Better then “Getting through it”

When we found out that our new ministry included working with kids, I was thrilled. Children are my heart and despite meeting some really sweet children here I was desperately missing my kids back home so working with preschoolers sounded amazing. Teaching has never been my passion, but I had worked at preschool levels and enjoyed it so with images of being hugged by smiling children and reading Bible stories in my head my hopes were high.

Stepping into the school was different then the idealistic picture in my head to say the least. Because of recently losing three teachers, preschool and kindergarten were combined resulting in about  15 students at completely different ages and levels all in the same classroom with one teacher. The curriculum of the school is set up for independent learning, but only two of the kids can actually read to do it on their own. The strange combination of harsh discipline and absolute chaos from the kids regardless of it, honestly sent me into a whirlwind of anxiety that sent me home feeling like I couldn’t handle ever going back.

Obviously I had to go back, and I didn’t doubt that God had a purpose in having me there, but I decided quickly that just asking Him to “Get me through it” wasn’t enough either because my Father is so much more powerful than that. I asked him for a perspective that I can’t see on my own, to help me stop focusing on my negative opinions and look for the positive.

Things improved, I gained perspective, I was still struggling but I was being pushed to lean on Jesus in each moment and starting to see the vision of the school. But my real answer came my third day there while I was sitting on the classroom floor looking at the group of crazy, loud, smart, beautiful, purpose filled, beloved children and thought “I might hate coming here but gosh do I love these kids” and immediately I heard God say “Do you love them enough to be here? Is the stress of coming here worth it if you get to hug them and tell them that they are loved?”

Jesus wasn’t comfortable when he came to earth to love his children. He left His home which is literally paradise to come to earth and walk filthy streets in a hot desert and wear itchy clothes. He was rejected by people he created, made fun of, driven out of town. Things weren’t being done his way even though his way actually was the perfect way. Even his friends and family didn’t understand Him, how could they? Nothing about that environment sounds remotely appealing. But that was where his children were, that’s what it meant to physically walk with them and love them and teach them and save them, so he left the glory of heaven for all the discomfort of earth to be with his children and show us we are loved.

If my job on this earth is to love like Jesus and for my heart to be ever more transformed to look like His, and He did all that? Then I can do far less by going to the school, hugging those kids, reminding them Jesus loves them, encouraging them, praying over them, and making sure they know that they are smart and special and loved. And there is so much joy in that, every moment of wanting to scream or cry or quit is wiped away by moments of Lucky pulling all my hair to one side and calling me Elsa and whispering loudly in my ear in Vietnamese, of Joshua diving into my lap and grinning up at me, of Daisy clinging to me any chance she gets, of Echo asking me a million questions, of Googie running up behind me with the biggest smile on her face.

Love isn’t always easy or fun, but these kids deserve to have love poured out on them, and even if there are moments I just have to “get through it” I will appreciate the short time I have left to love them.


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