I started teaching because I loved my subject. I continued teaching year after year because I loved my students.
This is why I cannot imagine how hard the pandemic was for many of you. So much of the connection with students and therefore, if you are anything like me, so much of what keeps your heart engaged with teaching was taken away from you. It was like playing whack-a-mole with the stages of grief. One day was denial (Only two weeks to flatten the curve!), the next anger, back to bargaining (Can I wear a shield instead of a mask?), some depression thrown in there... you get the idea.
This past school year reminds me a little bit of my family story. I have three amazing and beautiful daughters, ages 24, 20, and 16. But between the 20-year-old and the 16-year-old is a hole in our hearts. Our only son would have turned 18 this year. He was born with a terminal birth defect called Trisomy 13, and only lived for one month.
While my wife was pregnant (but before we knew of our son’s diagnosis) we were eagerly seeking the Lord for a name for our baby. When we prayed, all we heard was a verse from Psalm 30:
“Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning” (vs. 5, NKJV).
Having just experienced some tragedies (“weeping”) in our extended family, we concluded we would be having a girl, and her name would be Joy. Imagine the double surprise to discover during an ultrasound that not only were we having a boy, but he would likely not live very long. It suddenly became clear: while we were asking God for a name, He was giving us a promise that would sustain us through another night of weeping.
For many of you, your students, and their families, this past school year was a year of weeping. But let me remind you of what He does:
“You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Ps. 30:11, NIV).
My prayer for this school year (when we are hopefully not impaired by distance learning, masks, desk shields, or cancelled activities) is that God would clothe you with joy as you connect with your students.
Two years after the loss of our son, God blessed us with another girl. Guess what we named her?
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