What I would tell my student-teacher self

I’m working with a pre-service teacher at the moment, which has caused me to reflect on my own days as a prac student.

How far I have come!

My first teaching placement occurred in the fourth year of my degree, and I soon thought I’d made a terrible mistake. The enormity of the job overwhelmed me. I was staying at the school until after dark every night and then going home, anxious and feeling unprepared for the day to come.

I distinctly remember lying in bed one night, with thoughts and worries rushing chaotically through my head, praying for rest and sleep. I remember praying through Scripture, trying to get some rational perspective, reminding myself that the things of this world are temporary (lesson plans and unit plans would pass away!)

I didn’t sleep all night.

I feel for that young woman, all those years ago. I wish I could sit beside her on the side of the bed and tell her that I’m still in the job ten years later. That I can’t remember the last time I lost any sleep over work related issues, and that lessons flow out of me now with hardly a thought.

But I can’t tell her that. I can only remember, today, to trust Jesus better than I did back then. To take on the advice of Hudson Taylor, and, looking to the face of Jesus, determine that ‘whatever did not agitate the Saviour, or ruffle His spirit, was not to agitate mine.’

 

The Loneliness of Chronic Illness

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Chronic Illness can be a very lonely journey, even when you’re surrounded by people who love and care about you.

Often you become isolated, unable to go out with friends, and over time, those friends move on, and you’re left behind.

Eventually people stop asking about your health; and you’re glad, because there’s nothing fresh to tell them.

After years of suffering, adjusting, changing and recalibrating you settle into a new sense of normality. When you have a rough day, you don’t bother to tell people anymore because there’s nothing they can do. You get good at hiding the pain; you carry a burden that affects you every day, and while others forget, you have a constant reminder.

I have been so blessed in my illness (which has claimed the majority of my adult life) to have been surrounded by supportive friends and family, but no-one can fully walk the path with you. No-one knows what it feels like on the inside.

Everyone else can walk away; everyone except God.

He is the only one who has walked every step with me. He’s done every day at work, every night of insomnia, every holiday, shopping trip, restaurant experience, social gathering and solitary day on the couch. No-one knows what I experience every day, except Him.

The silent solitary path of chronic illness is a lonely and often isolated one, but I am so blessed to say (in the words of Matt Redman) that ‘never once have I ever walked alone.’