A Preschool Teachers Prayer

Today I wake up, already weary. The day before still wreaks havoc on my heart, the stress of the day had barely let me sleep.

In a still moment before my feet hit the floor, I pray “Lord, please let today be better.”

Then, I take a few more moments, moments to really focus. Moments to make myself remember. If it were my child . . .

In that stolen moment, that solemn reminder session from my heavenly father, my heart begins to ache.

Lord, when my feet hit the pavement in the parking lot, remind me why I’m there. Help my heart to smile and my mouth speak peace. Let my arms be soft and my attitude stern. Fill my room with laughter and love. Let each child feel special and important. Allow me work in your grace and mercy. Show yourself in my actions and in my words. Help me reveal you to them. Help me be the best three year old teacher those kids will ever encounter. . .

Isaiah 40:11

” He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart . . .”

Killing T-Rex

Surrender – To give up or abandon

Sacrifice – a surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable or of preventing some evil.

Today we talked about the day of Pentecost in my class. All but one child said that Jesus lived in their heart, and when I asked the child if he would like to ask Jesus to come live in his heart the reply cracked me up. “No”, he said, ” if he comes there I won’t have room for my four wheeler that kills the t-rex’s.” I tried very hard to explain to him what I meant, and that Jesus really wouldn’t take up any room, but it was useless. He NEEDED that four wheeler and nothing was going to change his mind.

Later on, I started thinking. That four wheeler was important to him. Even though we know that his reply was silly, it was serious to him. He couldn’t live without it. It was useful for him and his life would be difficult if he did not have it.

Thoughts of the previous weekend flooded into my heart. I had been quite stubborn about a situation. Actually, I was heartbroken over something I am very passionate about and I could not shake the frustration that crept in. This “item” is something I could not live without. Okay, I could, but knowing it the way I do, it would be difficult to give it up now. If I had never had it to begin with, maybe it would be easy – maybe. Back to my point . . .

Was I letting this take up room in my heart? Surely not! I use this to get closer to God. I find him in this!

Ah, but would I surrender it? Would I sacrifice my joy in it, for the greater good?

Hmmmmm. Now, I was struggling. Honestly, my answer was no. I could not say that I would just lay it down. I needed it.

But, I NEED my savior. I NEED his peace. I NEED his joy. I NEED his love.  All these things can happen without my “item”.

I vow to no longer be an “item” hoarder. I will share my “item” in any way the Lord wants me to. I will use it to glorify him, even when I don’t understand why it’s being used in the manner that it is.

Christ did this very same thing when he died on the cross, was placed in a tomb and rose from the grave. He did not hoard his love for us. He did not hoard his blessings. Even though he struggled with how it had to happen, he let us “borrow” his body and blood. He is the living sacrifice!

And one day, I hope my little friend will let me borrow his four wheeler, so I can kill some t-rex’s of my own!

Romans 5:1-2By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

3-5There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

6-8Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

9-11Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!

Exclusive

“Working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living . . .”

In my case, today was 8:30 t0 5:30.  Still, what a way to make a living.

I am grateful for my job. I adore the kids I teach. I love watching them grow, not only physically, but mentally also. If I could capture the look on their face when they finally get it, or when they know they are doing a good job, I could sell it as sunshine.  Listening to them pray, retell Bible stories, and sing worship is enough to make a grown woman cry – which I do, often.

Long days like today usually end the same, with my son Judah climbing into my lap late at night, wanting some attention. Zeb and Anna have normally rattled off about their day and taken the majority of my attention from the time I got home until they went to bed. Sometimes I wonder if they miss me more than they say    . . .

Judah, however, doesn’t let me wonder. His little feet tap through the hallway quickly, finding my whereabouts easily. “Mommy”, he says in his pitiful voice, “I haven’t got to see you all day. Can I sit with you?”

Honestly, when this first started, I would say “No, go back to your bed. I love you, goodnight” and send him back to his bedroom. But, he would always come back and it would turn into a war of the wills.

Lately, however, I have realized this is merely a cry for some “mommy time”. So, I scoot over, arrange the pillow, and let him crawl up beside me. His little hands reach to find my arm, and he grabs on, snuggling closer and closer. Am I a sucker? No. I recognized this “need”. I enjoy our little routine. Sometimes sleep comes quickly, and other times it takes a little while. I get to hear about his day or what he wants to dream about. Either way, it’s our time. Exclusive.

Tonight, when Judah made his way into the living room, and said his “magic words”, my heart twinged.  I heard a voice say “That’s me. I haven’t got to see you all day. Can I sit with you?”

