Why I Teach

For those of you who know me or follow my blog, you know that being a mother is my absolute #1 priority. You also know that I’ve struggled in the past with being a working mom. You know that I’ve prayed for the Lord to change my husband’s heart so that he would see what a value I could be as a stay-at-home mom (SAHM).  It wasn’t until recently, that I realized I was praying the wrong prayer. So I began praying a little bit different prayer.

Instead, I began to pray that He use me for His purpose (whether that be as a SAHM or a teaching mom). I prayed that He would guide my family in all things. And I told God that I know He has great plans for my family, and that I trust His plans. And what happened? Instead of my husband’s heart changing, mine did…

Yes, I still love my daughter as much as I did. In fact, I still love her more every single day. But I know while I’m back at work, she is so loved. She is taken care of. She is fed.  And she is adored. I’m so grateful for my family for taking such good care of her as I go back to work…

As I go back to my students who aren’t always fed, who aren’t always taken care of, who aren’t always loved. Man. What a thought. I tear up just typing that. But it’s the truth.

It is here that I wonder what have I done to deserve all of the blessings I’ve been given in my life… when some of my students have never even heard Your name—unless used in the form of a cuss word… It’s here that I praise You for all that You are, and all that You do, and I thank You that my daughter was trusted to me… It’s here that my heart aches for those who don’t have the loving family she has, for those who don’t have money for school supplies, for those who are just trying to survive each day.

I realize that as a teacher it is my duty to try to direct my students to be the best that they can be. To do the best that they can do. To find the best in themselves. To make them believe that there is good in them. I know some educators believe that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” Honestly, I had started to think that too.

But as I start this year, knowing it is my choice to come to school and teach, I have a new attitude. Thanks to Manny Scott, I’ve been encouraged to be the light. To be the salt. True, you can’t make a horse drink… But you can make him thirsty! (Find the salt. Be the salt.)

So it is here that I ask God to help me to make my students thirsty. Thirsty for education. Thirsty for more out of life. Thirsty for You. God, help me to be the light in these children’s very dark lives and help them to be open to ideas and open to believing in themselves and even open to believing in You. I pray that I can continue to be a light in my own growing family’s lives as well, and I thank You for giving my children many lights. And I pray that You work in their lives and in their hearts as well as my students. Please continue to mold me into what You have planned for me to be.

So now that my opportunity to be a SAHM mother has become more feasible and more of a possibility, maybe my heart has changed. Again, I do not love my own kids any less; I just realize I have so much love to give, and I don’t want to waste my talent or my purpose. I pray the Lord keeps my fire burning, and allows me to be a light in my students’ lives.

Moral of the story? Working moms can do it all. I’ve seen it done, and I hope that I can do it too!  On the plus side, as a teacher, I am so very grateful to get summers and holidays off with my children; I feel like teaching is the ultimate mom career, because I feel like I truly am getting the best of both worlds. I just hope that as my children grow they will appreciate this choice and be proud of their working (sometimes not working) mom who does love them more than anything else in this world.

“If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vain.”

Baby #2 Anxieties

Baby #2 Anxieties

As my little family of three is making plans, changes, and room to soon become a family of four, I have many internal anxieties about this expansion.

First of all, when deciding to have a second, I tried researching the perfect age between siblings… And to save you the research time, I couldn’t find a definite answer. It’s all a matter of opinion.

I am glad we chose to do this sooner than later so that my kids have the chance to play together while they’re young and, hopefully, still have things in common when they’re older: experiences neither my husband or I had with our siblings (for the most part), because of such large age gaps.

But then I worry my first child hasn’t had enough time with me yet. I enjoy being all hers, being at her beck and call, and organizing my life around her needs and desires. I don’t want to take anything away from her: attention, love, care, or especially me. I am afraid I’ll have to somehow divide these things when the new baby arrives… And I’m not sure that she’s ready… or that I’m ready to split myself.

We agree, we want our kids to grow up together. We strongly want them to be best friends one day and always look out for each other, even if they fight some at home.

Then, we also don’t want them to ever feel jealous of the other. We want them close enough to want the best for each other and not compare the things we do for each of them. (Hopefully, this will be easier since one is a girl and the other is a boy? Maybe?)

Then I worry about my first child’s feelings. We don’t want Mason to feel left out or abandoned by gaining a new sibling, we don’t want her to lose the undivided attention she has currently, and we don’t want her to ever feel like second best. Because, honestly, a new baby will take a lot of time; I just don’t want it to take time away from her… What if she gets pushed to the back burner and feels jealous, angry, or bitter? How can I ensure she still feels like our number one? After all, she is the one who made me a mother, the one who taught me to love so selflessly, and the one who I adore with all that I am. She is my first love.

On that note, I also worry about loving a second child. I love Mason more than I could EVER possibly even try to put down in writing. There’s no end and no way to measure my love for her. If I love her so completely, so fully, then how could I possibly love the second child the same way or the same amount? I’m so worried about Mason being left out, but what if it’s actually our second child that is left out? Don’t get me wrong, I already love him and haven’t even met him yet… But will my love for him compare to my love for her?

