Making a difference.
So, those of you that have known me for a while know that when my girls were little I was a basket case about sending them to the public school, I went to a Christian school for most of my life and I had only heard scary negative things about public schools. Well, as God often does He has shown me that my own planning and worry just goes to waste, because He already has a plan for me and for my children, the only thing He wants me to do is to trust Him in everything, not just in the easy things.
John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”
So here is a little of what God has planned and how my family has gotten to be a part of it. A.J. is the first of our kids that will be going through the public school system K-12 he has never been home schooled, which the girls were for a short time, and he has never gone to a private school.
A.J loves people; at a very early age he showed a lot concern for people, his love for people comes from his vast understanding of how God wants to use Christians in the world to show HIS love. We are the hands and feet of Christ we are suppose to be Jesus in the flesh, our love for others is what makes us different from the average person. Whether or not we are recognized for doing the right thing or not we are commissioned by God to love others: smile at people we don’t know, sit with a lonely soul at lunch, be on a team of “losers”, protect the week from bullies, help a teacher clean her room or carry stuff to her car, be dependable, speak up when someone else it being hurtful or rude, befriend the friendless, care for the handicapped, go to the end of the line when there is a scuffle, encourage the discouraged, see the sunny side on a bleak cloudy day. Why, simply because God tells us to.
Romans 12:14 “Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.”
Philippians 2:1-8 “If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.”
Yesterday at the 5th grade graduation at West Maple Elementary, A.J as well as Skyler McQueen, a girl from Kensington Church won this prestigious award:
“Awarded since 1956, the Peasley-Honn Award, named after two former teachers is given annually to two fifth graders who meet ALL of the criteria established many years ago. Recipients are selected based on the following criteria: exemplary leadership, high scholarship, outstanding citizenship and service, dependability, good sportsmanship and cooperation, excellent attendance and attitude, strong participation in many activities and in class.”
Out of 85 fifth graders, these two special kids were given this award, as the principal read why these two were chosen, I just couldn’t help but re-name the award, “the Christ-like” award. The principal talked about how A.J could be placed on any team of students and was always positive and enthusiastic, he went out of his way to help teachers and students, he always has a positive attitude, and that everyone could depend on him to be happy & cheerful. I wish I actually had the words that she read about A.J she truly described the characteristics that God wants us to have. Is A.J perfect…. um no and he would be the first to tell you that, he’s actually a little embarrassed about all of the “hoopla”, in his mind everyone should act like this and I often have to explain to him why some people don’t.
All of this may seem like I am just “bragging” about how wonderful my kid is, but truly I say all of this to say, Christians can make a difference in the public school. Every single staff member and the majority of students (West Maple is a huge school, I believe they have 500 hundred students and I am sure there is at least 50 staff members) knows that A.J goes to church and that he is a Christian. Last year 85 students voted him class president, this year the staff chose him to receive this award. A.J and Skyler have impacted the Birmingham Public School system. God has chosen them to be His hands and feet in this community and they have done exactly that. I can’t wait to see what the next seven years brings. I pray that A.J and Skyler will both continue to take this challenge “to love others” to heart, and that they will have an opportunity to share Christ with their teachers and classmates. As A.J said at the end of his speech, “…watch out Berkshire here we come!”
1 Timothy 4:12 “Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.”