Saturday, April 26, 2014

Fullness of Life

Life has been full.  Busy and full.  Between school, some health issues, and interviews for a job in Kansas, these last few weeks have flown by! 

First graders at the Science Fair
Work has been a time full of preparation for the Science Fair, then Carnival Break, and then preparation for International Fair....and in the midst of all of this we had the opportunity to share the Resurrecting Power of Jesus' life, death and resurrection to all of the students.  Easter was a time where everyone here could feel the weight of His Presence as we shared the Good News with students from all over the world (and some from closed countries!).  I have been awe-struck by the questions the students ask...even the kindergartners who ask some of the most thought-provoking questions!  It was a privilege and an honor to be able to openly share with all of the students the Hope to which I cling to.  I pray that through this time, not just at Easter but throughout this whole year, I was able to glorify His Name and that seeds were planted for hearts and lives to join in His Kingdom work. 
Having fun at the Science Fair
I have also experienced some challenges at work which have kept me fairly quiet when it came to media interactions with others.  The attack against my character, my teaching and just simple me was difficult.  During that time, I was drawn to the Pauline Epistles and was encouraged by not only Paul's words to the churches but also by the life he lived under persecution and false accusations.  I clung to the Word and God did not disappoint nor leave me to bear the weight alone. He was right there with me and with the administration as they walked through this unique and challenging decision-making process we were facing.  Thankfully, for the most part, things are resolved and there is peace once again with the outside therapy agencies, the families, and with the school. 
When God is refining you, there is never just one area that he addresses...but sometimes multiple.  While undergoing  the stress at work, my health was deteriorating again.  Back in December I was having severe shoulder pain to the point where I could not lift anything...even the daily tasks of getting ready in the morning were hindered.  Just before Christmas, I went to an orthopedist (with a translator) and he prescribed a hierarchy of medication that I could use if needed and an MRI.  Well...the medication helped along with the month long break at work.  I was able to rest and recoup and the pain subsided and I was able to function again so I never made the MRI appointment.  But then, in early March, the pain returned with a vengeance and now not only were my daily activities effected but so was my sleep.  And me without sleep...not a pretty sight. 

So here I was, feeling attacked at work, in pain, and in a foreign country where I had to rely upon others to help me.  It was a very humbling experience and one in which I kind of shut down from the world and had to learn to rely upon God...and those here in Brazil.  Once again, I asked someone to call the hospital to set up a MRI appointment for me...and then I had to ask someone to come spend the evening with me and translate for me at the appointment (which lasted 3 hours!!!).  It's not exactly exciting to share with people that you are near tears while at a doctor's office or while laying on the MRI table...all because you have to rely upon others and cannot do any of this yourself!  And then I had to ask someone to take me back to the hospital to pick up the results and again someone to call and set up a follow-up appointment with the orthopedist.  His recommendation after looking at the MRI results...physical therapy for the inflammation in one of the main tendons in the shoulder and for the inflammation in the Bursa.  So again, I had to have someone call and set up an appointment with the physical therapist and take me and translate for me once more.  Seeing a theme here?!  I never would have thought about how much I would need people to help me go to the doctors!  Well, I had my first PT appointment this past Wednesday and God is good and although the PT speaks only Portuguese, there were other patients there who speak English and we had some great laughs that evening!  Since the PT wants me there every day for a while to reduce the swelling, I went BY MYSELF on Thursday.  It was a challenge, and again humbling as I am relying on strangers every once in a while to help translate....but it is stretching me out of my comfort zone. 

Brazilian Palace Guard...looks like a toy soldier!
And in the middle of all of this, I have been actively applying for a job in the Kansas City area.  I have had two screening interviews for special education positions and one screening interview for a middle school counseling position.  This is a very unique experience to conduct an interview via Skype and my prayer is that I am able to allow Christ to shine through me in these interviews.  No matter what I do, I want to glorify His Name...not my own. 
So life has been full and busy.  And God has been doing some deep work in me through it all.  It has not been easy and I will admit that there was one particularly rough time where I was ready to be done and looked into the cost of a flight back to the States for that weekend.  Obviously I did not follow through with that...but only because I knew that to leave was to simply run from the work God was doing in me.  And instead of finding the easy way out, I wanted to continue to be open to allowing God to refine me and purify me for His purposes.  Finding joy in the midst of all of this has come only by turning my eyes to Him.  He alone is my Rock, my Fortress and my Sanctuary. 

I have 42 days left in Brasil, 28 at work with the students.  I want to make the most of each day and bring praise to His Name.  Please be praying for me as my time winds down....that I would live each day fully in His Presence and giving all I am to the students here.  May all glory be given to Him!