Yesterday I was in Target and, as one does, I took a stroll through the clearance section at the front of the store. I thought, “I should see if there’s anything that would be good for my classroom.” Then I thought, “Holy smokes! In two months I’m going to have a classroom again!”
This past year and especially the past couple of months I have been thinking a lot about what my life is going to look like moving forward and the kinds of things I want to do and accomplish and how I want to spend my time. Particularly, I’ve been thinking about my vocation. Do I want to keep teaching after this year or do I want to try freelance writing, which would give me more flexibility and free time, and possibly more money?
It’s still a question I have yet to answer, but in the past few days God has called my attention back to my heart’s desire. One of my Site Directors read to me this morning from her devotion book about how God will give us the desires of our hearts. Which, of course, means that not only does He fulfill our desires, but He is also the one who puts the desires in our hearts in the first place.
This week God is reminding me that this life thing He has asked us to do is actually super hard. Those of us who are brave and fortunate enough to live life in the trenches often get hurt and misunderstood and yelled at and burnt out and robbed and cussed at. The brokenness of humanity is thrown in our faces and along with it, our own brokenness. The temptation to give in and give up is strong. The temptation to turn our backs on the people doing the misunderstanding and the yelling and the robbing is strong.
But I have never felt more certain that my place is here, on this side of things, standing next to the misunderstood potty mouths who are at times literally shoving me away. Because all of our “trenches” look different. Mine just happens to be full of kids.
I used to tell my mom, “I just want to love the kids who have nobody else to love them.” I remember telling her that for the first time when I was in middle school. I’ve known what I wanted to do with my life for over half my life. But I think somewhere in the past year of trying to figure out what I want my life to look like I forgot my purpose, my heart’s desire, which is to love the kids who have (almost*) nobody else to love them.
God is reminding me of how He invested three years of His short time on earth in a friend knowing all the while that that friend was going to betray Him for money and knowing that that betrayal would lead to His death.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. – Hebrews 4:15
He did not turn away from the people who murdered Him. He does not turn away from me. And I don’t want to turn away either. I want to ever and always turn toward the kids who have (almost) nobody else to love them.
*I am going to say “almost nobody” because in my experience most parents are really just doing the best they can. Parents discipline how they were disciplined. We cannot fault people for not knowing what they don’t know and have never been taught. Education is powerful and in loving the kids who have (almost) nobody else to love them – I will have to think of a better way to say that – I love their parents, who are often just doing what they can.