With just 1 day until my birthday, there are many exciting developments pouring out of our classroom!
Obsessed with the Bible
As we’ve done more and more Lectio Divina this month, one of my 3rd graders asked me to tell teach them about the Story of Joseph. I wasn’t quite expecting it, but I never turn down an opportunity to teach about the Bible. Using this Comic and this translation side-by-side, God has used this study over the past 2 weeks as an open door for me to teach about the supernatural realm, specifically seeing and partnering with angels and listening to God’s voice through dreams. Through this study, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to my students not just to reveal the text, but to understand signs and how God is speaking through them. All I’ve had to do is point out when what they are saying is prophetic, or how it connects to the larger story. They are starting to recognize when thoughts they have actually come from the Holy Spirit, and I’ve started to actively release students to listen the Holy Spirit’s voice.
Please read the section “Prayer Strategy coming to Life” to see just how explosive this change has been. In addition to the supernatural, the Holy Spirit has had us talking a lot about the grace of God, the effects of sin, how God heals family trauma, and learning to read the Bible allegorically. This week, my Vice Principal also approved my request to purchase 12 more bibles (so we will have a full class set), because she “knows that we will definitely use them.” Oh, we will!
This week, students and I reviewed so many literacy and math concepts with Blooket games. There was some light trash talking and they kept ganging up on me (as a multiplayer game), but overall, fun times.
Students enjoyed some of our goofier socio-emotional checkins using Poll Everywhere.
During our afternoon sessions, students also got to chat in Break out rooms to answer Would You Rather questions, such as “Would you rather have the feet of a duck or a horse’s head?
We painted crosses this month to commemorate lives lost to COVID. This meant sitting under shady trees in our parking lot outside, leisurely painting with the help of our Art teacher in the excellent weather.
Questions and Answers
- Student: “Are there clues about Jesus in other places in the bible?”
- Me, nearly screaming: “IN EVERY BOOK!”
- Student, asking with genuine tenderness: “Ms. Nus, why can’t women be priests?”
- Me, responding gently: “People are confused about what a few verses in the Bible mean. Instead of listening to God, they are spending more time arguing with each other. Meanwhile, a lot of women are made to feel rejected. BUT God calls both women and men to serve and love him. There are lots of women in other denominations that have a job like a Priest, but you call them “Reverend” or “Pastor”. Ultimately, God uses people most not based off of their title, but based on their hearts. If you love God with all your heart and want to serve him, he will open doors for you to serve him more. What really matters is your heart.”
- Student, asking with fear for her own family: “Why do grown ups get divorced?”
- Me, remembering that same fear: “Sometimes grown ups are like babies learning to walk. They don’t always know how to love each other well, and they use words or do things that aren’t kind. They fall down a lot of times, and it can be painful. When that happens, God keeps teaching them, no matter how many times they fall.”
- Me: “Do you think God would say, “You’ve failed, I’m done teaching you, you should stop trying and just stay sitting down for the rest of your life.”
- Students: “NO!”
- Me: “In the same way, sometimes it takes longer for people to learn. People divorce sometimes when they have hurt each other really badly and need to take a break. But God is always whispering in their ear, trying to show them the right way to go, if they let him, just like with everything else. He wants to change their hearts and help them love others well.”
- Me: Tells story of how God kept working on my parents hearts long after they divorced, and how God’s been working on my family
- Me, asking a follow up question: “When you hear your parents fighting, what can you do?”
- Students: “Sometimes I hide. Or I go to a different room. Or I watch TV.”
- Students: *Telling me stories about dysfunctional family dynamics*
- Me: “I notice that many of you seem to be scared for your parents. Maybe you notice that they use angry words with each other, or think mean things, or do things to each other that are hurtful. When they do that, can you put your hands over their mouths? Can you tell them to stop yelling?”
- Students, laughing: “No, they would just get more mad.”
- Me: “Here is what I would suggest you do, when you hear your family members fighting. I would go into another room, maybe with your brother or sister if you have siblings, and just pray. Ask God to show them how to speak to each other with love, and to change their hearts and minds. God will hear you, and he knows how to help them. THEN, I would actively entrust them to God. You have to let him be the one who is whispering in their ear, and let him be the one to change their hearts. Then once you’ve let them go to him, you get to go do something different, maybe something outside or away from the fighting. You still get to be kid, so you should do things that you like. God knows how to take care of your family way better than you, and you can trust him.”
