Wherever You send me

Last year at Bishop Stang High School the administration started a new “legacy” recognition for faculty on the last day of school. Teachers who were there for 10 years were recognized with a plaque and then every five-year increments after that initial 10 years. So this year was my 10-year anniversary as a teacher at Stang! That is so crazy! It feels like yesterday that I started my daily treks across the Braga Bridge to the foreign land of the Diocese of Fall River (as I am a transplant from the Diocese of Providence, R.I.). 

I should rewind further back than 10 years to explain how I got here and how God is so good. I started working for the Diocese of Providence as an ACTS 29 youth minister in 2000. I made a decision when I went into ministry that I would go wherever God sends me. This was the first time in my life I really began to trust God. ACTS 29 is a nine-month service program with the option to decide if you want to renew at the end of the nine months. I remained in this program for three years total but you can only do a nine-month service program before you have to move on to the real world.

I trusted in God and ended up in a parish as a coordinator of youth ministry at a parish in the Diocese of Providence. This proved to be some of the most trying times in my ministry. There were times I questioned God as to why He would send me there. There were times I even questioned whether or not I was actually called to ministry. I found myself on my knees in the church, questioning where I was going, but finally reminding myself that in fact I knew exactly where I was going; wherever He sends me. 

I stopped naval gazing and tried to focus on God’s Will for me. A woman at the parish informed me that Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth was hiring a campus minister and a theology teacher. My response: “Bishop who? In what the heck, where?” As a Cranston girl, Stang was not a bishop I had ever heard of and Dartmouth was a place that I thought was an Ivy League school in New Hampshire. That one statement of a job opportunity tugged on my heart and I figured why not give it a chance? Two days after my application went in, I was called for an interview. Two days after the interview I received a call asking me if I wanted the job. In my foolish youthful mind, I said, “Can I pray about it and get back to you?” Thankfully, I did not need much time for God to push me in the right direction.

Everyday God had been preparing me for Stang, I just was not aware of it until I took a moment to look back at these last two years. I have some significant losses that I would not have handled as well if I was not working at Stang. I have some great joys that I would not have been open to receive, had God not placed me where He had. I have an amazing support system that I would not have had if God had not tugged on my heart and said, “Go!” I have heard many times that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans. However, if you want great joy, listen to His plans.

I recently heard a story about St. Isadore the farmer. St. Isadore started working for a local farmer from an early age. He had a great faith and spent most of his time on the farm walking behind the plow talking with God. St. Isadore would go to church every morning to pray before he went to work and it was said that some of his coworkers were upset because he was often late for work because he was spending too much time at church. Stories however have said that on the days that St. Isadore was running late, the oxen would be seen plowing the fields without him!

God was working in the life of St. Isadore without St. Isadore having to do anything except go where he was sent.

 God works in our lives so greatly when we just get out of His way and let Him do His job. He continues to guide me in the right places and to the right people because I have tried to stop directing my life. I have grown so much in the last 10 years. I have come to see just how great God’s plans are for me and just how plain and boring my plans are in comparison. It reminds me of the tandem-bike story with Jesus. In the beginning we are riding in the front of the bike and steering it where we want it to go. At some point we look ahead and realize that Jesus is in front and the journey is so much greater and we just have to sit back and pedal. 

So when you find that you are not where you think you should be, when you feel that tug on your heart calling you to move, remember to go where He sends you and sit back and pedal! 

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.com.

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