Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I know that this endeavor of replacing fears with freedom will be SO worth the effort, in the long run but right now, I simply don't have the words...just a lot of tears, many questions, agonizing moments in my walk with God and in personal counseling as well as moments of peace I've never known before. I am in a frightening , unfamiliar place and would greatly appreciate any and all prayer.
I know that this journey will not lead to a dead-end but I am weary of the dark corners along the road. I plan to keep on "bloggin"; I just can't seem to pull my thoughts together well enough to timely post along others in the study.
Hope this made, at least, a little bit of sense. Thanks, in advance, for understanding. For actual thoughts on this wonderful book, please visit Lelia and check out her insights as well as the insights of others.
Friday, April 24, 2009
And...here we go! For more fill-ins, visit Janet.
- Apparently there's some sort of Spring Fever in the air. Our campus students are wildly out of control--well, as out of control as 4-8 year olds can be :)
- Thank God for a sunny day today. Took the opportunity to extend recess.
- 2009 has been an emotional roller-coaster so far.
- My principal said that we could leave as soon as all of our students were gone and that was it, I was out the door before the intercom clicked off. :)
- For too long I've been trying to be in control of all. Glad to finally accept that all is not up to me. God is willing and able to care for all, including me.
- I am not obsessed with summer time plans; I am not!
- And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to doing absolutely nothing, tomorrow my plans include running errands and spending time with my mom and Sunday, I want to attend worship services and enjoy the day with my husband.
Mention the person that tagged you.
Complete the lists of 8's.
Tag 8 of your wonderful bloggy friends.
Go tell them you tagged them!
- Daily quiet time with the Lord
- An evening out with my husband
- Time off during the summer to prepare for next school year, to travel, to relax and have some fun.
- Going to work (on most days)
- Getting emails, facebook notes, blog comments, and good ol’ snail-mail from those I care about
- Wednesday night Bible Studies with an awesome group of ladies
- One day spending eternity with Christ
- Spending fun times with my family; especially my nephews and my niece
8 things I did yesterday:
- Went to work and enjoyed my class after being out ill for the past two days
- Called my mom
- Called my good friend, Randy
- Received a totally un-expected “blast-from-the-past” email that shook my world and has my mind filled with all sorts of questions
- Had an amazing, Spirit-filled quiet time with God over many things, but especially, in regards to the unexpected email
- Pulled weeds from the yard---my life is full of thrills
- Texted my ‘baby sister’
- Counted down the days until summer break officially begins
8 shows I watch: (I don’t watch a lot of television…much rather be reading a book or listening to my CDs or radio.)
- Re-runs of Gilmore Girls
- Re-runs of 7th Heaven
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Re-runs of MASH
- Army Wives (but I don’t think it is coming on anymore)
- good grief…can’t think of anything else other than what I simply hear in the background as my husband watches TV…I could easily list 8 movies I like to watch over and over SO…
8 movies I could watch over and over:
- Runaway Bride
- Pretty Woman
- City Slickers
- What About Bob?
- Sweet Home Alabama
- Love Comes Softly Series
- When Harry Met Sally
- Sleepless in Seattle
Remember, consider yourself tagged and post a comment so I can come read your 8.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
This past week has been one of reflection, repentance, and gratefulness. While thinking about which "k-verse" to post, I wanted to find one that shared the concept of kindness.
I pass these words of Scripture on to Carol, Denise, Gail, Laura, Laurie, Lelia, Liz, Pam and Sue, and the many other "bloggers" who have been such of source of encouragement and inspiration to me through this odd, yet rewarding "blogosphere" experience.
This is, truly, myheartfelt prayer for all of you.
(Thanks to heartlight.org for such beautiful photographs depicting Scripture.)
With Loving Thoughts In Him,
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
- Keith, my 7th grade friend, came through his surgery better than expected---Praise God. His thyroid cancer is the form that is most successfully cured. Apparently, there are 4 types of thyroid cancer and he has the "best form" (!!). They did have to remove one-half of his thyroid but his recovery is going well. He will begin radiation treatments in approximately 4-6 weeks.
- Jake left for boot camp with excitement, anticipation, and amidst a few tears.
- My summative conference went well. A few awkward moments but all topics that needed to be discussed were successfully covered, amidst some stuttering, watery eyes and a nervous rash (all from me, of course!!). My principal, Michelle, is a gracious, compassionate, Godly woman and I am so thankful that she is not only my boss but has also become a dear friend. Time will tell if the conversations lead to any pertinent changes but I feel blessed to have been "heard."
