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We have spent time realigning ourselves in relation to our struggles and in turn, to our struggling learners. This next step in the journey takes us from acceptance and into a direction of surrender. This step cannot be skipped over and it is literally one of the most difficult steps in the struggling learner wilderness. Give God time to minister to you through this all important step, because the goal is to be able to abide in Him amid raising struggling learners for His glory ... and until we surrender, we cannot reach that goal.
Surrendering is a giant step toward totally abiding in Christ on this journey. Surrender requires I lay down my plans with the intent of not pushing my own agenda. Surrender is the total and sum of belief, faith and trust. This step is a bold declaration of faith that requires the daily choice to give all that you now hold back into Christ's ready hands.
During the wilderness journey of teaching my struggling learners, I am consistently humbled. I am now able to see that much has changed in me as I walk alongside my kids as they struggle, grow and learn. Here are just few changes that you may look to acquire in the struggling learner wilderness after learning to completely surrender:
- Empathy abides. Let me just be real here ... Giving grace is not a natural talent that I possess. Before I journeyed beside my struggling learners, extending grace was incredibly difficult for me as an individual. Another direct result of being raised on the side lines of a football field, you know coach's daughter-itis!
- Patience is a virtue. The longer I journey with struggling learners the more understanding I find that I possess. This patience is given as a gift in order that I may apply it again, and again toward others ... Especially my children.
- Kindness more. Judgement less. I can typically size-up a situation and tell you exactly "WHAT" the problem is with any person & how they should fix it. After years with struggling learners my attitude in this area has completely changed. I have stopped saying "WHAT" and started asking "WHY". Why is that person responding that way? Why did they choose that path? The answer I come to is usually quite humbling. We have no idea what another person has had to suffer or endure to get to that point in life. Kindness becomes much simpler in the light of this revelation.
- My life is not all about me. My child's learning struggles have magnified the fact that this life is just not all about me. (nobody should really be shocked by that statement) Perhaps I could even venture out and say, my child's learning struggles have more to do with shaping them, and their relationship with God, than shaping me. Me being a better person after these struggles is just a glorious side-effect really. My kid's life is about them and God, not them and me and God.
- Living by faith and not by sight. When you trust that Christ can do all things, He actually will. Having the privilege of raising struggling learners has brought me to the cross of Christ, again and again. The ability to let go of control and allow Jesus to do His job with my life ... well, let me just say that letting go has not ever been my strong suit. Until now. Having to let control go to the wayside on a moment to moment basis truly places you in the daily practice of total dependence of Jesus Christ. Humbling yet beautiful to behold.
Please journey along with me in the coming weeks:
• (You Are Here) How To Appreciate Your Struggling Learner (Week 2)
The Joyful Socks Mom