Weary and Heavy-Laden

Are you about to falter under the burdens you are bearing? Remember, you don't have to bear it alone. There is One who will bear it with you.Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29–29

Rarely have I felt as weary and heavy-laden as I feel today. So many burdens are bearing down. The Red Card Kids Sunday school class broke the hearts of everyone in attendance as we were brought face-to-face with the conditions children live in around the world. The killing of nine people attending a Bible study in Charleston sent believers in our country reeling. Every week parents of kids with special needs email their stories to me and ask for advice. And right now, this very minute, my husband and I are shouldering burdens concerning people we love very much, and we feel too weak to bear the weight much longer.

I am so weary, so heavy-laden. What I want right now if for the world to leave me alone while I watch one happy-ending movie after another, starting with The Wizard of Oz and ending with Ella Enchanted. Why do I–and maybe you, too–want to escape the woes of this world? Because, deep down, we know we can’t fix what’s wrong.

We can’t ease the daily suffering and oppression of millions of children.
We can’t end the racism that led to the killing of nine Christ followers.
We can’t provide the resources and rest parents of kids with special needs require.
 We can’t even make things better for the people we love most in this world.

And yet as believers we are commanded to end oppression, to fight injustice, to heal the broken, and to maintain loving relationships. We are called to bear burdens we can never fix. God’s commandment seems so unfair. Impossible to obey. Unless we remember Jesus’ call to bear our burdens with HIm. To be yoked together In Him. Not alone. Never alone.

Of course, being yoked to Jesus so the burden can be shared requires us to make some adjustments. Being yoked to Jesus means matching our steps to His. Going the direction He says is best. Moving forward in His time, not ours.

Being yoked to Jesus means total dependence on Him. Total release of our will to His. Total relinquishment of our loved ones to His sovereign will. Total trust in His wisdom and power when all appears hopeless, when evil seems to be winning.

Only when we realize that all the impossible things God calls us to do are only accomplished through His divine power are we able to lay find rest for our sore and weary souls. Only then do we discover His yoke truly is easy and the burden is so very, very light.

Only then.
Only then.

Top Ten Reasons to Be Kind to Teachers Going Back to School

Back to School Teachers

My teacher friends and former co-workers in our school district went back to work yesterday. Speaking from 25 years of personal experience, here are 10 reasons to be kind to teachers for the next few days and weeks.

10.  Contrary to popular opinion, most teachers didn’t sit around the pool eating bon bons all summer. Most teachers spent much of the summer going to school to hone their skills. They even turned in assignments, sat at the other end of the red pencil, and received grades.

9.   During summer school classes, teachers wore flip flops. At home they went barefoot. And now they have to shove their feet into teacher shoes. Remember those teacher shoes? Not a pretty sight.

8.   The first few days back to school, before the kids return, are packed with meetings about exciting topics such as Proper Procedures for Cleaning Up Bodily Fluids (I’m not making this up) and the latest No Child Left Behind government regulations. The powers that be grant these topics higher priority than things allowing teachers preparation time in the classroom.

7.   Teachers know those meetings will eat away their preparation time, so they’ve already donated several unpaid days to get their classrooms ready, plan lessons, and prepare materials. And because of budget cuts, they often pay for materials out of their own pockets.

6.   At some of those meetings before the kids come, teachers learn about newly assigned duties that take away their scheduled planning time and in some cases much of their lunch hour.

5.   Once the students return, teaches spend much of their lunch hour doing one of the following: running home to let the dog out, eating at their desk while preparing for afternoon classes, or supervising students.

4.   You know how hard it is for your kids to adjust to the school schedule every fall? It’s that hard for teachers, too, because they’re big kids at heart. That’s why they’re teachers.

3.  Teachers would rather help kids succeed than mark assignments with red pencil and fill out report cards. But their job description requires they do both.

2.   Teachers spend all day supervising 25–30 people who are crowded together reading and doing paperwork in a small space without privacy cubicles. Can you think of businesses that ask adults to work in conditions like that?

1.   Your child’s teacher cares about your boy or girl. A lot. Your child’s teacher cares about every student. But teachers know they can’t give students everything they need. Teachers know that no matter how hard they works, at some point they will fail students. They will obsess over every failure and try to do better the next day, knowing they will fail again. But they keeps trying because they believes kids are worth their best effort. And if you tell teachers they’re doing a good job, they’ll remember your kindness and pass it on to a child. Because that’s what teachers do.

What would you add to the list? Leave a comment!