Growing UP July 2012

I’m not the same me and that’s all the proof I need.

Leaving a Mark

Alexis A. Goring

It was my first year of teaching and my life felt like a mess. There were many new rules to follow, techniques to learn, and a seemingly endless list of mandatory requirements to meet. On top of that, my alternative teaching program required extra classes to take. It was difficult to endure this overwhelming feeling; I felt as if ocean waves were making it impossible to keep my head above water.

Knowing the stress I was under, my mom would make time to visit my classroom at least once a week in order to set it up with proper scope and sequence. She is the type of person who can walk into a classroom, see complete chaos, and not only see order but create perfect order. On her initial visit, the “junk pile” included boxes packed with classroom materials, desks piled up on top of one another, chairs scattered everywhere, computer cords tangled, and bare walls needing to be properly adorned. But my mom had the gift of turning this pile into a shining jewel.

Thanks to my mom, my classroom was ready to go on the first day of school. Many days, after school was dismissed, she regularly drove an hour to get to my school, even though she was tired from her own school day as principal. She would help me reorganize and meet the updated requirements of how my classroom should look. Sometimes that meant placing borders up on the wall, hanging posters from the ceiling, or putting the daily class schedule up which she so beautifully crafted on poster board with a magic marker. She was my support system and coach, helping me on how to make graphic aids and implement other teaching strategies to help my students continue to learn and move to the next level of achievement.

One early fall semester morning, my in-house mentor stopped by my classroom before the kids arrived. She took one sweeping look around, turned to me with a smile, and said, “Your mom was here!” She was right. The night before, my mom had stopped by after work to help me spruce up my classroom to make it more presentable and to meet the standard classroom requirements. We had been there until the janitors closed the building at 10 p.m. My colleagues often recognized that my mom had stopped by to help me within those first few months of teaching, but what they didn’t know was which exact day she had helped me. By the way the room appeared on certain mornings, it was obvious; they always concluded, “Your mom was here.”

Looking back, the memories of when my mom regularly assisted me often returns to my mind. I can’t help but think of it as a parallel to our walk with Jesus Christ. Just like how my colleague noticed when my mom had visited my classroom by the mark she left, true Christians should be easily identified by the mark their relationship with Jesus leaves on their lives. It should be so evident that a complete stranger can see you in everyday life (with or without ever meeting you) and think Jesus was here.

In the Bible, there are many examples of Christians, that by the way they lived their lives, the mark, the Jesus-label was apparent. Saul had a conversion to the point that even his very name was changed to Paul. Dorcas, who I believe was a humanitarian at heart, gave and gave. The 12 disciples, abandoned it all for the sake of the call. Even modern day examples are evident, such as Mother Theresa, who devoted her life to help the children of Calcutta, India.

Britt Nicole, a Christian artist, sings a song that sets the perfect scenario to testify to a life changed by Jesus Christ.* She creatively spins the story of a person asking a Christian who’s completely devoted to Jesus Christ, “How do you know what you believe?” The Christian responds, “I’m not the same me and that’s all the proof I need.”

Someone once told me, “When you live a life for Jesus, you not only act more Christlike, but He cleans the 'mess' up in your life, forgiving you of your sins. Your past stays in the past. Your future is in His hands.”

Matthew 28:20 says, that Jesus Christ is with us “always, even to the end of the age” (NKJV). He’s waiting for us to accept and allow Him to change us from the inside out. Just like how my mom took time out of her busy schedule to help me tidy up my classroom, Jesus wants to spruce up your life. Will you let Him?
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* Britt Nicole, “All This Time,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNcx209-vrA (accessed June 26, 2012).