The Lord Gives the Increase
I tell my students and the families I serve that it’s not MY classroom. Parents and students who enter into my classroom family realize from the initiation of our relationship that they are a part of something bigger – bigger than themselves and bigger than their ideas of education. Transformation and innovation drive my instruction, but behind that is the fuel of the Lord’s love. I trust the Lord’s plan for my classroom, which is His, and I believe it is He who creates my class roster each year, not an administrator’s notion. I have been teaching in public schools for eight years, with a five-year break to instill a deep love for education and the Lord in the lives of my own children.
There have been many times where I felt burnout seeping into my tank, but the Lord graciously cleansed and refilled my tank. Burnout looks like lies from the enemy and I almost filled up on these. A year ago, I was ready to give up the race before the final lap had been called. I watched too many kids come through my class whose lives I didn’t see change. I heard, “You’re not making a difference. You don’t get to keep them long enough; they can’t change in nine months. You can’t speak the name of Jesus - how are they going to be set free?” I filled up on these thoughts a year ago, and entertained them like they were my own making.
As I was asking my friends to pray for a former student of mine, the Lord put His finger on these lies and gently asked me, “Don’t you know that I care for her more than you do?” At this truth, I broke. When I was able to hand this child’s future back over to the One who loves her the most, instantly I saw that He trusted me with her during the time she was in my care. Knowing I had the Lord’s trust helped me see those thoughts I had been filling up on were clearly not of His way, and they were not mine either. He set me free from paralyzed thinking and refueled me with His love for His children in a healthier way.
This past year, I still had children leave my classroom whose lives may not have looked changed, but I am not discouraged. The Lord has shown me that, like an oak tree’s roots, I am cultivating fruit and a harvest in these children. We don’t always see the growth that is taking place. Some oak trees can grow up to three feet deep before the shoot emerges from the ground! Likewise, the Lord can be doing deep works in the hearts of these children, and we don’t see anything on the surface of their hearts or in their behaviour. The Lord gave me the promise of 1 Corinthians 3:6 - He will give the increase in my classroom! I will faithfully plant what He sends my way. I am so thankful for the seeds, in which He entrusts to me; each child who enters my classroom enters into a shifted environment that was chosen by the Lord like a well-tended garden. The enemy had tried to throw the lie at me in the past that the fruit doesn’t stay in these children’s lives: “Look, they only change while they are with you, and then they go right back to their old behavior.” I began to see this pattern, and believed it as truth, seeing so many of my students returning to their old behavior. Of course, we see dimly, and I was only looking with these dim eyes. The Lord reminded me of the fruit that they are bearing. “What’s inside of a fruit?” The Lord asked me. “Well, seeds are,” I answered.
The Lord reminded me, once again, that He will take care of His seeds. Even if the fruit appears to die, they bear seeds within them, and He will take care of His seeds. Revival in the classroom looks like trusting our good Father to be the great caretaker of His crops. How exciting is it, that we can work the harvest with Him!
1 Corinthians 3:6 – I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
Jessica Chandler is a first grade teacher within the Keller Independent School District in Texas, USA. Jessica attends Catch The Fire Dallas Fort Worth, under the leadership of pastors Alan and Nancy Smith.
In anticipation of our conference, we are starting a conversation around what revival looks like today through a series called Revival Now. Read More
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