The Bringer of peace.
Is it normal for you to be in a state of anxiety? Often frantic about how much there is to get planned, the paperwork left to do, the due dates approaching, a list of phone calls to make. I’ve been there. I lived there, or so it felt.
I want to invite you to step away from all of it. Just take a deep breath and tell yourself God is in control and surrendering these few minutes of your time with be most worth it!
This is part 1 of my mini-series: A Lesson from an Israelite, that I hope will encourage you to take heart and trust in a God who has plans greater than what we can fathom. The Israelites at this time were in bondage to the Egyptians. Yet, God sent a deliverer, Moses, to bring them out of that land. He would hold back the water in the Red Sea so they could cross on the dry ground, all while shielding them from the attack of their enemies, the Egyptians. Then He would provide for them for years as they wandered through the desert. He had a lot to teach them along the way, and they often learned the lessons the hard way. But don’t we do that too?
I can remember back to some terribly difficult months while teaching where I hardly ever stopped to consult God. I believed He loved me and was with me, but I was waaaaaay too busy to take time for Him. I was doing my best. I felt weak, like I could do nothing right, and constantly overwhelmed by the demands and people I worked with. My best certainly wasn’t God’s plan for the best I could do.
I write this to let you know that I know what it’s like to be there, if you’re feeling this way. If you feel you’re carrying a burden so heavy, and no one notices, be assured: God does. He sees. He knows it all. He’s ready for you to run to Him.
But let me tell you, it takes continuous running to Him. It’s not a “well, I tried once and it didn’t help!” Believe me, I felt that way on multiple occasions. Cry after cry to God to bring me out of the situation I was in felt unanswered. Hindsight being 20/20, I see now that He wanted me to cling to Him through it. There was no one else to fight the battles I was fighting each day. God equipped me with the ability to stand up and carry on. Some days it felt like I was limping on or even crawling on, nevertheless, I was moving in the right direction just because I was calling upon the name of the Lord!
The Israelites were in bondage to the Egyptians and had been for a few hundred years. (If you want to know more on how many years exactly you can check out this resource at Answers in Genesis.) Can you imagine spending your entire life being a slave, crying out to God for deliverance, yet feeling unheard.
“God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice [of them] and was concerned about them [knowing all, understanding all, remembering all].”Exodus 2:25 (AMP)
But God was indeed concerned about them. He had a perfect plan all along. He would bring them out of Egypt through a deliverer, Moses, part the waters at the Red Sea, give them endless food to eat and water to drink, and show them so much mercy even in their sin.
And He does and will do the same thing for you. Yet, in His timing.
Think about that…then ponder the situations you’re dealing with, the load that you’re carrying, and the strength you feel like you’re lacking. God can bring you to a place of having peace in your heart when you believe the things He says about you in His word. I created a list of some of my favorite verses to cling to and find peace in. You can download and print it out if you’d like!
Social Story Overview:
Now, here’s an overview of the first social story that I’ll introduce to you in this series: I Can Be Calm! It does a great job of exploring how to recognize the need for and use calming strategies. Most students with outbursts, attention deficits, and problem behaviors haven’t been trained to use the proper tools to deescalate their own behavior. In other words, this story is a tool! Use it to introduce, explain, implement, and review. But it will take time to teach the child how to recognize when he is angry or anxious, and then how to use his calming strategies to calm down.
Remember, my social stories are interactive! This book is 11 pages long and the interactive images will really help your student center their thoughts and dialogue on the specific concepts being learned on each page. Three of the pages include problem solving and an opportunity to apply knowledge of the calming strategies.
I’ve also created posters for reference of the calming strategies. You can place the larger posters on the wall and the smaller ones on the student’s desk if needed. Anxiety can happen at any moment, and you may not even be aware that’s what’s happening in a child’s body. Anger is usually easier to detect. Either way, make sure you have the right visuals and resources available for your students at all times.
May God fill you with His peace and love to keep your spirit calm even in the most difficult moments so you can make a difference again today. You’ve got this!