To say I have been exhausted these past two weeks would be an understatement. But let me tell you, it has been worth it. Why? To paraphrase Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, when I teach, I feel His pleasure. I come alive. I know God has uniquely gifted me for this task and I pray that I don’t take that lightly.
Teaching 3-5 year olds (or any children, for that matter) is something that cannot be understood unless you do it. I was speaking with a coworker about this; teaching requires you to be not only an educator, but also a parent, an entertainer, a social worker, a mediator… the list goes on and on. And it is draining on every part of you- body, soul, mind and spirit. We are helping to shape the next generation, which is a frightening, humbling and exhilarating experience all at once. I don’t say these things to pat myself on the back. I say them to myself as a reminder of the amazing duty I have been entrusted with. “To whom much is given, much will be required.”
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my short teaching career. Last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to teach in a Christian environment, surrounded by Christian coworkers. I have to be honest, it challenged me. These women exhibited such grace and patience as they taught. And while that is what I was striving for, I had become a bit jaded and discouraged.
This year, I want to be ever mindful of the fact that each day I walk into my classroom, I carry the presence of God. I may be the only face of Jesus these children see that day, week or year. What a privilege! I get to show my students love, grace, forgiveness, joy, peace … wow. Wow.
I don’t want my students to leave my classroom feeling less than, unloved, stupid, sad, discouraged… these are not the characteristics that are to mark my life as a Christian. If I am leaving my students with these feelings, I have failed greatly. But I was not called to carry this burden. I was called to give this over to God and to ask Him to go before me and to strengthen me in my weaknesses.
I carry the presence of God. You carry the presence of God. He is ever present, ever faithful. I just need to lean into that and walk in faith believing that every single day.
This song has been speaking to me on this topic and encouraging me. The King is among us. May we believe that and live it.