Whew!! What a day :).
Monday, April 20, 2009
I AM THANKFUL FOR...
April 17: for only 6 more Fridays before summer vacation!!
April 16: for the hope that we, as believers, have in Christ, even in tragedy and death.
April 15: for the new beginning of a Wednesday Bible Study with Godly women.
April 14: for a BEAUTIFUL sunny afternoon that allowed my WAY-ACTIVE Pre-K students to play outside!!
April 13: for the privilege of celebrating my father-in-law's 87th birthday with him today.
April 12: for a fun Easter afternoon with 50 family members at our house for lunch and a 1200+ egg hunt. Praising God for all things---especially for the sunshine-y afternoon!
April 11: for my mom who is always willing to help me; always there to encourage me, and who always remembers me in prayer. Love you lots, Mom!
April 10: for unused "Bad Weather Days" that allowed the faculty, staff, and students a day off for the Easter weekend.
April 9: for involved parents of my students who helped make an at-school egg hunt enjoyable.
April 8: for the gift of writing that Micca Campbell shares in her book AN UNTROUBLED HEART. I am learning so much from her.
April 7: for an encouraging, supportive, loving husband.
April 6: for supportive, understanding co-workers and friends.
April 5: for an encouraging, uplifting, God-adoring worship service this morning.
April 4: that I had the opportunity to see my brother and his 2 children today. Short but enjoyable visit. Can't believe those "twin babies" will soon be 9 years old!!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
UNDER GOD’S SHELTERING WINGS
- Micca mentioned that one false method in our attempts to overcome fear was to place our confidence in ourselves, and how we, as believers, must base on our identity on who we are in and because of Christ.
- Psalm 118:8 “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”
- God, alone, is our safety, our protection, our help, our refuge, our strength, our peace our rest and only in Him may we find the freedom we long for.
- I enjoyed her analogy about the umbrella in a storm: "...Livivg in God’s presence is like taking shelter under an umbrella in the midst of a storm. While we can’t stop the rain, we can keep from getting soaked with fear by taking shelter."
CASTING YOUR CARES
- "God is willing to release us from our cares and take our concerns upon Himself…when you and I cast our cares on God, we are recognizing that it’s His responsibility to care for us---not ours…What you and I may think is harmful, God is using for our good---to bring us to completion in godly conduct and character…it’s His responsibility to give us what we need…"
- I smiled at the idea that God has, willingly and lovingly, taken on the responsibility to give me what I need. Takes a lot of pressure off of me :).
- The term "cast off" requires an action; a choice. This brought a youth-camp-memory to mind. I don't remember when or where but way back when...each person was to write down any concerns, worries, fears that were in their heart/mind and then one by one, we went up to the bonfire, stated out loud that these were being willingly given to God. As the flames consumed the paper, we were reminded that attempting to "grab these back" wouldn't be helpful and could lead to harm. Also, the rising smoke was analogous to being received in the heavens. One of those tear-jerking camp-y moments.
WHO’S IN CONTROL?
- I could so relate when Micca’s wrote "…even though I continued going to church, I didn’t trust God anymore. He wasn’t the God I thought I knew…God never answered all my questions . Instead, He just showed me who He truly was---and He was enough…"
- LIFE-GOAL # 2 from this book "…seeing things from God’s perspective instead of mine."
- I, long ago, stopped trusting God, even though I 'walked the right walk and talked the right talk'. I felt that too much harm, too much hurt, too much pain, too many injustices had occurred to me and to many that I loved. I couldn't comprehend a loving God allowing some inexplicable events to occur.
- It wasn't until I hit BOTTOM that I realized I don't have the answers, I don't have the strength, I don't have an all-knowing power behind the events and circumstances. No amount of study, no amount of service, no amount of attempting to fix, soothe, and repair were enough. I had the life philosophy that "if it were to be, it was up to me" and I began to realize how miserably I was failing.
- THANKFULLY, God brought remembrances and relationships that showed me that He is loving. He is merciful. He is gracious. He is kind. He desires what is best for His children. He is un-changing. His UNCHANGING qualities are what have struck the deepest within my heart. No matter what has happened, no matter what I or others have done change the truths found within His Word.
HE’S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS
- The visual image of God measuring the span between His thumb and first finger based upon Isaiah 40:12, caused my heart to soar with delight! I am learning each day about who God REALLY is and I am continually being AMAZED!! Why should I hold onto ANY sort of fear/worry when I have a God who CAN hold the oceans within the palm of His hand?!?
