When Good Intentions Fall Short

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“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9

I was taking out the trash yesterday. My husband was at work. (I hate when he works on Sundays!) I wasn’t feeling well. I wanted to put up Christmas decorations, but needed to do too much cleaning first.

I made it up the hill to our trash cans for collection with both full bags. Opened a can, heaved the first bag in, and as I lifted the second, it ripped! Yep! It ripped! Trash flew everywhere.

It was a moment when I stood hoping nobody was watching me. I wanted to run back to the house to get gloves,  but the dog had a different idea. She thought we were playing an awesome game of “spread the trash before it can be cleaned up!”

I quickly grabbed each piece of nastiness, tossed it back into the can, and ran for a sink of hot, soapy water.

What should have taken 3 minutes took four times longer. I was mad. I had better things to do than clean up trash. I spent the next few minutes fuming. I whined and complained. I looked at the other chores on my to – do list. I got even madder. I spent a few minutes in “why me?” land. You know that place your mind goes for a pity party? I went there for a while.

I may have spent the rest of the day there if Superhero Son had not stepped in. He asked if it was time to make cookies.

I didn’t decorate my house. I didn’t finish the laundry. My floors still need to be mopped. However, my anger and bad mood were set aside as we made our first batch of Christmas cookies.

God knows we will struggle.  He knows our good intentions will fall flat. He loves us, gives us grace, and reminds us that struggles won’t last.

Blessings!

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Day 3

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Middle schoolers! Yep. You read that right. I love the group of curious 5-8 graders I teach at church. I am thankful for their inquisitive nature, their curiosity, and their awe for the Bible. They remind me that seeking knowledge is greater than already knowing the answers. They amaze me with their faith. They are a gift of which I am thankful week after week.

Staying the Course and Keeping Our Faith

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“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 30:31

I like to compare running to my life as a Christian. Paul’s comparison in 2 Timothy is probably one of my favorite analogies in the Bible. We learn from Paul that trying to follow a path approved by God and trail blazed by Christ is hard. He doesn’t sugar coat the narrow road. He tells you up front that Christian Living doesn’t mean easy living.

I have running goals. One is to increase my speed to finish a 5K in under 30 minutes. Another is to train for and run a 10K in the spring. I also want to run more on the hills during a race, instead of giving in to my burning legs and walking.

My goals are modest compared to other runners, but not easy. To achieve these goals I will need hard training, focus on the goals, stamina, and faith that I can do it.

God has goals for each of us. Like running, our goals require discipline, training, focus, and faith. Our goals are not all the same. They will be difficult. Sometimes we will feel like God is making us run uphill. We will meet adversity. Others will criticize our actions and us personally.

The hard work will pay off. We can run our race successfully when we, like our woman in Proverbs 31, fear God above all else in our lives. When we keep our focus on Him, He leads us through the course. Don’t be discouraged by others who stand like obstacles on your route. Keep running.

Blessings!

No Apologies When God Makes Others Uncomfortable

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John 14:13-14

“And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Recently, I have witnessed several deal with the amazing healing power of God.  A young man in my Sunday School class is battling complication from a brain surgery when he was four and a new tumor found in his leg. A local thirteen year old tried to take his own life, survived, and is recovering in pediatric intensive care.   Finally, my father had a minor procedure on his heart yesterday to explore causes of some pain he has been experiencing.  This isn’t new for him.  He has had multiple heart surgeries in the past 16 years.

Now, I run with fairly tight circle of Christian believers.  These friends build me up, help me along my way, and are daily reminders of God’s love.  However, not everyone in my life has the beliefs I do.  This week, on several occasions, I have mentioned the need for prayer, God’s power to heal and work through doctors, and openly expressed faith in God.  Most people in my life are used to this.  Those few who do not share my beliefs seemed a bit uncomfortable.  

At first, I was sorry I said anything.  I felt bad for making them uncomfortable.  I didn’t mean to turn any of these situations back on me or on the person who was now squirming on the other end of the conversation. Then, after a bit of reflection, I took back my regret.  I am NOT sorry I brought it up.  I am not sorry I openly asked all I encountered for their prayers.  I am not sorry that I brought God into the situation.  After all, He was already in the midst of the whole thing!

I realized that I was not the one who made these people uncomfortable.  God did!  If God is at the center of my life, He will come up in daily conversation.  Some will be uncomfortable with that, but they will have to deal with God in their own way.  When tragedy strikes, or illness creeps up on us, we pray!  And we ask others to pray!  We turn to God.  