It had been a busy day. I had not spent real time with my Abba Father. I had read his word to my class, I had sung his praises while they napped, I had thought of his goodness and blessings, but I had not spent any time with Him. In his eyes, our time is one on one, exclusive. Now, his big hand is reaching for my small hand, waiting for me to enjoy him and his peace, joy and abundant life.

As Easter draws near, and many people’s hearts are turned towards thoughts of our Saviour, I do not want to be so busy that I forget to spend time with him. I do not want him to be familiar, I do not want him to be thought.

We fight so hard to make Easter re-known as the day our Saviour rose from the grave, that sometimes we forget to spend time with him. We celebrate and rejoice his death and resurrection, but do we stop to rejoice in sitting with him and celebrate talking with him?

I challenge you this holiday, to remember “the reason for the season”:

Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (Romans 6:11 MSG.)

My final thought?

1 Timothy 6 – “I’m charging you before the life-giving God and before Christ, who took his stand before Pontius Pilate and didn’t give an inch: Keep this command to the letter, and don’t slack off. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He’ll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He’s the only one death can’t touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He’s never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can’t take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes.17-19Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.20-21And oh, my dear [insert your name here] guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.Overwhelming grace keep you! (13 – 21)


Manual

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I am a three year old preschool teacher. My days are filled with laughter and tears, rambunctious play and sweet quiet nap time, and LOTS of silly moments. After a particularly funny day, I wrote this little “manual”. If you have a preschooler or even know one, hopefully this will enlighten you, make you laugh or make you say “yep, that’s the truth”!

Sharing:

I know you just picked it up, but I want it and if you don’t give it to me, you’re not “sharing”‘.

Sharing is when you give what you don’t WANT to play with.

If I tell you to share and you don’t give me what I want, I’m not you’re best friend anymore.

Rules of engagement:

If you lay it down for more than 2 seconds, you are no longer – technically – playing with it. Therefore, I can now have it.

If I have 3 long legos and you only have one, I don’t have to even it out. You’re fine with your one.

If I am first to my play area, and I grab all the “good” dinosaurs, you are just out of luck. You should have been listening so you could have been picked first.

Just because you TELL me to give you my toy, it doesn’t mean I have to.

AND, if this BOTHERS you, then you’re not my best friend anymore!

Playing:

If it is a rectangle, thin and can be carried, it is a cell phone. Period.

We both can’t be the same Super Hero, cartoon character, animal, musician, ect. Unless, we are different colors (ie. “Black Spiderman, Red Spiderman, ect.) then it’s okay.

The teachers said we couldn’t play guns, however, we can have lasers. Lasers are not guns. AND, if we use our hands the right way, we can always just say we were spraying web!

There are those who lead and those who follow. I’m the leader.

If I’m the leader and you leave me, I’m not you’re best friend anymore.

Life Saver

I am sitting on the couch with my 4 year old’s head in my lap. He has finally fallen asleep. For the past hour he had talked my ears off. He commented on everything from the t.v. show that was currently on, to a craft his class should do for Christmas. I finally got him to calm down and lay down, promising an ear rub and t.v. watching. He wrapped up in my plush blanket, rested his head on my knees and got still. It didn’t take long for his breathing to become slow and steady. Soon his little hands gave the all clear when his fingers unfolded. He was asleep.

Thoughts went through my head of everything I SHOULD be doing. Folding laundry, cleaning the kitchen, exercising . . . I didn’t want to move right yet, just in case he wasn’t really settled. So, I sat. His warmth soaked through my p.j. pants and his breathing almost put me to sleep. He is so beautiful. He’s a handful – a temper that at times embarrasses me, a stubborn streak that would frustrate a mule, and o.c.d. to boot. He can scream louder than any child I have ever met, and once he sets his mind to something forget trying to get him to do differently. But, right now, he is my sleeping baby.

When I found out I was pregnant with him, I was devastated. We were not wanting anymore children. We were preparing for making that a permanent thing when I found out I pregnant. I cried. For DAYS. Not that I didn’t think I was gonna enjoy him. It was just that we had a 6 year old and a 3 year old. We were finally starting to get ahead, things were starting to pan out and kinda slow down. I remember sitting in the car, yelling at God. What was he thinking?!? I couldn’t POSSIBLY do this again. I was angry with God, with his “plan”. I told him since this was all HIS idea, that there were some things HE was gonna have to take care of. #1. It had to be a boy. Anna was more girl than I could handle, and having two girls was out of the question. #2. We had just given away ALL the baby stuff we had kept. So there was gonna have to be some MAJOR provision. #3. I couldn’t gain a lot of weight. I had just recently started dieting and feeling good about myself. Gaining weight would only make my life more difficult. #4. The due date was Christmas day. I literally said “I know you may think it’s cute that my kid be born on your kid’s birthday, but I have a family to think about.”

