Browsing The Northern Cross

Lisa Kvas: Trusting providence in unexpected new role as principal

Just a couple of months ago, I accepted the job as principal of our Marquette Catholic School in Virginia. I’d like to say that I had perfectly planned for this role and taken every opportunity to prepare for it over my 25-year professional life, but I can’t. Ironically enough, I am typically a planner, and the consultant work that I have left behind to assume my principal role has been in helping cities and organizations plan and prepare for their futures.

Clients have often heard me say, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably not going to end up where you want to be” and “How foolish is it to start driving with a destination in mind but having no roadmap to get there.”

I worked for 20 years in education and spent the past five planning and building my consulting business, which I had intended on continuing. Honestly, I had never anticipated the school principal role, yet when I reflect on my life and faith journey, this unexpected blessing makes complete sense and appears as if it has been a part of God’s plan all along.

How do things manage to inexplicably happen in perfect timing, fall exactly into place, or just seem like they were meant to be? And when they happen, how do we know whether to attribute them to divine providence or mere coincidence?

“Sometimes we get sucked into the lie of the culture that tells us we were created by chance, that random atoms floating in space suddenly collided and created the world as we know it, that our lives are governed by random happenstance, that nothing and no one guides and directs the course of our lives. This is an absolute falsehood” (”So I Fix My Eyes,” 2017).

“The Bible teaches that God is not only sovereign in controlling all things at all times but is actually programming and guiding events in accordance with his eternal purposes. Ephesians 1:11 says, ‘He works all things after the counsel of his will’” (eDevotions for Growing Christians, 2019).

While this makes clear that God’s hand is guiding and directing us, we also aren’t meant to be passive in the course of his work. We are to participate, actively seek his guidance and use our gifts to serve his mighty purpose and will. Pope St. John Paul II teaches this, saying, “Providence is manifested as transcendent Wisdom which loves man and calls him to participate in God’s plan as the first recipient of his loving care, and at the same time as the intelligent cooperator” (April 30, 1985).

Trusting God and his divine providence, I hope to always recognize and appreciate the blessings and responsibilities He has given me as principal to love and serve his children at Marquette Catholic School. During my time there, may I always see his face in them, and may I always trust his plan.

For some strange reason, Lord, you depend on me.
What possible need could you have for my shoulder?
Why do you lean on me? Yet you do just that.
I am grateful. It is a challenge and a trust,
An Inspiration and a call to character.
If you are willing to depend on me,
Weak and clumsy as I am,
I am eager not to fail you.
Lean on me, dear Lord.
At least pretend to find me a help.
May your sweet pretense
Make me worthy of your very real trust.
(Prayer by Catholic writer Daniel Lord, S.J. from God in All Things 2017)

Lisa Kvas is principal of Marquette School in Virginia.