Friday, October 23, 2015

what a week!

Okay-I really mean "oh these past few weeks-or months!!!!!" This is my tenth year of teaching, but at times I feel like a first year teacher. New grade, new demands, new challenges...the ups and downs, the "I can't believe you just said that to me..." 

Then I remember it's all part of the plan-God's plan. It's what I was praying for. I prayed for God's will in my teaching career, specifically switching grades and that I would trust Him to put me where I was supposed to be. Fast-forward to the end of October and I find myself shocked at what I hear and see daily while at school. Then God whispers-Trust me-My grace is sufficient-My power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9)

You see many days I feel like a failure. That I should have been able to do more, do better or do something that would reach these children. That I should have smiled more and been more of an encouragement to my colleagues. That I should have been more Christ-like. 

Grace and mercy. How thankful I am for grace and mercy from God. That His mercies are new every morning and that He is so faithful (Lam. 3:23). That He is always with me-even in my classroom. Oh how I pray for more of Him! More of God's love, patience and grace that extends through me to each and every child. For His joy to be my joy that radiates to each person I encounter-colleagues, students and parents. He must increase, I must decrease (John 3:30)

God has blessed me so much this year! He has put my heart back together and drawn me closer to Him, given me a greater desire and love for Him alone and a peace that truly does pass all understanding. And that was through a break-up that had me thinking life was over. 

How wrong I was! It was just the beginning!!

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. ~James 1:2-4

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Diving In

It has been awhile since I have written. Actually, way back at the end of August, when I started my crazy journey into the world of third graders. Not only did I step into the world of 8 and 9 year olds, but I also stepped through the doors of another church- a church very different from others I have attended. A church that God had been building the desire for in my heart over the last 10 months. All I had to do was step out in faith. For me that was a big "all." I can be shy. I can be quiet. I can get very nervous, fearful of change and new situations. I can slip in and out of places without people noticing me. I'm that girl...

However, what God has been showing me over this past year is that with Him I only need to do three things- trust Him, have faith that He is sovereign and no plans of His can be thwarted and to obey. The big 3! With God by my side, with my eyes on Him, with daily Bible reading and prayer, they are not difficult. It gets difficult when I take my eyes off of Him, when I don't remember He is always with me, when I don't read the Bible and pray. 

In other words, when I focus on me and think its all about me, life gets hard. Life hurts enough, but without God it would be impossible. So back to stepping out in faith. God wants all of us, not just bits and pieces here and there. He wants the whole package. I have to daily surrender to God all of me-to use for His good, His glory and the spreading of His gospel. I am His and there is no one else who satisfies and loves me, covers me in grace and mercy and is completely faithful the way He is. No one ever will be. It's just not humanly possible. 

During my time at this church I have felt His call to dive in, to get involved and to be real and vulnerable. Sitting back and slipping in and out each Sunday was not going to work. I had to get out of my comfort zone. God uses all the circumstances of our lives, all the good choices and all the bad choices, they can all be used by Him. But He can't use them or us if we don't invest in others, build up and encourage others and share the good, the bad and the ugly. The Christian life isn't meant to be lived in isolation. It's meant to be a community that supports and loves one another and takes that love to the people outside of the church, showing them God's love in action. He has answered my prayer and led me to this church and these people. He has already blessed me with some beautiful friendships (another answered prayer). He has already given me opportunities to serve (another answered prayer). I'm still waiting for those unanswered prayers, but am rejoicing in the prayers God has answered in a way I could never dream or imagine. So I will continue to wait (not focus on) for His timing, covered in His grace and for His plans that are far greater than mine! 

That's the story of my life the last few months. Crazy third grade (that is a whole other blog post) and a new place to worship, grow and serve Him. Trust Him, have faith, and obey. Dive in! It is completely worth it- God knows exactly what He is doing!