Classes Are Over, But the Grades Aren’t In

The time period of a school year is roughly the same length of time as a pregnancy. I’m praying for my sister-in-law that her baby will come today, the first day of summer vacation, after a long school year for her family and the end of an even longer pregnancy for her.

She and I share a countdown. And, no, I’m not pregnant! Today I complete 170 days of teaching lessons from the New Testament of the Bible to LDS high school students. Our seminary year coincides with the school year, and today we celebrated the end with breakfast. Yes, breakfast. Our class starts at 6:45 a.m., and that means all of us wake up even earlier to get to class every weekday.

As a student of the Gospels and all the books through Revelation, I feel like the woman “being with child (who) cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Rev. 12:2). This woman is the church preparing for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Any mother can understand this imagery. For me, the relationships between symbols like these and gospel teachings stretched my intellect and my faith to not only learn but to apply the meaning in my life.

Still, the Lord is merciful to those who teach His word. On many of the dark Minnesota mornings when I tromped over large piles of snow to open the classroom, the Spirit opened my mouth and I stood in awe, like the mother of a newborn, at the words that came. Another analogy I learned well this year came from these verses in Revelation:

And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (Rev. 10:8-10)

The book is John’s mission. It is sweet because it is his greatest desire–to bring souls unto Christ, but it is sometimes bitter because he must continue to repeat his message when many will not listen. I can relate to the contrast of both sweet and bitter in these past 170 lessons. I love the personal preparation and learning process I go through to teach, and I love my students. I want them to learn what I learned for themselves.

I cleaned out the closet after our last lesson. Our size has dwindled from the start of the school year (unlike my pregnant sister-in-law). I gathered up the materials of those who’d started with us in September. I found a Bible of one of these student and opened it to identify the owner.  Underneath the name was this message from the student’s parents, “May you never lose the gospel or these scriptures.”

Even though this student had left his scriptures behind many months ago, I pray that not only will he appreciate my returning them to him, but that someday he will find amongst his memories some truth he learned in one of the lessons he attended that might lead him back to the gospel.

I’ve loved studying the entire Bible, completing the Old Testament last year and the New Testament this year. This short video from one of our apostles says it even better than I can.

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3 Comments

  1. Alicia Johnson
    Jun 3, 2009

    I have often been struck by the many references to pregnancy/delivery in the bible (my favorite is in Isaiah when he talks about a woman in travail who instead of a baby brings forth wind). Having been through the process over the past year–a very physically difficult year–those metaphors are all the more tender to me. It reminds me that conversion is not an event–any more than having a baby is an event. We may have those big moments when we finally “get it,” and we are on fire with the gospel . . . but we still have to nurture and tend that testimony, or it will die. Also conversion, like pregnancy, was not intended to be easy. But it brings some of the sweetest joy we could ever hope for.

  2. Tina
    Jun 3, 2009

    Thanks Teresa, good post. Check your facebook messages.

  3. Sarah (GenMom)
    Jun 4, 2009

    Good for you for teaching the Bible. When you teach God’s word you are constantly learning and it is a beautiful thing for the students and the teacher!

    Have a great end of the week!

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