I am currently sitting in the middle of our messy living room, savoring the last few moments of my lazy Sunday. It was a long week with progress reports coming out and a new unit starting, so I had lots of planning and grading to get done.

Last week was rough.

The world ran me over… several times.

In my young career I have had instances where my inner teaching nerd bubbles over and I exclaim with delight something along the lines of “I just love all things teaching so much!”

I receive a few reactions to this, blank stares, a few head nods, but then one response always stands out and it goes something like this “don’t ever lose that.”

Before this year my honest thought process was “does not compute.”

How could I ever lose something that is so innate, so God given, so fulfilling?  Being passionate about people, students, caring for God’s children in a place where my natural talents thrived?  How could I lose that?

After three weeks of this school year I now know.

I can see just how challenging it will be to maintain my enthusiasm and desire, my passion, my goals.

I want to be a Daniel, a David.

These men are my human inspiration.  Leaders for the Lord, understanding of His ways and thoughts.  Imperfect, yes, just like me, yet still great.  Living and leading within this world, yet not of it.  Standouts in so many ways, I want this.  I want to be the go-to person for God, I want Him to delegate some of HIs work to me, and I want to bring honor to Him as I love my way through this life and make my small mark of Jesus on this world.

This world will try to beat this desire right out of me. 

I have had an incredibly eye opening experience into how cruel and rude people can be.   My heart has reacted in  three ways to this.

  1. Confusion: I do not fully understand the anger and irritation I have received from people.  I literally do not understand why there is anger because I do not understand what the problem actually is, regardless of how many times I ask for an explanation.  I also do not understand the depth of this anger, because it seems seeped into hearts at a level that goes beyond paper work and planning.
  2. Anger: I am angry at moments because I’m being yelled at. And I’m being yelled at by people who do not know my situation at all.  They don’t see the hours I’m putting in, or my devotion to my students and to a job well done, yet I sense an enjoyment in their fury. I sense an enjoyment in their ability to criticize and in their harsh cutting words.
  3. Pity: And yet in this anger I sense brokenness, a brokenness that has existed for far longer than my short time in their presence, maybe days, maybe weeks, months, years, decades… and my heart breaks because to be so angry for so long would be unimaginably damaging to one’s heart.

These three things mixed together is burdensome and hard to sort through.  At moments when I’m most weighed down I get flashes of my Father.  Almost as if my life were a black and white movie, so dreary, and for a slight moment there is a shift on the screen and you see behind this grainy film the true colored picture that is in action.

A perfect and just Father, angry on His beloved daughter’s behalf stands over her, perfectly protective, ready to defend her against whatever this cruel world dares to throw at her.  In these moments my soul leaps for joy as I see my Dad and know that not only is He here but He is actively involved in my situations, deeply devoted to me.  I feel precious, I feel protected, I feel I can remain purposeful.

But these are flashes, brief reminders before returning to my visible reality.  My grey world where words hurt and in pain I feel isolation.  Where I curl up and cry to my God that I just don’t have what it takes to work hard while also fighting never ending negativity and criticism.

My mom keeps assuring me that this is a time of growth, that I’m here for a reason, and I think she is right.  I think God is breaking me, and remaking me, again, like so many times before.  Building endurance as I live for my unseen reality, my truest life, my perfect protector, my home.

Growing Pains.

They are pretty painful.  I’m floundering and falling and stumbling as a wife, an educator, and daughter of the King.  I am fragile, like a jar made of clay.  I feel “afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”

II Corinthians 4: 8 & 9

In other words, though I am enjoying aspects of this year, so far it sucks.

I say these things all for one purpose:  I’m floundering and falling and stumbling, I’m as fragile as a jar of clay, and in all of this, this pain and confusion and frustration and these tears, inside this fragile jar beautiful things are happening:

  • I’m loving my students and they for the most part are returning this love
  • I’m getting good remarks from parents and administrators
  • I’m developing my leadership skills within education
  • people are being so gracious in their encouraging comments about my blog

Inside this jar of clay beautiful things are happening.  I can say this in true humility, wearing my humanity on my sleeves, being honest in my fragility, and bearing the cross on my heart.  I am frail, and I am floundering, but inside, my heart is being continually made new and a strength beyond myself keeps me smiling and pushing.   I am so weak, and I hope people see this, so that if any good work comes from me, the true source is seen.

My Lord, My God, My Perfect Protector and Father.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
II Corinthians 4:7