This was not the way I thought I would start my 23rd year of teaching,
or herald in my youngest’s final year of high school. I never thought I would stay up at night wondering if I should send my child to school, or have him stay home and go completely online. What would be good for him? How might this affect his mental health? I never thought I would stay up at night wondering if I had everything I needed in my classroom to keep your children safe. How are my students doing after being away since March Break? How has their mental health been affected? Have they lost their trust in humanity? Have they completely put God in their ‘trash’ folder? Do I have enough masks for them if they forget theirs? As I was pondering all of these questions and ‘socially distancing’ the 20 desks in my classroom one meter apart, God spoke to my heart: “While things may look different in your classroom, I remain the same today and always.”
Standing in my classroom today getting things ready, I felt peace. PEACE.
No anxiety or fear. For a moment I thought to myself: “Lisa, why are you not scared? THIS IS A PANDEMIC!! You should be terrified! What if you or your son gets sick and brings it home, or what if your students get sick? How could you live with yourself?” But yet, this pillar of peace grew stronger and God said: “While things may look different in your classroom, I remain the same today and always.” The world tells us to be afraid. The news bombards us with ‘the next wave of COVID is coming.’ When has God told us to be afraid? When did He say that He would not be there for us? NEVER! Let me repeat that to you, especially for you at the back: HE SAID HE WOULD NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 I am reminded of a quote by Albert Camus: “...no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger-something better, pushing right back.” I know this is a pandemic, people have died, and others will, but God does not want me or you to live our lives in fear. If we say we trust Him, then, we need to trust Him. Jesus never said life would be easy, but He did say it would be better with Him in it.
I’ll tell you what I am doing, I’m going to go into my classroom and teach. I am going to show my students that while things may look different, this classroom is God’s and we are going to learn and journey together through this new normal. We are stronger when we work and pray as one. I get a lot of consolation from Hillsong’s song ‘New Wine’: “In the crushing, in the pressing, You are making new wine. In the soil, I now surrender, You are breaking new ground. So I yield to You, and to Your careful hand. When I trust You, I don’t need to understand.” I don’t know what is going to happen, but I trust that God has me in the palm of His hand. Our faith is being tested…...do you actually trust God as much as you say you do? I don’t need to understand what is going on, but I do need to bring my calm, my love for learning, and my love of God to my students.
They deserve only my best, and in the end, while things may LOOK different in my classroom, God remains the SAME today and always.