Leaving Your Mark

Bring them over to the office!Treats and prizes are in store.It’s amazing to me how sometimes the most simple things move us in really big ways. Just when I get so wrapped up in something, God can speak and ideas are formed and suddenly its like, “Oh, hey, God! I hear you. I get it.” Have you ever experienced something like this before? It happened to me just last week. Let me tell you the story.

So, the last week and a half or so has been extra busy for me. Those of you that know me well know that my level of busy often tops the charts….last week was insane. On a scale of one to crazy, I hit crazy mid-week. I packed up six years of teaching and moved to a new school, unpacked those six years, painted a classroom and 81, yes, EIGHTY-ONE, lit-tle tiny cubbies (emphasis added), found creative ways to store what I had to keep, and got rid of what I could to make this upcoming school year successful. In fact, I’m going back today to finish all of the little jobs that just have (well, need) to be done before I go back to work on Wednesday. (Is the summer REALLY almost over?) And I’m telling you, it was God that I didn’t ever book that late summer cruise I was just dying to go on….He knew I’d be wrapped up in all of this! I love the feel of a fresh start and so I feel doubly happy that I’m starting a new school year at a new school (who doesn’t love sparkly white boards, new boxes of crayons, never-before- used pencils, and crisp white notebook paper? The smells get to me in a good way and make me so excited for the new beginning.) So, you can imagine that my love of all those things paired with a new grade level, a new school, and new friends really got me excited! I’ll have to write a post about the transformation Room 103 has undergone. You won’t believe it! Anyway, last week, as I was hanging some bright fabrics over my bulletin boards, one of the boards caught my eye. They all looked the same, actually, but for some reason – I think God was speaking– this one got me.


I stopped for a minute and started reading all of the writing 4th graders have done over the years. Mostly just names and dates, the board was covered with kiddo graffiti. And I’m sure all of these kids probably thought that writing all over the cork board would leave a piece of themselves in that very classroom. Oh, to be a fly on the wall over the years! As a teacher, I wonder what kind of chaos must have ensued for there to be so much written on just one board….better yet, how OLD is this board? Having taught sixth grade for six years I’ve learned one thing….ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I stopped and thought about how my students would probably never witness the signed boards that would be hidden behind the bright fabrics and glittery borders. They’d never know what mark all of these people have left….even one from 1986!….because I’d cover them up. And the next teacher? They’ll know. They’ll see.

What made the most impact on me was realizing that while I didn’t see a name I recognized, God knew who all of these people were. He knows where they are today….whether or not what they learned in room 103 stayed with them. I wonder if the mark they’re leaving on the world is larger than the mark they left on the old cork board in my classroom. Hmmm…something to think about!

What about you? Me? How are we leaving a mark? It is more than a signed name on a wall full of 4th grade signature graffiti? Is it impacting the generations behind us? Are we making a mark that we can be proud of? It definitely gives us something to think about. And going forward, I’m sure I’ll sit in that classroom one day and consider the mark I make on those little lives….and the mark they’re making on mine.



What A Day…Thursday’s Update From Guatemala

Wow. Where do I even begin?! This morning we had to wake up extra early because of a road closure that would cause a major delay. So, breakfast was at 6:30 instead of 7. At about 6:30 this morning, I was standing in my room about to gather my things to leave when all of a sudden I felt the ground beneath my feet start to shake. Then I saw the tv move and noticed things making creaking and clinging sounds around the room. Then the sirens started. Before common sense took over and made me leave the room, I froze. I was so confused at first, never scared, but almost in a state of shock as my thoughts started to gather and I could make sense of them. I was experiencing my very first earthquake! While the building was still shaking, I flew through the door to check on all of the other girls from CFT…Jodi had been caught in evacuations at breakfast, Mom and most of the other girls met me in the hallway, their faces just as shocked as mine. I did happen to look out to the trees and see them moving with the tremors…I have to say, it was so very surreal and almost eerie.

Today at the center we began with worship. It was beautiful. We sang together as a group and then had a short devotion before beginning our jobs for the day. In light of all of the commotion early in the morning, the day at the center was actually quite peaceful! The kids were very sweet today and they gave lots of hugs and kisses. Leaving the center this afternoon was very hard. I know some cried and honestly, I was choking back tears too. I thought three years ago that I might never get to return to this place and today I am so thankful that I had another opportunity to be here. I’m so thankful for all of the ways Jesus has made Himself real to us here this week.

To top it all off, tonight after dinner just before our group time we saw Fuego (remember the active volcano I wrote about earlier in the week?) spewing lava. It was so awesome I struggle to find words to describe it. When we looked out toward the volcano it appeared to be a dark hill in the night and then out of nowhere bright orange bursts began shooting out of the top of it. We are not close enough to be affected by what it was spewing tonight, but we are close enough to actually see detail as it comes out of the top. I’ve been volcano boarding (another story for another time) and seen so many volcanos in all of my travels but tonight was the very first time I’ve ever seen one erupt…and at night! It was a beautiful thing to witness.

So, as I wrap things up I can’t help but be in awe of how God’s hand has carried us through this week…through everything His power and love have been so evident. That’s always the case on the mission field, however. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to journey alongside my people…these women that I get to go back home and do life with. We shared today how thankful we are that although we were at the same place we all have so many different experiences and stories to tell. I know that we all will come home with tender hearts for Guatemala and for the Guatemalan people. Wow, God! What a week!