When You Want to Hope

Now and Later

This school year is almost over. Will I ever see these kids again after May? I wonder.

On Thursday afternoons, my daughter Jenna has let me come for an hour or so into her kindergarten class she teaches to listen to the kids practice their sight words or read books or play games.


And I’ve fallen in love.

With who the kids are now.

And with who the kids can be later.

But it’s the later I’m concerned about.

How Many Strikes?

Several of these children already have strikes against them.

  • Poverty
  • Broken homes
  • Housing instability
  • Racial discrimination
  • Inadequate health care

Will they have strength and resources enough to overcome the challenges they’ll have to face?





An Unpleasant Vision

I don’t like something I’ve imagined.

It’s just an image in my mind’s eye. But I know it’s a possibility.

The adults that Kay and I take meals to on Wednesday afternoons also have strikes against them.

  • Physical disabilities
  • Mental disabilities
  • Low incomes
  • Poor housing
  • Minimal social support

A few weeks ago, as we stepped into the room to set down a meal for one of the gentlemen (I’ll call him Big J for here), I saw a resemblance to one of the kindergarten kids that I love, Little J.

Little J could be Big J one day. 

Would Little J grow into this?

  • Living alone in an apartment that smells?
  • Depending on others for daily needs?
  • Strung out on medicines to get through the day’s pain?

I wanted to cry. It’s not the life I want to imagine for Little J.

Hold on to Hope

Thankfully, it’s unlikely the life he will have. I met his dad on a field trip. He cares. And Little J cares, too (he hates to miss a single sight word out of 100). I can tell his parents help him at home. I expect him to grow up and do well if he can stay on this path.

I want to have hope. For Little J. For all of these kids.

So I pray.

  • For the kids
  • For their caretakers
  • For Jenna as she loves hard and fast on them this year
  • For the new teachers who will have them next year

And I pray for me. That I won’t lose hope for these children.

Lord, have mercy.


* * *

Prayer and hope are resources we each have available. May we never underestimate their power, but rather see them as gifts God has given us to share as blessings to others. Who are you praying for this week? Please share in the comments.

sharing at Moments of Hope

51 thoughts on “When You Want to Hope

  1. Lynn Severance

    These precious lives you share about and with whom you have shared life will carry the impact of what both you and Jenna have given them “this year”.

    If Jenna stays at this school and her students from this year stay at that school, it will not be quite the same community that has built in her classroom but there will be contact. And if you stay with “Thursdays with Mom” time in Jenna’s room, you will see many of the students who are progressing through their next grades.

    Who am I praying for today ( and each day )? All my former students – not only for the joys they brought me but for their lives and who they have become: some I do know and others I do not know about their lives now – but God does!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I asked Jenna to read your comment, too, Lynn—such encouragement here. Thank you for sharing from your own experiences. I know your students have been so blessed through the years, not only when they had you as their teacher, but even now in the years afterward when you still continue to pray for them!

  2. Linda Stoll

    Dear Lisa … the number of people that you impact, young and old, face to face and online, rich, poor, you name it …

    That number is simply untold. How blessed those little ones are to have you and your daughter not only as teachers but as role models.

    May God multiply your efforts in ways that would leave you speechless.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t deserve those words, Linda, but thank you, sweet friend. I leave far more blessed than any blessings I give out. I join with you in asking God to multiply all our efforts beyond what we can imagine. He is able.

  3. Debbie Williams

    Whenever know what seeds we are planting and you and your daughter are. Another teacher will hopefully water those seeds. I am not in a low income area but we do have students in need, and the staff jumps in and helps. At Christmas there is a tree for them and the tags are literally gone in a day.

    I sub and I sit there and pray for the students while they work. We can do this one child at a time.

    Your neighbor today at Kelly’s.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a beautiful ministry to pray for the students while they work. You are right that we never know about those seeds. I’m thankful that God allows us to participate in the lives of others in this way! Thanks for your encouragement, Debbie. Yes, we can do this, one child at a time.

  4. Debbie

    I pray for the homeless every day. Everyone on this earth should have a roof over their head, food and water and a safe place to rest their head at night. I also pray they have someone to hold their hand to let them know everything will be alright. God bless you for the work you do in the name of Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful week, Lisa.

