By Eunice Hernandez, MSW
April 17, 2020, Governor J. B. Pritzker announced the closing for all schools in Illinois. I knew this was going to be the next step. I expected it. I was prepared to hear the announcement. I knew it was coming…
So why did I feel so incredibly sad?
I thought I had prepared to learn that we would no longer finish the 2019-20 school year, but boy was I wrong! My heart sank and tears rolled down my face. Sadness filled my heart. My first year as a dean of students, and my enrollment in a school leadership academy, was violently disrupted.
I won’t be able to see the student who had a rough start to the school year finish in success. I won’t see the mentoring program that took off this year come to full completion. I can’t cheer for the volleyball and track athletes, as their season got canceled.
Then I thought of all the teachers who are retiring this year without a proper celebration. What about all the 2020 graduates? Then the parents who now have to continue to balance working from home and virtual learning. If this is our new normal, then the struggle is very real!
As an educator and parent, how do I tell my own children? As excited as they were when virtual learning started, that excitement has long dwindled. How do I tell them that they won’t go back to school this year and make them feel secure while I myself have felt so discouraged?
The Covid-19 pandemic has extended its visit for far too long.
So I did what a teacher who prays does: I began to pray. I expressed my heart to the Lord. I was real. I told God how angry, sadden, discouraged, and worried I felt:
There are so many reasons why our children need to be in school, Lord! Not only for their academics but for their social and emotional wellbeing. School is a safe zone for so many! Every contact that I have made by phone, text, Zoom, or Google Meet, the responses from my students have all been the same: “I miss being at school.’” Lord, as much as I try, I don’t understand this!!
Here is God’s response to me: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean in your own understanding, in all ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
As hard as it feels, I choose to trust the Lord. I may not know the “why” of the process we must endure, but I do know that the will of the Lord is best. I know there is a greater purpose in why the Lord has allowed Covid-19 to become what is–a worldwide crisis. It may not be for my understanding, but I do know it will be for His glory!
In this season, I am being called to pray like never before. I know God hears my prayers (1 John 5:14) and answers them (1 John 5:15). So instead of crying over the unsafe homes that exist in this pandemic, I am praying for transformation, peace, restoration, and protection over my home and homes worldwide. I am praying that the Lord covers abused and neglected children by providing their parents with patience, wisdom, and support. I am holding on to His promise that He protects and provides strength in times of trouble (2 Thessalonians 3:3). I am releasing my emotions, tears, and fears to the Lord.
Physically I am limited but my prayers are not. There is power in prayer. Hold firm to His Word, and know that we are in this together, so together let’s pray!
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
Eunice Hernandez is the dean of students at a junior high school in Schaumburg, Illinois. Prior to that, she was a school social worker for 12 years and also worked for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. As a young girl, she always felt the Lord’s call to serve those in need. Coming from a single-parent immigrant household, Eunice saw education as a means to empower herself and others. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Eunice and her husband Andrew have three children. For fun, she enjoys singing, journaling, and family time.
Teachers Who Pray welcomes blog submissions from educators and school staff of faith who want to encourage the body of Christ during the COVID19 pandemic. Submit your 400-600 word blog post by emailing it (or sharing it with editing permissions via Google docs) to email@example.com. We are selecting entries on a rolling basis and will edit the piece in collaboration with you before publication.