I love dark chocolate. (Lily loves the wrapper!) Sometimes it’s a sweet spot on a dark day. Today’s message read: The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. Though the quote is not entirely biblical in the way it’s worded, it reminded me of a lesson the Lord has been teaching me. Philippians 4:4 teaches to “Rejoice in the LORD always; again I will say, Rejoice!”
It has been a rough month for me. As well as beginning a crazy year teaching 4 days a week instead of 5, I’ve been dealing with digestive issues. We seem to have identified the problem as lactose intolerance – and removing dairy has helped tremendously! However, cooking has been an added consumer of my time, as I am shopping for new foods and trying new recipes, and anxiety has threatened to overtake me.
At school, the students have had swimming lessons at the high school for 2 weeks, which has caused chaos in my classroom every afternoon. Because the swimming time cut into our lunch, the students have not had their lunch recess for 2 weeks, and I have had a teacher sub for me for 20 minutes before lunch every day (so that I still get my full lunch), which has been difficult when I’m still trying to teach something. We have also had 2 professional development meetings, which has taken me out of the classroom for several days (in addition to a day I had to miss for a doctor appointment). I always feel like I’m having to catch up.
It’s been very easy to complain. It’s not easy to rejoice when the craziness of life sweeps us up and whirls us around so that we never feel like we can grasp any normalcy. But just like my dark chocolate wrapper stated, the more we praise [the LORD] and celebrate, the more there will be to celebrate. When we begin to look for the blessings, we will see that they are very much a part of the whirlwind of craziness. In fact, it’s as if the whirlwind itself is an ocean of blessings encompassing us.
Every situation in life is controlled by our God, and He always has a purpose. When I look back on the past month of my life, I see how the LORD has worked through my physical/emotional weaknesses to connect me with so many people.
1) Many friends have been able to encourage me, and I feel that I have a network of weekly–even daily–accountability and support.
2) One of my students is lactose intolerant, and I was able to relate with him on the first day of school.
3) I joined a new Bible study through my church because I realized I was falling apart with this struggle and needed a group of supportive Christians in my life weekly.
4) My new friends from Bible study actually recommended a Christian doctor to me, who is now my doctor.
5) A parent of one of my students has celiac disease (gluten allergy), which is one test the doctor ran on me, so I actually understood and knew what it was in conversation.
6) I received a prayer request through my church’s prayer chain saying that a teacher at Jackson Elementary was just diagnosed with cancer but is choosing to continue teaching through the treatment process. Since I dealt with teaching while feeling sick and doctor visits and tests, I understand (on a VERY small scale) how this teacher must feel.
7) Many teachers and staff at my school have been concerned for me and have been supportive in checking in to see how I’m doing.
8 ) The professional development trainings have been extremely helpful and have taken a huge load off my unit and lesson planning.
9) Even though it was a hassle to go to lunch early and miss 20 minutes of teaching time every day, I enjoyed eating lunch with a different group of teachers for a change. I was able to share with them my journey of trying new recipes and hear about what’s going on in their lives.
As a result of my struggles over the past month, I feel more connected personally with people in almost every aspect of my life. Never underestimate the power and purpose of our God. He works all things for good.