By now you know that I taught first grade for years and years and years.
There was a big big difference in the teacher that I was and the teacher I eventually became.
I loved my profession and I loved the little children from day one, but during the first 3 years of my teaching career I had not had the wonderful opportunity of becoming a mother myself.
Each September young moms would bring me their little ones and it was more than often the parent who left in tears. They would walk into our classroom with a confident smile, holding their child’s hand, chin up…trying to be a great example for their child. Surely this new year…this year of first grade…was going to be so very wonderful.
But then I’d see the watery eyes begin
And the hugs that lasted just a bit longer
And then the back of the parent who was trying to skip out swiftly before their child too started to cry
And then I’d see those same faces peering in the window from a spot that their child could not see them
Staying on a little more…entrusting them to me, their first grade teacher
Praying that all would go well I’m sure.
I remember those early years and I remember my thoughts.
I didn’t judge the parents for their feelings, but I certainly didn’t understand them either.
It wasn’t until it was my turn, years later that I too would drive my child to school to meet her new teacher and her new classmates. I too put on the smile, held her hand, held my chin up in fake confidence and cried all the way home in my car.
After staying home for a number of years while raising my own children, I eventually went back into the teaching field.
I had first graders again.
This time around I would hug the parent myself. I’d pray with a parent. I had so much compassion for where they were at that moment because I’d been there.
On occasion I’d even slip an email or a text message to a worried parent that so and so was doing great and having a wonderful day so far. I knew it would put a smile on their face and relief on their poor shoulders!
Sometimes I think we would all agree that God’s timing seems a bit off.
Why did God allow the son of the widow to die and put her through all that grief when He knew all along He would bring her son back to life again?
Why did Jesus allow the disciples to struggle through the storm on the water?
(Mark 6:47) He saw them struggling and straining at the oars.
I think sometimes it’s only after we’ve “been there” that we truly can comfort someone else. I don’t know what your “been there” looks like right now, but I do know He intends to use it for good.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”