Saturday, March 23, 2013


I sat and watched as over three dozen third graders each grabbed the hand of a toddler and began to help them find Easter eggs. The toddlers looked a little overwhelmed at first, but as their third grade helper kept talking to them all nerves melted away. In minutes there was laughter filling the high ceilings of the old gym. These third graders, who minutes before were tickling each other on the floor, were now showing tremendous love and care to their toddler. I walked around and listened as each child was engrossed in a light conversation with their toddler. Yet, no matter how light the subject matter was, each third grader looked as if it was the most important conversation in the world.

Time slipped by and before we knew it it was time to pack up and leave. There were hugs all around. A few of my third grade boys said they felt like they were going to cry. And all of them could not stop talking about how much they loved the toddler they had only known for a short hour.


It's been on my mind a lot the past few weeks. Not the mushy, gushy love, but the sincere sacrificial love. It started a few weeks ago after I had begun my second student teaching placement in third grade. I had said goodbye to my wonderful kindergarteners and started over again in a classroom of third graders. The transition was smooth. Third grade is a night and day difference from kindergarten. There is an air of calmness and sometimes it is almost too quiet. But this was my new placement and I could not wait to get my hands into it and start teaching.

Two weeks passed, and though I enjoyed my classroom immensely something just didn't feel right. During that second week I got to go visit my kindergarteners for a special show their school was putting on that night. As I walked back into the school where I had just learned so much I realized that part of me missed it. I kept walking and found four of my kindergarteners. I called them each by name and said hi. At first they stared at me with blank stares and then one stopped, stared, and said, "Oh. Hi, Ms. Hannah. ... Wait. Ms. Hannah?! MS. HANNAH!" I was immediately pushed back a few steps as I was engulfed in a group hug. It was wonderful. These were kids who I had spent seven weeks with, and though it was rough at points, I was in love with them. I would do anything to help them learn and care for them. And I had missed them.

We left that night and I came home to tell Damarise that I realized what was wrong with me at my new placement. I was out of love. I felt like I had no room left in my heart for any more people. It felt like if I tried to love one more person my heart would burst and I wouldn't have any love left for anyone. Of course this sounded absurd. But that is how I felt.

As I continued to get more involved in my new classroom I began to think more about love. I prayed for love. I prayed for Christ's love. As I prayed for Christ's love I began to think more about His love. The more I thought, the more I was completely blown away.

"For God so loved the world..." I got stopped right there. Here I was feeling like I couldn't love thirteen more kids, and God loves the world! The world with its seven billion inhabitants. He loves them in a real way, not a passing 'love ya' sort of way. He knows the number of hairs on their heads. He knows their thoughts, their longings, their struggles. He knows my hairs, my thoughts, my longings, and my struggles. He knows us better than we know ourselves and yet, "He sent in only begotten Son". And this is where Christ's love renders me speechless.

Why would God, who knows everything about us, who knows how depraved and unworthy our thoughts can be, who knows how manipulating our actions can be, why would He send His Son to this earth, why would He put Him in human flesh?


But God's love went deeper than simply sending His Son to earth. It went deeper when His Son, knowing fully well the wickedness of our hearts, went willingly to the cross to be crucified – not for sins He had committed, but for sins we had committed. He was beaten, mocked, and bruised so that He could give us a gift we did not deserve.

In class on Thursday my teacher was talking about what Easter means to her. As she was talking about Jesus being crucified, one third grader raised her hand. "Why", she asked, "Didn't Jesus just punch them and fight back?" He could have called down legions of angels, and he didn't. He didn't because He loved us. He loved us while we were yet sinners.

He died, crushing death, and taking with Him the sins of the world. Three days later God raised Him from the dead – death was defeated. But the story didn't end there. Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God and intercedes for us daily. He is our great high priest who knows our every need and forgives our every sin. This is love.

It blows me away. There I was feeling like I could not love and invest in one more person, and yet God has invested and loved me and countless others. God's love truly is amazing. I prayed that His love would fill me and that it would overflow into my classroom. I knew I could not love others on my own, I just wanted my kids to see Christ's love through me.

A few days later, something happened at school. I don't even know what it was. But I left feeling in love with my students and the placement God has me at. I was excited to come back the next day and learn with and from my kids. And I was grateful that God gave me His love, and not just enough to satisfy my needs, but an overflowing amount of love that I can't help but spread to those around me.

Getting to see my kids show love to toddlers yesterday in such tangible ways was exciting. Even eight year olds can share the love of Christ. For God so loved He gave, and He continues to give. He continues to fill our lives with His love so that we can go love others. It's incredible.

The love of God is incredible.

"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
 And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky."
-The Love of God

1 comment:

Gracie a. said...

This is Beautiful...So much I would love to say, but I don't want to clutter what you have already shown with just more words. I love you, Hannah!