At first I thought that maybe I was running on that “first day of school” high that most teachers experience… But even now, five days in, I can’t help but feel like this year is going to be different.
In my five years at the Street School I’ve seen a lot happen. I’ve been around for the births of my students’ babies, the incarceration of students that I held close to my heart, and even have walked through the mourning processes with an entire campus after one of our students died in a car crash the week before his senior year was set to begin.
Yet throughout all of that, I’ve seen God work miracles and bring teenagers that I adore to their knees, so that they can kneel in front of Him and call Him Lord.
But usually that “spiritual warfare-esque” stuff happens after months of mentoring, talking, and loving on them… Not within the first five minutes of the school year.
First thing Monday morning (well, after we accidentally set off the fire alarm & I had the “privilege” of chatting with the fire chief. Oops!) I was greeted by a puffy eyed student, asking me if we could talk. This sweet girl had one of the roughest summers I’ve ever heard of, and yet showed up, ready to learn on the first day of her senior year.
But within minutes of being back in school, her tough exterior crumbled and I found myself hugging a 17 year old girl as she sobbed on my freshly pressed blazer. But instead of rattling off all of the things that were wrong in her life like I probably would’ve done in her situation, she dried her eyes and said, “Miss, will you please pray for me? I can’t do school by myself. I need God, but He doesn’t seem close anymore. I messed up bad and it feels like He left… I can’t do anything right without Him… I’m not happy anymore.”
With little streams of salt water running down her cheeks, we sat in my room and prayed for healing and strength for her. When I finished praying, she dried her tears, gave me a giant bear hug, and ran out the door so she wouldn’t be late to her first class.
As I was cleaning up my classroom that afternoon, she came back in and gave me another hug. “Thanks Miss. My joy is coming back. Look, I can smile again.” She said, as she flashed me the little smile that she is famous for around school.
Many of my students had rough summers; some went to jail, some suffered unspeakable abuse, and some went days without meals and the care that so many of us take for granted. But this week, when returning students walked into the school, they knew that they were “home” and that they are loved.
Please continue to pray for the healing that many of my students now have to walk through after such a rough few months. The paths that lie ahead of many of them are rocky and terrifying, but not impossible if they have God. Unfortunately not many of them have relationships with Christ, so I ask that you please pray that my students come to know God in new, more intimate ways.
And please continue to pray for my co-teachers and I. This job is a beautiful blessing, but it is also incredibly exhausting. Pray that we don’t rely on our own strength, but on the strength that God provides, and please pray for wisdom for us as we handle situations that far exceed our own intellectual capacity.
I’m so honored to be a vessel for Christ’s love this year and know that if God has already begun breaking down walls in the hearts of my students in the first week that it is going to be a wild, exciting school year.
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”