Learning Curve

My students loved it when I graded on the curve. As a teacher, I accepted that if no one got a perfect score on the test, then a little adjustment was required. Consider it “educational grace.”

I spent seventeen years in a high school classroom. As the years progressed, I became more and more lenient. A note from Mom meant you got an extra day to finish your homework. I started grading student work in pencil, rather than bleeding in red all over their words and hearts.

Life will either soften you to the humanity in others, or you become jaded and untractable.

I want to be a sponge, not a rock. I want to be a safe place to land, not a stumbling block.

God has softened me to the brokenness in others by providing me some painful “field trips.” Over the last 6 years, I’ve experienced miscarriage, sickness, and depression. I’ve grieved the loss of loved ones, and I’ve walked with those who are grieving.

I’ve hit rock bottom and found that God is still there.

Learning is a gift… even when pain is your teacher. I am so thankful that my God writes in pencil and that He understands my weakness. I am thankful that God provides a learning curve of grace.

I am a work in progress. You are a work in progress. God is not finished teaching us yet, and we have much to learn still.

As an ongoing student enrolled in the School of Hard Knocks, I’ve come to understand that I need to play well with others. I have an enemy, but he is not flesh and blood. My “schoolmates” are fighting hard to make it through each day, and my job is to encourage, to pray, to listen, and to refrain from judgment.

Teaching cured me of “perfectionism.” I’ve learned that rules are meant to give you structure, but you also need to be a little flexible. It’s okay to color outside the lines sometimes.

I am going to make mistakes. You are going to make mistakes. Your best teacher may just be your last mistake. Mistakes are just unexpected learning experiences. Pain and sorrow and failure are portals to discovery.

As I’ve surrendered my brokenness to the Master Teacher, I’ve learned to

  • Cultviate thankfulness: Today is a Gift. Hebrews 12:15 encourages me to “keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent.” A heart of gratitude is a teachable heart.
  • Choose to love and forgive: I’ve learned to let go of my expectations and and allow others room to be human. I Peter 4:8 reminds me: “Love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.”
  • Cooperate with others humbly, rather than give in to selfish comparison: I want to be a grace giver who learns from the stories of others. Romans 12:17 & 18 in The Message challenge: “Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do.”

Maybe you’ve been holding on to your red pen for too long, and you need to pick up your pencil. Who do you need to extend grace to today?

Maybe you think you are failure because of your mistakes. Listen to the gentle voice of your Teacher. There is grace for you. He is not finished with you yet.


Lyli Dunbar Lyli Dunbar enjoys road trips with her husband, connecting with women through Bible study, and reading way too many books. She shares how everyday experiences help flesh out her faith at 3-D Lessons for Life. A disciple, wife, educator, and mentor, Lyli is just a girl working to keep the faith day by day. Lyli serves as Social Media Manager for Missional Women and is a contributor at Start Marriage Right. You can also connect with Lyli on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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