I realize I am preaching to the choir today.  Those who didn’t like my mention of God won’t read my blog!  However, I have a new prayer for them.  I pray that they can see that the 13 year old is healing.  My student from church is doing awesome and is in great spirits for his upcoming appointments.  Finally, my father is home from the hospital with the best outcome his heart could manage.  

My advice:  Pray!  Pray openly!  Let others see your faith. Even when your beliefs make them uncomfortable.  And don’t apologize for it!

Life Without a Microwave

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I am a planner.  I plan everything from meals, outfits for the work week, activities for the kids, family trips, and daily lessons for my students.  Part of my incessant planning comes from being a teacher.  We are trained to plan!  Part of my need to plan everything is simply my nature.  It drives my husband crazy!  Did I mention that I often plan his life, too?

Normally, my plans go well.  Most of the time, our lives run smoothly because I plan the details.  The kids always have snacks on hand.  I don’t get caught anywhere without an extra diaper for Darling Daughter.  My students have plenty of meaningful lessons.  My house always has plenty of food stocked for us.

Occasionally, something throws a kink in my plans.  Then I fall apart.  Yesterday, it was the microwave.  It decided to quit.  My microwave, nearly a member of my family we use it so much, decided that it wasn’t going to heat anything anymore.  I could not quickly fix a baked potato for the kids.  I could not heat up leftover corn in less than two minutes.  I could not reheat my husband’s dinner at 8:30 last night when he got home from work.  Everything I needed to do took longer than I had planned.  Therefore, I didn’t get everything accomplished before I crashed at 9:30!

Do you ever have those days?  I have a hard time recovering from messed up plans.  I get agitated.  I feel angry at the situation and take my anger out on others.  I know it is just a microwave, but it makes my daily routines take more time.  I haven’t planned for more time.

Yeah, I know I sound whiny.  My husband told me that, too.

It is times like these that God reminds me that, despite what I may think, I am not in charge!  He is!  I don’t have to control every aspect of my life.  If I do, He will make sure I learn that He is still in control.

After accepting the fact that breakfast won’t be microwaved this morning and remembering that God is in control of my worries, trials, hardships, and plans, I suppose life without a microwave served its purpose.  It became my humbling reminder that I need to just let God have control.

Blessings!

Fear and the Unnecessary Worry It Brings

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For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT –

See more at: http://www.womensbiblecafe.com/2011/05/50-scripture-verses-on-fear/#sthash.Tw4GW8ti.dpuf

I am currently reading a daily devotional by Joyce Meyer.  I love her work because she often writes about how to face fear as a Christian.

A new principal joined our school this year.  Any time there is a change in administration, fear creeps in as well.  Next to the coffee pot, while waiting for the copy machine, passing each other during the day, and while on bus duty, I have heard so many concerns about what might happen in the future.  

I understand the fears of my colleagues.  Each principal can make many changes that affect our jobs.  However, living in constant upheaval and worrying about what might happen will not make me a better teacher.

As a Christian, Joyce Meyer points out to us that we should only fear God.  In all aspects of our lives, He will lead us through, He is in control, and He can handle whatever our life throws at Him.  He promises to not give us more than we can bear, but He also reminds us of what is most important in life.

I have a choice today at work.  I could go through my day worrying about what next week will bring.  I could also go through my day as we are told in 2 Timothy, with power, love, and self-discipline.  To me, that means making sure my team feels confident in their abilities to do their job well, loving my students, and trusting that God will help me handle any change that may come my way.

Regardless of your career, I hope you are not living in fear of what may come.  I hope you are living with confidence in God.

Blessings!

 

Faith of Abraham

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11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

I bet the woman from Proverbs 31 had great faith.  It probably gave her the confidence she needed to be the strong, God-fearing woman described to us.

I am in the middle of teaching the stories of Abraham to my middle schoolers.  For the most part, they know who Abraham was.  They can recount some of the more famous stories.  They know all about the test from God in which Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac.  They know all about his wife, Sarah, who did not believe she could have children.

My goal this week is to really drive home the point that God kept all of his promises to Abraham.  We admire Abraham’s faith in God, but God gave him every reason to trust.  God never let Abraham down.  Unfortunately, many of those promises took years and years to be fulfilled.  

Faith in God, the kind of faith Abraham had, is the understanding that God will uphold all of his promises to us.  He will carry us through the valleys, show us mercy, grace, and forgiveness.  We have to have Abraham’s faith and his patience.

Are you living life with the faith of Abraham?

Blessings!