Friday, August 19, 2011

Surprised by Love by Beth-Anne

There are years you are glad to leave behind.

And yet, as excited as I was about this year I was a bit apprehensive, to say the least. I just wanted to share how God has lifted my heart this week. Each day is its own but God has reminded me this week that He is with me.

At lunch time the students do this thing that I don’t have a name for but it goes like this.

Student A: “Who has applesauce?”
And all the students who do raise their hand or the applesauce.

Student A: “Who has ever almost drowned?”
Again, all the students who do raise their hand and/or add commentary on how they are part of this category.

Well this week they were doing their question/hand raising thing when I heard, “Who loves our teacher?” I couldn’t help but look up and see all the hands raised. What was really touching is that it was a student that I had been having some difficulty with since school started that had asked and initiated the question.

The past two weeks I have been introducing a theory/practice that the conference is letting some school pilot. The program is called the Peace Rug. The rug is a place where students can invited someone they are having habitual problems with and work things out. The students practice not blaming the other person but taking responsibility for their actions and how they will change them. It’s a good was to begin young with conflict/resolution.

I had taught this to my class and at recess two of my students were arguing with two of the students from the other class. I mediated and then after some conversation said they could go play. One of my students asked the two students from Matthew’s class to wait. I saw that student lean over and whisper to the other student from my class, “Do you want to invite them to the Peace Rug?” After a small deliberation they asked the two from Matthew’s room if they wanted to go to the Peace Rug. I briefly told them what it was and the four of them, plus me went to the Peace Rug. They didn’t use the five steps perfectly but it was really amazing to see them use it and have them work out a little solution for their problem.

Sometimes when I am sure they haven’t learned anything I’ve tried to teach them for the last hour God reminds me that I am wrong.

Today I had to take my dog, Nani, to the vet to have her gums reattached to her teeth. She was a rescue dog and had bad teeth and this will prevent respiratory issues. So I took my car to the vet and Matthew went to school. I filled out the paper work and hug Nani and then the lady slipped a collar around Nani’s head and I had to take her collar and leash off. (If you are not a dog/pet person this won’t make sense to you). She looked at me like I was abandoning her. I was leaving her in a strange place with a strange person and I was taking the stuff that proved she was mine. I stood to leave and she just watched and waited and I walked away. If you’ve never seen a Nani look you won’t understand this either. It broke my heart. She is an older dog and older dogs have trouble with anesthesia sometimes. So all this is whirling through my head and by the time I pulled out of the vet’s parking lot I was crying. I prayed outloud, “God please take care of my Nani.” Seconds after that I got a text message from my neighbor, Marilyn. She said, “Did I just see you on 10th Street?” I texted back to explain the situation and she told me she would be praying for Nani.

It was an immediate response from God. I prayed and God told me, “I have you. I am surrounding you with love and prayer for the things that your heart needs.”

Nani didn’t end up having the teeth work done today because of a mix-up at the vet but Marilyn called me the evening to see how I was doing and wanting to know about Nani. I am blessed to have a God who cares about my heart-needs.

Today is Friday and we do something in my class called Sabbath Celebration. We celebrate what God created on each day of the week and part of it is that we say what we are thankful for. Today three of the students said they were thankful for me! This is a record because even though I know they care about me, it’s usually other things that come first to their mind. And what was really, really touching was that it was the three students I had to work with the most these two weeks.

There are many moments I struggle as a teacher, wondering if my students see how much I love them, even if I am correcting them more than I wish I had to. To me, it was God telling me that He is with me each day that I ask Him to be.

The last highlight of my week, and maybe the sweetest one wasn’t even spoken with words. As the students were gathering on our round rug for Sabbath Celebration one little students said, “Miss. Beth-Anne!” I looked over as I came to sit with them and saw this little student put their hand in the sign of “I love you.” They smiled as I smiled and signed back, “I love you.”

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blessings in Hard Places

Life is teaching me that I cannot without God. I cannot. Life is teaching me that as I rely on Him, even in the midst of joys or pains - even scorn - my life is blessed more and more.

In the life of Joseph, circumstances foretold his ruin, but his trust in the God who works specifically through the dilemmas in life saw him through. God blessed him while yet in the hold of tragedy.

"From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph."

Maybe those who in our lives appear as our masters are receiving the blessing of God through us. Look for the blessings of God in the hard places. Search for the peace of God in places of darkness. Linger in God's joy throughout life's pain.

-Of Matthew