I am a first year teacher.
I have tried to write this post 7 times. Each time I have tried to sit down and write, I find something that stops me. Some of those reasons could be; copies that need to be made, student conferences or issues, meetings, lesson planning, or grading- to name a few.
My life is consumed with early mornings finalizing lesson plans, constant questions, little answers, and 45 young eyes that watch my every move…. every single day.
I can’t seem to find the words that can perfectly explain what my life has been like for the last 3 months and how drastically it has changed, the only thing that I can think of is a phrase that is taken directly from the catechism…. “Jesus Christ makes man fully alive“.
I have repeated this phrase many times when asked how my first few months of full time teaching has gone… “I have never felt more exhausted…or fully alive.”
These last few months have been ones of tremendous change in my life… I moved out of my childhood home, started my career, got engaged (thank you, Jesus!), and am living by myself in Denver. There is so much I have to be thankful for…. However, I have never felt under so much spiritual attack.
Everyday there are 45 kids that come through my classroom who become my responsibility. They rely on me to teach them skills in writing and reading which can help them further their education. Yet, the most daunting task that I have felt is the responsibility of caring for the souls of my 45 students.
The battle has already begun for my students young souls and, in conjunction with the holy spirit, I am charged with the task of helping fill their souls with tools to help in their relationship with Our Lord and the bridegroom, the Church. I have never been so intimated before and on more than one occasion have cried thinking about how inept I feel to lead these young ones.
I am no Saint.
Saint’s are the ones who are supposed to do this, right? The “holy” ones are those who are meant to lead the young and nurture their souls to find Christ. Well, that’s not me… at least not yet.
I know full well what these students are going to face if they choose to follow Christ when they leave our tiny community.
How can I protect them when I myself am still trying to figure out this whole prayer thing?
They are going to face the enemy head on. The world outside the walls of our school and church are a playground for the enemy and it prowls, lurking behind every “pleasure” in the world, and seeking to break the strong.
Well, what I have learned in the past few months is that we are not living out our Christian faith if we don’t offer up every moment, little or big, in witness to Mary’s words at the time of the Annunciation and say “be it done unto me according to Thy word.”
It’s in our little “fiats” that we are truly becoming saints. It is in the everyday and mundane walks of life where we answer ‘yes’ to Christ’s call to us, that we are becoming not just who we are meant to be- but we are becoming fully alive in Christ Jesus.
I have never felt more fully alive than when I am with my students and encountering Christ alongside them. They are showing me Christ’s love in a real and profound way.
My students are teaching me the reality of Sainthood. I may not be totally enough for my them on my own, but I have help. The God that I fell so in love with is there with me each and every single day as I enter my school, as I collaborate with co-teachers, as I pray with my students, and as I fight for their souls. I am not alone.
1 Peter 4:10 “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”
Please pray for me.