Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COMMUTE (07/07/16)
- TITLE: Armored Car
By Donna Powers
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They weren't much help.
I'm a teacher in an inner city high school. Our school is in a tough urban neighborhood. Tensions are high in this town, and my students come into the classroom weighed down by the vestiges of those tensions. Any learning they walk away with is hard-won. I've got 16-year old girls who've been mothers more than once; 17-year old boys whose after-school jobs support their whole family, and students who can't speak a sentence without spewing out four-letter words.
When I first came here, I was quickly stripped of my newcomers' optimism and at a loss for how to make a difference. I daily face the challenge of trying to present both education and hope. It's not easy...day after day I've felt as if the students' frustrations and desperation sometimes spoke louder than my own frail voice.
I felt defeated. I got in my car each morning, nibbled my breakfast and tried to mentally prepare myself for the day. I doubted I would ever see a solution.
It felt like a losing battle.
But ... once I admitted it IS a battle, I realized I already knew how to fashion the right weapons for this war.
Now, when I get into my car each morning, I use the ride to fully prepare myself for the day. As I buckle my seat belt, I imagine I am fastening the "belt of truth" around my waist. (I know my true identity in Christ. I pray for the ability to portray that identity in all my words and deeds.) Since my seat belt also crosses my chest, I can also mentally apply the "breastplate of righteousness." (I pray God will show me opportunities to model God’s ways for my students.)
As I get on the freeway, I pass a shoe store; reminding me to "fit my feet with the gospel of peace." (The racial and ethnic conflicts within our town may invade our school, but God is still sovereign. I pray God will help me be a peacemaker.) A few miles down the freeway, I see a towering church on the right side, reminding me to "take up the shield of faith" and of the eternal promises in my choice of "helmet of salvation." (I pray for the strength and compassion I’ll need, and for God to guide me through each hour of the day.)
For the last few miles, I listen to a tape of the Bible. I know I'll need to carry the "sword of the Spirit" today. I finish my ride by praying for my students, their families, my coworkers, and myself.
That clanking you hear, as I walk down the hall? That's just me... wearing the full armor of God.
It sure beats coffee and a muffin.
All quotes from Ephesians 6:14-18
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