In my 2020 Guest Post series, Teacher Bethany McMillion shares how she is courageously embracing the “new normal” of a job she loves. 


I reached for the door handle and second guessed myself. I should have grabbed a tissue from my car to use as a protective layer between my hand and the handle, but thankfully, a male coworker came to the rescue as I stood frozen in quiet anxiety. He opened it for me. I smiled and thanked him. In today’s pandemic, the action seemed even more chivalrous that usual.

Stepping into the room, my breath caught in my throat. I reached into my bag for my hand sanitizer and remembered my meager offering and attempt at humor. Chocolate Hershey® Hugs might be a funny alternative to share since we couldn’t give real ones. But now, I faced the challenge of how to give them away without touching them.

I glanced around. The faces of my co-teachers were somber. The mood of the room heavy and full of worry. Spread out, one person at a table to keep to the prescribed social distancing of the day, we wondered, “Could we make digital learning work for our kids?”

Finding my own table, I set down my bags, opened my computer and prayed, “Lord, your Word tells us in the stories of Joshua and of Solomon to be ‘strong and courageous.’ Fill us today with the same strength and courage.”

I ripped open the bag of Hershey® Hugs, walked from table to table and poured a few for each person. The sweet bites most certainly did not bolster our spirits like that of a real hug, but they did encourage a smile.

Through the day, we learned new technology tools and began revamping our lesson plans for digital learning. We found courage by leaning into our collective faith and knowledge. We prayed for our students and their families and moved forward in accomplishing our mission step by step.

A few weeks later and a quick scan of social media or search of the internet reveals this switch in learning norms is challenging. It’s not really home school. It’s definitely not our classrooms. Some have called it educational triage or crisis school.

Teacher Friends, this is hard because connecting is what teachers do. Our school day is not just content and lesson delivery. Our days are about the kids. During our lessons we watch; we meet eyes; we interact and care deeply. We pause and question. We don’t sit and deliver lessons like robots.

Families, this is hard because it’s new and different. We are all fumbling through – creating, throwing out and revamping new schedules, washing dishes, searching for toilet paper and consistently sanitizing our hands. The worry and tension hangs above us like dense fog. We try to set aside our fear and choose joy in family time, but it all feels awkward.

This is hard. We can grab hold of permission to feel that, admit it, and call it out as fear, anxiety and worry.

Our Biblical forefathers modeled valor for us. Joshua ventured into unknown territory with strength and courage (Joshua 1). Solomon built something beautiful. And, we will, too, because our kids are worth it.

We may all close our computers and cry sometimes. We may grieve our previous normal. We may long to look out at our classroom and see in-person smiles on our learners’ faces. We may long to hear the hum of the collective noise of our coworkers, or the silence of our empty homes.

But, we cling to David’s advice to Solomon,

“Be strong and courageous, fearless and enthusiastic!” (1 Chron. 22:13 TLB)

We let go of our fear and doubt and step forward – not just to wade through with drudgery, but bravely step forward into His courage and plan for such a time as this.

Blessings and Prayers for Courage during this season,

Bethany McMillion

For more on courage and the workplace: Living Out Faith in the Workplace and Brave Integrity in the Workplace 

Check out the NEW Chickening IN-from FEAR to Courageous FAITH BOOK HERE!

LEARN MORE ABOUT BETHANY:

Bethany McMillon is a coffee, football, and ice cream lover from the Dallas, TX area. She adores her number-loving accountant husband, her growing too fast boy, and her work as a school librarian.  She daily strives to notice God’s mercy and grace in the small moments of life and is most passionate about building relationships with both Jesus and those that are closest to her. Bethany is a member of the Hope*Writers community and writes weekly on her website, www.bethanymcmillon.com and often on Instagram @BethanyMcMillon.