A teacher cherishes the opportunities to proclaim the message of God’s forgiveness to her students.
Cindi L. Holman
One of the things I appreciated most when serving as a teacher were the opportunities to share the precious gospel with children and their families. What a joy to be able to attend the baptism of a student or see a young family express their faith as they become confirmed.
Sharing God’s amazing grace
I particularly remember one story when I taught at St. Marcus, Milwaukee:
Josiah and Jemoni* were twins. Their mother had left them, and they lived with their grandmother and great aunt. The boys had faced abandonment and heart-breaking tragedies in their young lives. During their kindergarten year, their uncle was shot and killed in the alley just a short distance from their home.
Josiah especially struggled with anger and sometimes rage, even at such a young age. In our early childhood center, rest time each afternoon was a peaceful time for him. He would find his mat and blanket and lay quietly, humming softly. Most often, you could hear him humming his favorite song, “Amazing Grace.”
But one day, Josiah had a particularly difficult episode. I took him out of the room to help him calm down. Slowly his rage turned to exhausted tears. We talked about what happened, how he reacted, the results of his reaction, and what might work better next time. We talked about strategies that could help him when he became upset and how we could work together in the future.
When I asked him if he wanted to say anything else, he shared a tearful apology. I told him that it was easy to forgive him because Jesus forgives me over and over even when I make the same mistake again and again.
Then I asked Josiah if he knew what grace was. He quietly shook his head no. I shared that grace was how God forgives us when we don’t deserve it. I told him that God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus to take away the consequences of all the sins that we do each day. He watched and listened intently.
I said, “Isn’t that amazing? It’s amazing grace, just like your song.” His eyes widened, and a gentle smile came to his tear-stained face.
Trusting God’s amazing grace
We all love a happy ending. We love a success story. Even more, we love when the Lord allows us to see the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit. However, we don’t always get to see that happy ending, at least not this side of heaven.
The next fall, we visited Josiah and Jemoni’s home at the beginning of the school year. We were told that the boys had been enrolled in another school. It was an abrupt and unpleasant visit, with no opportunity to say good-bye to the boys.
Although we don’t know where they are right now, we do know that Josiah and Jemoni both heard about Jesus their Savior every day while they were with us. One of the highlights of the year was the day when they were both baptized. We know that Baptism gave them the promise of God’s forgiveness for their sins (Acts 2:38).
And so we trust God’s promises in Isaiah 55:11: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” What a comfort and what an encouragement. We know and trust the power of the Holy Spirit, and we pray that the Lord holds them close to him. Our trust—and theirs—is always in God’s amazing grace.
Cindi Holman, national coordinator of early childhood ministries, is a member at Grace, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
*Names have been changed.
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Author: Cindi L. Holman
Volume 105, Number 9
Issue: September 2018
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