Monday, March 4, 2013

Red Ink

This school year I've been helping out J's teacher by grading the students timed math quizzes.

(You know the stress inducing ones where you have to get as many questions correct as you can in a certain number of minutes. . .the cruelty of the elementary academic world!)

And, at the beginning of the school year when I first began to grade them, I tried using a pencil or ink  pen to circle the ones the students missed.

Since I was (and STILL am) not very good at math, I have deep sympathy for these kiddos who really struggle with just getting the test done much less getting the answers correct.

I remember getting my test back and seeing the teachers red ink on my paper and being so embarrassed and quickly turning my paper over so no one see how I did.
I could smile and pretend everything was OK.

But, my plan of using pencil or black ink just didn't work.
When I'd go to count up how many they'd missed it was so difficult to see what I'd circled.

So, I got out the red pen and hoped I wouldn't crush some precious third graders spirit.

As, I was grading another stack a few days ago, I was noticing what a great job some of them were doing. Some of the very ones, who at the beginning of the year, their whole page seemed to be one giant red circle.

 Some still struggle but all in all most  have come such a long way.
I prayed none of them had been embarrassed by that red ink.

Of course, they have nothing to be embarrassed about. They were and are learning.
The red ink was there to show them what problems they needed to practice on so they could improve.

And it's working-they are improving and passing the test with flying colors!

I began to think, isn't that exactly what God does with us?

Gets out His holy red ink pen and begins to circle the places in our lives that need practice and correction.

And  just like I used to do in school, many of us (ME ME ME) try to hide what's going one-cover our 'work' and go on with a smile as if nothing is wrong.

When really we have no need to be embarrassed, His goal with the red ink is not to humiliate us.

It's to point out where  we are wrong so we can fix it.

As life goes on the tests change.

Just like those 3rd graders, we get addition ones done, so He moves us on to the next test-a little more difficult this time.

And when we first begin maybe the paper of our lives are covered in red ink again.

But, don't be discouraged, He'll give us another test so we can practice on that one.

And maybe, just maybe with a little practice on the next one there will be less red ink.

 I'm striving to see the red ink that's written on my life as one more testimony to the

power of grace.

After all, He could just keep giving me the test and never  show me where I need to practice.
I could just keep struggling and struggling not knowing what I should be working on.

Because just like school, we KNOW there are going to be test.

Wouldn't you rather pass them then keep failing? I know I would.

So, instead of hiding my 'red ink' on my 'paper', I'm going to study those problems that need work.

And I'm going to thank God for using his 'red ink' on me!

Taking the tests with you,


Post a Comment