This morning, we were doing school. It is a light week since Thanksgiving is a few days away. We are reading LOTS of Thanksgiving books and doing some Thanksgiving crafts. I decided to go pull out my Thanksgiving folder from my teaching days in NC. And when I did, I saw this picture:
Ohh, the flood of memories that came over me when I saw this picture. Zhiquan was a student that got transferred into my Transition First class one year. If we are going to be honest, Zhiquan ended up in my classroom because he had behavioral issues. When his kindergarten classroom had too many students in it, the principal told his teacher to put a few in my room. At first, I was VERY frustrated because this teacher saw it as an opportunity to get rid of some students who had behavioral issues. But little did I know that the Lord was going to use Zhiquan to grow me into more of who He desires me to be.
Within the first couple of weeks as I began to learn more about who Zhiquan was, he began to have a special place in my heart. Zhiquan at his young age, had been in and out of foster homes. He had seen A LOT in his few years of life. My heart broke as I learned more and more of his story. But the Lord gave me the ability to see Zhiquan as He does...a broken child who needed to see the love of Jesus.
When he first got into my classroom, there was LOTS of testing of boundaries. I think there was so much testing because he had lived in so many places with so many different rules. Some days it was absolutely frustrating, but I think he was seeing if I was worth trusting. In the end, consistency won! A couple of months in, Zhiquan couldn't do enough for me. He grew into being responsible. He desired to do well for me. He began to excel in his school work. Now, don't get me wrong...it wasn't all peachy keen...but when he was off, I knew something was going on at home.
Today, as I write this blog, I wonder what has happened to Zhiquan. I have tried looking on Facebook for him, but haven't been successful. My heart wonders if he ever found his forever family. I have prayed often that he has...I have prayed that he got a mom and dad who were his BIGGEST fans and could encourage him to reach his potential.
As I reflect, I thank the Lord for allowing Zhiquan to be a part of my classroom...a part of my life. I thank Him for using Zhiquan to grow me in compassion for those who are broken. Reminding me that often times those who are acting out are the ones who have the deepest wounds. I thank the Lord for using Zhiquan to grow me in seeing that wherever He places me is an opportunity to love like Jesus. I thank Him for using Zhiquan to plant the seed of one day adopting children who are in the foster system and giving them a forever home.
I pray that Zhiquan saw Jesus when he was in my classroom. I pray during our year together, he knew that he was loved not only by me, but by God.
Today, I am saying a special prayer for Zhiquan. I am praising the Lord for this sweet child and giving Him thanks for all the good that came out of an at first frustrating situation. And I am praying that Zhiquan got a glimpse of His love for him and realized that there is One who has an ending/unconditional love for him.
"Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."