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Every Single Time

April 25, 2011

Today one of my students sent me this email:

Mrs. Hopper!!!! I MISS YOU SO MUCH!!!! I really hate English class without you…we all miss you SOOOOO much, Mrs. Hopper!!! You were and still are our favorite teacher! And we all feel so protective over you because none of us want any of the other classes to have u as a teacher. Cause we want you all to ourselves 😦 No other class deserves the Hot Seat, Word of the Day, the Reading Zone, and those AMAZING poems every day!!!! I hope you can be our teacher again one day. We all miss you soooo much. But I think I miss you most…

I started crying, crying, crying.

This is my loss. My heartbreak. My “this makes no sense, God, and I’m angry with you for allowing this” attitude.

If He loves me, then why can’t I work right now? (When did my relationship with Christ become contingent on circumstances?)

Teaching is the one area of my life where I have complete confidence. I am a good – sometimes great – teacher. I walk in the classroom and fall completely in love with my students. Every. Single. Time.

I become their favorite teacher. I’m the one that they tell “I’m cutting and can’t stop” or “I cheated…again.” I walk them through things and encourage them and I can see the difference I am making.

When I teach, I feel God’s complete pleasure and anointing. Every. Single. Time.

A few months ago, my RA started to flare. I ignored the flare and kept pushing my body to get up, create lessons, and pour myself out for my students.

My husband and children saw me less and less because as soon as I walked in the door from school, I crashed. My body would scream “STOP” to me and I’d lie on the bed. Sometimes I’d take my sleep medicine too early in hopes that the pain would end and I’d drift away into slumber, ready to wake up and teach again the next day.


I should have stopped sooner. Or cut back my hours. Or paid attention to the warning signs that someone with a chronic illness can recognize.

But I was so afraid to stop because I didn’t want to leave the classroom.

Last month, I almost collapsed at school. I started a medical leave and haven’t been back.

Now I sit at home, trying to slowly rebuild my health and my relationships with my family.

Mostly I need to rebuild my relationship with Jesus.

Somewhere along this chronic illness/teacher/mom/wife road, I began to choose my job first.

Every. Single. Time.

To be honest (and, um, honesty in writing comes pretty easily right now…the words may be jumbled and I don’t even know if I am worth reading, but I still am sitting and writing, writing, writing….)….I’m beginning to realize that Jesus wants me to love Him more than teaching.

He wants me to love Him more than I want to be healthy, healed, or pain-free.

He wants me. Jess. His girl.

Every single time.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2011 9:21 pm

    Amen. Amen. Amen. Proud of you.

  2. April 25, 2011 9:31 pm

    (((hugs))). Praying, as always.

  3. Solveig Engh permalink
    April 29, 2011 10:45 pm

    I can’t say this is where you’re coming from, but when I hurt (I also struggle with RA that comes and goes) I turn to things that make me feel I am worthy because of what I’m able to do. Even though I know looking for value in accomplishments is contrary to God’s Word which says I’m worthy because He made me and loves me. Left to itself, my human nature receives those insidious feelings of insecurity.

    I don’t know if this will help you, but if I just relax and call on Him, I experience His presence. That brings His healing touch. And then I can do what I do well to please Him (although it always seems to take while to get to that place).

    I don’t say this to heap condemnation–I’ve been down that road of being told I need to get this or that right in my heart. And yet, His presence makes all the difference. Currently, once again the doctor has taken me off restasis infusions because I’ve been doing well–although I’ve not told many about it this time. But I am praying that this time I’ll walk in ongoing victory–and no longer need anything but the methotrexate. Maybe even that will be over some day.

    And remember, children are incredibly forgiving. They really are.

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