  5. Crystal Storms

    So agree that hope is a powerful thing … along with prayer of course.
    When I went on my scrapbook retreat earlier this year, one of the ladies there was friends with the moms of many of my former students. And she was able to show me their high school pictures … my little preschoolers all grown up. All doing well … all an answer to prayers I’d prayed over them when they were students of mine.
    Keep hoping for the best and praying too. : )

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Oh, this is an encouraging story to read, Crystal. What a blessing that you were able to see your little sweeties all grown up (well, almost). That gives me hope too. Thanks!

  6. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! Sometimes having someone positive and supportive in your life is enough to keep you going. I think you and your daughter can be that for the little lives you see everyday and for you, every week.

    The same is true for the adults, even though they may be more entrenched, they need hope too. What a wonderful place for you to be, impacting so many lives. I think you are truly being Christ in these places.

  7. Jerri Miller

    Oh, Lisa, your post convicts me so. My daughter also is a teacher, only her students are high schoolers, yet they have those same strikes against them that your daughter’s students face. She tells me about them all the time, but today is the first time it occurred to ME to add them to my prayer list. I know she prays for them. I could, too.

    Thank you!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      God bless your daughter, Jerri. I don’t think I could ever teach high school; the older kids already have so much engrained in them. I have utmost respect for those who go in there and fight for their hearts and minds anyway! As you pray for her kids, you pray for her too.

  8. Beth Willis miller

    Lisa, what a blessing you and your daughter are to these precious children….God sees the end from the beginning, and He knit you into their lives as He is working all things together for their good and His glory, praise His Holy Name…many blessings to you ❤️

  9. Mary Geisen

    I love your heart for these kindergarteners and especially how you pray for hope for them. What a blessing you are for your daughter and the students in her classroom. As a teacher for 30 years, I understand the concerns you have about the future for these children and so many others. Prayer is the best thing and God does hear the pleas in our heart.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thank you, Mary. These children as SO adorable that it’s easy to love them, especially when I’m not with them all day, every day. ha. I admire those like you who have put in the long hours, year after year. Heroes for sure!

  10. Tiffany Parry

    What a treasure, Lisa – that you are pouring into those little lives. I’d venture to say that for some, you may be the only one praying over their precious lives – and that is a beautiful privilege. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I don’t get to be with the kids very much, but I am grateful for the time that I do get to spend with them. And that time is running out. 🙁 I know the school year will be over soon. Thanks for your encouragement here, Tiffany.

  11. Debbie Putman

    As I approach the end of my school year with 100 seventh graders, your words inspire me to see them through the eyes of Jesus. We are all anxious for summer, but each one deserves my best attention. Joining you from Intentional Tuesday, Tell His Story, and RaRa Linkup.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      How awesome that you’re willing to teach 100 seventh graders, Debbie! May the Lord bless you for that beautiful work you are doing, day in and day out. It’s truly a gift to each child and family.

  12. Sarah

    Amen! I feel so many of the same feelings for my little ones. Thankfully we serve a God of HOPE! Choosing hope and never getting up is the stuff to strengthen our faith. 🙂
    Sarah #WWI

  13. Karen

    God gave you charge of these kids for a year and the love you sowed into them will make an impact, whether you get to see it or not. You’re right that some of these kids will probably make bad decisions as they move into adulthood, but don’t minimize the continued impact of praying for them. While it seems like “nothing”, God tells us a different truth. “The fervent prayer of a righteous man ( or woman) is powerful and effective.” Believe that and trust God with these little ones.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I appreciate your encouragement, Karen, to hear God’s truth! He does listen and I need to have faith that he will also respond. May I be faithful to continue praying for his precious little ones.

  14. Kelsey

    Wow, this spoke to my heart. I see kids on the other end of school- I’m a high school special education teacher. I too have these hopes and fears for my kids. I really want the best for them, but especially when you sometimes see unfair situations and bad decisions at this age, it’s hard to hope. I pray also to not lose hope for my kids and to continue to be someone who believes in them.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You have the tougher end of the job, Kelsey. May the Lord bless you with the patience and endurance you need to not give up hope of any of your students. I can’t imagine doing what you do. Keep up the good work!

