There’s this ironic truth in the teaching world. Four-day weeks feel like 20. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because a teacher’s work is never done. Or maybe the extra day at home eating Cocoa Puffs and playing video games makes the students extra squirrely.
I just finished one of those extra-long short weeks, and I’m tuckered out.
My students gave me a run for my money. As much as I try to be firm with them, they know I’m just a big-hearted softie. When I do get tough, I can see them hide their snickers (and I’m not talking candy bars).
Yesterday, my principal took time out to have a heart-to-heart with my ornery angels. They admitted to him they’re not acting right. I don’t know what all he said to them, but it made a heart impression on them.
As they filed back into class, they gathered in the middle of the room and asked me to join them. One-by-one, they stood before me and apologized for their specific bad choices.
“Ms. Merrill, I’m sorry I pick on so-and-so even after you tell me to stop. Will you forgive me?”
“Ms. Merrill, I’m sorry for sleeping in class and fighting with so-and-so. Will you forgive me?”
“Ms. Merrill, I’m sorry I blame others instead of taking responsibility. Will you forgive me?”
One set of brown eyes after another locked with my teary blue ones until they all said their peace.
Then, my future preacher boy, S, said, “Ok, now, let’s all hold hands, so Ms. Merrill can pray for us.”
After a little bit of bickering about who would hold whose hand, we bowed out heads, and I prayed.
“Lord, we need some help up in here. Please help us to be good to each other. Please help us work hard and try our best. Amen”
They were perfect angels after that…for about 20 minutes. At one point, one of the boys said, “Guys! We just begged for forgiveness and prayed and stuff. We gotta do right!”
I just laughed shook my head.
And, as usual, God whispered a lesson in my heart’s ear. Now you know how I feel.
How many times have I begged God’s forgiveness and vowed to do better but failed to make a change.
“Lord, please forgive me for turning to food for comfort instead of you.” An hour later, I’m raiding the candy bowl.
“Lord, please forgive me for worrying about the future when I know good and well, You’ve got me covered.” The next day, worries chase off my peace.
“Lord, please forgive me for wasting time on pointless things when You have Kingdom Work for me to do.” Within minutes, I’m distracted by Facebook or vegging in front of the TV.
“Lord, please forgive me for caring more about what people think than what You think.” Seconds later, I find myself pining for approval.
“Lord, please forgive me for lamenting over what’s missing in my life rather than rejoicing over what I have.” Next thing I know, my spirit grumbles over what I think I deserve.
Yesterday was my 47th birthday. I think every one of the examples from above happened in the last 24 hours. I want my 48th year to be different. Better. I want more.
I want more joy and less heaviness.
I want more victory and less defeat.
I want more God-devotion and less self-absorption.
Thank you for another birthday. Another trip around the sun with Your Son bending Your ear about me.
“Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34 ESV).
I want more this year. I’m not asking You to give it to me because You already have.
You’ve given me everything, Lord. Everything!
“His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 HCSB).
You’ve given me Your very self.
Please, Lord, forgive me for not living life to the fullest when the fullness of God is my inheritance.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV).
Help me take hold of the joy and victory that’s mine in You as I submit to Your will and Your ways.
“Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ‘The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things! The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!’ I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done” (Psalm 118:15-17 NIV).
In the name of Jesus, I pray,