I have taught for 17 years of my life, and I absolutely adore what I do for a living. While I very much enjoy the subject that I teach, I enjoy my students even more. They always brighten my day, remind me of how important it is to serve others and to use our gifts, and they teach me so much more than I ever imagined I would learn, before I embarked on this journey, called teaching.
Over the last two weeks, or so, God has been so kind in showing me some of the impact I have made on my students. Some showed me their appreciation through gifts, like the one in the picture, given to me during Teacher Appreciation Week. However, this week, four of my classes got to write letters of appreciation to any staff member in the school. While organizing those letters to distribute to my co-workers, I was overwhelmed to discover that a quarter of them were addressed to me.
Very humbling, to say the least!
In one student’s letter, I learned of the impact I had unknowingly had on her, during a very trying time in her life. Another letter shared a variety of personal traumas she has endured for two years, and she credited me to causing her to finally overcome these traumas. Each letter was such a gift, as these precious teens shared pieces of their hearts with me.
I know that none of this is because of me, but because of Christ within me. I sat in marvel, over the working of the Holy Spirit, with tears in my eyes, as I read one letter after another.
Psalm 139:1-18 says, “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence. If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
Do you know what I see when I read that? God truly cares about us, has always cared about us, and doesn’t leave us. He sees us, even before anyone else ever did. That’s huge! That’s amazing!
Honestly, I think that’s a big part of why “what” we do with our lives is so powerful. People want to know that they matter, no matter how old they are. They want, and more importantly need, to be seen, heard, understood.
As I read each of those precious letters, from my students, that’s what I heard speaking to me, over and over again. You saw me. You cared. You went out of your way to go beyond teaching me the subject, and taught me about life. You believed in me.
All I want to say in return to all of them is this. . .Oh, honey, I don’t just see you, hear you, care about you, and believe in you. God does! If I hadn’t realized that as a child, I wouldn’t be fulfilling my purpose, as I am right now. Touching you all with His love. You are so very precious to me, because you’re precious to Him.
I encourage you, no matter where God places you, to be His hands and feet to those around you. It may be an encounter with a person that lasts for just a brief moment, or you may spend years with these individuals. But, live your life with impactful purpose.
We matter. Others matter, and they matter, because we matter to our Creator.
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