Dear Teacher Friends,

Dear Teacher Friends,

Many of you are getting ready for the big day.  There are some of you that are ready!  Some of you have piles everywhere you turn.  Some of you might just be getting started.  Wherever you are in the process, it’s okay.  The important stuff will get done.  And the rest of it… well, maybe it will get done later.  I wanted to write to you because I feel ya, and I wanted to encourage you.  I know the hard work you have put in.  The hours and the money, the changes and the in-services, the brainpower and exhaustion.

You have cut.  You have pasted.  You have copied and stapled.  You have taped and labeled.  You have arranged and rearranged.  You have hung and hot glued.  You have hole-punched and painted.  You have organized and planned.  You have made list after list.  You’ve been overwhelmed and possibly cried.  You have laminated and cut some more.  You have researched and decorated.  You have cleaned and spent a lot of your own money.  You have visited Wal-Mart 3 or 4 times (or 20 if you are like me and are super scatter-brained and forgetful).  You have worked, and you have worked.  And this is only the beginning.

Now, my friends, it is time to welcome.  It is time to meet the parents and shake their hands.  It is time to listen and observe.  It is time to converse and “get to know.”  It is time to repeat directions.  It is time to care and to challenge.  It is time to ask questions and embrace.  It is time to make a million anchor charts.  It is time to learn and teach.  It is time to do fun activities and experiments.  It is time to smile and laugh.  It is time to love the humans placed in your classroom.

Your kids will learn so much!  They will learn responsibility and respect.  They will learn how to work and play with their peers. They will learn to read and write better.  Maybe they will even remember to put a capital letter at the beginning of a sentence!  They will learn that sometimes they will fail, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.  They will get frustrated.  They will try very hard things- things they never thought they would try.  They will “get it,” and they will smile and be proud of themselves.  They will learn that you care.  They will have fun, and they will laugh.  They will grow!  They will hug you.  They will mistakenly call you “mom,” and you will purposefully call them “my kids.”

And So.

Much.

More.

Friends, YOU CAN DO IT.  I believe in you.  Your work is so important.  Every copy you make and piece of work that you hang and smile you give… it is so important.  You are teaching and loving children.  You are a light.

YOU. ARE. AWESOME!

Here is a prayer for you, my friend. Praying for the male teachers too (he/his/him).

Holy Father, thank you for this teacher friend.  Thank you for every second and effort she has poured into her job already.  Thank you for her dedication and love for her kids and their families.  Thank you for your unending perfect love, Father.  Thank you for teaching us every day through these kids and their families.  Father, I pray for this teacher as she begins her new year.  I pray that you would protect her from the enemy and that you would strengthen her.  Remind her that she needs to rest, and she needs to take time to recharge with you, even in the middle of the day.  I ask that you would give her courage to do hard things this year.  Help her to trust you and grow in you.  I pray that you would touch her and her family and the kids in her class and their families with your hand.  Make yourself known to them.  Open their eyes to who you are, Father.  Thank you for loving us.  We love you, too.

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Let your speech always be gracious.

Let your speech always be gracious. (Colossians 4:6)  Really, I could stop right there.  It sums it up so perfectly.  Entertain this thought for a second though, what if our speech was always gracious?  It seems like a fairy tale.  It’s hard to imagine a world full of grace.  But if we are children of God, shouldn’t we see the importance of this?  Shouldn’t we be spilling out grace left and right?… to the mailman, to the barista, to the janitor, to the sister, to the coworker, to the neighbor, etc.  I am no perfect grace-giver; in fact, I fail repeatedly at giving grace.  This world is in desperate need of grace, my friends.  I am in desperate need of grace.

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20

So let’s get down to it… what is grace in this world?  In my life, what does that look like?

Grace is not an emotion.  It is not a feeling.  Grace is a choice.  Grace is not often popular.  Grace is not often spoken.  Grace is not often in action.  This world is in desperate need of grace, my friends.  I am in desperate need of grace.

Grace often looks like giving someone the benefit of the doubt.  Many times we don’t speak graciously because someone has made a mistake or has possibly even offended us in some way.  But, we are all human here, right?  So perfection is obviously not a possibility.  So we extend grace.  The waiter brought Dr. Pepper instead of Coke.  You like Dr. Pepper, but you ordered Coke.  [Enters grace]… drink the Dr. Pepper.  The person taking your order over the counter at the fast food restaurant is rude and is not smiling at you and you wonder how they even are keeping a job.  [Enters grace]… be kind, smile, ask them about their day, and pray for that person.  You ask someone to do something for you, but they forget.  [Enters grace]… please, have mercy on the forgetful person (that’s me).  The parent writes a note to the teacher saying they don’t know what the homework is when it’s March and everyone else knows the homework.  [Enters grace]… gentleness and kind words in that phone call/note.  Your child comes home saying that their teacher was mean today.  [Enters grace]… please pray for that teacher.  This world is in desperate need of grace, my friends.  I am in desperate need of grace.

You see, in all of these circumstances there is more than one party involved.  The person who offended you or made a mistake… they are human.  They have lives.  They have bad days.  They have a family.  They are juggling 3 jobs.  They are battling depression.  They have no family.  They are in financial ruins.  They have been abused.  They believe bad things about themselves that aren’t true.  They grew up different from you.  They have never had someone teach them how to be responsible. Maybe, just maybe… they are even trying their best.  Maybe, they are even reaching out to you, but you are too blind to see it because you just want the Coke you ordered.  This world is in desperate need of grace, my friends.  I am in desperate need of grace.

God.  He loves us.  He created us.  We sin against him.  [Enters grace}… Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Father, for Jesus Christ.

I am a teacher.  I am a sister.  I am a daughter.  I am a friend.  I am an aunt (yay!).  When I think about how much I need grace, it makes me want to give out grace like God so graciously scattered beauty across his earth.  He is so gracious to us.  In every way possible, in ways I haven’t even discovered yet, he is full of grace.

“You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger abounding in love and faithfulness.”  Psalm 86:15

… I am so thankful that God is slow to anger and ABOUNDING in love. Let that sink in.

So let us be quick to give grace.

May our speech be gracious.

May our speech be different.

May our speech be as fresh and lovely as the fresh fruits and veggies from the garden in the summer time… a true delight!

Oh, and it’s okay, wise even, to be quiet sometimes… 🙂

Who is that one person/those few people that you have the most trouble acting/speaking graciously?

Why do you struggle giving grace to them?

Pray for them and pray for yourself, that you will be able to choose grace when it is most difficult.