- The danger of misplaced faith brought about a moment of repentance in my heart. I have always "believed" in the existence of God but my "belief" was simply an acknowledgement not a life-altering truth. Reminded me of James 3:19: "Do you still think that it's enough to believe that there is one God? Well, even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror! Fool, When will you ever learn that faith that does not result in good deeds is useless."
- I couldn't have possibly being loving the Lord with all of my heart, my mind, and my body. There are parts of my heart that I've yet to expose to anyone, including the Lord, but I am learning. My mind wasn't in submission--I always had MY own plan in mind. Loving with my body would mean I cared for it in such a way to not allow an eating disorder to ravage my system.
- I am SO GRATEFUL that God doesn't change and that His loving pursuit of me perseveres.
LIVE LIKE YOU BELIEVE
- The more I get to know God, the deeper my love for Him grows. The heartfelt appreciation for all He has done and continues to do increases as my doubts and fears decrease. The choice to believe what God says is true is mine to make.
- 2 Peter 1:3-4: "As we know Jesus better, His divine power gives us everything we need for living a Godly life. He has called us to receive His same mighty power, He has given us all of His rich and wonderful promises. He has promised that you will escape the decadence all around you caused by evil desires and that you will share in His divine nature."
- Who could ask for anything more than to 'share in His divine nature, to receive His same might power'? He has given me 'everything I need to lead a life that is worthy of Him.'
LIVING AWARE OF HIS PRESENCE
- Abiding: to always be aware of His presence
- LIFE GOAL #3 from this book: "...(be) quick to call to my heavenly Father for help. I need to run to God for comfort and reassurance...I want to become so aware of God's abiding presence in my life that I fall asleep in His arms at night and awake to His presence in the morning."
Whew...long post but I am LOVING THIS BOOK!!
Friday, April 17, 2009
- Join me in prayer on Monday. One of my ex-kindergarten kiddos, Keith, who is now in middle school will be having surgery at 1 p.m. Monday to remove a moderately advanced form of cancer from his thyroid. One of my dear friend's son, Jake, is 18/19 and will be leaving for military boot camp Monday evening. I will be having my "annual summative conference" with my principal at 11:30 a.m. Monday, which will include some uncomfortable and possibly confrontational discussions. Looking to be a long day...
- Put a little joy in your day! Do something, by surprise and maybe even anonymously for someone who could use a lil' pick-me-up.
- Happiness is FINALLY realizing and accepting that there is nothing that I can do or say or have happen that will cause me to lose the love of my God.
- Dazed, tired and confused. The last 6 weeks of school are upon us and the changes in routine and the anticipation of a summer break are making teachers and children alike a little more moody.
- I'm prayerfully waiting for an "okay" in regards to returning to Jamaica this summer. May not be in the Lord's will for a return trip at this time but I am hoping...
- Anything chocolate is hard to resist.
- And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to simply being at home and relaxing amidst the current and upcoming thunderstorms, tomorrow my plans include catching up on my online Bible Study postings, running errands, writing cards to loved ones and Sunday, I want to attend worship services, participate in the Small Group Fellowships and have an enjoyable afternoon with my husband!
Friday, April 10, 2009
1. Anonymous...usually has some sort of cowardice lurking within...if you feel strongly enough to say something about 'it', then feel strongly enough to identify yourself.
2. A day off of work is a MUCH-APPRECIATED BLESSING.
3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, and allow the Lord to turn weaknesses into His power.
4. Beautiful blue skies with wispy white clouds and lovingly comfortable temperatures are what I look forward to most about Spring.
5. Who needs therapy when life is perfect. Unfortunately, our world is not perfect so wise counsel from Godly friends is gratefully, even if not graciously, accepted.
6. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate MUST go into the Easter Basket! Cash would also be more than acceptable :).
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sitting and appreciating a clean downstairs from a good day's work, tomorrow my plans include tackling the upstairs and porches and Sunday, I want to attend Easter services at my congregation with full appreciation of what the Lord has done and then enjoy the afternoon with my husband's family (all 60+ of them!!) who are coming out to our house for lunch and an extravagant egg hunt...praying, against the weather forecasts, for a beautiful WARM, SUN-SHINEY day!
- This verse was brought to my mind with appreciation for the friends in my life who challenge my thinking while encouraging me to make sure that my thoughts are centered upon the truths of God.
