Prayer: May we know without a doubt that we are nothing without You, Oh Lord, our Savior and our Guide. May our words today be a sweet sound in Your ear. Amen

Scripture: The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. Matt 6:22 NIV

Where did I lose my confidence? As a young, unmarried, childless teacher I had all the answers. Parents of teenagers would come with their problems that they saw in their children and I had answers for all of them. They leaned forward, earnestly, in their chairs to listen to wisdom – to grasp any hope for their puzzling children.

It’s not the same anymore. Many years have passed since I was that brilliant solver of the problems of all parents. Now that I have been married for many years and have been a mother for many years, my confidence is gone! Now I hear the problems that parents of teenagers have and I can only empathize. I can squeeze a hand, look deep into the eyes and say, “I don’t have the answers!” I sigh with them and cry with them. I can’t begin to know the depth of their pain. But I can guess at the dreams that have been killed, at the disappointment that looms bigger every day as that child moves farther away from the ideal that Mom and Dad had when they held that infant in their arms.

Now they lean toward me, but I lean equally toward them. I let them know that they are not in this alone. I’m in the ring with them fighting for their children’s souls.

I am in a public school where prayer is not welcomed, and I ask, “What is my alternative when the tissue box is not enough? I’m supposed to quote some philosopher? I’m supposed to come up with statistics from No Child Left Behind?”

No! I refuse to deny those parents the one resource that got me through my own children’s wanderings in the wilderness. I refuse to hold the living water and not extend it to parched lips! I refuse! Yes, I am a teacher in the public school and proud of it! I’m so proud, every day, that I am entrusted to enter into the biggest mission field in the United States of America: the public schools.

I heard it said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. I may not be able to pray publicly in school, but my eyes hold the truth. As hopeless heads come up and as eyes meet mine, I know who they see behind my eyes.

I have had parents breathe their gratitude that I listened, that I cared, that I loved their child. I can’t leave it at that! I can’t let that parent leave my presence thinking, “Mrs. Skid is a wonderful person.” Mrs. Skid is nothing! Mrs. Skid, without Christ and the experience of suffering, was that cocky 24 year old teacher whose advice was worthless!  The only thing of value I have is Jesus Christ living in me. And I trust that they will see Him in my eyes!

Copyright Cheryl Skid. To connect with the author, email cherylskid@gmail.com

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