“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it”-Genesis 28:16
This semester with my son off to college, I jumped into volunteering in a couple of different areas. The areas that were the most difficult for me were the areas I felt most called to do. Teaching. I led a women’s small group Bible study and co-taught a first grade Bible class with my daughter. From the first day of each of these classes I struggled with feelings of doubt and insecurity. God constantly showed up to affirm me, but darkness seemed to always have an arrow ready to shoot me as soon as relief became comfortable.
It has been a first step kind of semester. One of tremendous learning.
About a month ago the women’s study wrapped up. I really didn’t leave feeling like it went well. Honestly, I think a couple of the women in my group may not come back in the spring. Even knowing this though, I do feel confident I have been faithful to do what God ask me to do. I also believe each woman was stretched in some capacity by the word of God. So even if I wasn’t the best leader, I accomplished my task.
Last night was the Christmas party and end of semester for my first grade class. It was crazy busy and fun- filled as my daughter and I taught a lesson, ate dinner with the kids, and hosted a party. We played musical chairs and Bingo, sang carols, and colored ornaments. As I looked at each of the kiddos faces, I thought about how far they have come over the semester.
We started in September, with twelve energetic six and seven year olds, rushing the lessons to get through because attention spans were so brief. We ended the semester being able to make it through prayer, singing and a lesson before having to get up and change the scenery. Amazing growth for both students and teachers. Through this semester relationships were formed, steps of faith were made and insight was developed.
As I ponder on that growth, I realize that’s probably what God is doing with me. I started the semester thinking, I had to be perfect to teach a good lesson. I was restless, worried more about order than content. Worried that if I stunk I’d lose students. I really wanted to make a good impression and be “the best”. I wasn’t. I failed. Yet, I still succeeded. Simply by persevering, God used me to do His work.
I gained as much from the trials of my volunteering as I did from the successes. I learned I would live past mistakes, people would forgive, and tomorrow would bring a new day, regardless of how amazing my lessons were. I was humbled quite a bit with the awareness that I needed help to make it through. However, people were always willing to help; plus, in asking, walls were broken down allowing me to make quite a few new friends. I walked out of the women’s study definitely with new friends and realizing I don’t have to have all the answers. That’s not even possible. I left the children’s study with much more patience (with them and myself) and eleven smiley hugs. (One student moved during the semester.)
Yes, I’m ready for a break. I know though when January arrives, I’ll be nervous about starting back. Thankfully, I will have the first semester to reflect back on – successes and failures. Plus, God will be right there beside me. After all, I’m doing what He asked me to do.