These are probably (hopefully) nonsense worries that moms with two or more children will laugh at. I hope my worries are put to rest, I hope I can be everything that each of my children need, and I hope to shape them into loving siblings. I hope and think that Mason will be the best big sister on the planet. A part of me (the not-so nervous part) is excited to watch her grow this way. Oh, the prayers I have for my children!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing me this situation to even be worried about. I praise You and honor You and all that You are. Please continue to mold me into the Christian, wife, parent, and teacher that You have planned for me to be. Thank You for having my back through all things, and it is because of this I know You will not forsake me but better me as Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

bigsis2

Sometimes My Job Surprises Me

Last week my school had a “field day.” Though it’s no longer called that in high school. There was a bounce-around, free food, face-painting, fun games, a cool DJ, etc. 

Anyways, one of my sweetest students decided to start a dance party… By himself… Keep in mind, this particular student is one of my special education students… Anyways, he was having the time of his life dancing to the coolest new rap and hip hop songs, busting out all of the latest moves. I was proud for him. Until I looked around…

As the other students started to make fun of him and record him, my heart started to break for him. This poor, innocent soul who was just trying to have some fun… 

Right when I was about to start shaming my other students for being so cruel, two of the “popular” girls jumped out and started dancing with him. My heart burst with an overflow of emotion as these two girls changed the outlook of the whole student population. 

The whole crowd then circled around and shouted his name. Students would take turns jumping in to dance with him. Instead of making fun of him, they accepted him by cheering him on and giving him a moment he will never forget. Needless to say, I lost it. Literally, guys, I started crying. 

I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was because I saw a light in the darkness, I saw two girls who thought more of someone else than they did of themselves, I saw two examples of kids who are kind, humble, compassionate, gentle, and loving. 

And I immediately started praying that my kids would grow to be just as brave. Brave enough to make a stand against the  cool crowd, if need be, for what is right. Strong enough to take up for someone who can’t take up for themselves. Courageous enough to actually treat others as they wish to be treated. A light shining for all to see. And full of enough love for others to be selfless. Even if it means looking like a fool so someone else has the chance to fit in. 

You’re Missing Out

You’re Missing Out

As a mom, not many things can bother you enough to get you down. Once you have a child, protecting that child becomes your greatest responsibility. Needless to say, the one thing that does bother this mama is when someone disrespects, belittles, or begrudges my child.

As her mom, I vow to not let that happen. This goes for everyone. If you are a cancer or a poison to my child’s life, then how can I allow you to be in it? But you’ve made that choice on your own…

It absolutely blows my mind how you can pretend she does not exist and look through her as if she isn’t real. It also blows my mind to teach your own children to act this same way… What the heck? What happened to good old fashioned manners and grace?

I often feel sorry that we don’t talk… I often ask my husband if I should say something polite just to let you know we are still alive and that I still care… But seeing you this last time and the actions you take in attempt to avoid, bother, and hurt us… These actions let me know that my husband is right. We don’t need you in our lives.

So shame on you for pretending to care so much for others, when it is just your attempt to hurt those you resent the most. And shame on me for letting it get to me. But I will not let it shame my daughter. My confident, beautiful, sweet, sincere, loving, perfect, innocent soul. Shame on you for trying to ruin that. Shame on you for not wanting to know her.

You’re missing out. That’s all I can say.

Like all moms, I think my daughter is the cream of the crop, the sweetest, funniest, most loving, and amazing being on the planet.

And you choose not to be a part of her life. You choose not to know her.

Ignore me all you want. Choose not to accept me as a member of the family. That’s fine. I don’t need your acceptance. But why take out your anger, resentment, bitterness, dare I say, jealousy on a child. A little girl who is so full of life and love. A girl who only sees the good in everyone. A little girl so full of innocence that she does not know what meanness is. My little girl who loves everyone…

You are being an example of how cruel and cold the world can be. To this little girl who deserves to be sheltered and safeguarded from all things hateful and mean. I will not let you push the things you are self-conscious about onto her.

Blame me, that’s fine. But I will not allow you to take it out on my daughter.

In the meantime, I will continue soak up every ounce of love my daughter will shed and adore her amazing little life and beautiful soul. Sometimes, I just can’t help to wonder why you choose to miss out.

Because, you are truly missing out.

Readers, this mama’s heart needs prayer. Forgiveness is hard, and I don’t know if I can do it right now. Each time I think I’m ready, something backfires. So pray for me, guys.

And though I am struggling with forgiving you in this moment and sometimes it’s hard for this mama bear to take the high road, I will still continue to pray that you only experience what God has in store for you instead of “what you have coming to you.”

I pray to be strong. Strong enough for my daughter and my family. I pray that she remains confident and full of life and wonder. I pray that she keeps her innocence and stays sweet, and I pray that no one ever makes her feel less than. Lord, help me to protect her from the world’s evil. To teach her to be strong, courteous, and courageous. Help me to be a better example of Your life and Your love. I pray that I can nurture my daughter’s forgiving soul and be the role model she needs. Lord, help me make the right choices in these difficult situations and be the best I can be for her.

