GOD'S GRACE IN THE MIDST OF MIDDLE SCHOOL MISERY
by Virginia Knowles
Well, I was one of those middle school outcasts. I dressed and acted weirdly. I talked too much. I played chess at lunch time in the school library with the other outcast nerds, or we hung out at the nerd bench in the playground. I had one dear Christian friend named Donna, a Jewish friend named Teresa, a Mormon friend named Kathleen, and a Chinese friend named Anni. We were social rejects -- and it hurt! So where is God's grace in “Yay! She’s out of here and good riddance!”
As I reflected on this a few years ago, the amazing truth suddenly dawned on me: How kind the Lord was to rescue me up out of that place and give me a fresh start! I had been recently saved but didn't have a church to go to.
|Anne and I at my going away party|
|My sister Barb and brother John, with me in the middle|
Another benefit I received from my own childhood experience is an increased sensitivity to the middle school students in the co-op English class that I teach. Each week, using literature, writing, logical thinking skills, and other language arts topics, I seek to give them solid life lessons to chew on. I personally think it is vital in learning to treat others with dignity.
I can now see how the Lord has redeemed my middle school misery for his glory. Instead of rejection, I now see his Tender Loving Care.
Virginia's note: I wrote this story many years ago, and plan to share it with my 7th-8th grade English students in our Providence Home Educators co-op in conjunction with the story of Joseph in Genesis. Even if your children are entirely schooled at home and not in a classroom, I would encourage you to talk to them about accepting others, being welcoming and friendly, not being self-righteous with those who are different from them, etc. And as adults, we too, should do the same, not just as an example to our children, but because there are hurting people out there who need an authentic friend --- someone to listen and love and not "fix" them.