Tearing down the bricks with His perfect love

IMG_5925cropAs I dragged a cussing, kicking, screaming Katherine out my classroom door this past week, my heart broke. Again. I wanted to stop class and just hold her close, show her that she’s loved so dearly. But I couldn’t. There were 25 other little boys and girls waiting for attention and direction. Even more than that, I knew Katherine wouldn’t accept my words or hugs or love. Not right then. Not with all that hate and hurt boiling over. So I left her outside with Toni and walked back into the room, feeling frustrated and defeated.

A few weeks ago, I watched as Arisleyda tried to reach out to Katherine in line before school. Arisleyda welcomed her to class and tried to hug her tight. But Katherine recoiled like an angry snake, took three steps backwards, and refused to make eye contact with Arisleyda for most of the day.

Why does this smart, independent, beautiful girl so staunchly reject the love of others? Why does she use that sweet mouth to hurl such dirty and hateful words at her teachers and her classmates? Why does she continue to add bricks to the wall of animosity she builds around herself? Why doesn’t she understand that spurning others isn’t the answer for protection and safety?

Katherine’s not the only one rejecting love. There are so many hurting babes in my class this year. Estaylin, Brayan, Carla. The list could go on. They’re all building up their own “hate walls” as quickly as they can stack the bricks. They’re sabotaging themselves from experiencing True Love, and they don’t even realize it.

As a whole, I’ve felt crushed and discouraged this year. How can I possibly love all of them? How can I conceivably be consistent and fair and patient when all they do is lie and fight and curse and steal from each other? I don’t have enough time and energy and strength to handle the issues these five-year-olds are bringing to school.

But then, as He often does, my Jesus gently reminded me of a very important truth. When I actually stopped to listen, that truth resounded so loudly and obviously in mind. And I wondered why I had forgotten yet again to live by it.

The Truth ironically came from the mouths of my precious, rotten little students. Desiree and Arisleyda were repeating the Bible verse before story time. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. Could the most well-known Bible verse in all of history really be the answer to tearing down the walls these children have constructed over the few short years of their lives?

“For God so loved that world that He gave His one and only Son…”

Duh. Of course I don’t have enough time and energy and strength and patience to love these kids perfectly. God first loved them. Not me. He sent His only begotten Son to die. Not meHis precious blood paid the price, and His perfect love is the only gift that can tear down the walls.

This simple truth seems to be the theme of so many of my posts. Christ is the answer. It sounds so cliché. But He’s the answer for the sin problem that controls the lives of these children and their parents. He’s the answer for me when I feel like I can’t go on another day dealing with the ungratefulness and whining and selfishness I see in my students. He is the answer.

So, for this moment, I’m going to rest in the truth. I’ll do my best this week to “take every thought captive”, to share Christ’s perfect love with my broken sweethearts, and to rely wholly on Him for strength in the middle of the storm.

Here’s to another week of watching Him tear down the bricks.


The reinforcements have arrived!

Meet Arisleyda, my new Dominican co-teacher.


Arisleyda has been a part of the Freedom family for several weeks now. She has quite literally been an answer to prayer!

Already, she’s been a huge help to me personally. I have learned that life in a kindergarten classroom is non-stop. I must be on my game at all times. Even though kindergarten is only half-day, I am absolutely exhausted each afternoon. To be able to share the teaching load with someone else has been tremendous. Arisleyda helps me remember the little details. She’s already giving ideas for how to teach certain concepts even better. And she is learning to continually assess the kids as they start to gain understanding.

Arisleyda has been a big blessing not only to me, but also to our kindergartners. Our students are so starved for attention, and Arisleyda has jumped right in to invest her love and time with these kids. She actively seeks out ways to pull in those children that seem to “fall through the cracks”. She desires success for each one of them. It’s been encouraging to rejoice together when we see little “a-ha” moments.

Today, Arisleyda was sick, but she still came to school. She didn’t show it to the kids. After teaching a mini-lesson on Spanish syllables, she walked over to me, sweating from her fever and asked if she could go find some medicine to help with her cold. She didn’t complain and still gave to the kids even when it was uncomfortable for her. I’m so excited to continue building a relationship with her as the year goes on.

Pray that God continues to help us work well together as we strive to give Jesus to our sweeties!