“Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things; O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 71:19-20
Today’s Christian daily devotional
“Julia, your math score keeps getting lower each report card. What’s going on with you?” My mother slid into the kitchen chair next to mine.
“I don’t know.” I shrug while taking a bite of my grilled cheese.
“Honey, look at me.” She tilted my chin in her direction. “Are you having trouble?” My mom’s brow knitted with concern.
Having her full attention felt better than the buttery sandwich that filled my belly.
I nodded in silence. She was used to my infamous flapping jaws; silence from me had a dramatic impact.
The sad truth was that I had no interest in anything that had to do with school—especially math!
Up until fourth grade, it wasn’t hard for me to slide by with decent scores in most subjects. But, math was beginning to require more attention than I was willing to give it.
Oh, I had much better things to do with my precious time. This included passing notes, building eraser forts inside my desk and concerning myself with what stickers I should trade during lunch hour.
After a rough year of low C’s and eventually a D in math, my mother held a meeting with my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Sibbles.
“I’m afraid if she doesn’t grasp long division, things are going to get really hard for her. Julia has got to understand the basics before moving on.” My mother was nervously shifting in her chair.
“Well, she can take fourth grade again; it will give her a chance to catch up. Would that be an option for you?” Mrs. Sibbles tried hard to read my mother’s face, then looked back at me.
“What do you think, Jules?” It was ironic that my lack of attention would cause so much of it.
I pondered hard about the friends I had grown up with since kindergarten. Then, I started to consider all the new potential friends in the grade behind me. After doing the math, I came to this conclusion: my friendships had a chance to DOUBLE! How could I loose? My mind was bursting with this revelation.
“Yes, I want to take fourth grade again.” My unshakable confidence threw both women for a loop.
All summer long, I basked in the fact that school would now be easy street for me. Of course I wasn’t concerned with the issue of making friends—that was never a problem.
My biggest hang-up was dealing with the fact that I would have to share my new class with my younger brother, Daniel. He was only one year behind me; this little snafu ensured that we would now be in the same grade.
When the first day of school rolled around, I wasn’t prepared for the dramatic storm I had created for myself. Not only did my ‘old friends’ barely notice that I was missing, but the new crowd didn’t seem too keen on the ‘reject’ that trickled down from the class ahead of them. ‘Little Miss Popular’ was suddenly left to fend for herself.
“Your sister is a retard!” Billy, the class punk poked my shy brother in the rib during the line at bathroom break.
Without warning, Daniel grabbed him by the shirt and pushed Billy’s chubby body against the hall lockers.
“My sister is the smartest person I know. She just doesn’t know it yet. So, you better shut up…” Daniel’s skinny arms were shaking with rage.
I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. My little brother was not the enemy I always thought he was—he was my hero. For the first time and ever since, I had a different respect for Daniel.
Psalms 71:19-20 reminds us that God has the ability to take our worst situations and use them to shape the most beautiful stories of redemption. How can we ever truly appreciate the highlights of our lives, if we never experience a ‘low’?
One of the biggest humiliations of my life–taking fourth grade twice–actually ended up being one of the greatest blessings for me.
I not only learned the importance of putting school first, (I worked hard to make the honor roll almost every semester until I graduated) but, more importantly–I had the pleasure of sharing my school years with the best friend a girl could ever have: her amazing brother.
“Dear Heavenly Father,
Let me take a moment and just thank you for my life. Thank you for the ups, for the downs, and for this moment right now.
Although things may not be ‘perfect’, the fact remains that life is never stagnant. There is always an opportunity to grow, change and learn.
Help me to remember to honor you with the life that I have, to make the most of my circumstances and to stop and thank you more often. You are a good God, and I am blessed to know you.
Now that I do, help me to show you how much I appreciate all you are, and all that you do for me. Help me to live in a way that honors and pleases you. This will be the proof of my love. In Jesus’ precious name, just because I love you, Amen.”
*I dedicate this devotional to my “twin” brother, Daniel. You’re a priceless gift from God and I appreciate you! Happy 36th Birthday, Dan.
Thank you for reading today’s Christian daily devotional on verses: Psalms 71:19-20
Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan