To love and good works

“Look Miss W. I put the encouragement up on the board so that everyone would know to do their best job today.” -G, 5th grade

I smiled at his sweet sincerity and helpfulness. I was also a little disconcerted. Had he known that Hebrews 19:24 was that morning’s “verse of the day” on my Bible app?

It got me to thinking. I had to ask myself about what stirs up my heart – especially as a teacher- to endure in loving others and doing good, even when I’m tired and discouraged. A couple things came to mind. Admittedly, it feels disjointed, but it is a beginning of the beautiful canvas of hope painted in Scripture. So, disjointed thoughts or not, I want to share in hopes that it can encourage us all to love and good works today.

The love of God

“God loves his people. If you are a believer in Christ Jesus, trusting only in His merits, God loves you as surely as He is God. There is no question about the matter. His divine love is yours as certainly as His power is displayed in creation. Set God’s lovingkindness before your eyes. Think of His faithfulness! God’s lovingkindness never pauses. It is as constant as the flight of time. Never a moment but there has been love for that moment. Never an hour but there has been that hour’s portion of lovingkindness.” C.H. Spurgeon

Since I am loved out of a never-ending abundance of pure, perfect love, I am free to pour out that love on my students and others, not worrying about keeping back for myself. May God use the conviction of His steadfast love to increase my patience and kindness- in short- my loving actions. May His love empower my mouth to speak gracious words that build up, my eyes to shine kindness, my posture and tone to show His patience. Out of the divine security of resting in his love, may my classroom hold security for the children who enter.

God’s Presence

God goes with me today and everyday. He has promised to never leave nor forsake His children. So I can go back to our classrooms and say “God is in this place” and know He is. He is just as much with me when I’m walking to pick up copies as He is when I am dealing with a student’s battle of the will, or talking with a parent, or writing (more) lesson plans, or trying to get 5th graders excited about writing a summary… again. The presence of God gives me joy that doesn’t depend on my circumstances. May that knowledge make me smile and laugh and take joy in the presence of God today. May my students get to share in that joy.

“Surely His goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” Ps. 23

That includes today. May the recurring refrain of my daily thoughts not be worry or resentment, but the thanksgiving of remembering:

God is so good, he cares for me, he loves me, he is with me.

For days to come

May the Holy Spirit always bring to my mind the words of the Bible so that I can get through each day strengthened (because of his power!) to bear good fruit and “work good work” as one of my students says. May I always delight to remember that in the faithfulness of God I have “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” (hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9 NIV

What is Good: Justice, Kindness, and Humility

Yesterday was “Sanctity of Life” Sunday, set aside to pray for the end of the killing of America’s children through abortion. The day before, thousands of Americans marched in Washington, D.C. for the rights of these unborn children who are not able to speak for themselves. Outside of these special days, men and women work in crisis pregnancy centers to give hope and protection to women and their unborn children so that they will choose life over abortion.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, honoring the man who was assassinated because he stood up for the sanctity of African Americans against the evil of racism and segregation. He was willing to die fighting against this evil that manifested as oppression and even cold-blooded murder. Outside of this special day, men and women are still working and hoping for racial reconciliation.

These days back-to-back are powerful reminders to me of Micah 6:8. Even when these days have passed, may we act in justice, not showing partiality or acting out of our own interests. May we truly love kindness, not just as random acts, but as a way of life. May we walk humbly with our God, listening first to His words in Scripture and obeying them.

May we pray Micah 6:8 for our leaders, even as we pray it for ourselves. As we pray those words, may we go and walk in them every day, not just on the special days.

Kindness and Humor

Today’s themes: Kindness and Humor.

Today is the last day before Christmas break, for which I am so thankful! But even more than that, I’m thankful for the memories of my students today.

Like little J in the elf hat carefully bouncing down the hall to deliver cookies to office staff and anyone else she happened to pass.

Like little M- who didn’t talk to me at the beginning of the semester – resolutely placing the antlers on his head and turning to face me, fists on his hips. “Ms. Watson, do I look ridiculous?” It was more of a statement than a question and the suppressed mirth on his face told me he already knew the answer.

I hope they succeed well in school… but even more than that, I hope they keep growing in their kindness and humor.

And may they love the One who is the reason for our Christmas hope, kindness… and humor.

Choose Kind: the perfectly grammatically incorrect imperative

Tonight I started thinking about the phrase “choose kind”. More specifically, the linguistics of the phrase. It’s not grammatically correct. The grammatically correct imperative would be “choose kindness”.

Part of the power, to me at least, is in its ungrammaticality. Using an adjective instead of a noun shakes us gently from grammatical complacency to ask the question, “Kind what?”

Kind words.

Kind smile.

Kind eyes.

Kind actions.

Kind thoughts.

Choose kind.