I have the amazing privilege to be a part of the academic world of education. The unique venue of the on-line environment affords many opportunities to encounter students from, literally, all over the world. The diversity of the online classroom allows me to interact with a first-year female college student in Japan while chatting with a 60 year old grandfather in Ghana, West Africa and answering an MLA style guide question for an adult business man working from his desk on his lunch — all in the same class setting. It’s fantastic and I love it!
In addition to the interaction concerning academia, I am also afforded the privilege to work with several Christian colleges/universities who consider the spiritual side of education just as important as the academic side. Along with that thought, I am able to reach out to students who are struggling with life’s circumstances and who simply need encouragement or guidance from time to time. In a face-to-face setting I am given a rare occasion to share my faith and the truth of God’s Word to a captive audience; however, in the Christian online world, I am given such an occasion often.
One such occasion happened yesterday. A student contacted me via email, provided a phone number, and asked that I call. I knew the student was struggling academically; however, I did not know why. I called later in the evening and begin to hear the heartache and heavy burden this student was carrying. The student was not asking for a handout, not asking for a passing grade, he/she merely cared enough to let me know what was going on in his/her world at the moment and that this type behavior (grade performance) was not the norm. We talked, I gave academic counsel, but also assured the student that I would sincerely pray.
And pray, I did. As I prayed and revisited that conversation again this morning, God breathed a thought across my mind, so I promptly sent an email. Without disclosing any personal information, I decided to share that email on this blog. Perhaps, someone else needs to hear these words today. May they be an encouragement, empowerment, and enrichment in simply knowing who you are in Christ.
Blessings to you…
(Copy of email)
It was good to talk with you on the phone yesterday, _________. I want to encourage you to hang in there. Know that I will work with you, academically, as fairly as I can within the guidelines of the course, but more than that, I am praying for you. Keep in mind, your self-worth does not lie in a grade. It lies in who you are in Christ Jesus. He knows your heart, He sees where you are in this season of your life, and He knows your struggle. Cast your care on Him because He really does care for you (I Peter 5:7), and He knows exactly where you are.
Although I am an educator, I am a woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and partial care-giver to my elderly Daddy first. I always encourage my students to strive to finish their education, but I ultimately know that there are times that academics may need to take a second chair because God has us deeply involved in life’s circumstances that urgently demand our undivided attention. I say all this to say this — do not beat yourself up over a grade, or even if you have to take a class over. Failure does not mean taking a longer time to accomplish something… you are NOT a failure. In the sight of the very One who created you, you are His greatest treasure — no matter a grade or performance.
Let me share something with you that I have framed and sitting on my desk this very moment….
I am an awesome Spirit being,
Make in His image and save by His grace.
Totally loved by God — in spite of my performance.
through the blood of Jesus Christ who died for me.
Daily empowered by the Holy Spirit
Who lives within me and desires to live through me.
I am a child of the Eternal King,
welcomed in His presence
at any time and for any reason.
Heaven-bound and Joy-filled,
I am His Special Treasure…
and He knows me by name!”
Author: Carol Ann Draper
This was given to me over 35 years ago, and for a number of years I had it in a frame sitting on the headboard of my bed. I read it every night before I went to sleep, and recited it the next morning before my feet ever hit the floor. There was a season of my life that Satan tried his best to pull me down into a pit of depression and unworthiness. But through this piece, of what I believe to be a God-anointed writing, along with staying in the truth of God’s Word, and on my knees, I can confidently say that God pulled me up and I don’t question where my worth lies. I know. It’s not in a grade, not in a body image, not in circumstances, not in a position, place, or performance. My worth is in who I am in Christ Jesus. My worth IS Christ Jesus, alone. I, just like you _________, am His special treasure… and He knows me by name.
Educators at _________ are concerned with academia, but we care about students. Be encouraged and empowered today — not by a grade or performance, but by God, His power, and acceptance.
Textbook image: www.gettyimages.com / Retrieved 11/11/15. Web.