Oh Valentine’s Day… the day when “love” is on everyone’s minds even more than usual. While everyone has a lot to say about love and what love is, I spent some time reflecting on what the Bible has to say about it.
First, love is, I believe, the primary characteristic of God. It is the basis for His creation of, sacrifice for, and relationship with us! || “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 || “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He first loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 ||
Not only that, but God wants love to be our primary characteristic as well. We are to love Him and also to love others. || “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 || “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin.” 1 Peter 4:8 || “If we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12 ||
Love can sometimes look like discipline. || “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline, so be earnest and repent.” Revelation 3:19 ||
To love is to forgive. || “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.” Proverbs 10:12 ||
Love is eternal. || “Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:8 ||
The Bible says these and many more things about what love – genuine love – is. So often it seems that the world looks at Christians and doesn’t see love, but if we are truly seeking to be Christ-like, love must be our priority. It’s not easy, it’s not always accepted or returned in the way we would like, and sometimes we mess up and have to ask for forgiveness and begin again, but it must be our focus. We must strive to truly “love our neighbors as ourselves” (Mark 12:31).
Love isn’t just for spouses or family or best friends. Love is for people you pass on the street, and that one co-worker who grinds your gears, and that one task you should do but aren’t exactly looking forward to… I know I don’t always do the best job at loving others. However, on this Valentine’s Day, as we are trying not to forget the flowers or the cards, let’s also not forget what true love is. Or, more accurately, who true love is. Jesus Christ, who died for us because of His love for us, and who exhorts us to self-sacrificially love others as well.
I feel like I usually forget about love when I’m at work. While the Bible never exactly tells us to “love” working, Colossians 3:23 says that in whatever we do we should “work at it with all our hearts, as working for the Lord,” which to me means we should at least pour into our work with love and find joy in our day-to-day.
So, in honor of this February 14th, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top 14 reasons why I love my job here at HIS.
#14 – Being able to see the gorgeous snow-capped Illimani from my classroom window. I will never tire of that view!
#13 – I teach a lot of students for whom English is a second language. Sometimes I forget how to speak proper English myself and slip up with things like, “explain me this.” Always good for a laugh!
#12 – The variety of new nicknames I have acquired… ranging from a simple “Miss” or “Mrs. K” to “Ketchumcita” or “Ketchupita” (and yes, that means little Ketchup).
#11 – Serving in the greater community with my co-workers and students. Community service is a big part of Highlands, and I love being able to work alongside my kids to accomplish a goal that is greater than just us, just our school, just this current moment. The work is usually not easy, but there’s something about manual labor that teaches you as nothing else can.
#10 – Having the opportunity to lead, change, and improve the place where I work. So often school districts get into routines and an attitude of “this is just how we do things” with no real reflection or opportunities to grow. Our small staff at Highlands allows all of us to provide input as well as lead, whether it’s a curriculum review team or a planning committee for a school event. It is fun to see your ideas and efforts actually come to life!
#9 – Grading the projects that my students create. Yes… I know… I just said I love grading. But seriously! They always go above and beyond – whether that’s creating 3D posters or dressing up in character for a presentation! I’m always so impressed by their hard work and creativity. I mean c’mon look at these things:
#8 – Learning about a new place and culture. More than just the language and delicious food, all of us “gringo” teachers are currently in the process of learning a traditional Bolivian dance for our Bolivia Day celebration later this semester, and it is a blast!
#7 – Being invited into the homes of Highlands’ families to enjoy a meal or a game of cards. (Telefunken is quickly becoming a favorite! Thank you Villegas family!)
#6 – Playing (and usually losing) games of Super Smash Bros with the guys’ discipleship group that my husband leads every Thursday.
#5 – Having staff meetings everyday that go beyond the normal housekeeping announcements and actually edify and encourage. I have been so blessed by the devotional messages and prayers shared in those brief morning minutes.
#4- Singing bilingual worship songs in chapel with my co-workers and students, and at church on Sundays with my community. Music has such a unifying and moving power, especially when it is being used to worship our God!
#3 – Being able to be myself with my students. You might think it would be strange to have students know about your family or your beliefs or your sense of humor, and I won’t lie, it was a bit of an awkward adjustment from public school teaching at first, but I really enjoy being able to be myself and be honest with my students. There are a lot of days when I feel less like I have 72 students and more like I have 72 little friends, and that is awesome.
#2 – Having coffee dates, birthday celebrations, and genuine, fantastic conversations with my 12th grade girls every Monday during discipleship group. These young women are incredible and have taught me so much. I love getting to know them and share in their joys and struggles.
And the number 1 thing I love about working at Highlands…
#1 – Being able to not just pray for my students, but actually pray with them – even during class!
I am so thankful for this job, for love, and for my Savior who has allowed all of these things to be a part of my life.