This past month I began my life as a teacher in the public schools. While technically I am part time, substitute teaching and planning makes it feel more like full time. Dealing with children in large groups has definitely changed my perspective. I've realized that my daily fight to see them as individuals that God created in His image for His glory is more challenging than when working with them one on one. I have realized how easy it is to slip into a "please don't bother me" mentality. . . And yet, Jesus. . .
Jesus speaks life into my classroom by speaking truth over them. Sam (names are all different) may be EC (current term for special ed), he may be bouncing off the walls, or he may be poking his neighbor, but more importantly he is created in the image of my Lord. He is gifted with certain talents and callings. He has a unique purpose and it is my privilege to encourage him to grow.
And how much more does Jesus care for him than I could?
And how much does God love me when I'm whining and complaining about my circumstances? Or not paying attention to His instructions?
Like the Israelites who grumbled and disobeyed, our hearts are prone to wander from Jesus. We are prone to whine about our circumstances. And yet there is grace. Christ fulfilled all things by being perfect in every way. Isaiah 53 foreshadowed how Jesus would be led like a sheep before the sheerer, silent and grumbling not a word.
So today, there's hope. There's hope because it's not about my performance before God. And it's not just about my students' performance. I can have grace for them without telling them their mistakes don't matter. Just like Jesus doesn't tell me, "Don't worry about your sin, it's no big deal" I can deal my students with grace for their mistakes while still holding them accountable.
Yet there's this ache in my heart. I don't get to tell my students the most important thing about me: my identity in Christ. In the end, this is the hope for my kids, not grades, not test performance, or being in the popular crowd.
So for those of you who teach, join me in praying for our students. For those of you who don't teach, please pray for us as we navigate the waters of guiding, teaching, and providing safe haven for our students.