Let It Shine

“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:15-16 (KJV)

It’s an indescribable feeling, but I’m going to give it my best shot. I’ve heard it described as warm and fuzzy. Others say that it’s like fire shut up in their bones. To me, it’s like a song that my soul sings. It tingles and when I feel it, I have to move. I want to shout, but when it’s not appropriate, I just tap my feet. It makes me cry. It makes me smile. It fills me with joy…or maybe it just releases the joy that’s already inside. Sometimes, it even makes me sad. It always makes me grateful and a little more prayerful than before.

I first remember feeling it when I went with my Granny to teach night school and I had my first “student”…a 70 year old woman who wanted to learn to read. I feel it now when I give lunch money to a kid in the hallway that’s trying to avoid the cafeteria by pretending not to be hungry. I feel it when I stay after school an hour and a half past longer than I’d planned trying to tweak a lesson for my kids for the next day. I feel it when I hug somebody’s son or daughter and tell them that I love them and believe in them. I feel it when I text their parent to tell them that they just left my classroom from after school detention (can’t spare the rod).

I don’t just get the feeling at work, but that’s where it is strongest. I also feel it when I hold the door for elderly people even if it means waiting a while for them to catch up to it. I feel it when I send a card or say a prayer for a friend who is going through a storm. I hope to someday feel it when I read my own child a bedtime story or check under the bed for monsters.

I wish that everyone could feel “it.” I’m so grateful that I do. I’m grateful for its strength and its consistency. It reminds me every day that I am doing exactly what God has called me to do. It gives my past, present, and future so much more meaning. It is proof that my life is dedicated to something and someone larger than myself…something greater…something spiritual.

I believe that this feeling is a combination of love, service, compassion, and sacrifice. It is peace. It is light. It is God…and it is His son.

Many of you reading this have your own light. I pray that you shine boldly…not for your own glory, but for His. I also pray for any of you who have not yet learned to recognize the light that is within us all. Perhaps, you will be so courageous as to pray a simple and powerful prayer to invite God into your spiritual space and allow Him to have His way. Just say, “Use me, Lord.” Then, hold on tight. The world needs your light. The kingdom needs your light. YOU need your light.

Peace and blessings.

Keep smiling,

 

SBF 🙂

My Work…My Ministry

I teach. Summer vacation just ended. I’m back at work now teaching Anatomy & Physiology and Environmental Science to 175 diverse, opinionated, intelligent (each in a unique way) teenagers. I need a little coffee and a lot of Jesus every day to help me effectively teach these young minds.

I pray for my students, colleagues, administrators, my classroom, and myself regularly. Still, when my students have a bad day or get frustrated by something…I just want to pray WITH them, remind them about the love of Jesus, and share some scripture with them. However, I can’t.

The law says that Jesus can’t come up in my classroom. He isn’t welcome in the school building. No matter how many hearts He might touch or lives He might save, He must be a non-factor within the public school system.

Ha! Whomever wrote such a silly law never knew the power of my God! I don’t mention Jesus, but my students do. I don’t quote scripture, but when I ask them for their favorite quote or life motto…they quote scripture! I don’t pray aloud, but during that moment of silence after the pledge of allegiance…Jesus moves! I’m so grateful for these things, but there is something else about the challenge of “keeping Christ out of schools” that I have to shout about.

If I can’t speak about Jesus…I am left with no other option but to teach my students about Him through my actions! Through love, understanding, care, concern, service, encouragement, high standards, dedication, sacrifice, and patience…I model the love of Jesus for them. God wants us to keep Him at the center of all things and remember that nothing can separate us from His love. When faced with obstacles, we have to find a way to magnify Him as we work through them.

Anything that brings us closer to God is a good thing. In this case, I am grateful for the opportunity to use my work as my ministry in deeds and not just with words. Please pray with me that students and educators everywhere have a peaceful, loving, productive school year.

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

P.S. Here is a snippet of one section of my bulletin board for this year. Inspired by a board that I saw on Pinterest, I’m hopeful that it will encourage positive choices and character-building among my students this year.

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