I ran to my teacher’s room at 7:30 in the morning.
“Miss Lea, how are you doing?” she said to me, smiling.
“I have a story to tell you! The craziest thing happened to me, and I think it will make you happy!” I exclaimed.
“Tell me your story,” she said, beaming.
But the story of breakthrough I told her won’t make any sense unless we backtrack a little bit. So I’m going to tell you the pre-breakthrough story first.
She feels lost in her own life
Treading water just to keep from slipping under
And she wonders if she’s where she’s supposed to be
Tired of trying to do it right
Her dreams are just too far away to see how steps she’s making
might be taking her to who she’ll be…
I had been crying every day for the last week. Now, I was trying to study for the ACT, which was just another hopeless mess. So I told the teacher I T.A for that I was dying and asked if I could study instead of grade papers for just that day.
I had taken 2 practice tests by the end of the period. It was not looking good.
I looked at my teacher in defeat. “I don’t know what to tell you,” my teacher said. “You’re stressing out too much. You’re not thinking at your fullest potential.” I didn’t know what to say either, so I left. I went to the parking lot and threw my stuff in my car.
But something made me go back to that classroom. It was so obvious she was a Christian. I knew she knew I was a Christian, and I had been praying for the ball to drop, for me to finally be able to open up to her completely.
I made my way back to her room and met her gaze, speechless. I had no idea what to say. I lingered in thought as she helped her actual students, and she came back to me and met my gaze again, waiting for me to speak. “I can tell you anything right?” I finally gave in.
“Of course,” she said, leading me outside. “Come here.” I followed her. “What’s going on?” she asked, listening.
I told her everything. I told her about the teacher who unintentionally demeaned me. I told her about forgiving him, but how the thought of being full of crap came up in my head every time I couldn’t do something. I felt like I was too broken from my past to do anything right. I couldn’t focus on anything. I was jealous of people who didn’t mess up. I was jealous of people who didn’t cry and weren’t broken. I was jealous of people who had never failed in their life before and didn’t have anxiety. I was stressed about this test and felt like it was going to ruin my future.
“And I don’t know why I feel all of these things when I know none of them are true,” I said.
Then, she took my hands in hers. “You go to church right?” she asked me.
When I was torn between my home church and my current church, I went to church with my parents for 3 weeks to avoid the problem. One of those weeks I ended up running into her. Seeing her that one time was a miracle in itself.
“Yes,” I said, astonished.
And then she went on a passionate rant about how God made me who I am for a reason. About how there’s no reason to worry about being perfect or to hate myself for having so much emotion. She stressed that I can’t mess up my future on the ACT, because God has it, because I can’t create my future, because some things have to be taken on faith.
She told me her life story, and how she found her calling to teach. We talked about how Jesus paid the price for us, how the battle has already been won, and she told me about her own dreams and spiritual journey. My teacher was talking to me about God on the campus of a public school. The ball had dropped.
“Your dream college might not be what God has in store. Only he knows what is truly best for us,” she said.
“I know that,” I replied.
“And God loves you so much,” she stressed.
“I know that too!” I declared. “I believe in everything you just told me so strongly. I know I have nothing to fear. So why do I still feel so messed up?” I ranted.
She smiled. “Because you’re human.”
“Crying is so counterproductive!”
She shook her head. “No, crying is healthy. It cleanses the soul and helps you to refocus.”
“I have no reason to cry. Nobody is dying.”
She shook her head again. “No, God created emotions. Everyone feels them on different levels. It’s okay to cry.”
“Well, I don’t want to feel this way anymore.”
She smiled. “The other day I made a girl cry. She cried for like an hour. I felt so bad.”
“Did you pull her aside?” I asked, laughing.
“Yes. But I still feel it. Like you do.”
She went on to tell me about a time she trusted in God and how it lead to breakthrough. “I wish I trusted God like that more often.”
“Those breakthroughs happen to me all the time,” I told her, thinking of my blog.
“So it does happen to you.” She smiled again.
She took my hands in hers again. “I know you know that God has your future. We both know it. But keep crying. Not too much though. Cry through it and he’ll find you. Okay?”
