Gratitude

1 10 2015

I was looking through my old journals tonight.  If you know anything of me, you know that I journal, alot.  It’s a wonderful way for me to reflect and get my frustrations out.  But anyways, I was looking at the journal that I was writing in a year ago at this very time in the year.  Here are some snippets of my conversations with God:

“I don’t want to do this.”  “Why have you called me here?”  “I don’t want to do this anymore”  “I feel so defeated”  “This job is impossible for me to do”  “i am so anxious, I’m not equipped for this job”  “Please, take this job away from me”  “I hate this.  I hate myself”  “I hate my job for making me be a version of me that I don’t like”

If you don’t know me, last year was the beginning of a very difficult year.  Probably one of the hardest years I’ve had to date.  I took a job as a teacher, and I endured a lot of things in my classroom that first year that I probably shouldn’t have had to put up with.  But I am not here to vent about my job.

My pastor opened up 2015 by giving my church a challenge that is one of my favorite passages in all of scripture:

Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips;meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

-Joshua 1:6-9

I love this verse of scripture very much.  I identified very much with the fears and Joshua had.  And then God, who is all-wise, speaks words of power, and courage and love.  He spoke words of instruction and words of strength.  Even in my emotional defeat, God was also speaking words of courage and love into my heart through his people, his servants and the loved ones in my life.  They lifted me up with prayer and they wrapped their arms of support around me.  I am incredibly grateful for their ministry in my life.  Even then, I barely scraped by.  I barely made it into the end of the year.

And God granted me rest.  He granted me an entire summer to rest and spend time with my family and friends, people who had been investing in me and ministering to my spirit.

All the while, in the back of my mind, dread filled my heart and the pit of my stomach, because August was coming, and I would have to return back to school.  I don’t know what it was that filled my heart with the most dread.  I really don’t.  I don’t think it had anything to do (very much!) with the students themselves, but with my personal struggle.

For that reason, tonight I am very grateful.  Let me tell you what God has done.  My situation has changed.  I’m still at the same school, I am still with the same teachers, and some of the same students, but I am changed.  Something is different about this year, I can’t contain my joy and I can’t hide my pleasure at what is going to be accomplished this year.  I’m so excited about what’s going on and I’m so happy that I feel like I’m actually making a difference here.  My kids are soaking up the material like sponges, and the only difference is me.  I am so grateful that God has moved in my heart and has removed that anxiety, and has allowed me to be effective, and has allowed me to be successful.  I radiate with pleasure at the work that my students are doing, and the work that we will do.  I’m ecstatic about what we’re doing, and I’m looking forward to the future that I have this year.  I know there will be aspects of it that are hard, but you know what?  I can do it.  I know that I can, because if God brought me through that, he will bring me through this year.

Praise be!