Resentment is Ugly

Resentment is Ugly

Last night as I was laying with you in my arms, I couldn’t help but tear up and think when did you get so big? How did I miss it? As a few tears rolled down, I hugged you a little tighter, smelled you a little longer, and kissed you a few times more. I stroked the features that make up your perfect and beautiful face. I twisted your soft curls that have grown so wild and long. When did my tiny, baby infant start turning into a toddler? And how did I miss it?

As I wondered how I had missed so much of your life already, the bitterness and resentment started to creep in. I started blaming it on daddy, and I thought I could hate him for making me miss this. How dare he take this from me! I want so bad to spend the days with you, to watch you learn and grow, to teach you things, to give you the structure you need, and he would not even entertain the idea. I’ve missed so much, and it’s his entire fault… right?

I woke up still a little bitter as this thought has been somewhere in the back of my mind for a while now. And I realized the enemy is trying to attack, trying to bring me down; he was taking advantage of my sadness and weakness in this moment. I do not hate or resent Daddy at all. I love him. It was not his decision alone that I continue to work. In fact, until recently, it wasn’t feasible or financially possible. We made that decision together, and I know he wants the best for our family as much as I do. So I pray now:

Dear Father God,

Protect me and my house from the enemy, Lord; for he is real, and he is fierce. Continue to strengthen my marriage and relationships and weaknesses. Put the enemy to shame as he seeks to steal my light and my joy. You are my strength and my shield. If You are for us, then nothing can stand against.

Thank You for this life and the precious gifts You’ve given me. Thank You for my husband who works hard to give me and my daughter a beautiful life and who loves my daughter unconditionally and me completely. Thank You for my daughter who teaches me life lessons almost every day I get to spend with her. Thank You for understanding my aching heart for more time with her. You know the desires of my heart and I trust You with them.

You have blessed me with more than I deserve and I am forever grateful, Lord. You are my great God and King of above all kings. Thank You for these blessings and for Your protection. Guide me to be an even better wife and mother and human. Forgive me for my failures.

In Your holy name, Amen

Immediately, I feel a sense of relief; although, I still dream for a future where I get to spend all of my days doing what I love most. While I do not know what life has in store, I know it will be better than I can imagine with God by my side.

A Working and Tired Mom’s Prayer

Lord,

I am beyond tired… exhausted. In fact, I don’t even remember what it feels like to not be tired. It has been one of those weeks where my students are extra challenging, my patience is shot, my brain is fried, and I just want to be home with my daughter.

I am trying… trying so hard to reach some of my students. But how can I, one person, reverse everything they’ve been through and everything they’ve been taught and grown to know for the past 16 years. I am discouraged and honestly don’t know if I can do it anymore.

How can I possibly help these students who don’t want to be helped, who don’t even know they need help? Why does it take such a toll on me and not even affect them in the slightest? Is this what I am meant to be, meant to do? Because right now, my heart just wants to be a mom… to give 100% of myself to that task: something I love doing, something that comes easy, something that I think I’m good at.

Sometimes, at the end of the work day, I have no energy left. And the days are not getting easier. Please refill my rest-tank before I make it home, so that I can give, do, and be my all for my family.

Thank You for Your promise of rest. Thank You for understanding a mother’s heart and soul. Thank You for wanting me to be refreshed and renewed.

Please replenish my energy for my family and renew my spirit for when I get home… and for my job tomorrow.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25

Great is Your faithfulness, Oh God. Thank you for Your promises.

A Mom’s Greatest Hope

I look around at the students I teach, and so many of them are missing something. I look around at adults I know, some even friends and family, who are missing the same thing. Something I could not put my finger on.

They just don’t understand small joys in life, but it’s more than that. They take, take, take, but never want to give anything back. It’s like the world owes them something for being born… It finally dawned on me; they’re missing kindness. True kindness.

My greatest wish for my daughter is for her to be kind. To be kind and give back more than she takes… to contribute to the world around her… to be great… But most importantly, to be kind.

This means not talking about others. Standing up for what is right. Even when her whole group doesn’t like one person, if she knows that person is good, to be kind and not participate in the drama or gossip. I pray she stays out of drama.

This means to do what is right even when no one else is. Be a leader, not a follower. Even if she’s standing alone. I pray she is confident and strong enough to always do what is right.

This means to see the cup as half full and to be thankful to even have a cup! Because there are millions and millions of people worse off. I pray she is grateful and has a positive outlook on life.

This means helping those in need. Even strangers. This means contributing to a cause that she believes in and to help the rest of humanity. I pray that she is generous.

This means appreciating every small gift and thoughtful gesture. Because, after all, it is the thought that counts, and no one owes anyone anything. I pray she is thankful.

I just want her to be kind and joyful. I hate to admit it, but the world is lacking these traits more and more each year. How do I instill these qualities in her? When many do not even know what these traits truly entail?

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32