The bell rang, and she embraced me. “I knew you were a Christian the second I met you,” I said, so incredibly happy.
“Do you feel better?”
“Yes. Thank you.”
“Go home and eat chocolate. You’re going to be fine.”
“I will,” I said, laughing.
“And keep smiling,” she said, meeting my gaze for the last time.
“On Friday, I cried the whole day. And Saturday morning was the test, and I was crying the whole morning. I didn’t think I was going to make it to the test.
I’m driving to the test center, and I can’t stop bawling. So I just start crying out to God, ‘I know you didn’t make me full of crap. I know you have my future. I know this test can’t mess up my future. You didn’t make me to fail. You didn’t create me to be hindered by anxiety and mess up all the time. Fear and anxiety don’t exist in your name. So I don’t know why I still feel this way. I know the power of your presence God, but I don’t feel it right now. Right now I feel so broken and incapable, so this is all you. I can’t do this on my own.’
And here, where the night is darkest black
She feels the fear
But she can’t feel the things she knows
And through her tears
She can see the dawn
Its coming skies will clear
And the light will find her where she’s always been…
I was crying so hard. And then I pulled into the parking lot. I told myself that if I was still crying when I entered the room that I would just ditch the whole thing. But the second I stepped out of that car…”
“…everything I was feeling vanished.”
“It’s a miracle. You know me. I am not one to stop myself from crying. And even when I do, pain always lingers. But it all went away like that. It was like a supernatural peace had swept over me.
So I took the test. It wasn’t super easy, but it wasn’t painful, exhausting, or discouraging either. It went by so fast. There were questions I didn’t know, but they didn’t bother me. I got through the whole thing. I was so happy when it was over. And I don’t know how I did, but it doesn’t matter because nothing can ever take away the joy I have right now,” I preached.
“Wow,” she said, beaming. “It’s because you were proclaiming God’s word.”
“But that’s not how the story ends.”
“Yesterday I went to church and was telling my leaders the story. And one of them told me that last Sunday when I was bawling tears during worship, he was laughing. And he made a note on his phone:
Seeing youth Lea cry during worship is making me laugh. This is because tears aren’t a sign of weakness, but they symbolize the joy that is to come in the kingdom of heaven.
“He asked me how I felt right now. And I told him I felt like nothing could take away my joy. I was feeling the joy that was to come.”
“And now it makes sense. It really is okay to cry,” I concluded.
She nodded, smiling so wide. “God is so good. What church do you go to?”
She smiled. “It’s a good church. My kids always want to go to their events. But it doesn’t matter what church you go to, as long as you are growing.”
I smiled, thinking of my journey leading me to attend my dream church.
“Did you know my parents go to your church?” I said.
“I did not,” she said, smiling even wider than she was before, if that was possible.
And we talked a little bit longer about college and emotions and she showed me her favorite podcasts. Then, the bell rang for first period.
“I am so happy that you are growing,” she said, embracing me.
“And I’m so happy I found you,” I told her before running to class, “I’ll see you in a few hours.”
The fact that I stopped crying was a miracle. This teacher I found is a miracle. I don’t know how these things happened, but they certainly didn’t happen because of me. These experiences are a result of God’s goodness, and his love to bring sheer breakthrough into our lives. And that Sunday when I went to worship, I was singing the loudest in the room.
Because suddenly I am where I’m supposed to be
And after all the tears I was supposed to be here.
You are so good. Thank you for your supernatural peace and joy. I pray it would never leave. I pray my fire for you would never burn out. I pray you would continue to show anxiety and fear how they have no power over me.
Thank you for creating emotions. Thank you that tears lead to breakthrough, and that tears don’t exist in the kingdom of heaven. Thank you that you always find me. Thank you that I’m never lost, even when I feel lost, because you have me in the palm of your hand.
It’s amazing how you love to show us favor and abundance. Help me to listen to your voice when I’m faced with tough decisions. I truly believe there is nothing you can’t do, and that there is so much more breakthrough to come.
You are so good. And you’re never gonna let me down.