Monday, January 29, 2007

Blessed with a Burden

Today was a staff development day at school. After a short morning meeting and time to plan with grade level teams, our principal had a surprise in store for us. She wanted to give us some encouragement in the work we put into each day as we are educating America's next generation. She took us to see the movie Freedom Writers. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, here is the premise: The movie is based on the writings of the freshmen and sophomore students from Woodrow Wilson High School in LA. The majority of these students are members of local gangs "destined" to amount to nothing. They are placed in the English class of young Ms. Gruwell, a first year teacher filled with dreams of making literature come alive to her young prodigies. What she found was one uphill battle after another, yet she was determined to prevail! I could go on and on. This movie is amazing. What an encouragement to those of us that work tirelessly (or sometimes not) just trying to make a difference in children's lives when all around us it can seem that our work is in vain!!

There was one line that has stayed implanted in my brain since leaving the theatre. At one point Hilary Swank (Gruwell) is visiting with her father about all that she has gone through-unfortunately including losing her young marriage due to her dedication to her students. Swank is crying and wondering if it really all matters when all she does is fight battles all day long. Her father looks at her and says, "You have been blessed with a burden, my daughter." And he goes on to tell her the amazing things he has seen in her and her students because of the work that she is doing.

It made me wonder...does God ever say that to me? Does He ever look down at me as I lay venting to Him about all my frustrations and say, "You have been blessed with a burden, my daughter."

"Blessed by a burden? God, do you realize that people don't usually use those two words in the same sentence? I mean, some days I can't hardly find one blessing amidst all the burdens, and now, Lord, you want me to see the burdens AS blessings? I'm not sure I know how to do that."

My Father simply holds me and whispers to me, "You HAVE been blessed with a burden, my daughter. Be still, rest in me...and I will reveal to you the blessing that is indeed in the burden."

And my life will never be the same!

"However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you." Deut. 23:5