Every once and a while, within the slight chaos that comes with teaching at the Street School, God gives our staff tiny glimpses into what He is doing within the hearts of our students.
A few weeks ago, I walked outside during E block to find Blair* sitting alone by the dumpster. When I asked her why she was ditching class, the floodgates opened up.
Her family had fallen apart before her eyes yet again; her dad had passed away over the summer, her mom was in jail, and she and her siblings had been placed in foster care for the “millionth time” in their lives. She was homesick and depressed, and understandably couldn’t muster up the intellectual or emotional strength to face algebra that day.
“I’m stuck, Miss. I’m stuck in this stupid world and it feels like no one cares about me.” She sobbed as she stared down at the concrete.
With a heavy heart, unable to offer her any solace that would be worthwhile, I prayed out loud that she would know and experience the Love of God and that He would be the one to get her “unstuck”.
After a few more teary moments and a deep breath, she said she felt ready to head into math class, so I walked her to her classroom and went back to lesson planning in my own. While I stared at my computer, one thought came to my mind: “If she’s going to experience the Love of God, she should have a Bible.”
During passing period, I mentioned this to her advocate who quickly disappeared into her office and came back with a beautiful, brand new, pink leather Bible. Before the next block began, I jotted down Isaiah 41:10 on an index card with a simple note and stuck it at the beginning of Isaiah.
“’So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.’ (Isaiah 41:10) Blair, the book of Isaiah is all about people who felt ‘stuck’ and it’s because they were. But with God, you will never be stuck for long. Ask big questions of God; He will give you big answers.”
I grabbed Blair as she was walking into chapel and asked her to come chat with me on the stairs. When we sat down, I handed her the new pink Bible, explaining that I thought God wanted her to have it, and started to give her a brief explanation of the note stuck inside.
Before I even finished my explanation, Blair’s arms were around me as she sputtered through tears, “I don’t have anything that’s my own right now, living in this foster home… I’ve never had anything this nice… Look at the shiny pages… You don’t understand… You don’t understand how much this means…”
Later that day as I was walking to my car, I glanced over at the dumpster and got a tiny glimpse of what God was doing under Blair’s rough exterior. Curled up with her back against the dumpster and a cigarette hanging out of her right hand, Blair was reading the story of Isaiah in her brand new pink Bible, absentmindedly running her left fingers over the silver leafed pages as her eyes read the words before her.
That image– that is what the Street School is. We don’t care if our students don’t have it all together yet, and neither does God.
He is doing a mighty work within these walls; He is calling these kids to leave their captivity in their most vulnerable and broken moments and run to Him.
*Students name has been changed
Originally written 10/08/2014