When You Need It the Most, Part II

God’s grace turns defeat into victory, tragedy into triumph, and weakness into strength by providing real power over circumstances.

I have found over my time teaching that one of the hardest things to do is keep teaching on the days when you find yourself overwhelmed with what is going on in your own personal life. It’s a hard struggle of fighting back tears and still finding the energy for each class, answering questions and finding reasons to smile. When I was living in Ghana I used to think, “Some days are harder than others. Thank God for ice cream.” Now, I think that some days are harder than others. Thank you, Lord, for allowing my students to anchor me.

Today was a heavy day. I got news at lunch that was personally devastating to me. I could not fight back the overwhelming feeling of sinking into a pit of despair, having given what I believed was my all in the circumstance. And I sat at my desk and cried. Even worse, I proceeded to finish an entire box of Girl Scout cookies I had recently purchased. I called my mom, and could barely blubber out how I was feeling, and her words, as usual, helped to bandage the pain a little. But fresh wounds are hard to stop bleeding, and as the clock ticked closer to 6th period, I began to panic about how I would possibly keep teaching for two more periods. Of course I had to, though. I always tell my students when they are unhappy that they are not the only one in the room who has brought some type of burden with them that day, and they still had to work through the myriad of life’s curveballs and unexplained sadness. Therefore, I would do the same. So I wiped my face with my scarf, since all the tissues in the immediate vicinity were gone, and took several deep breaths to calm myself. I should say that 6th period is ‘that’ period for me, the one that likes to try my patience and makes me wonder why they wanted to come to class if they did not mean to learn. But I’ve been working tirelessly on getting them together. However, I can’t say I had high hopes they would help me in that moment feel any better. I was wrong.

It was one of the best classes I have had with them. We were reading “A Litany for Survival” by Audre Lorde, and they really identified with the reoccurring theme that “we were not meant to survive.” And with each passing moment of excitement from the students over questions answered, discussions started, and even checking each other when someone became off task, I found that I did not have to force myself to smile–it just came naturally. Because when I need it the most, I always find the joy in the pit that was always there. I just need to look harder sometimes.

So, even when floods of tears threaten to sweep me away into lands of despair and deep pits, I have my anchor in the form of God and his vessels He sends me in Room 3085.

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