Dugouts and Diapers

Jessica Starr Nichols

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At The Foot of The Cross

I’ve attempted to write this blog every single day for 2 weeks. Today has been a difficult day, and it may be due to the sheer exhaustion from taking care of two boys alone while my precious husband is working out of town this week, but whatever the reason, everything I’ve been feeling for 2 months has come out.
Some of you may know that I was a teacher and a coach for 2 years, and they were the best 2 years of my life. I went to school to work in healthcare because I was a single mother, and I had to do something that was quick and provided a means to support my child. I was good at the work I did, but it wasn’t my passion. It wasn’t until I was approached by the school that I graduated high school from to be their high school Spanish teacher that I knew what my passion and calling truly was. The students changed my life, especially an extraordinary group of 10 girls that had been passed from sponsor to sponsor and placed in the “cheerleading isn’t a sport pile”. I dove right in giving 150% of my time, talent, money, and heart. I would arrive at 7am each morning to pray over every desk in my classroom praying for all of my 109 students that would enter my classroom throughout the day. I woke up each morning excited to hear, “Good morning, Mrs. Nichols,” or “I love you, Mrs. Nichols,” or ” Mrs. Nichols, may I talk to you about something.” I miss them so badly that it hurts. I’ve prayed every single day since May 28, 2013, the day that I was told “I wasn’t the right fit” that God would take away the pain. It hasn’t gotten any easier, and the last week has been excruciating. The pain isn’t about me losing the job that I love, but it is about me losing the children that I love!!! There have been many students that have kept in touch with me, and I am so very grateful for them. They call, text, email, and even come over to our house and visit with my family and me. I still pray for my students and cheerleaders everyday. I pray that God will protect them and guide them and give them wisdom in life. I also pray for their teachers and their administration. I pray that they see the heart of that child that will not hush and cannot sit down for the entire 50 minutes of class, and that they will see the heart of the girl who’s so emotionally broken from her bad home-life that she’s turned to her boyfriend to fill that void. I pray that they will love my babies because really that’s all they want. They just want to be loved!
The song “Trade These Ashes in for Beauty” came to my mind the minute I got in the car on May 28,2013. I’ve listened to it everyday since then, and I cry throughout the entire song. It took me a good month to lay this situation at the foot of the cross. I was so hurt and wounded that I was angry! I wanted to hurt them like they hurt me! I said things and posted things that I shouldn’t have about the administration of that school. It was all true, but I still should have just let it go, but I didn’t understand, and I still don’t, but I do know that they will have to answer for decisions they’ve made some day, as will I. I’ve moved past the anger thanks to dear friends, family, former students, and most importantly the love of Jesus.
He showed me that He didn’t do anything wrong either and look at what He endured and how we hurt Him when we sin. My anger towards my former employer was a sin, but forgiveness is a beautiful thing! The song says, “I’ll wear forgiveness like a crown.” Wow! That’s powerful! Although I’m not teaching, other than substituting at my son’s school, or coaching right now, I know I made a difference, and I know that I will lay a crown at Jesus’ feet in Heaven that has a jewel for every single student’s life I touched and every one of my cheerleaders who I taught to believe in herself and value herself! The pain is still present everyday, and I know that someday it will be gone, but in the meantime, I will keep praying for my students and cheerleaders, their families, that school, its administration, and my family because we all need it. Always remember that there’s no better place than the foot of the cross to lay your burden down.