Core scripture: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Message: We all have one. Gifts that God has blessed you with are priceless. Me? Sure, I have been blessed, but those who know the story of how I came to Christ also know that some of my greatest attributes began to shine only after God humbled me. I had never written or spoken on His behalf before, but May 7, 2012 changed my life forever. It was the worst day of my life. Yet it was also my best day.
I suppose I should back up to explain.
I was at the end of a tailspin of a two-year depression. I thought there was no hope. The stresses in my life—unbearable back pain … a struggling marriage … fathering my baby boys who were 13 months apart … and of course the unruly students that flooded my classroom that year—it was all too much to handle. Satan’s whispers in my ear were haunting me to submission.
You are worthless. Look at what a failure you have become. What is the point of even living anymore?
I believed those lies. I gave up. Satan thought he had won another to his side, yet he was wrong. Jesus Christ was waiting for me. Patiently. Pleading His case. He led me to get the help I needed, and He performed countless miracles in my soul. That blessed summer of 2012, I found a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that changed my life. Forever.
As my marriage healed, I began to enjoy fatherhood. My back pain dissipated away. I inherited the sweetest, most caring group of students I had ever taught that fall. My soul, refreshed by the living water of Christ, led me to give my full heart to God. I was saved on February 9, 2013. And that was when it began really. The rest is history.
I had a new mission. To write on this blog. To encourage fellow Christian teachers through Bible study. To sharpen myself through accountability. No, I wasn’t perfect, but I grew. Astronomically, God grew me to become a spiritual leader. There have been hills and valleys, yet I am enjoying the path God is leading me. So, when Mission Trail Middle School’s FCA contacted me to speak about mental health over a month ago, I humbly accepted the honor.
I had never spoken about mental health before. It had rocked my world seven years ago, yet I learned how to overcome those dark thoughts that haunted my mind. And God was nudging me to go ahead. Tell others there is hope! Tell others that Jesus Christ conquered death, and through His omnipotent power, He can conquer any obstacle before you through the power of His Holy Spirit.
My presentation was ready a whole week in advance. I was chomping at the bit! The days seemed to move as if they were stuck in molasses. It was then that I noticed something. It was eerie. The same day I was teaching that FCA lesson, my students would be reading chapter 10 of The Outsiders. The same chapter where Dally Winston chooses to end his life. Not only would I be allowing old scars to heal in the morning at Mission Trail; I would be doing it all day long—through five classes.
I awoke at three in the morning. My excitement for the day got the best of me. I brewed two cups of coffee and readied myself for the day with some Bible study and prayer. The Holy Spirit took control of me, propelling me through the day. My FCA presentation went fantastic, and I had some powerful discussions in my classroom all day long. To be able to take my lowest moments and spin it into powerful advice was fulfilling.
What about you? What wisdom can you share? What lessons have you learned? How can you serve others? Our students will only be with us a few more weeks. It is time to create those intentional moments where we can pass lifelong lessons on to them. Before it is too late.
Challenge: What do you excel at? Where has God blessed you? Wherever it may be, find a way to serve in that area. Pass along valued wisdom.
Video application: Below you will find the links to view my presentation at Mission Trail Middle School’s FCA.
Song application: “I Refuse” by Josh Wilson
‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care
I don’t want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself
Oh, I could choose not to move
But I refuse
Prayer: Lord, use me these last few weeks of school. May my wisdom become my students’ wisdom as they move on to the next step in life.
Thank you so much for being open and honest with your life in and out of the classroom. Your words speak to me each week and so many times are exactly what I need to hear! Blessing for today and the last few weeks of school.