Saturday, July 2, 2011

Puzzled Peace

Here I am at yet another expectant milestone in my life.  No, I'm not pregnant again!  As of today I no longer have a classroom.  It took 3 days, but my girls and I managed to have our own version of Clean Sweep.  We organized, put away, gave away, and threw away stuff that I had managed to collect over my 5 years of teaching at Hilldale Christian School.  My girls kept asking me today if I was going to cry.  I told them I thought I had gotten all of my tears out on the last week of school.  They kept watching me, keeping a close eye on their mama.

I'm a keeper.  A student draws me a picture, and I keep it.  They are like wallpaper for me.  So, I was finally going to send some to the recycling factory.  I was not thinking sentimentally, just reaching and tossing.  I was looking over my workroom, which does actually have a floor, and I was impressed at how organized it looked.  Then I closed the door to check out the corner.  There were a few drawings on the back of the door.  I pulled a few down.  Just one more to go!  I stood on my toes, touched the paper with my fingertips, and began to pull.  Something was different about this one.  It wasn't a sturdy pull, it felt as if, oh my, as if it had been...  I stopped.  I knew exactly who drew this picture, and the fact that it was not drawn for me.  I was not the intended recipient of this beautiful drawing, but it will remain a work of art that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

You see, this drawing was fearfully and wonderfully made by a little girl with big green eyes, and beautiful brown hair with flowing ringlets.  We understood each other beautifully, and we spoke cat to each other like only we could.  On this day in K-5, she chose to make a picture for one of her friends.  The kids do this all the time, and it is usually a sweet gesture, and most of the time the giver will be rewarded with a work of art as well - a most proper thank you, of course.  So, I was working with different groups while some were working on free art.  I simply went on about my business, and assumed all was fine in the free art world.

I felt a familiar little tug on my shirt.  I turned around to find this precious girl with tears streaming down her face.  She was cupping something in her hands.  I looked down and saw her drawing in way too many little pieces.  She said, "I made this for my friend, and he said he didn't want it, and he tore it up and threw it on my desk."   Pause.  Yes, this sounds so cruel, but before you start hating on this boy, you have to remember these are 5 year olds.  They don't always know how to express themselves, and many times they react before they think.  This was a GIRL making a girly drawing for a BOY.  This could mean big humiliation out on the playground.  This did not help my sweet little girl standing in front of me.  I had to think fast!

I looked down at her, and I said, "Well, I'm glad he didn't want it, because I would LOVE to have it!"  We proceeded to my desk.  We put that puzzle back together, upside-down, I might add.  We were good - working quickly and efficiently.  When all the tape was in place, we both held our breath, and turned it over.  There it was.  A masterpiece - and it was mine.  I raved about my new work of art that my sweet friend gave me.  I taped it to the front of my desk, and it remained there for the rest of the year.  That little girl was somebody because she had given the teacher something that had great value.

The moment my fingers realized what I was touching, the tears started to roll.  The precious hearts that graced my classroom, the love that they poured into mine, the way their smiles healed the hurt deep down, the friendships and the heartaches that came and went, the hope that each one of my students would walk out of my door knowing and professing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior - all of this flooded me in one moment of looking at a work of art that was not meant for me, but is mine now.

I am thankful for what the Lord is doing in my life.  Little Aaron has us all wrapped around his little heart!  He gives us smiles, tells us "ah goo", and loves to do superman as he makes a wind noise with his little mouth.  He loves and recognizes all of us.  He knows his people, and he loves them hard. He's a big boy now,weighing over 15 pounds!  I love being his mama. :)

Jesus painted a masterpiece for me.  Sometimes, I tear it up, and throw it back at Him.  No matter.  Everytime I do it, He begins piecing it back together for me.  Sometimes, He even invites me to help Him with the tape.  Other times, I realize what a mess I've made, and I think He is going to be done with me.  Never.  It's the same routine.  "Where's the tape, Ashley?  Would you like to come see how I can work this out for your good?"  Sometimes, I hold my breath wondering how it's gonna look when He flips it over.   I am always relieved and amazed when He shows me.

So here I am today.  I've said goodbye to a place that I have been around since Sydney was 3 - that's 7 years.  I'm leaving my family and going on a journey.  Jesus just said to pack my bags.  I hear Him calling, but I don't know where He is, and I can't see where I'm going.  All I know is I can't stay because He has said, "move".  One thing I do know, though.  When I find where He is, and I walk in to see Him, he's gonna have my torn up picture taped up and hanging on the front of His desk.  I'm gonna look Him in the eyes, and my smile is gonna stretch off my face!

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