By: Jessica Lee
I’m a schoolteacher and let me start off by saying that there is no other career I would rather be in. I love my students as if they were my own children. However, being in charge of a room full of kids, trying to provide for their differing needs and give them all attention, while e-mailing parents and getting observed by the principal takes a toll on you. You have to be alert at all times, and it’s just plain exhausting.
There is an old church hymn I’ve Got Peace Like a River by Marvin Frey that has been stuck in my head the past few months. If you know the song, it’s a cheerful tune saying “I’ve got peace like a river in my soul…” and then “I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul…” and finally “I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.” What an amazing proclamation of the peace, love, and joy that God gives you.
On my drive in to work each day, as I think over the day’s lessons, the read alouds, the behavior plans, the parents’ e-mails, the reports I need to write, this song kept crawling into my head and replaying over and over. I’d find myself singing it. I’ve got peace, I’ve got love, I’ve got joy. But what about the days when I don’t find any peace in my mind, love in my heart, or joy in my bones?
When I get the stomach flu and need to find an emergency substitute for the rest of the week? I’ve got peace like a river in my soul.
When I woke up one morning to see my windshield was cracked? I’ve got love like an ocean in my soul.
When my darling student moves away and has to leave the classroom? I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.
I will humbly admit that almost every day, I struggle to have peace, love, or joy. But who does have it? My God. So when I do have it, or when I don’t have it, I’m going to sing, “I’ve got peace like a river…I’ve got love like an ocean…I’ve got joy like a fountain in my soul.” Because I know that God will fill me with peace when I need it the most. He will fill me with love when I’m struggling. He will fill me with joy when my heart is broken. So I will continue to sing this song every day on my way to work, knowing that God will pour into me everything I need to get me through the day.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” – Psalm 28:7