A Time to Love God’s Children

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The past two weeks at school, students have been struggling through their state test.  This is such a difficult time for the students that I love so much.  It is also difficult for teachers, parents, and the entire school community, just read the post by parents and teachers on social media.  The state places a whole years worth of work on a few hours each May.  If a child is sick, had a bad night, didn’t get breakfast, etc. then their score is effected which determines their placement for the next school year.  I know both good and bad can result from testing because I have witnessed both over the years, but it does not make these 4 days any easier for the school community.

All I do is pray that God will show me how to love and care for our students through this time and beyond.  Educators stand in the gap for them and guide them through each spring.  Philippians 2:4 reads, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.”  This verse is a constant reminder each day and especially during this testing period to love my neighbor.   I try to understand how we got to the place that a few hours determine a child’s ability going forward that a teacher could not determine after building relationships for 10 months.  I just struggle with the whole child being cared for because so many students need so much more than to be successful on a test.  Of course, test like these provide data but should not be all that defines our students.

A quote by Woody Allen reads, “If you don’t fail now and again, it’s a sign you’re playing it safe.”  This quote reminds me that in order to be successful in life we all need some failure.  As I watch students test this week, I wonder if we are teaching students this valuable tool.  Are we teaching students how to fail?  Are we teaching students how to learn and grow from failure?  Or are we burdening them with the what will happen if they fail.  I have heard teachers over the past month give passionate encouraging speeches, but what will be the speech for the child that had the bad day.  How will we leave them after we give them a score.  I pray that students feel loved and encouraged as  Thessalonians 5:11 expresses, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

As we close out this year and testing completes for students, I grasp for the verse found in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  It is time for students to just rest, have fun, and prepare for a new school year to build on both their successes and failures.  I find myself digging deeper in how I can show students how to grow?  How to believe in themselves in the midst of failure for some and success for others?  How not to be defeated but to find their inner passion?  How do I show them the love they need during this time of their life when they are learning and growing?  How do I love these students (my neighbors)?  Failure is important for us all.  The struggle for some will be too much failure.  These are the students I am praying for moving forward.

As I sit in the silence as students test, I pray for God’s guidance in their lives.  I pray for success from failure.  I pray for a time of rest and renewal.  As I watch students during these testing settings, I am  reminded that this too shall pass.  There is a time to test and a time not to test.  There is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reads,

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Always time to love God’s children.

Closing Verse:  Matthew 19:14  ‘but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”‘

Challenge:  Are you loving all God’s children as Christ loves you?

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God’s Protection

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The past several weeks have been both a busy and exciting time for our youngest daughter, but also one that has taught my husband and I to lean on God and know that he is holding her in his hands.  She finished her internship, another blessing from God, gave all her possessions to her Dad and jumped on a plane to travel across Europe for two weeks.  What does this means for me?  Lots of prayer.  Giving her to God, giving all my worries to God, and praying for his protection and guidance for her.  Scripture has become a comfort as I read with purpose to diminish my anxiety and worry, and look for God’s Grace.

By choosing to turn to scripture, I receive great comfort and God’s grace is easily found in his word.  My husband and I have told our daughter over and over go and do what you want now before your life fills up with responsibilities that will make it harder, so it should not be unexpected that she is doing just as she was told!  These different choices that she is making in her life leads me back to God for comfort.  I want her to live the words of Jeremiah 29: 11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” and as she now is striving to live these words from scripture, I pray she waits always on the Lord.  Isaiah 40:31 is a reminder of God’ timing and that we should follow his will, ” But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”  I long to see her mount up with wings like an eagle and soar.

When searching for scriptures on protection, I found so many that compares the Lord to a mother eagle.  As I read these, I identify with my over protective self just as God can be over protective of me, yet he allows me to make mistakes, make choices, and celebrates in my successes.  I have to be like the mother eagle who is protective but wants her babies to fly.  She is willing to allow her babies to take risk so they will spread their wings and soar.  The mother eagle’s pride comes from their soaring away from her not clinging to her.

What does scriptures say about protection compared to an eagle?  Here are a few of my favorite from Psalms that I have been cherishing over the last week.

  • “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”  Psalm 36:7
  • “Let me dwell in Your tent forever; Let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.” Psalm 61:4
  • “He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” Psalm 91:4

Although, they don’t refer directly to an eagle, I picture a great eagle.  When wings are spread for me to take shelter or protection under I see an eagle wing.  An eagle is a majestic bird and my simple brain can only draw that comparison.  In reality, I know that God’s protection and wings are nothing that I can truly comprehend or know until I am in his presence in heaven one day, but until then I will visualize the mother eagle spreading her wings over her eaglets.

As I must now remove my wings and let her fall under God’s wings, I realize that he is now in control of her path.  I must heed 1Peter 5:7, “casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  Scripture tells me to give my worries to God and he will care for me.  As I receive strength from scripture, I am reminded that he cares for her and will direct her path.  The Lord assures me in Psalm 25: 4-5, “Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” that if she knows him and his ways he will direct her towards salvation.  So my prayer for her is found in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”  I pray God’s word will light her path and he will keep her in the shadow of his wings just as Psalm 17:8 reads, “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

As I pray for her journey across Europe, I find myself praying for her path in life and that God will direct her and she will seek his word and guidance as she grows and prepares for her future.

Closing Verse: “For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.”  Psalm 31:3

Challenge Verse:  “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”  Psalm 22:6.  Know that if you have planted the seed of the Lord in your children that God will cultivate those seeds one day.

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