Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lessons Learned

1.  Cell phones in school = torture

2.  Kids are struggling so much more than I ever imagined; and with things that I never fathomed.

3.  I love all of my students and I will miss them dearly next year.

4.  With Christ, all things truly are possible.  I can stand up under pressure as long as I am standing firm in Him.

5.  I miss the days where passing a note in class was the worst offense...and the dreaded moment the teacher caught it and read it aloud to the class. 

6.  Did I mention my distaste for cell phones in schools?  Both for the staff and kids?

7.  People...not just kids, do not know how to effectively communicate with one another anymore.

8.  People are able to hide things more than I thought...behind smiles, technology, and staying busy.  And I am just as guilty of that.

9.  Self-esteem issues in girls hasn't changed.  The things I struggle with are the same things my kiddos struggle with, just at varying degrees.  I need to recognize that and find ways to encourage them to fight that negative battle raging within their heads...and to fight that battle that rages regarding boys.  Ugh!

10.  Even when standing in Him, the tears will come.  The pain doesn't hide.  But the pain draws me closer to Him. 

11.  Ben & Jerry's may not fix the problem, but it sure does taste good!

12.  Laughter and pain can occur in the same moment.  What are you going to do with it all though?  That's what matters.  You going to drown in the pain, or find healing in the laughter?

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

An altar, an empty tomb, and a willing heart...

I cannot recall being stuck on a word more than I have this year.  Now don't get me wrong, it's not a bad thing...I just usually find myself meandering onto another word or topic after a month or so. 

But not this time. 

Since the beginning of this year, God keeps speaking FAITH over me.  And it's challenging!

And the story I am drawn to over and over and over again is that of Abraham.  I always knew what an amazing man of faith he was, but I have discovered so many different facets of faith from him, that I'm hungry to learn more. 

First it was the fact that he obeyed God and laid his promised son on the altar to die.  And in that example, God was asking me to lay my desires on His altar and allow Him to shape me into what He needs me to be...that He would shape my desires to match His.  Then I was drawn to the story with Abraham's nephew Lot and how Lot's wife looked back and how I am prone to look back at the things that I wish could have been.  And now, it's back to the altar...but I'm seeing it in a different light. 

Allow me to shine said light with you...

Let's examine first, the Hall of Faith, Hebrews 11:

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.  He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."  Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead.  Had he ever witnessed anyone raised from the dead?  In my general search...I could not find any Biblical record of Abraham witnessing such a miracle (please correct me if I am wrong here....after all...I'm not a Bible-know-it-all...just someone who loves the Word).  The one thing that someone pointed out to me though, is that Abraham had record of Enoch walking with God and "then he was no more" (Genesis 5:24).  But raised from the dead?  Nope.  Nada. 

And yet Abraham chose to believe that God could raise Isaac from the dead.  That's faith!  And if Abraham was able to believe that God could do something he hadn't yet seen, shouldn't I be able to have that same kind of faith? 

After all, I serve the same God that Abraham did. 

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Nothings changed.  So why is my faith so weak?

We have the written Word that documents times where men are raised from the dead and people are healed; where our Savior is put to death upon a cross, dies and is resurrected so that you and I may have fellowship with Him (thank you for the empty tomb!!!).  We have so much more than what Abraham had when he laid his son upon that altar.  And I look at this and I see just how weak my faith is.  But I don't want it to be. 

I want to believe in miracles.  I want to see people healed, raised from the dead, and new life breathed into dry and weary souls.  I want to be able to know that even if things seem dead in my heart, that God can bring them back to life.  That hurt, pain, and loss can be laid upon His altar and offered as a sacrifice so that His will may be done not only in my life, but those around me.  I want to lay my life upon His altar so that I may be used by Him.  I want not only a willing heart but I want the faith that Abraham had that speaks so boldly of a God who can do anything!

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Let my faith arise as I choose to follow Him.  And let me be like Abraham and believe in what may seem impossible by human standards, but is possible through God.

Faith isn't the ability to believe long and far into the misty future.
It's simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.
- Joni Earickson Tada