  15. Sharon

    Hope. I remember a quote from one of my favorite movies, “The Shawshank Redemption.” It goes like this: “…hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

    Sometimes this world does everything it can to beat the hope out of us. And certainly the enemy of our souls steers us toward the darkness of discouragement, despair, and defeat.

    But God is a God of hope. And He has the power to bestow it upon us, beginning with His amazing story of what Love did on a cross. May He infuse us with His hope, and may we be the vessels that brings it to others.

    Your work is wonderful, Lisa. And I know that God takes what you do and multiplies it in the hearts of others. Hope springs eternal, and you are doing the work of being its springboard.


    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’ve not seen The Shawshank Redemption so I appreciate you sharing this quote, Sharon. Truth: “no good thing ever dies.” That is something I need to remember not only in this situation with the children, but in all circumstances. I pray with you that we will be vessels to bring God’s hope to others. Thanks!

  16. Anita Ojeda

    As crazy as it may seem, I’m praying for my students who love weed. It’s April 20, and some of them are really struggling becuase their friends back home are having a party and they’re away at school and feel tempted from every side (but they are soooo very close to graduation, and pot smoking would give them a one-way ticket home). They are trying to change, but it’s oh, so difficult. I pray that the Holy Spirit keeps working in their lives long after they leave us next month.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Praying with you right now, Anita, that your students will resist the temptation for weed and persevere with school for a few more weeks. I can’t imagine their individual journeys, but I know God has put you in their lives for such a time as this!

  17. Pam

    This post brings me many fond memories from the 15 years I was teaching. The wondering about them still goes on now from time to time. They were special education junior high kids and they definitely had a few bumps and bruises by life when I knew them. The road ahead was not going to be easy. A few years after I left teaching I happened to hear about a couple of them. One was working at a garage and another was married and doing well as a mom. It’s been a long time since then, but your post brought me right back to those feelings. Thanks, Lisa!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I’m sure your students have beautiful memories of you too, Pam. What a blessing you must have been to lovingly care for these special kids for 15 years as a teacher. My hat is off to you!

  18. Jean Wise

    Prayer is so powerful but so is a positive teacher and educational opportunities. You are making a difference and planting lots of seeds that will later blossom, I am sure.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Your words are encouraging, Jean. I need to pass them on to my daughter; she’s the one who is the true seed-planter every day in their little lives! I just get to be a fly-by to enjoy them at their best. 🙂

  19. floyd

    Having people in their lives that truly love them is the first step up from the bottom. Thank God, literally, that they do in your daughter and you. When folks know their loved it changes their world… and you can’t fool a child. They know real love.

    So encouraged that Jenna is making a difference in this world. I’m praying for her and them.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      You’ve been a faithful prayer warrior in our corner for a long while now, Floyd. I truly, truly appreciate how you pray for us and encourage me so often with your words. You’re one of the good ones! Thank you, friend.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It’s been a blessing to get to know these children. I’m thankful that my daughter lets me come in to her classroom every week, even though my presence is often a disruption to her regular routine. 😉

  20. Mindy White

    Keep planting those seeds and God will water them. Keep praying for them and they will grow even when you don’t get to see it. I am praying for the grown children of my husband’s co-worker. They were raised in a Christian home but have become the prodigal sons. I do not even know them but have such a burden for them to return to their Heavenly Father. I have hope that one day they will. Never lose hope.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I really appreciate these encouraging words, Mindy. And I love that you’re praying for these grown children to find their way back home to the Lord, children that you don’t even know. But God knows their hearts and he knows your heart and he can connect the two! Blessings to you.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      That’s such an important request you’re lifting up for your brother-in-law and family. I join with you now in praying it also, Beckie. I’m grateful we serve a Lord who hears our prayers, every one!

  21. Lori Schumaker

    What a beautiful post about hope. How can we pass it along? How can we share it? I, too, was an Elementary Teacher for several years. My last 4 years were in a school of precious children who had those many strikes against them, too. I’m thankful for those years and the lives I could pray over and invest in. Sometimes it feels as though there are so many and we are only one, but one at a time, we can whisper hope into the lives of others.

    Thank you so much for sharing hope with me at Moments of Hope! I hope to see you this week again!

    Blessings and smiles,

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