doing so, implement pieces of your childhood dreams into your everyday life. Make sure you’re ready to go when called!
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