Prayer: My dear Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for Your grace and mercy. You covered me even when I didn’t deserve it. You deserve all my praise. Please forgive me when I was more focused on myself instead of You. I pray that I continue to stay close to You. In Jesus’s name, Amen
Scripture: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 NIV
Despite your teaching pedagogy or how many years you have taught, challenges or trials arise on occasion. These challenges or trials can come in various forms: disagreement among coworkers, behavior problems in the classroom, bumping heads with your supervisor, and balancing your personal life with work. In the midst of the darkest moment, when it seems like nothing is working out and the odds are stacked against you, find joy. The quickest way to experience that joy is to praise God during the toughest and darkest times.
I learned this the hard way. My last year of teaching in a traditional public school district was my worst and most defining year ever.
Wait! Are you wondering how it could be both my worst and most defining year altogether? It all began when I was selected to move from one elementary school in the district to another due to a teacher shortage (I felt forced). I was livid! Moving to another school at the end of August to teach an entirely different grade was not my plan!
But the only plan that really matters is God’s master plan. In response to the transfer, I acted out of character and out of God’s will. As a result, things got worse before they got better. I began to have massive migraines. No over-the-counter medication would ease my symptoms. I was miserable. Most days when I would come home after work, I would just get into bed. I barely talked to my husband or kids. I was in so much pain, depressed, and extremely exhausted. After several visits to a neurologist and the emergency room, I decided that things needed to change in my prayers, praise, and worship.
I had to change my perspective when I realized that all I was doing was complaining instead of confessing – being pessimistic instead of praising – and worrying instead of worshiping. It wasn’t easy because I had at least two dozen hard-to-love kiddos and a harsh work environment. Through confession, praise, and worship, my perspective began to align more with God’s plan for me, and I experienced much needed relief.
When you need to change your perspective due to a change in plans, meditate on today’s scripture. Perhaps what is really happening is the opportunity for realignment of your plan to fit better with God’s master plan.
Copyright Niccori Thomas-Brown.
If you’ve enjoyed this devotion, Niccori shares more in her book, Doing All God Has Called You to Do: A Devotion for Novice Teachers.