28 Years Later

Colossians 3 13
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

You can listen to my interview with Shelley Hitz regarding this story at:

Broken Crayons Still Color Podcast

To fulfill a requirement to earn a middle school endorsement for teaching, I decided to take a necessary class entitled “Middle School Psychology.” It was a sixteen week class packed into eight weeks and strictly on-line. The first week we had three assignments. The first task was to introduce ourselves and post the information. The second job was to think back on our own junior high experience and write in depth what we were experiencing with regards to the social, familial, cognitive/intellectual, personal, and biological/physical domains for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.
That first week I reflected on that time in my life, and many old memories resurfaced. As I pondered about my 6th grade year, I remembered how awful that year was. I wrote, “Intellectual/Cognitive- This was the worst school year. I struggled every night with my math class. I cried almost every night as my parents tried to help me. Their way of doing the homework did not line up with what my teacher was teaching even though they came up with the right answers, and I was caught in the middle. The reprieve came when the teacher had a baby, and the substitute taught in a way I could understand.” On Thursday of that week, I had written my reflections and relived many of the joys and pains of junior high.
On Friday morning, I checked the postings of the other students before going to breakfast with some friends. Shock overcame me when I read the name of another student who was THAT SAME 6th grade math teacher! This person was the one I was writing about, and the one who had caused a year of tears and pain. I immediately called one of my closest friends who knew me then. As we chatted about the unbelievable coincidence, I stated, “I have no idea what God is trying to teach me, but I know it must be something.”
That night I called my mom and said, “You are never going to believe who is also taking the same psych class.”
I repeated the statement to her that I stated to my friend, “I have no idea what God is trying to teach me, but I know it must be something.”
On Saturday morning I finished up the third assignment and began to work around the house before heading to my church’s ten year anniversary celebration. As I walked into my laundry room, I heard two words: “Forgive her.” I immediately knew what they meant. Forgive my 6th grade teacher for the year of pain her poor teaching caused me. In my mind a battle raged.
“I don’t have a problem with her. I have used this hurt for the good. I have used this hurt to be the best teacher I can be to my middle school students.”
I felt God say, “You DO still have a problem with her. This is obvious because you have a problem with her being in the same class as you.”
Then, I felt as though God said to me, “Have you changed in the past twenty eight years?”
I thought, “Yes. I have changed so much.”
God said, “Regardless of whether she has changed or not, you need to forgive her. However, do not put her in the box of your 6th grade wounded view. I have been working in her life these past twenty eight years as I have been working in your life.” I walked down my stairs promising the Lord that I would work on forgiving her.
Before leaving for church, I read the updated postings. One of the postings was from my former teacher:
“Tena,
You had wonderful literary references in your Discussion, and I always enjoy a Mark Twain quote.”
Her name
Had I not admitted my hurt, and my need to forgive her, I doubt I would have been able to freely accept her genuine compliment. I am so thankful for our God, a God, who uses an assignment to bring to the surface the hidden hurts from twenty eight years ago on a Thursday, brings the teacher who caused that hurt back into my life on Friday, and encourages me to forgive her on Saturday. That is a powerful God!

Gracious God, help us forgive. Amen.

Seven More Reasons to Memorize Scripture


psalm-119-105

We are instructed by God to meditate on His Word. This can be difficult especially when we are going through the busy days of life. Can we add meditation and memorization into our packed-filled lives? Are we blessed when we learn God’s Word? The answer is yes. I have found that when I combined my activities with meditation, I can change my thought process while still going about my day. What are some of the blessings and benefits of memorizing Scriptures? Here are a few:
8. To transform our hearts.
Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart. Job 22:22
9. To develop our prayer lives.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. John 15:7
10. To have Godly guidance.
Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
11. To share our hope.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15
12. To share the Good News.
So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
13. To increase in success.
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Joshua 1:8
14. To remind us of God’s Character.
Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5

Father God, thank you for the many blessings when we know your Word. Amen.

9781512726978_COVER.indd

With our fast-paced lifestyles today, it is often a challenge to make time to read God’s Word. Hidden In My Heart was designed to make the most of small fragments of time to reflect on verses of Scripture. You may keep this book on your nightstand, on the kitchen counter, or in your car. Regardless of where you read it, it will always remind you to meditate on a verse each day. There is an insightful daily verse beginning with Genesis in January and ending with Revelation in December. Hidden In My Heart walks you through the Bible day by day with at least one inspirational verse from each book of the Bible. This collection of daily Scriptures and accompanying space for personal journaling will enrich your daily walk with God by providing structure for your own reflection and meditation on God’s Word. May this book become as meaningful to you as writing it has been to me. And may you always be aware of God’s truths and His constant love for you. Tena

http://tenadegraaf.com/site/book-shop/