Pray for Compassion, Grace, and Wisdom

Meet Lydia

Lydia lives in Delano with her husband, Jon, 2.5 year old daughter Addyson (Addy), 2 dogs and 1 cat.  Lydia and Jon have both taught in Delano (Jon DES SPED, Lydia DHS Math) for 6 years since they moved to MN from Holland, MI.

During our free time we love to play outside, go to the beach or on boat rides, go on walks and play with the animals.”

Here at Zion, Lydia and Jon have helped out with Sunday School, Youth Group, and random projects in the church. She’s also volunteered at VBS and participates in women’s small group.

The Bible verse Lydia most identifies with is Matthew 7:7.

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.”

We struggled with infertility for years and ended up doing IVF. Addy was frozen for the first 3 months of her being! We have had to do a lot of knocking in our lives but we didn’t stop and now couldn’t be happier. God definitely did ‘open the door’ for us! 

Lydia sees God at work in the world through Addy.

The joy my family brings to me can come from nowhere else.  I have also used my infertility journey to help others going down similar paths many times.  In addition, I see God often in my classroom working through students in many ways.”

Back to School in the Time of COVID

This time of year for teachers is usually stressful but exciting as they begin planning for the next school year. With COVID-19 though, there are a lot of unknowns and anxieties for teachers right now. Lydia, who is a teacher, is going through these feelings of unease and was willing to share her thoughts, feelings, and prayers going into this upcoming school year.

I pray for compassion, understanding and grace for when things don’t go perfectly for both myself and for my students/ families and coworkers. I also pray for wisdom on how to take the best approach I am able in my classroom. It is so stressful to not know or be able to plan. Especially with having such little time to completely restructure my classes and our whole school with only a few weeks to do so.

Her faith has given Lydia comfort and a ‘place’ to go in a time of confusion and stress.

Even if I have no idea how the school year or my classes will look, I know my faith will not change and that God is with me no matter how difficult this year becomes.”

Being a teacher has contributed to her faith.

I think the biggest way is am able to (attempt to) show my students what being a Christian might look like.  Of course being in a public school, I can’t say too much but I do mention I go to church.  I often pray for my students and my school and they have also challenged me to lean on God more at times as well.

We asked Lydia how the Zion community can help support our local teachers.

Safety and sanity is the most important prayer right now. Many of us are nervous about what safety challenges this year will bring along with needing to completely change the way we do our job. Also, just be kind to your child’s teacher and school staff. Maybe send a thank you note? We don’t hear that very often but it is so nice when we do!

I would say remember that all school staff are doing their best! I am writing this on August 12, and we still do not know what our year will look like in terms of school so that does not give much time to plan or adjust.  We all care deeply about our students academic, social and emotional needs and will do everything we can to help.  This will be a huge learning curve for everyone so have patience. No matter what is decided, school will look different than in the past so it is OK to change and adjust along the way if it isn’t working well.  Remember the power of “yet”.

As we all try to figure out what’s next in life with this internal drive to go back to normal, we need to remember to be patient and lean on our faith and God. We need to take care of each other and think about our teachers and what they are going through. They want what’s best for children but also have a lot of worry in their own lives. Being a daughter of a teacher, I (Solveig) worry greatly about my mother going back to teach in the fall. We need to listen to all voices and hear their concerns. Let’s remember to mindful of others and respect one another and know that we are in this together as a community. And let’s treat Zion’s Children, Youth & Family ministries and ministry leaders with the same patience, love, and consideration. 

Pray For Teachers

Along with Lydia, we received responses from other local teachers who are part of the Zion community about how they’ve been feeling this summer going into fall, what they hope for, and how we as a congregation and community can help support them. They also shared their prayers with us so that we may pray along with them.

I feel like it’s all I think about. So nervous and sad with all the negative comments on social media.

It’s been stressful. Like many educators, I like to plan ahead, but with so many possible scenarios, that has been difficult to do. I want to prepare the best for my students in the fall, but information has been changing constantly and I want to make sure my plans are safe and realistic.

I pray for health safety for all students, families, and school staff. Inside or outside the school building, we are still facing a very real and difficult situation. I pray that administrators and government officials make decisions with the best interests of students and staff.

I had hoped to greet my students with consistency, structure, a plan, and most of all with giant hugs this fall. Currently, I can do none of these things and it has left me feeling a bit helpless! Nevertheless, I will look to the Lord to guide me and work to enjoy the present.

I pray a lot that this will soon pass, and we can move on with options to keep us healthy.

My faith in God reminds me that good is still ahead for us all, even if it seems impossible now. We’re not alone, even when life feels out of control.

I pray for the health and safety of my family and students and their families.

My faith community has also been a valuable support system as I talk with them about the stressors I’m experiencing as we head back to school.

I hope that people understand why we teach. We love kids; we want to help them grow and learn and love. I hope teachers are given grace as we balance family, planning for distance learning, regular learning, implementing protocol, and being passionate & compassionate educators making a difference with our students. 

I am concerned about my students; I PRAY FOR STUDENTS. I pray for students’ health, happiness, and their futures. I also pray for my teaching peers’ health and happiness. We are all being forced out of our comfort zones and pushed to do things differently than ever before and it is a challenge.

I pray that people demonstrate flexibility and graciousness with themselves and one another; that we all have faith in one another and trust that everyone is doing their very best despite the circumstances.

I want to see God in all peoples’ outpouring of graciousness for each other because, as cliché as it sounds, we ARE all in this together.

If you are a teacher/administrator/para/etc., please consider adding your own prayer concerns in Zion’s private prayer group.

ZionBuffalo Prayer Group