Today in so many ways could have been better…before I jump into “why” I’ll start with something that has becoming better every day. I remember when working with my homeroom students used to be such a PUSH to get them into a “ready-to-learn” attitude. I greet my students every day with the three H’s: handshake, high-five, or hug. Most students go for the “hug” but a few still like the handshake. There are a couple who like to give all three. They are either indecisive or are individuals. I’m not sure. Anyway, I remember when I would just wish that it was time for my second class to arrive. My first group of fourth graders are a more needier group (not sure if that is a word but I’ll go with it! If it is not, please leave it in a friendly comment. :)) because most of the students in this class receive special education services or are reading significantly below grade level. Also, some have some behavioral issues….with all that said…they have GROWN completely in so many ways. Our conversations are better, they are very engaged in what we are learning, their reading levels are increasing, and they are developing a stronger ready-to-learn attitude. There are days when I feel like “this must be a dream”. They are behaving and responding exactly the way I have been asking God to cause them to become!!! (Yay!) Some days they have MOMENTS but I am love them anyway. My second group, which is a class full of more capable students, had much better behavior (not the best but better) habits and really was showing themselves as a model classroom. The principal even inquired about video taping our lessons as models.
“Remember the good”, God says to me.
Well, this week there has been some serious broken windows in my second class. One, in particular, was very hurtful to me. I greeted my students at the threshold of my classroom the way that I always do. One student who normally requests hugs from me got his hug but as he hugged me he placed a post-note on my back that read: Kick Me. UNBELIEVABLE! The classic teacher fear or No-No! I quickly redirected him to my co-teacher’s classroom and proceeded to complete an office referral. He was sent to the office. This week he will have Saturday detention and it will be FAR FROM FUN!!!
“Remember the good”, God says to me.
Hurt. Disappointed. Wondering. Broken. If I didn’t care I’d understand. If I was a disrespectful teacher I’d understand. If I….I’d understand. God told me a while ago that it is not about me. He told me back in October of 2013 not to take it personal. Well, Lord to be honest it is hard not to take it personal. I mean, you understand where I coming from right? Have you ever given so much of yourself to something only to have someone stomp all over it? Don’t take it personal. For real, I know what my Father meant and He knows how easy the devil wants me to find rest in self-pity. I remember last year when I had experienced a hurtful situation at work and felt like I should quit everything I started. I felt so useless in something I felt the Lord has called me to do: to TEACH. I found encouragement, exhortation, and inspiration from a friend. He posted on instagram, “The GOOD you’re capable of is worth the work.” Thank you Seth (Bolt)! You might not know why you wrote those words or maybe you do. But I know God knew…He knew…He enabled me to find words that helped the lifeblood in me to start to hope again. When I read that quote, I was at the brink of self-pity and sorrow. I am not a quitter and I finish what I start, even the hard things. That day as I read, I broke down and cried. My heart knew I needed to heart those words.
This was a defining moment. Do I quit and believe the negative report or do I press on and trust God for the victory? I chose to pray. I prayed and asked the Lord to help see me through and He did! The situation that had brought me sorrow has brought me joy and a sense of justification. More importantly, it helped me to grow stronger despite every accusing tongue and fiery arrow sent my way. The Lord is continuing to prepare that table of SUCCESS for me! (Ps. 23)
“Remember the good,” God says.
Why is it that when we are working towards making a difference for Christ we seem to be attacked the most? But I never walk alone. Almost four years ago, the Lord gave me an opportunity to have a restoration period. In that time, I had paid time off from work and my position secured. (Favor of God!) I took some classes working on my Master’s for Reading, spent time with my family, and was able to spend significant time doing something I absolutely love to do…..write songs and sing! It was like the Lord was giving me a songwriting grace in this season. All the while, He was preparing and strengthening me for the season up ahead as I prepared to go back into the classroom.
For you are God’s won handiwork, recreated in Christ that you may do the good works that God predestined….(Ephesians 2:10)
“Remember the good,” God says.
Even when on my own I can’t remember the good, God knows how to bring me to it or it to me. Tonight, my Mom (with my sisters) tried to tell me funny stories of situations that happened to her in the classroom. They even left a funny voice mail on my phone for me to replay and laugh. (Laughter helps break the mood tremendously. Plus, it angers the devil.) One of my best gal pals texted me to say she was thinking of me and praying for me. (This is really sweet because she is six months pregnant with her fifth child, home schools, and hardly has time to talk let alone text–Love you Rebekah! Side note: She probably won’t get to read this until the baby turns 1. Just kidding!) Even in the bad situations there is always something good. This young man did write me an apology note and told me that he is going to talk to his best friend ( a student in my homeroom) on how to make the situation better. Wow! Maybe I don’t need to know the “why”…maybe this is more for him than for me…maybe God is teaching me how to love the unlovelies…
“Shayla, remember the good”, God says.
As I drove home I listened on repeat to United’s (Hillsong) “Take Heart”. This song is one I often turn to when I feel like I need courage and to remember that God overcame ALL of this for me. I am just standing…He has given me the victory in this life even when I face distasteful situations. In order to help the hurting sometimes you have to hurt. In order to understand the broken you have to be broken. In order to love like Christ you have to love those who Christ would love. So despite what we face, experience or encounter hold onto hope in God to see you through. Choose to remember the good, whether it is a phone call, text, story, voice mail, song, or a quote. Take Heart.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Se-lah (Psalm 62:7-8)
I’ve included a link to the song “Take Heart” by United (Hillsong). Hope it is encouraging to you!
Thank you for sharing this MOMENT with me!! I look forward to sharing more moments with you as you meander through my little snapshot of the world!