Pledging to Persevere
By Kecia Hodges
“You are blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him. That’s right-you don’t go off on your own; You walk straight along the road he set…Oh that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your council.” (Psalm 119: 1-5 The Message)
To say that this school year has been a challenge for me isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Currently, I am in my twelfth year of teaching. All twelve years have been spent with nine and ten year olds teaching fourth grade. Folks, I love my job! I adore the people, sharing knowledge, watching the “light bulb moments,” and so much more. There’s not a shadow of a doubt that I was born to be a teacher. Nevertheless, this school year has been one of the biggest challenges in my career.
One of my favorite books of the Bible is James. In that encouraging book there’s a passage that says, “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. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1: 2-4 NIV)
Through this school year of various trials (from a huge handful of academically needy students to an even heftier handful of extremely high maintenance behaviors), I find it hard to say that I have experienced “pure joy.” However, I most definitely see God’s plan and I’ve been on the hunt to look for the purpose behind it all. My eyes have been opened to a plethora of new insights about God, faith, and my walk with Jesus.
Two things that God is constantly putting at the forefront of my mind are to PRAY and to LOVE on my students like crazy. Every morning as we say the pledge, I say a silent prayer for my students and our day. As I teach and go through the rest of the day, I’m constantly in conversation with God. I have to be! In addition to that, I write encouraging notes to my students, give an outpouring of verbal praise, take the time to listen, and look for ways to reward each student. I try to do whatever I can to make them feel loved because we just never know what others are going through.
These past months have been a valley experience. But, there’s a purpose for this valley. I know that God is drawing me near to him in this time and asking me to rely on him. While I don’t think I’ll be “complete” until I make it to Heaven, this valley time has made me grow.
Prayer: Thank you, God for being my Rock. Thank you for the still, small voice that keeps me on track and helps me to remember what really matters. Help me to continually seek to pursue Your purposes, Your plans, and to love on and care for people. Amen!
Highland Park Baptist Church
Colorado Springs, CO
Wife, mom of 3 little smarties, 4th grade teacher, praise team leader, soccer player, organizer extraordinaire, and creative sage.