Unexpected Blessings
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Unexpected Blessings

As Christian educators, we can trust where God has placed us. We can rely on Him and believe that He is using us in ways we may never understand. Instead of worrying or struggling with doubt, we can go to Him in prayer. He is so good!
Keep reading to hear Jerrilene Smith’s compelling story about the power of prayer and unexpected blessings.

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In June 2020, God opened the door for me to teach at a virtual school. This was never part of my plan. But the transition was exactly what my family needed at the time. And the experience caused me to grow professionally in new ways, even though I was a 25-year teaching veteran.

When the 2022-2023 school year approached, I began to prepare for another year of virtual teaching, creating digital lessons and making packets for the ten students I had been assigned. However, three weeks into the school year, the virtual teachers were asked to voluntarily go back to teaching in person. A small number of teachers would remain virtual teachers and assume the students of those teachers who offered to go back to the classroom. I truly did not want to make yet another change. However, following God’s prompting and confirmation, I reluctantly offered to take a position teaching second grade in a new building where I only knew three people on the staff.

My new class was comprised of 4-5 kids from each of the four other overcrowded second-grade classrooms. I quickly realized I was given a class full of socially, emotionally, physically, and academically at-risk children. I don’t think these teachers necessarily intended to give me these children; however, this was the result of their decision to move students who “were absent for several days of the first few weeks of school” and those who “the teachers hadn’t connected with.” It was a tough assignment, but I prayed and trusted that God had a plan and a purpose for my placement that year.

One day, as I was walking my class to specials, another second-grade teacher came over to me and whispered, “I see they gave you that kid from first grade,” implying that no one wanted a particular student in their class due to his behavior during the previous school year. Ironically, I had just sent a postcard to this student’s parents to tell them the reasons why I was glad he was in my class. Not long after the hallway encounter with my colleague, I discovered that I had previously taught with the grandmother of this particular student. Realizing we were connected on social media, I sent her a quick message to tell her that I had her sweet and smart grandson in my class. The grandmother’s reply encouraged me and continues to remind me that God has placed me with these chosen students for His plan and purpose:

“Oh my, I am tearful. God hears our prayers. I had previously asked my Bible study group for prayer for my grandson. We all said, “God bless that teacher!” I had no idea that was you when my grandson read that note to me. I am sooo thankful that he is in good hands! Hope that doesn’t put more pressure on you! Thank you so much for letting me know! You’ll both remain in my prayers.”

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Have you experienced doubt, worry, fear, or anxiety about an assignment from God? Did you take your concerns to God through prayer or seek prayer support from others? What prayers, connections, and comfort did you find that helped you fulfill His mission? Or have you had a personal encounter with God that you feel called to share? If so, please reach out to jcabeen@christianeducators.org.
I am excited to hear your story!

2 Responses

  1. Last year was one of my most challenging years and I have been feeling like I did not finish well. This year will be my 23rd year teaching. The line in this article “remind me that God has placed me with these chosen students for His plan and purpose” really hit home for me. As I get ready to start a new school year (and send my oldest to college eight hours away), I pray this for myself as well as her professors at her college. Christian Educators continues to be a life line of encouragement and reminders of why we teach and love our students like Jesus does!

    1. Theresa,
      I am praying that God will guide you and give you excitement and peace for the year ahead. I’m so glad you are praying as well for your daughter’s professors. May God continue to fill you with His love for your students. Keep shining HIs light!

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