I am the picture of grace.  Oh, not like you’re thinking.  I don’t move like a swan. I’m talking about the kind of grace God offers:  undeserved favor.  That’s me… a walking billboard for undeserved favor.  If it weren’t for God’s grace, my mouth would have definitely led me to the poorhouse by now!  For an English teacher who bemoans the use of absolutes and such, I sure don’t hesitate to sling the emotionally-charged words around when confronted. 

    This was our first week of school, and for the most part it was fantastic.  There were at least two scenarios of which my mind “went to the replay” repeatedly, though.  These two instances kept me up with worry and made my stomach hurt.  I’ve been teaching for thirty years; surely I will figure this out soon!

    Fast forward to preparation for today:  I had been asked to sing a solo at church.  I decided with the stress of the first week of school, it would have to be one I previously did.  So, I gathered up my accompaniment tracks and I began listening.  The song I chose sang my week! 

                        Another voice, another choice, to listen to the words somebody said.

                        Another day I replay one too many doubts inside my head:

                        Am I strong, beautiful, am I good enough?  Do I belong

                        After all I’ve said and done? Is it real when I feel I don’t measure up.

                        Am I loved?

    That would be the entirety of my issue:  how to get the automatic replay to stop playing.  The chorus reminded me that God made every part of me with His hands, and because I know whose I am, I know who I am.  When I mess up like I did this week, I remind myself that God’s grace has covered these mess-ups, and I am free to try again… and do better next time.  Underserved favor.  Pretty cool!

    Now my biggest challenge is to pay it forward to my students.  It’s the start of a new year; not all are on board with our routine yet.  I need to make sure there is grace in everything I say as they seek to internalize the many facets of learning at Lawton Academy. My favorite quote from the week, as I tried to help sixth and seventh graders understand that they could choose their own activities in arts/engineering/music time: “I’m not used to choosing.  They just tell me what to do and where to go, and I do it.”  That was closely followed by a “I love this school” once the enormity of freedom this allowed was comprehended.  It was great!

   In this day and age where every mistake of those in the public eye is exposed, published, and analyzed by any number of talking heads on television, I’m wishing you a measure of undeserved favor!

-          Michelle