- Student: “How long will that take?”
- Me: “It can take a long time. *Tells details about family, and some reasons that family members were scared to let God heal them* Even if it takes a long time. It’s up to them to listen, but God will do things to cause them to listen if they don’t want to for a long time.” *Tells story about my Dad losing his job*. God knows that are hearts are hurting, and sometimes he allows things to happen so that we will let him heal us (relating it to story of Joseph).
Prayer Strategy coming to Life
In late March, there was an incident at my school that required me to stand my ground to worship Jesus alone. Shortly after, the Lord began to show me things that he wanted me to start strategically praying to bind and loose in my school’s culture. This month, the Lord took me on a journey of developing a prayer strategy to intercede more effectively for my school.
This is a timeline what has come from that process so far:
Easter Sunday (April 4th):
-Waking up from a very specific dream that showed me 1) which friendships to prioritize with other staff in this season and 2) timing for God giving me a school of my own.
-Transcribing a list of objects I saw in a dream in August and their spiritual significance to my school at this time.
-Resting over Spring Break.
-Emotionally and spiritually gearing up for explosive changes.
– Receiving more strategic insight on how to build bridges with key staff, what changes will look like, and how to partner with God in advance.
-Daily praying that God would bind and loose the spiritual significance of all the objects I saw in the dream.
-Listening carefully to what God is saying about people’s identities (as school community). Making daily declarations in alignment with what the Holy Spirit shared each morning.
-Documenting evidence in words and pictures of the ways God answered prayers related to each daily declaration. Spoiler alert: I had to keep adding columns nearly every day because God kept doing so many things.
-Continued Daily Prayer, Daily Declarations, and Documenting Evidence
-Praying Psalm 119 Hebrew Acrostic (Hebrew ABCS) over school
-Studying the story of Joseph with 3rd and 4th grade over snack period (at a students’ request).
-Devoting more time to building relationships with key staff
-Precision and Reframing from the Holy Spirit to focus on what is mine to control and to release all the rest
-Allowing someone at the school who has become a mentor speak correctively and officially act as my main point of contact with administrative staff
-Continuing daily declarations, BUT simply selecting an object from the original list to receive first for myself, and then pray over the school (more in sync with my own needs)
-Kids becoming OBSESSED with the Bible! It had been growing up until this week but got to a point where we spent midmorning, snack, and all of lunch studying the book of Joseph because they were pleading with me to read the story. Training the kids vicariously to read the bible allegorically (as they said, “Looking for clues of Jesus”). As one student said yesterday (Thursday), “I feel like my brain just opened up! This is more important than math!!!” Don’t worry, we still do plenty of math, but the Holy Spirit has worked it out so we’re covering the same amount of instructional ground in less time. The kids ask me to tell teach them about the Bible at recess, during specials, when we’re at dismissal, when we’re walking down the hall. I usually don’t know most of what I’m going to teach them until it comes out of my mouth.
This week, God used this study to reach one student who has been skeptical about faith, but has fallen in love with the imperfect characters of the Bible and has begun to believe that God wants to know her too, warts and all. God also used this study to break a stronghold of perfectionism off another student, who for the first time this week, truly understood what it feels like to receive grace instead of striving. Wow!
Looking forward with Transgressive Hope
Lately, leadership has felt like the courage to hope and cast vision. As a person who likes a challenge, I’m giving myself permission to be radically hopeful about next school year. I’m energized by the thought of using instructional technology and strong social connection to recompense for students’ learning loss, and I’m expecting us to have fun doing it! I’m expecting God to show up in explosive and uncontainable ways.
Here’s to 27
To be honest, 27 is a somewhat awkward number. From what I’ve discussed with the Lord, there are many reasons to be excited about this birthday, and this coming year. I’m expecting a handful of answers to prayer. Allowing myself to rest and let God be the one to bring it all together is both the blessing and struggle of this season. Twenty-six was such a year of refinement, and I’m 27 will be at least twice as epic.
Here’s to another year of favor!