This week was our first happy hour with The Table. I’m going to be honest, I was nervous. I knew I would feel this way. Jesus planted a dream in my heart and I jumped head first into planning it, just like I usually do. I began planning and organizing, confident in the goodness of what Jesus had in store. I knew the confidence wouldn’t last, and lies would sneak in.
The weeks and days leading up, I was nervous. I questioned whether this was worth it, whether I had the time to organize anything, whether people would even show up. But as anyone who knows Jesus could tell you, questioning His goodness and His plan is never a worthwhile activity. He is good, always. He shows up, always. And so he did on Thursday.
We had a small group, which is almost always a gift. A gift wrapped up with temptations of doubt and insecurity, yes, but at it’s core its a gift of intimacy, a gift of being known and heard.
It was a beautiful and diverse group, truly representing education across our city. We had teachers spanning all the way through school system: teachers from pre school, elementary, middle school, high school, and college. Sit in the power of that for a moment. At every stage of development, a student in Austin has the opportunity to encounter Christ. A teacher spending her days with three year olds sat across the table from a college professor, and they asked the same questions. How can we give our students a glimpse of Jesus? How can we love our students with a love that reaches beyond ourselves? A three year old student is encountering the same gift as an overwhelmed college senior: a teacher who is praying for them, a teacher who is actively seeking Christ within this crazy school system.
Over queso and margaritas, we shared introductions and stories, struggles and dreams of what this group could be. We talked about the struggles of balancing our own spiritual health, (something I’ve really struggled with this year), sharing grace with our students, and the power of prayer.
One of the most powerful take-aways I had from this week was the idea that while we can’t explicitly share the Gospel in our classrooms, we love differently, and our students recognize it. Even the littlest of our students see something different and something good in us, something that can only come from Christ. Whether they know what that love is yet or not, we can let go of our control and trust the One who called us in the first place. Ultimately, Jesus doesn’t even need us, He just allows us to join Him in this gloriously messy mission field that is the public school system.
So, what’s next for The Table? This week I will be beginning an email list of teachers interested in the group, via this survey, trying to figure out the best ways for this group to meet and to serve each other. We have big dreams of continuing this group, and even talked about the possibilities of bringing in guests to share multiple perspectives and wisdom with us. Our next happy hour will be Thursday, April 28th. Mark your calendars! I will send out details on time, place, and topics of discussion once I have some feedback from the group.
A special thanks to those who made it to the first happy hour. I feel so blessed by this group already.