WHY BETHANY ACADEMY
"Bethany is filled with caring personable teachers, and it prepared me very well for college." -Holly Benson
"One aspect that I cherish in teaching at Bethany is being at the front lines of the battle for the hearts and minds of students. " -Chad Peters
"Bethany incorporates critical thinking in every subject and daily encourages our daughter in her spiritual walk." -Jim & Julie Miller
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I can look out my window and still see snow, and yet I have started to find graduation announcements in my mailbox, and I have listened to stories about who is going to the Junior Banquet with whom, and, even though the first game keeps getting pushed deeper and deeper into what should be spring by now, the baseball season will soon begin. Even though our recent weather would indicate otherwise, this school year is rapidly drawing to a close. For our family, the last day of school this year will mark the end of our ninth school year at Bethany Academy.
Just as our children began their second school year at Bethany, our family faced some extremely difficult health and medical circumstances. At the time we still felt relatively new to Bethany Academy and really did not know many of the faculty and staff, other than the teachers our children had the year before. As the late summer turned into fall, our situation did not improve and, even though we trusted God’s sovereignty over our circumstances, things did not look like they would resolve in the way we were trusting and believing that they would. Our children, as young as they were, became aware of what was going on and began sharing with their classroom teachers at school. Our then first grade son wanted to put on a brave face and be the “man” he so badly wanted to have already grown-up to be, but our six year old little boy needed a tender-hearted first grade teacher who offered hugs, let him share his concerns (and share, and share, and share!), and took time to pray with him – even during recess—and that is exactly who God provided for him. Our third grade daughter needed routine, normalcy, something else to focus on, and a teacher who would listen if she wanted to talk, but who would not push her if she didn’t. Our daughter’s third grade teacher was exactly who she needed, at exactly the right time.
Looking back over the years and thinking about this time, I’m not sure as parents we knew what we needed, as we spent much of that time just trying to see through the fog, but I have never forgotten that first grade teacher’s tenderness toward our son, nor her hugs and whispered prayers lifted on our behalf with me in the hallways before school. My husband and I have not forgotten the third grade teacher who reached across the table at parent teacher conferences that autumn to hold my hand, say that she was so sorry for what we were going through, and, with tears in her eyes, ask if she could pray for us before she began. During this same time there were parents, not all of whom even had children who were classmates of our children, who offered to drive our kids to and from where ever they needed to be, who prepared meals, who offered hugs, who sent cards, and, most importantly, prayed for us.
This season of my life reminds me of the of the story of the paralyzed man in need of healing told in Luke 5:17-26 (see also Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12). He couldn’t walk and his friends knew he needed Jesus’ healing touch, so they carried him on his mat to Jesus. Nothing about carrying him to Jesus could have been easy, and when they got to what they thought was the end of their journey, they had to dig a hole in the roof and lower their friend down through it to even get him to Jesus! As I have reflected on this time in my life I have realized that for that season (and a few others), my entire family was “the friend on the mat” who desperately needed someone else to carry us all to Jesus. Our children’s teachers stepped in and provided extra comfort and nurturing while their own parents had nothing extra to give. New friends gave of themselves, their treasure, their time, and their talents, to help us get through the fog and uncertainty, to sustain us, to carry us all to Jesus. We probably weren’t always easy to carry, but this community surrounded us with love and did it anyway.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn,” and in Mark 12:31 Jesus explains that “love your neighbor as yourself “ is the second greatest commandment. These verses speak to me in a simplified way of community – of the body of Christ. I have heard other parents and friends say that they weren’t looking for a new group of friends when they came to Bethany; that “community” was not high on their lists of must-haves in their new school. I must admit, when I began the search for the new school for our then almost kindergartener and second-grader, “community” was not on my list either. I was looking for solid academics, school accreditation, teacher tenure and degrees, certain extra-curricular activities and sports opportunities for our children’s futures, and classes taught from a Christian worldview. Community was not on the list. It wasn’t part of our plan. It was not on our radar screen. What a blessing it has been to find a school that had everything on my list covered, and included this treasure of community, of extended family, as well.
We need each other whether we realize it or not. The concepts of community and the body of Christ working together to further God’s kingdom are biblical concepts. My family has been blessed by being part of the Bethany Academy community. Our children have been watching. Community has been modeled for them and now we see them coming along side, praying for, and serving their friends and classmates as well. We weren’t looking for it, and we didn’t know how much we would need it, but what a blessing it has been to be a part of it!
I know that our story is not unique because we have stayed at Bethany Academy and, almost eight years later, I can tell you I have seen this happen here time, and time, and time again. I have watched this community surround other families in tough circumstances, and work together to support and encourage where ever and however needed, and carry them to Jesus. I have had the privilege of carrying the mat a time or two. I have watched this Bethany family celebrate the achievements of students, staff, and parents. I have been on the sidelines and sitting in the stands as the fans have celebrated and cheered at the top of their lungs for the home teams. I have seen this community show up for each other in literally hundreds of different ways over these nine years. It is happening right now.
It wasn’t on my list, and it may not be on yours, but it is a wonderful reality. It is a blessing. It is a gift.
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