Every single stipulation was met. Judah was it’s name. We were blessed beyond belief with baby items. I weighed 189 my first doctors visit. I weighed 192 the day he was delivered. His birthday is December 18th. God knew the whole time that I was gonna have a “prove it”  attitude, and he already had all these things in motion. I loved him so very much. What a cutie he was! He was little compared to my other two (8lbs even). I stepped right into my role, just like riding a bike. I even went Christmas shopping with him 5 days after he was born!

I wondered what God had in store for this tiny surprise. I knew he had a BIG purpose, or else he wouldn’t be here. I would sit and watch him sleep and ponder what great things he was gonna do. Maybe a major evangelist. A famous worship leader. Inventor of a medication that cured an “incurable” disease. Yes, he was gonna do something AMAZING.

My grandmother (as well as the rest of the family) was enamored with him. She, however, had recently retired and spent LOTS of time with him. The older he got, the more he visited. She doted on him. Her son (my Uncle Jeff) passed away in 2008. Judah was not even two at the time. She had been out making arrangements for the funeral and had come back to the house. When she walked in the door, Judah was being held by his daddy. He immediately reached for her. She took him in her arms. For the first time ever, I watched my 1 and a half year old son wrap his little arms around her neck and squeeze. He held on for dear life and nuzzled his head into her neck. They stood for what seemed forever – a weakened great grandmother and her tiny person full of love and comfort. He didn’t know. He had no clue. But God did. I’m not saying that she wouldn’t have been comforted any less by the rest of us had Judah not been there; but I know – with out a doubt – his life gave her purpose. From that moment on, they were practically inseparable. He stayed over so much the next summer, he told everyone he lived at her house, not ours! They are a hoot to watch and listen to. I see her eyes twinkle with excitement about the possibilities of the trouble they are gonna get into. They are both stubborn. They are both outspoken. They both HATE to be woken up. They both love coffee. They love to be outside. She laughs at his “grown up” sayings. He laughs at her laughing. He takes care of her. She takes care of him.

Yes, he IS beautiful. His smile makes my worries, stress, sadness and concerns melt away. His statements can floor me. He is VERY smart. I couldn’t imagine life without him. I also know that one of his many life purposes was to be here for my grandmother. I know he’ll go on to do many other great things, I believe that about all my kids, but his greatest purpose has already been met. He is a life saver.

Psalms 139:13 – 16

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day . . .

My, my, what big hands you have!

Last week during our chapel service at school, one of our teachers was reading a book about Jesus’ adult life. The book was all about the places he went and the miracles he performed. One of the pages had a picture of Jesus from the back, with his hands stretched out. Sitting next to me was one of my precious boys, listening intently. The words on the page described Jesus healing blind eyes, making the lame walk and healing deaf ears. The little boy looks over at me and says, out loud and NOT quietly, “Wow! Jesus had some BIG hands!” My heart soared and honestly, I almost started crying. I wanted to scream out “yes, yes he does have big hands!”

So often I think adults forget how big his hands are. We sing “He’s got the Whole World in His Hands” as a children’s song, never acknowledging the words and letting them sink into our hearts. We speak so often about how God created this whole world – he spoke and it was (Genesis 1). His HANDS formed us – even knitted us together(Psalms 139). Jesus touched people. He touched the untouchable, the unwanted, the unworthy. He touched the sick, the wounded, the dead. HIS HANDS held the weight of his body on a cross, for OUR sins. His HANDS were the proof to the skeptical. Now, his holy spirit reaches out through us to do the very same – heal, love, touch.

Every time I think about the wonder in that little boys eyes as he spoke those words, I tear up. I want to be just as amazed at Jesus’ hands. I want to marvel at all they created, touched, and reached. I want to marvel at all they are doing today and all they will do in the days to come. It may be that he was looking only at the picture in the book, but in my heart I believe he was amazed that Jesus could do all those things with his hands.  Either way, it was touching.

(Mark 10:14)When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Much love and Many Blessings

What does He eat or drink?

After explaining to three year olds that “God made your body. He made all of you!” I asked if God made their heart, to which they answered “Yes!”. I asked if everyone had God living in their heart and, once again, a resounding “Yes!”. Later on, a little boy came to my assistant and asked “If God is living in my heart, what does he eat and drink? Does he drink my water? Is that why I’m always thirsty?” 🙂