For me, August had each foot in very different continents: the left foot stood in visiting family, while the right foot firmly stepped into the new school year.
Visiting Family in the Pacific Northwest
In visiting my family, I saw mountains in every city I stopped through. I saw my mom and sister, Dad and stepmom, aunt and uncle, brothers and their families. From Seattle to Southern Oregon, Northern California, and ultimately Denver, I was travelling for two weeks!
Back to School
Just one week into the school year, the amount of classroom resources and favor for student curiosity, relational cohesion, and directional clarity we have is unreal.
With the beginning of the school year and in light of the abundance of favor that is on my classroom, I’ve been asking God for a new prayer strategy. While last school year often felt like a perpetual battle in prayer, my approach to this school year has more to do with me being available for intercession, but spending more time watching and listening for God to highlight what is important in a passive sense. At the same time, I sense he’s calling me to focus on deepening relationships with staff and students as a way to establish the work he is doing, especially as I receive more dreams related to how to intercede for them individually.
As we come back to school, the theme of Identity continues to emerge. As I get ready to teach on Christian community to help us form our sense of classroom family, I have decided to set some time aside to first cover identity in Christ. Since people of all ages cannot know how to engage well with those in their community (or community of faith) until they have a clear sense identity, theology of the individual has to come before theology of community.
As someone who started this position during distance learning, I have so greatly enjoyed seeing students again and for the first time as entire classes. They are so hungry to be known and to know others that we’ve already been able to form relatively strong connections. I have the benefit of teaching last years Third Graders as this years’ Fourth Graders, and meeting our incoming Third Graders for the first time in person. Regardless of what happens with the shape of our school year, I am so grateful to get to spend this early formative time together.
As we press into the theme of identity, here are some verses that will guide my lesson planning, and things I’m declaring over myself, my students, and my colleagues:
Prior to the start of the school year, one dream I had highlighted some strategies for how to support students well this year, as well as two “get to know you” questions I needed to use with them on Day 1. While simple, the wording of these questions continues to relate to identity: “What is at least one question you have for Ms. Nus?” and “What is at least one thing you want Ms. Nus to know about you?”
In gathering students’ responses to these questions, you can see how eager they are to be known.
In response to students questions, I created this virtual bulletin board. As I watched them eagerly listening, one student asked, “Can we keep asking you questions after this?” My answer was “by all means, yes.”
In particular, the Holy Spirit keeps highlighting to me students who need social connection due to the difficulty of their home experiences. I’ve felt the eyes of these students on me, trying to decide if I am trustworthy. As they have physically sought more closeness, taken risks to ask for help, and been more bold to confide in me this week, the Holy Spirit keeps showing me specific ways to show them that they are loved and deeply known by God. Please pray that God would continue to give myself and my colleagues all the wisdom we need to support these kiddos.
Finally, I’ve been thrilled to re-start my tutoring group with a couple students from my neighborhood. We have been practicing fluency and expression using Reader’s Theater scripts, weaving goofy voices, research, and descriptive writing into our first tutoring session of the fall. It was fun!
As some may remember, this summer, I felt God calling me to apply to the University of Edinburgh’s World Christianity program. Strategically, this program would position me to be studying the history of the Non-western church for a year before I design and prepare my Doctoral thesis. The dates perfectly align, and it would help me make the most out of my current degree program. I also have several friends in Scotland who I’d love to spend time with, and dreams of using this information to support Foundation work within International Christian Education in the future. As of now, I have all the materials ready for my application, and will be submitting it in October.
Other themes with God
August was a month for me of increased dreaming, with significant dreams coming nearly every night. I also experienced a slowing and then an acceleration in my perception of time as I met with Jesus and allowed him to shape my impressions of the coming school year. July seemed to drag on ad infinitim until I let Jesus meet my wrestlessness with a sense of his timelessness. Living from a place of rest in August meant that time seemed to flee behind me, and the days passed fast.
Please pray that God would:
- Continue to increase the favor on my classroom
- Give me a spirit of wisdom to know how to meet the needs of my students and weave my many responsibilities into a cohesive whole, both inside and outside of work
- Continue his work of formation and Identity in me, so that I will be more equipped to lead others