You're Never Alone


Welcome Leaders,

We know it's a stressful time of year to be a teacher.  It's that time of year.  You know it.  That Halloween to Christmas season.  The season where all around us people are bursting with joy and merriness, and we're trapped in a shaken snow globe.
Snowflakes. 
Smiles.
Freedom.
To be one of them.  To be on the outside celebrating.  But reality is, we're inside fighting amid a flurry.  We're fighting a daily battle.  For our learners.  Against insurmountable odds.  And often, we feel defeated.  It feels like there's no solution - like we're stuck.  Soon, we find ourselves counting down the days to Christmas as well.  Joyfully, because that means we'll get a break.  Merrily, because that means we'll have room to breathe.  We'll get rest for two weeks.  Two weeks to recharge before we go back to fighting our battles.

What battles?  You say.  If you're a teacher, you likely already know.  If you don't, if you're not struggling this year, I truly am happy for you!  But, I have a feeling you've been here, or know someone who has, so can still relate.  To sum it up in one word - it's exhaustion.  You started the year running.  Skipping even.  This would be your year, everything would go the way you planned it.  Your kids would grow so much.  You'd meet all the goals.  You'd seamlessly integrate the desires of admin into your personal goals.  You had it altogether.  But, for whatever reason, this time of year, the seams begin unraveling.

You want to do right by your learners.  You have goals for them.  You want them to be better people.  To truly love reading.  To live with a spirit of unencumbered curiosity.  But you're under pressure to meet different goals.  Goals that are not your own.  Goals that don't seem good enough for your kids.  Goals that don't hit the target of what they really need!  And you're stuck.  Because you're working a job, and you're under pressure to meet different goals.  Goals you don't believe in.  Goals that seem counterintuitive, unproductive and even detrimental.  So, you're between a rock and a hard place.  Do I cave or do I fight.  If I cave, what happens to my learners?  What happens to my integrity?  If I fight, will I have a job next year?  Will I want to work here anymore?  Maybe I should just quit teaching.  It would be easier.  Then, I can be on the outside, merry and full of joy.

But hear me, leaders, in your snow globe, you are not alone.  I know that it feels like you are.  I know that when pressure descends, when we feel unsupported, when we're losing sleep, when we feel like we're drowning and we can't gasp for air, we feel alone in our battles.  We feel like no one really gets it.  Like no one else can, or will, help.  Like it's all on our shoulders.  Today, I want you to hear me - in that flurry,  God is there.  I know it may not feel like it.  I know you may not want to hear it, or even believe it.  But leaders, you are never alone.  In your struggle, in your joy, in your grief, in your achievements, God is always there.  Look again.  Look around your snow globe.  As you seek God, you will find Him.  Perhaps you'll find wonderment in the flurry.  Warmth in the cheery faces.  Hope, clear as the glass.  Whatever way God speaks to you, know He is there.

Even when it seems you are, you aren't.  God is always with you.


There is this verse in Zephaniah that proclaims this truth and comforts me in my snow globe moments.  It says:

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 

Read it again.  Slowly.  Let those words surround you.  Embrace you.  Write themselves on your heart.  Soak in the truth of it.  

When you're ready, walk with me through the intricate details of this verse.
The Lord your God is with you.
 You're not alone.  I know you feel this way sometimes, like no one supports you.  There's no one there to talk to.  No one who has your back.  It's only you, and you can't make it on your own.  You need someone on your side.  At these moments, know you're not alone.  Rest in these words.  You're never alone.  God is with you.  If you're having a hard time believing that, I hear you.  I wrestle with this.  But there's a reason you're still reading this.  There is a reason you haven't clicked off this page yet, or maybe you did and you came back.  Listen to me.  Hear me.  There is a God of the Universe.   He does love you, and He knows you.  He knows every part of you, E-V-E-R-Y part, and still loves you.  Dearly.  And He is with you, always.  Right now.  In your moment of supposed isolation, He is there.  In your snow globe, He is there.  And it is a big deal.  He is not insignificant,
He's the MIGHTY WARRIOR who saves.
While it may not feel this way.  While it feels as though you are fighting alone, that the battle is only yours, God is actually working to save you.  It is here, like in the poem, "Footprints in the Sand," that God carries you.  He fights for you (Exodus 14:14).  Yes, you.  In your situation, right now.  Whatever is bringing you agony, He is working to save you.  To pull you out.  And, He will be victorious.  He will save you and bring you into His glorious light.  Where
He will take great delight in you. 
You.  He will take great delight in YOU.  Repeat after me, "God delights in me."  You are the work of His hand.  He works on you, in you, through you.  Listen, He made YOU and called YOU good.  But, He didn't stop there.  You see, Leonardo da Vinci once said, "Art is never finished, only abandoned."  But you are GOD'S masterpiece, and the ultimate creator - the creator of the universe - does not abandon His work.  He sees it through to the end.  He is constantly working on you, His masterpiece, because He delights in you.  Yes, at times the process may hurt, but true beauty shines through the pain.  The imagery my sister shared with me (below) is of this Japanese artwork called Kintsugi.  In the process, the artist takes the vessel (us), breaks it, then pieces it back together with gold (God).  Now, though once broken, it is whole.  Seamed together by the redemptive, enduring, and relentless love of its creator.  That's this process in a picture.

