Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Empty Boxes

I had boxes full of Kindergarten supplies, classroom decorations, and crayons. As we packed up my room into cardboard boxes, I felt so empty. I am not saying this is a bad thing. I expected to be over-emotional, crying, and not wanting to leave, but counting down the minutes until time to leave, I had no feeling at all.

I know I could put this into elegant words to explain what this taught me, but let me just say this: I firmly believe God filled those cardboard boxes with exactly what needed to be in them for this point in my life. I was afraid that leaving was the wrong thing to do, but when God says to do something, I do not have to second guess Him. He proudly watched me as I looked into each empty box and packed it full of things that I had to say goodbye to. It is sad, knowing I will not be teaching next year, but the peace I have about not going back is so comforting. FULL! Just like those boxes, I am packed full of God's spirit and He is leading me onto my next move.

Sorry it is so short, but I am writing my husband's blogs for the next two weeks. I just finished this week's post. Please visit his Words of Encouragement site to view my article(s).

Help me to PRAY for him for the next 12 days until June 7th. He is with my grandfather and 20 others on a tour of Israel. Pray for safety and spiritual understanding. Keep up with their trip on Israel 2008.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Getting Good at Goodbye

In a few hours, I will tell a group of 18 children goodbye for the last time, only this time, they will not return through my classroom door ever again with a bunch of toothless grins. Miss Kramer next door has already came over with tear-filled eyes exclaiming she had broken down with her class. I haven't yet... But then again, it's only 10:30. The children's voices are filling the room, senseless chitter chatter and random squeals and laughs, but the looming moments also come to mind.

Maybe I won't cry this afternoon when the children say their final words. Maybe I'll be so overwhelmed that tears will not cease. Maybe I'm thinking much too into this. Nevertheless, my heart aches knowing this will not only be their last goodbyes but mine as well.

Upon entering this classroom in July 2007, I had the most distinctive feeling... I had become a stranger in my own room. It, for some reason, just did not feel as it had before. As the year progressed, the children entered, and God continued this call, I realized what He was asking of me. This is why as the children walk away today, they are not leaving this room alone. I will be leaving it as well for my last time; God has called me to leave this inspiring position.

All year I have said my goodbyes... I have said my farewells to my Nana, to Brian's Granddaddy, to my first child, and most recently to Brian's dad. I now plan to tell 18 6-year-olds that they will not be able to come back next year and hug me as they had seen my last year's students do this year. This room will be someone else's, and I will be following the will of my very own Teacher... His name is Jesus.

I also must say bye to my fellow colleagues who are now friends, and I will leave two of my very best teaching friends behind. Miss Kramer, who actually is Liz, has become the greatest addition to this year. Had it not been for her, I don't know, with all of the disappointments of 2007-2008, if I would have made it without her. She has truly been a "friend closer than a brother" or sister in my case. Saying goodbye to my best friend and next door neighbor is going to be one of the most difficult things I have done, and I say that with great experience of saying goodbye. I will leave behind one of the most influential friends I have... I've almost been ignoring her lately because I fear the emotions that will overtake me as we say goodbye. (Please forgive me for this shortcoming, Jenny.) Mrs. Jones has been a spiritual leader in this school; she started having devotionals and prayer time once a week even when only a few showed. She's been the most heartfelt and sincere friend I've ever had, and having to leave her breaks my heart. Why must goodbyes be so hard?

The crazy thing is that I'm not fearful. I know that this is what God has spoken, and disobeying Him would be a sin. I must leave this part of my life behind for now, and press toward the prize that God has for me.

With tear-filled eyes I write my last entry as Mrs. Johnson... Goodbye Kindergarten. You have filled my life with joy and the children I've dreamed to teach. Lord, I don't understand why, but here I am saying goodbye.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Down on My Knees

Do you remember how good you felt when that band-aid was placed upon your knee after having fallen off your bike? It wasn't as if anything miraculous had actually occurred; it was the simple thought of being taken care of, like that bandage would prevent more pain.

If you were like me in your younger years, it wouldn't be but a week later you were landing on that same spot before the scab was even gone. The hit you took hurt triple the pain you'd experienced before, but you found yourself avoiding those same circumstances in any way you possibly could.

NOT ME. I'd get right back on that bike and take the fall... a repeated number of times. I loved getting band-aid after band-aid and enjoyed even more the fact that my dad would be there taking care of it. He was also the one who encouraged me to get back up and try again. He'd tell me that if I wasn't bleeding that I'd be fine. He usually was right...

And my Father is telling me that I will be fine, but I feel as though I've been knocked down yet again. However, this injury is as heartbreaking as the last three. If you don't remember, just last July, my beloved Nana passed away after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Just a month later, Brian lost his God-fearing Grandaddy in a timely death. This past February, we learned that our firstborn child had been taken from the womb straight into Heaven. Just days ago, on Thursday, May 8th, we learned that Brian's dad of 48-years-old had not risen from his sleep.

Though I feel as though God has kicked me in the shins before the previous bruises had even healed, I realize there is a purpose. Maybe I am on my knees now to prove that God is sovereign, and He is in complete control. Maybe someone, sometime, somewhere will need me for the loss I've endured, and at that point, in God's glory, I'll be able to point them to the source of these sore areas.

In all of this, I think back to those days when daddy would pick me up and put me back on that purple bike; his unfailing love and encouragement taught me to keep going, and that in time, the pain would be worth it when I rode over the hill. My Heavenly Daddy is exactly the same. He knows how bad the hurts hurt, and He understands how weak my flesh has become. Yet He loves me enough to let me fall down time and time again so that in my weakness, He is made strong.

There is nothing like a wound that won't heal, but when God is your physician, He knows what you need. I'm taking my battered and bruised self to His feet, and I am going to get down on my bandaged knees.

In Memory of:
Thomas Benjamin Johnson
Ethan Caleb Johnson
Bennie Lara Johnson
Jodean Honeycutt