As a high school teacher from North Carolina I can say that I typically love and hope for a couple of snow days throughout the year. As Southerners, the few good snowfalls we get put so much of our busy lives on hold. Most of us get a day or two off work and get to enjoy cozy days in our homes and playing outside with our little ones. We are seriously like kids in a candy store, and it is so much fun. I know our neighbors to the north and west are more accustomed to this weather and shake their heads at our behavior, but it really is a special treat for a lot of us, especially the kiddos.
As a teacher, I tend to get a little extra time off, and you will never hear me complaining. Except for this week! Our exciting and beautiful snow happens to fall right in the middle of first semester exams, completely complicating my best laid plans. We have no idea when we will give our next exam and we are probably going to lose some much-needed work days that we use to prepare for second semester. My teacher plans have flipped completely upside down. But, there’s snow on the ground.
As I was listening to my five year old sing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” at the top of his lungs while I was rocking my nine month old to sleep for her morning nap, I remembered this verse from our Sunday school lesson this past week. Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) states, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Nothing like a good snow day to re-establish your steps. I am reminded that no matter what happens, I’m where God wants me to be. Today is a day to treasure and make the most of, no matter the inconvenience and future stress that may come with it.
In Sunday school last year, we studied My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen. Last year I chose the word FOCUS. We were expecting our second child, and I was preparing for a long maternity leave. I knew my life would be transformed and I wanted to make sure that my FOCUS remained on God. I chose Hebrews 12:1b-2a as a verse to focus on, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Unfortunately, I hijacked my own word, and my FOCUS changed from God to work and life. I became overwhelmed with the many tasks I had to accomplish before entering into motherhood a second time and my word just kind of fizzled out. I was so disappointed with how the study turned out that I decided not to pick a word this year…until God said I should give it another try.
It’s funny how things work out, but after getting opinions from Sunday school classmates and hearing a friend’s word for the year I decided to pray and give it another try. In fact, I came up with a word one day while working in my classroom and now I can’t even remember what it was. It has seriously left my mind. Clearly, that was not the word God wanted for me. So the other day, I was driving down the road (in precious silence) and the word CHERISH popped into my head. I remember thinking how beautiful it sounded and instantly knew that it was mine.
Life as a teaching mommy of two little kids has challenged me in ways I never expected. Mornings are insane, afternoons are hectic, dinner is crazy, and bedtime is exhausting. And in the midst of all of the chaos, I CHERISH those moments. The sweet little smiling faces that I get to love and nurture are the most beautiful treasure. For this year, my plan is to CHERISH the moments I’m in and make sure that those around me feel CHERISHED as well. I know that for my word to be a success, God has to establish my steps. Here’s to CHERISHING the snow days, the work days, the insane mornings, the hectic afternoons, the crazy dinners, the exhausting bedtimes, the hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the “I love you’s,” the time-outs, the stories, the games, the puzzles, the cartoons, the laughter, the noise and the love. Thank you Lord for putting me on this journey!