One and Only

I call him my One and Only, the boy with the dark hair, the clear blue eyes. Of course, there are nine other boys in the class, but he’s the One and Only him. It started weeks ago, when the afternoons dragged long, and I lost his attention in the hours after recess. Sitting there in the second row, he moved, he talked, and I brought him back, again and over again.

But really, there’s more to teaching, more to life and relationship and loving, than nagging.

One day, all those weeks ago, as the January afternoon sun began to settle, already preparing to sink, and I knew his mind was wandering, stretching, escaping beyond the realm of academic learning, I called his name.

He looked up, and I knew what he was expecting. A reminder. Do this, please sit up, what are you doing, where should you be?

But not this time. No, I stopped next to his desk, asked him, in voice raised- teacher voice so all could hear- if he knew that he is the One and Only him. Do you know that, child? I asked. You are the only one, and we get to have you in our class. I stopped then, letting the truth sink in, and watched his face change, ever to slightly, as he processed what I’d said.

And the name stuck. Of course, many of them have nicknames- I’m a nickname kind of teacher, and that is his, and I admit, sometimes I say it just to see that shy smile creep across his face, just to watch his eyes light up, just a bit.

He’s president of the class this week; quite a good one, in fact. Sits at the big desk in the back, oversees classroom proceedings with justice and kindness, makes decisions that I’d rather avoid, such as Hannah-is-not-here-can-I-have-her-spot-in-line and she-forgot-to-finish-the-math-problem-can-she-have-grace-to-finish-it-before-we-grade-it?

And two days ago, when the Bible class conversation turned to stories, and how God changes lives- even lives barely a decade long- he sat in his presidential swivel chair, and he listened.

And yesterday, I told those 18 hearts just a tiny bit of my own testimony, before reminding them of the work that I know God is doing in each of their hearts. And then I set them loose, to reflect, to think, and to write down their own testimonies, their own stories.

And that boy, my One and Only, he wrote. He wrote and he wrote, because this one? He knew his story.

And this morning, in teacher devotions, it’s time for prayer requests, and the boy’s father, himself a teacher, he raises his hand, says he has a praise. Because his boy, his fourth grade son, his blue-eyed little boy, they’ve been praying for him. Praying for him to know his story, praying for him to own the faith he’s been taught, and last night, that One and Only boy, he went home with testimony in hand, exuberant to tell his daddy his story, how he knows Jesus has saved him.

And that boy? Now he wants to be baptized.

And sitting there in devotions, hearing how the Holy Spirit shapes and builds and guides in ways I can’t even imagine, I just cried.

Because this boy has a story, has a faith, has a relationship, and in these short months, I got to watch it grow. And that is breathtaking.

~Natalia

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy Bogacz
    Mar 06, 2015 @ 05:48:45

    And so begins your ministry with children – so many to love and pray for and “call out” to faith! Wonderful! Praise God, Natalie, for your gifts and abilities. May you be salt and light and the aroma of Christ every day as you teach, and live – and as you already are. :)

    Reply

  2. Grandma S.
    Mar 06, 2015 @ 11:21:36

    Wonderful!

    Reply

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