Reminds us that we are a work in progress, gracefully broken, never abandoned and lovingly redeemed.

Never abandoned, because of the Artist's great delight in His masterpiece.  A masterpiece which
in His love He will no longer rebuke.
He delights in you, saves you, stays with you, and does not rebuke you.  If your image of God is a pointed finger, set to accuse, diminishing you, condemning you, I encourage you to change your perspective.  He's not throwing thunderbolts of harsh criticism or slandering you with disapproval, but rather He is calling you out of the darkness.  He is holding you in His hand securely, calling you wonderfully made, fighting for you, delighting in you, and
Rejoicing over you with singing.
Listen to that.  God sings over you.  Take a moment to visualize that.  God holding you in His hand, exclaiming that you are wonderfully made, delighting in you and singing over you.  I wonder what song He sings.  Does it change?  I toy with this idea that this is why there is constantly a song in my head.  It's God singing over me.  Do you experience this?  Random songs in your head that seem to be exactly what you need to hear?  Or you turn the radio on, and the song hits you in the gut.  You have to stop.  You freeze and just listen.  The world around you disappears and it's just you and the music. When the song ends, somehow you're transformed.  You see things differently.  And every time you hear that song, you feel your soul stir.  I call these my soul songs.  What soul song is on your heart today?  The one that's been on my heart recently is "Extravagant," by Bethel Music.  The lyrics that stir my soul follow:

You don't belittle our pain and our suffering and you comfort us in our greatest unraveling Jesus, my Jesus

And it's true, leaders.  I know it's hard to understand.  But He doesn't belittle us.  Even though He is The Almighty, the Great I Am, nothing we go through is insignificant to Him.  He wants to comfort us.  He is willing to relentlessly chase us, break into our snow globe of isolation, tear down our walls of insecurity and overcome every obstacle to tell us He loves us.  I don't fully understand His love, what it all means, how it all works, or why He chose me, but I'm willing to spend the rest of my life trying to figure it out.  

What's your soul song?  What's getting you through this Halloween to Christmas season?  What does it mean to you?  I'd love to hear about it!  Post in the comments below, or shoot me an email (mrs@wolfestew.com).  

Keep your song in your heart, find that spring in your step, and remember leaders, You are NEVER alone.  

In it With You,
Offering samplings of life by a husband and wife

Interested in more faith-related blogs?  Then you're looking for Faith Food.  At Faith Food, you'll find links to all our faith-related blogs and a short description of each.  

Kintsugi picture courtesy of wombatarama shared under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.  

Comments

  1. Exhausted by the constant criticism about how everything I do for the holidays is wrong or not enough....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Chocoviv, there is SO much pressure to make everything magical this time of year! But remember, we're not performing for anyone. No one's opinion of what we do or who we are matters - but God's. And He loves you deeply. Indeed, the true spirit of this season is Emmanuel: God with us. What if instead of letting everyone's expectations control you, you allow them to slip away and instead focus on expecting to meet Jesus in everything you do? Expect Jesus everywhere. Make that your Christmas goal. Then see how this brings true life-changing "magic" to your life.

      Thank you for posting! Your words speak to the spirit of many. Stay tuned for a post on this same topic.

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