It was the night before and I was sitting and reflecting on what was to come- a new year – the last year! One moment I was excited for the countdown to begin and in the next I was a puddle of tears as I realized that this was my last year of teaching and tomorrow would dawn on my last first day. Over the years there have been many last first days – as a senior in high school or senior in college – the list goes on! The next day would come whether I wanted it to or not and I would face my last first day of teaching.
As I prepared to leave and drive to school the next morning, the first streaks of light colored the sky with pinks and reds. The greeting of the sunrise was a warm welcome to the day ahead. The drive to school is relatively short but the radio softly whispered the words from one of my favorite songs – “Your Grace Finds Me” by Matt Redman. God knew and God reminded me of His grace in that moment through my car radio.
This is my year of grace – a chance to accept this gift and pass it on not only to my students but to the staff I work with daily. Grace is God’s way of saying “I have you in my embrace”. When the days become hard or when the emotions of the “last” year of teaching threaten to overwhelm, I am covered by this beautiful thing called grace.
Life moves along quickly and days become years in what seems like a blink of an eye. The excitement of many new beginnings seems to quickly change into a series of endings that places you into the next phase of life. As each stop along the journey seems to blur into the next, it can seem almost impossible to know that you are headed in the right direction. You hang on desperately at times and find it hard to let go and move on. You search for happiness or answers to all your questions along the way and hope that you are in the right place at the right time.
Thirty years of teaching has taught me so much and I have grown up into who I am today. Life has zoomed past and I even questioned whether teaching was for me at the very beginning of my career, but soon learned that there was no other profession that wrapped passion and a job into one embrace. Reflecting on this journey has taught me that in the moments when life was the hardest, God is there. In the moments of celebration, God is there. Every freeze frame of time is wrapped in the arms of God’s love and grace. The snapshots of life are God’s way of recording His love in the photo album of our life. The pictures imprinted in our hearts are lovingly given to us by God to remind us that He never leaves our side and marks each step of life with us.
So if you are marking the passage of a last first day and the emotions are swirling, remember God is with you and the snapshots that you will add to your photo album will be beautiful.
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Mary….your words are beautifully written..I can tell they come from your soul. Your year will definitely be one of “lasts”….just allow that to embrace your heart. It will be emotional and actually, a little scarey….but you have the right one by you…our loving Father. Enjoy your journey. Love you.
Joan what a beautiful surprise to see you here at my humble blog home. You have always been a mentor of mine and I’m sure that you would have invaluable advice about retirement. Love you and miss you friend!
Lovely, Mary! I haven’t had those tears (yet) but I am enjoying every day. Laughing with my friends and students. I’m taking lots of pictures and making a scrapbook.
I am definitely laughing and enjoying all the moments as they fly by. I also find since my phone is nearby I am taking pictures of the kids more than usual. Making memories and then sharing them should be our goal this year. Glad you stopped by Tracy!
Mary, I am wishing you a beautiful year. May His grace cover you in new ways. And I have no doubts that you will pass His grace on. Love this . . . “Every freeze frame of time is wrapped in the arms of God’s love and grace. ” Amen! God bless you, friend. xoxo
Beth- I love seeing your smiling face here. Stopping by to encourage me means so much. I am working on freezing many memories this year to take me into the future. God will wrap me in grace and love and it will be good. Happy weekend!
Hi Mary! What a special time for you. I’m so glad that you know you can take it slow and enjoy those snapshots.
Months sound like a long time, but really they blow by in no time at all. I hope you savor every blessed day that starts with streaks of color, or even snow. I know God will show you how special you are. You’ll leave that faith legacy, I just know it!
Go for it 🙂
I know the school year will fly by. Trying to stop and savor each moment. I’m intentionally digging deeper with my students this year and making memories that I will tuck away for the future. So blessed by your presence here-thank you my friend!
So exciting and scary but it is awesome to mark time and make the memories timeless. Praying for you right now as you embark on this journey to where He is leading. It will be good because you are starting with grace.
God’s grace is the beginning and the end for me. This free gift reminds me that I can start new each morning and I can forgive myself when the day didn’t quite go as planned. Grace will see me through this emotional year and your prayers as well as others are so appreciated. Blessed you stopped by today.
When I get to times like this in life I try to remember that endings have to happen so I can have new beginnings. Often I am both proud, but also sad because of the friends and things I leave behind.
Endings roll into beginnings and it is good if we allow ourselves to accept the change that is coming. I appreciate your thoughts and I hope to see you here again sometime at my place.
Hey there, Mary! I had no idea you were retiring so soon! That’s such a bittersweet decision, but I do hope that your “second chapter” brings many unexpected blessings and exciting adventures! And I do so love the way you’ve described God’s grace, “Grace is God’s way of saying, ‘I have you in my embrace.'” Love it! Thanks for being such a continual encourager, my friend. Hugs to you!
I always love when you stop by! You have a gentle way of encouraging and affirming what I have poured out on this page. Hugs to you also and thank you for taking a little extra time for me today! Love you friend!
Mary, praying for you. I cannot imagine the emotions which this year will bring. May God be with you in a special way this entire school year. May He show you a glimpse of ALL that you have achieved & the impact you have had on the many lives you have both taught & worked with. Blessings!
Thank you Joanne! This year-this end and all the new beginnings will be amazing if I just let go everything to God each day. It can feel overwhelming on so many levels but truly He just wants me to love Him and others. Blessed you stopped by today.
Such an important thing to remember. Even the emotion-filled, crazy times are important snapshots in our lives. Moments which can’t be missed, even in all the craziness.
I love the unexpected snapshots that fill the moment and your life with God’s glory. The roller coaster this year will be filled with such moments and it’s exciting to know that God has chosen me for this job and He will lead me to the next one. Blessings my friend!
Visiting from Holly’s this morning…you are so blessed to recognize God’s hand upon your life! Love how you said He is there in the good and the bad. He is always there, we just don’t always recognize Him and His presence. Praying for the best year ever for you today! Your class is so blessed.
Thank you! God’s grace will see me through and will lead me to the next step in mu journey after retirement. So blessed you stopped by to encourage me. Happy Wednesday!
Love the imagery of a photo album of snapshots showing God’s love in our life! Remembering all those moments of God’s love and faithfulness help us take those next steps in faith, even when we don’t know where He’s leading us.
So true Kathryn! God is faithful in the seen and unseen and since I am in a time of transition I need to trust that the next steps will be amazing. Glad you stopped by!
This –> Grace is God’s way of saying “I have you in my embrace”.
Oh that we could always remember that! You are going to have a great year. Revel in every last first!! Make memories!! Be confident in the path God has you on for this year. You are right where He wants you to be for this time.
Thanks for linking up so faithfully every week. Much love!
Thanks Holly! Your words-straight to my heart-filling a place that sometimes still feels a little insecure after all these years. God has amazing things planned and I’m honored that He is choosing me to walk with Him in this phase of life.
Love this post! You’re an amazing teacher and will be amazing at whatever comes next!
Thank you Cheryl! I was so surprised that I became so emotional last week. It’s going to be a roller coaster this year but it’s going to be a great year. Love you my friend!