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Unending Help

Life has moved to the fast lane very quickly lately. I am experiencing a new learning curve with a new grade to teach this year, and over 2 weeks have already flown by in the classroom. I have a full plate with 26 lively students. This set of students is younger than I am used to, and you can’t beat their enthusiasm.  Hugs, heartfelt responses to everything and a love of listening to stories are just some of their great features, but the challenging flip side to this is that it’s like having a room full of puppies – really cute but, well, have you ever tried taking care of 26 puppies at once?!

My favorite activity so far has got to be singing with them at the end of the day. I have been teaching them all the “oldy goldies” that I’ve been singing at the senior’s home, and they are loving it! Who would have thought Grade 2 and 3’s would belt out “Oh Susanna” and “Roll Out the Barrel” for all they’re worth?

So with all these learning curves and busy schedules, I’ve noticed an old temptation rearing its head in my imagination lately.  A panic can start to arise that makes me think all this is too much. It’s amazing how quickly this old way of thinking can set in for me, and by old, I mean really old. I think this “911” mode was just a habit I developed early on in life. I became a drama queen, thinking about what was going wrong. Maybe it was a way I thought I could spice up my life. I’m old enough now that I can spot this old habit and see it for what it is (lies), but it’s amazing how much a grip it can still have!

What I believe and dearly want to live out in the classroom is to be a calm, centered presence, kind of like the Dog Whisperer, who is one of my heroes. Many who see me, however, might not guess at the churning stomach behind the scenes, and tossing in bed at 2 a.m. with the worried temptation that I don’t have what it takes.

So it’s been really helpful in the midst of all this to hold on like an anchor to a verse that came up for me just before school began. It’s from a book in the New Testament, and the line that stayed with me was a promise: God will surprise you with gifts of unending help and confidence.” (2 Thessalonians 2:17, Message translation). I even typed it out and put it up in my cupboard at work.

This world with an unending supply of what I truly need is God’s world. It truly confronts all my worries and self-doubt and helps me place my trust not in my gut responses, but in God’s abundant help. When the verse came to me, I remember feeling such gratitude at all the ways God has helped me already, and I’m sure that even when the stomach is churning, the promise will still hold. As Julian of Norwich (the 14th century English mystic) once famously said, “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.” This is one of the ways God has been showing up lately.

As a P.S., I also wanted to add that another huge blessing lately is seeing that our son Joel has arrived back home safe and sound from Europe and has a new confidence and joy in him from a summer of adventures and receiving so much kindness from others. He has jumped into his fall schedule at university with both feet and is more than busy, but he’s taking it in stride and I’m sure he’ll be all right.

Joel feeding a donkey in Ireland

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