Friday, August 26, 2011


Today is the first Saturday of the school-year. I consider the first week (really only one and a half days) to have been a success--I felt good about about how the year opened, and believe that each of my classes started off on the right foot. I'm enthusiastic about the promise of this school year, and hope that my students feel the same. I am also, however, exhausted. I love my new schedule--teaching for 5 straight class periods (punctuated only by a morning break and lunch) makes my days lively and exciting--no stretches of down-time means that I am never bored. Furthermore, I can keep my energy level high through all of my classes; even after lunch, when my students will be especially prone to feeling sleepy.

That said, my body is still not used to the routine, and it may take a little while--as soon as I reach my 7th period prep time, I crash--I get quite sleepy myself, and I feel the aches and pains that I've accumulated from standing, moving around and talking all day finally starting to catch up with me. Considering that my day is far from over (with middle schoolers to coach and both prep and grading to do at night), it's vital that I dig deep and find energy somewhere. The question of where to turn for that energy should be easy to answer, yet somehow I struggle--two nights ago, I turned to several glasses of ice coffee from Reno's. I got a lot of work done in the ensuing caffeine-fueled frenzy, but I went home at 11 with an enormous tension headache (rare for me--I've only had two headaches in my entire life). So, then, if not caffeine, where do I turn for strength, hope and energy?

As I thought about this question earlier, I remembered one of my favorite songs, which had been drifting in and out of my head all day:

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

I'm powerless and I'm weak. It's not crazy that I feel this way--it's instead a reminder of who does have the perfect strength. And so, in my weakness and tiredness, I turn to Christ in whom I can do all things. A teacher's work is never done--there's always something that needs to be worked on, changed, updated or improved. That process will never end so long as I'm in the classroom. To make it through and to do my job well, I need to turn to Christ for meaning and power. Without His strength and mercy, I will not succeed as a teacher, or maintain my busy schedule. To God be the glory, and at His feet I lay all of my successes and joys, and all my struggles and failings.

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