Thankful in ALL Circumstances

As we prepare for Thanksgiving Break, I realize there are countless things that we should be appreciative of. The life of an educator, as underappreciated as it may seem at times, is filled with God’s blessings. I thought I would take the time this morning to create a list of reasons we should all be thankful to be teachers. If you have something to add, feel free to reply to this blog below and add your own comments.

1. You can’t beat the extra time with your family. Not only do we get Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, and Summer Breaks off work, but go ahead and throw in snow days, MLK Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and countless other days! Praise God that my two beautiful boys get to see plenty of their daddy.

2. Let me know of another job where you have the opportunity to pour wisdom into young minds on a daily basis. These students need role models, mentors, coaches, motivators, counselors, and a solid force to look up to. What an awesome responsibility to make a difference in America’s youth!

3. We should praise God that law allows us to have organizations like Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Separation of church and state hamstrings Christian teachers into not being able to outright preach the Word; however, there is no law against students leading other students to Christ.

4. It is a blessing to be able to say the Pledge of Allegiance every Monday morning. Not only is this promoting devotion to the country we are so blessed to live in, but we get to admit publicly in front of students that this nation is indeed “one nation under God.”

5. Every Friday morning the prayer group in my building gets to meet in my classroom from 7:00 am to 7:30 am. We share our struggles, lift each other up, build friendships, connect with other Christian teachers, and encourage one another. I wouldn’t trade my Friday mornings for the world!

6. I love being able to call on a Christian student when we are discussing a moral or principle that could be answered in a more worldly way. That Christian kid seems to never fail in slamming home a point that I wish I could make. One of those greatest teacher moments was the day we talked about heroes last year, and two of the more popular girls in my class admitted their hero was Jesus Christ. How awesome is that?

7. I love being able to confidently sign my e-mails with the salutation of God bless. It shows gratitude toward the Lord, and it recognizes that I am a Christian teacher. And do you know what? I am darn proud of it!

8. The fact that I can play worship songs in my plan hour to drive productivity is truly amazing. I don’t have to worry about anyone being offended because it is only me! Toby Mac, Mandisa, Mercy Me … you all rock! Thank you for fueling my heart with substance when it needs it most.

9. It is a blessing to be able to share my faith on a daily basis through my actions. Whether it be forgiveness of the kid that falls short or showing love in all circumstances, I can be a Christian role model without even mentioning our Lord, Jesus Christ.

10. The first week of school I always ask favorites of my students. When we get to favorite book, I am always last to speak, and I always raise my Bible, letting the kids know that I am a Christian teacher. This is in no way promoting God or crossing any boundary of separation of church and state. It is simply stating a fact that will lead to a plethora of connections with Christian students down the road.

11. Mondays and Fridays are my most enjoyable days. Why? Because I let my kids share what they are going to do for fun over the weekend on Friday, and I let them share what they did for fun on Monday. It never fails to once again provide those Christian kids the opportunity to proudly say they went to youth group or had a lock in at their church. Suddenly being a Christian is something they take pride in, and it leads other students to sound off about their churches as well.

12. I am so thankful for those Christian students that begin to step forward toward me with the love of Christ in their hearts. Last year I had a young girl who never failed to write, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, and I love Him with all my heart” on her bell work papers.

13. I am likewise blessed to have the opportunity to quietly pray for students that need it. Just yesterday a girl wrote in a letter to me that she desperately needed prayer for her family. Another girl asked for prayer for her 4-year-old brother who recently had heart surgery and was in the hospital for three weeks. When these kids come forward out of the woodworks away from others quietly before or after class, who is to say I cannot say to that child that I will be praying for them?

14. I love being able to wear my cross proudly around my neck every day. I love being able to confidently answer a question from a student when they ask if I have any tattoos, letting them know that I indeed do have a tattoo on my left shoulder of a cross. When I show it to them, they always ask, “What does Phil 4: 13 mean?” Hey, who is to say I cannot answer that either? I smile and tell them that this is my life verse, and it means, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I am only stating a fact, right? It gets even better when the kids start staying after class to share their faith or admiration for Christ.

15. It is a true blessing to be able to decorate my desk area with Christian memorabilia to inspire me. I have a note taped to my desk that reads “Don’t forget to pray!” I have scripture framed, given to me by friends and family. I have my Bible laying at the corner of my desk every day, not to mention my prayer journal. Each one provides the opportunity for a student to approach me and say, “Hey, what does that mean?” Once again, and I almost feel like a broken record here, but who is to say I cannot answer these questions? The kid asked, right? I simply tell them the truth.

16. I praise the Lord for the opportunity to share God’s love through this blog, knowing that the words I type, inspired by the Lord, are giving encouragement to others. Guys, these are not my words. They are God’s. He has changed my life in so many beautiful ways that I have no other choice than to shout His praises through this web site.

Is there a Christian friend of yours that needs to hear that? A teacher that might think they are not allowed to think of Christ at work? I gladly promote the sharing of this blog with anyone who needs encouragement. What is preventing you from forwarding this link on to someone else? Are you scared they might think you’re too Christian? No offense, but if someone has that problem with me, I actually welcome it and smile, knowing that I am doing my job. My earthly job is to be an educator of Language Arts; however, my real job, the one I take even more seriously, is to spread God’s love to others.

I plan to come back to add to this entry. My time is running short, and I need a little exercise before I head off to work to spread the love of Christ through every purposeful step I take. I may not be able to preach the word of God through my lessons, but I sure can point others to Christ indirectly through the way I respond to certain situations and the way I lead my life. Being a Christian teacher in public education is certainly not easy, but it is a job I love and savor every day. I just have to be a bit creative in the way I promote the One who died for me.

How are you doing there? Are you promoting Christ through the way you live your life at work? Or are you merely an aberration, a person who thinks it is okay to be a Christian one day a week but not on the job? Call me crazy, but is it not time to be bold? Rise up! Be proud to display your faith at work in a place that is becoming more and more lost in the law separation of church and state. I am sorry to offend those that think I am not allowed to live my life the way I do, but God is calling me to something higher. Their opinion matters about as much to me as a fart in the wind. What does matter to me is God’s opinion, and when He judges me on the day He decides my time is done, I want to be able to confidently tell Him that I lived my whole life for Him. Not just at home. Not just on Sundays.

On this week of Thanksgiving, be proud to be a Christian teacher! Count your blessings. Be grateful always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances. For this is indeed the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18). Happy Thanksgiving, my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. You all deserve this much needed break!

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