Yesterday my family and I went to see God’s Not Dead 2. It was SO good. Now, it’s no secret that I am a believer so I love a good faith based movie. There is so much junk on television. I want to watch something that inspires me, moves me. In my true hot mess form, I cried. And then I cried some more. Don’t judge. Ha! There were some serious tugging on my heart strings.
My friend said she really liked the movie but questioned as to why they had to make a teacher the martyr again? My response was this. Why not? Just like a lot of jobs, teacher are in the trenches everyday. If anyone needs a message of faith, it's teachers.
There are plenty of careers that come with hours of work, stress, and heartache. I believe that teaching is a calling and I have yet to meet a teacher that is in this profession just because it’s their career and certainly not because it pays well. In my opinion, teaching is a ministry. Teachers are the deliverers of hope, not only to hopeless children but also their families. We are literally planting sounds from the ground up. Speaking from experience, I was a child (planted seed) that helped lead my parents to salvation. I understand the importance of pouring love into children because they me be the only Jesus their parents see.
God’s Not Dead 2 is about a teacher that goes on trial for referencing the bible in class. She was a history teacher and was asked a question about history that included Jesus. The school district wanted her to apologize and accept reprimand for her “mistake”. She was a good teacher though and more importantly she was a strong believer. No matter what they put her through, her answer was always the same. She would not apologize for saying the name of Jesus.
As a teacher, you need an abundance of courage every day. When you see a child come to school hungry, dirty or knowing they have been hurt, it takes its toll on you. When you realize that you may be the only structure or caring individual in their life, it rocks your world. The only thing that keeps me going is my faith, understanding that I am fulfilling a calling and that my role in my students’ lives is purposeful. Your life is purposeful.
When Nick and I were foster parents, we had to look at it as a ministry. It would have been hard to have a revolving door where broken children came and went. We agreed that whoever came through our doors, we would give them Jesus. We would love them and give them the best of ourselves. We may only have them for a season, but that was long enough to plant seeds that could last an eternity. We may not spend the coming years with them, but hopefully we can spend eternity with them.
I look at teaching with the same mindset. Now, pleases do not misunderstand me. I do not pray with my students nor do I do things that I know are against school policy. I do, however, try to let my life speak for itself. I would like to think that my love for others speaks volumes as to where my hope comes from. Our life should scream believer. After all, actions have always spoken louder than words. And no one can ever keep me from saying prayers to myself. Lord knows some days call for more prayers than others.
Teachers are so much more than educators. They (we) plant seeds of love, hope, and grace. We provide our students with forgiveness and unconditional love…something that is foreign to many of them. I cannot imagine a world without Jesus because that is a world without hope. As a teacher, faith fuels me to not give up on children when situations are tough…and man, sometimes they are SO tough.
Walking away from this movie, as a believer and as a teacher, I took away a message of courage. I hope I would have enough courage to stand on my faith…even if it could cost me everything. I hope this is true for my faith in Jesus and also my faith in myself. So many times we are given directives that are not what is best for kids. I think of how many times I wish I would have had the courage to speak up and share my heart. The people who create our curriculum, our guidelines, our schedules…they have no clue the baggage that these kids walk in the door with. Children need more than education. They need to find hope in something. They need to feel loved. They need to be given grace. As hard as this journey is in education, I do believe that it’s possible because God’s Not Dead.
Teacher or not, go see this movie. I promise, no matter where you are in your journey, you will walk away with something. A seed will be planted in you and who knows how far it will grow.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”