I snuck two more packs of 3 x 2-1/2” notecards into my cart at Shopko, the way a drunk slips a flask into his pocket. Only those people in my inner circle could even begin to count the number of Spanish flashcards I’ve made over the years, for my class and for my own personal continued education.
There’s a stack of flashcards by the sink in the master bathroom. If Matt’s in the right mood, he’ll learn a new Spanish expression while he’s brushing his teeth and then say it to me at some odd, unfitting moment.
There’s a stack of flashcards in the basement, in case I get on the treadmill, so I hope I never need to know how to say that stuff.
And then there are the decks and decks and decks of flashcards that have gone to school with me. Rings of flashcards filled with verbs and plastic bins full of sentences for students to practice.
He sang in the choir.
My nephews bought a computer.
She likes seafood.
What do you feel like doing today?
Which makes me wonder what the pen-to-flashcard ratio is, because I sure have thrown away a lot of empty Paper Mates this year.
All that to say, I have worked my buns off prepping for Spanish over the last four years. Well, for seven years, if you count the Spanish flashcards I carried in my pocket to the dining hall when I was in college.
(An aside –do you feel sorry for my husband, and isn’t he one of the most patient men you’ve ever known?)
But glory. Glory! If you could have seen my freshmen cranking out sentences like it wasn’t no thing yesterday. (Double negatives are allowed in Spanish.) I so wanted to hug them, except they would have freaked out, but I really did want to hug them.
What my freshmen can say in Spanish, after the end of their first year, is landing at the end of my day-after-day prayers. Please, Lord, help me be the best Spanish teacher ever. If it’s not too much to ask. For your glory, Lord –the best Spanish teacher ever.
Pray big or go home. That’s what I say.
It has been hard, you know? So hard. Lots of sighing. “I heard that sigh,” says my husband. Lots of praying. A few middle-of-the-night tears. More flashcards. (Oh wow, have I bought a lot of note cards.)
If only I were paid by the mental hour.
But hard work, day after day with your hand to the plow, with your sights aimed at pleasing the Lord and making him look good –this is where it is. IT. The joy, the satisfaction, the reward. We find these things at the end of a long, steep uphill.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24. NIV)
I hope you’re doing a very complex, hard, make-you-sigh-some-days kind of work, with all of your heart for the Lord. I hope you lay awake at night, imagining how you could do a better job tomorrow just for the sake of His name. I hope your muscles and/or your brain are regularly stretched to the limit, as you express your love for God.
And then let’s celebrate our hard work by splurging on more 3 x 2-1/2 notecards! Or, okay, splurging on whatever makes you happy. Because it’s good to get to the end of hard work and look back sometimes and smile.