Whew. I feel like the student who is late to class because they were up all night, doing a paper at the last minute. Then they over slept and try to sneak in the back to seem like they were there the whole time. Hoping not to be noticed as to how very late they are. Only to start nodding off and then called on by the teacher. Not knowing the question, the student goes for broke and just answers, "Yes." Well, that would have been helpful if THE QUESTION REQUIRED A YES OR NO ANSWER! Which it did not. You've been schooled, girl. Teacher- 1. Student- big old goose egg. Yup. I was the, wait for it... student. Oh, the horror! Yes. No one taught me that if you pull an all-nighter, do NOT go back to sleep. Stay up. They were free to tell me that AFTER the fact. Ugh.
So, I am sneaking into the back of the class right now, hoping that no one notices my missing class or missing assignments.
This school year, I have been blessed with 22 students.
I say 22 like it is a big number. Public school classroom numbers can double that. I taught 25 students yearly at my first teaching assignment at another school. When I came to Windsor, its doors had only been open for a few years. I was the first 4th grade teacher. My first classroom size- five students. Five. I have been teaching at Windsor for 13 years. I have seen times of growth, and times where we thought we'd have to close our doors if not for the grace of God. His grace is always sufficient. Whether it be 60 students or to our current enrollment this year of almost 200 students (an all-time record). God puts 60 or 200 of His dear children in our care for a reason. From 5 the first year (the second smallest class at Windsor ever) to 22 (the largest class ever), it has always been a joy and privilege to do His work.
I have been thinking the past few days again something I have shared before- how God can take our greatest fears and turn them into the greatest joys despite our whining and dragging our feet. When this school year started, picture a mule and a farmer. The farmer is pulling on the mull, trying to get it to move forward, but because of the mule's behavior, it is much more difficult than it should be. Especially if the mule only knew there was a load of carrots waiting for it.
God is good. I just do not have faith that God works all things for His and our God. Dragging our feet and lacking faith only makes it harder and wait longer to enjoy His perfect provision. Again, I am the antagonist in this story. I am the mule. This year, I did not want to move to a new classroom. I had my old one for 9 years. The carrot? My new room rocks! It has tons of windows and big glass doors. It is like a home. I also did NOT want a teacher's aide (I know-I was dumb on that one.). I never have had another person in my room with me all of the time. I am a gal who likes to do things on her own. The carrot? I am more efficient and have made a dear friend for life. And have someone to laugh at my jokes. She is gracious, I think. At the beginning of the year, I started with 20 students. Then, 2 months in, God added another student. Then another. Then another. Each one, like my others, with various needs. So, after Christmas Break. I had 23. Then one moved away. Now, another student may be joining our fold. With each of the additions, I dragged my feet. New students meant trying to wrangle more books. How do I arrange the seats? I had 5 tables that fit 4 students each- perfect for 20. Not so much for 23. I whined and lamented. Or braying, if you want to continue with the mule metaphor. God spoke to me in two dreams (Let me pause here for a second. I am not a "God speaking to me in a dream" person. Most of my dreams involve shopping, teaching, or escaping from the clutches of something.). THESE dreams just gave a big old tug to my heart and attitude. They were the voice of The Farmer saying, "Look!" I saw children who needed me. Who was I to argue with numbers or table allocations. God would provide- the materials, the wisdom, the strength. I just needed to stop dragging my feet and rest in the peace that is found in trusting God.
God did not have it in His plan for me to have children. I lament about that. I admit it. I see my nieces and nephew and wish. I see my friends and their families, and I wish. I wish. I wish. I wish. But then God revealed the carrot, His plan, all of it. My purpose. You are here to take care of MY children as your own. I have time and extra love to spend on them. I don't know what God is doing in their lives. I can see glimpses. But I know what I can be doing with my life. That is to have hundreds of children. To treat each one as my own.
Now, am I tell you all of this to say- look at me! I am not a mule anymore! Woohooo! No, I am a big old mule still. I need constant prayer. This story was just put on my heart to share. It is one of those "Ahhhhaaa!" moments that needs to come out. I started out to post my Christmas decorations and ended here. Talking about mules. And carrots.
" Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me."