Lips pressed together and arms crossed over my chest, I look into the sea of faces. Only a few are looking at me. Most are looking at others. The cacophony of sound includes popping, laughing, giggling, tapping, talking, crackling, rustling.
And a sigh.
The sea of faces belong to the thirty-some seventh graders in room twenty-two. There should be paper and pencils on desks. Eyes and ears should be riveted on me. At least until they hear directions, see examples, understand what to do.
Only eight weeks of school left and this scenario grates on every nerve. Over the racket, I hear the impatience and irritation when, tired of waiting, I raise my voice, “Ladies and Gentlemen!”
Spring fever I could understand, maybe tolerate and go along with. But this contained chaos is the norm. Day after day. Thirty-two weeks. Did I say eight more? How can I stand it?
Discouragement. Weariness. Impatience. Irritation. These are not fruits of the Spirit.
At home, I sit down to record the gifts from today: clouds dancing across the sky; red-throated finches at the bird-feeder for the first time since we moved; talking to my granddaughter, Katie, on the phone; fresh basil in the spaghetti sauce.
Gifts. Unending gifts. I took Ann Voskamp’s challenge, her joy dare; I fill journal after journal.
And then I know. I know how to change my attitude, my heart.
A School Gift Journal.
Record a minimum of three gifts at work every day to help keep my heart and mind fixed on Him. Remembering each and every student, parent, teacher, person that is part of my work day is precious and loved by God and is to be considered precious and be loved by me–through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remembering I am to be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18.
Even when things are hard. Even when I want to give up.
So I choose to be thankful, to live as a person who lives under the grace of God and gives His grace to those at work. I choose to give thanks for everything: success, defeat, annoyance, joy. I will count it all joy when I meet trials James 1: 2
Three days ago I made that decision. Today there are 18 gifts. God is good. He provides JOY–I can count on it.