Monday, April 26, 2010

Love Them While You Have Them

Thank you Dr. Karen Doudt (RIP) for teaching me this. It may be the best advice anyone gave me as I headed down the path of being an educator.

This past week has encompassed one of my highest and lowest moments as a teacher.

Wednesday night I received a phone call from a former student's parent. She informed me that a student I had last year may have been involved in a murder. I cannot even begin to explain the pit that developed in my stomach. As the week progressed more details flooded the news and it all became very real. I am still trying to comprehend, but I don't think I ever will. My heart breaks for my former student...not because of what is to come for him, but because he made this choice.

Sunday, I was blessed to witness a current student be baptized! He told me he was getting baptized and asked me to come. I cannot even begin to explain the joy that overwhelmed me. I found someone to teach my Sunday School class and went. He was one of 8, YES EIGHT, people to get baptized (4 of those people are students where I teach). And again, I can't comprehend why I got to be a part of this.

Back to my professor....she was amazing. And she loved kids, she had a passion for teaching. It rubbed off. I have really struggled with the "why" question this week. Why didn't I show more love to a former student? Why did God place a student in my class that would give his life to Christ? Why has God placed a passion for children in my heart? Why does God give kids to people that don't show them the love they deserve? All I can come up with is what my prof said to us.

Love them while you have them.

Isn't this exactly what Jesus calls us to do? Love others. Love them so they know the love of Christ. Love them in a way that feels so good it may actually hurt. Love with all that you have.

Jesus, thank you for the passion to love kids. Thank you that I get to spend so many days/hours/weeks working with kids. May I never forget that they need loved. Help me to love them as you would, despite everything else. Lord, let them never question the love that I have for them. AMEN

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Straight Paths are Uncomfortable

This morning's message at church was about trusting God. The scripture was Proverbs 3:1-10. As I listened to the words a familiar passage jumped out at me and really resonated in me...

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

I began to think about those straight paths, those times when I truly know I am following God. Let me be honest...those straight paths are uncomfortable to me. My comfort comes when I feel in control, when my paths aren't always straight. That is where I feel comfortable.

I really started to dig deep in my heart to figure out why God's path is uncomfortable. It is because He is not me (thank goodness). Isaiah 55:8 explains this perfectly; "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways', declares the Lord."

God's path is not my path. HIS path is so much better for me. I have to continue to walk on his path so it becomes ever-more familiar to my feet, less uncomfortable for me. This requires work. It requires learning. It requires reading. It requires prayer. It requires some discomfort. But I know that I will get to a point when my path is uncomfortable. I know I will get to a point where God's path feels right 100% of the time. I know that this will happen more and more as I walk with him. I know this because on God's path, I am not alone. He leads the way so there are no surprises....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"joy in all circumstances"...yeah right!

Do you ever read something in the Word and think, "yeah right! if you only knew what was happening....."?

I just finished going through Philippians with the youth in Sunday school this morning. If you've never read Philippians, YOU SHOULD! Right now, just pick up your Bible and read it. It's only 4 chapters. But those 4 chapters might make you think "yeah right!"

Philippians 4:4 slapped me right across the face this morning. It says, "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!" The slap was followed with a "yeah right" in my brain. Both might have caused some much needed damage to my though process.

I have a lot going on right now. Praise God I was able to "vacate" my life for a few days and go to Vermont to see a friend. It was wonderful, but my life was right here waiting for me when I got back (imagine that). Then I read that verse this morning and just about screamed.


Well, after an hour in the back yard with Linus and Jesus I think I know. My joy comes in knowing that this world is not the end for me. My joy comes in knowing that there is someone paving the way for every step that I take. My joy comes in knowing that there is absolute truth. My joy comes in knowing that despite what today my hold, Christ is going to win in the end.

There are times, seasons where I feel like God is absent. But he is not. He promises to never leave me or forsake me. He has my very best in HIS plan. There is lots of joy in that!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Truth be told...

I've been reading through Romans while on Spring Break. I love this book! I love the truth that Paul blatantly puts forth. I love the way Christ is magnified through the word. I love that Paul recognizes the inner knowledge that we do not belong here, on earth.

I have also learned that there is power in reading the Word of God aloud. I have read chapters 3-6 out loud with a friend. I'm blown away by how the Holy Spirit has reached into my heart and shed new light on verses I have read countless times. Here are some verses that really tugged on my heart strings:

6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (from chapter 5)

God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He doesn't expect me to have all of the answers. He doesn't assume that I am going to live a sin-free life. Before my existence, he sent his Son to die for the crap I would do. He decided long ago that Dina Coverstone needed a chance to be redeemed in order to spend eternity with her Heavenly Father.

11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (from chapter 6)

We are alive. Did you read that carefully? WE ARE ALIVE! Because God loved us, even before the world knew us, he gave us the opportunity to choose life...spiritual life. We are under grace and saved by our faith in that grace. Praise God for that!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to choose Christ. I don't know if/how my life would be different without Him and I don't want to know. I am who I am in Christ. My identity is in Him alone. My life is led by Him and His work. He knows everything about me and has my best in mind. And I am satisfied knowing that.