- Forerunner Commentary from http://bibletools.org/: This is another indication from Scripture that, when we are in the companionship and the fellowship of others, we tend to shape each other. We rub off on each other...Are we rubbing off on each other for good, or are we rubbing off on each other for evil? Are we lifting one another up, or are we pulling one another down? We do not have to try consciously to do either. It will just happen...But in our Christian fellowship, we have the responsibility before God to work to rub off on each other for good. As long as we are conducting ourselves aright, it will rub off in the right way. In other words, all we have to do is work on ourselves. If we work on ourselves, then the projection of the self, the spirit that will go out from us, will be right, and it will have the right kind of impact.
- Praying that this verse and the shared commentary words bring about remembrances of those in your life that have "sharpened you" in your personal journey with our God.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Several of walked down to the Cranbrook Estates Gift Shop; the walk to the store was easy but it was a steep, uphill trek back to the camp. When leaving the Gift Shop, I realized that when we returned to Camp, a taxi-bus would be waiting for us to carry us to the airport. I cried all the way back to camp. I missed home yet at the same time didn't want to leave. Before leaving for the airport, we all returned to the tree house for a time of prayer and 'good-byes'.
Breakfast consisted of pancakes, guava jelly, corn porridge and fresh oranges. All was very good. This is the day we are schedule to go assist at Chester Primary School, a rural school in the area.
The children were beyond precious but I was shocked at how little the school had and how small their structure was. I wasn't expecting much, but still wasn't prepared for what I saw or experienced.
The teacher was amazing and the principal and kitchen staff were so kind. The children were polite and SUPER excited to have us there; especially the males. Someone had told us that over 85% of the Jamaican families consisted of single mothers so male involvement was way out of the ordinary and the kids lovingly took advantage of the situation.
We discovered that those working at the school rarely receive their full salary because the families simply aren't able to pay the tuition (the gov't requires school taxes along w/a tuition-based public school system; gov't keeps the taxes and the schools rely on the tuition.) I was amazed to learn that the teacher's monthly salary would equal $500.00 American money & that would be considered living well. I am hoping to get my school involved in "adopting" this school and sending over simple teaching supplies and special items like new crayons, play dough, etc.
We assisted the teacher with "field-day" games and races and presented the kids with their 'goody bags' and the school with some playground balls. The kids were so excited about their new toys and were beyond precious in showing off their new items. I was amazed at how something so little could mean so much.
We returned to camp for a lunch of some sort of stuffed taco-like bread pocket. We, then, went on our fun-day trip to Dunn's River Falls. The Park was more commercialized than I had expected but was beautiful. I tend to take things too deeply into my heart and had a hard time fully enjoying this opportunity b/c of thinking of what the school could've done with the $15.oo admission fee. Due to my shoulder, I chose to not climb the falls but enjoyed the beachfront and time to simply rest and relax.
After the falls, we headed to the Jamaican Market for "souvenir shopping". I was totally ripped off---they obviously saw a "gullible American" coming their way but I didn't even care about the excess that was spent b/c the vendors, obviously, needed whatever they could get far more than I needed a "good deal". I didn't enjoy the market b/c of the intense pressure from the vendors
but I managed to get some memorable items for my niece, and nephews and classroom kids.
We leave Jamaica tomorrow afternoon and I hate the sense of heaviness that is already intruding upon my heart. Today was, emotionally, more difficult than I had expected and I find myself not wanting to leave until more can be done. I keep hearing the words "Let God be God..." play in my mind.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Free, I long to be free
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Job 11: 13-19
- According to Webster-Merriam dictionary, hope is defined as: to desire with expectation of obtainment; to expect with confidence
- A couple of days this past week were horrifyingly difficult and there were moments where hope seemed out of reach.
- The attempts of Satan to place words of untruth in my heart and in my mind were eventually extinguished by the Truths that are hidden in my heart and by the Truths that Godly friends would bring to my mind as they stood prayerfully watching and waiting.
- I was forced to enter a realm within my heart that I, ultimately, had to face alone with God and make a choice on whom I was going to allow to be bigger---the fears, the anxieties, the pain or my God.
- I am thankful that God proved to be bigger than the past; bigger than the pain; bigger than the lies; bigger than the injustices of abuse; bigger than ANYTHING that Satan attempts to place in the pathway of my journey with God.
- Thank You, Lord, for allowing such hope. Thank You for the Truth of Your Word and for the friends You have given to me to exemplify Your love, and Your Truth. Thank You that, because of You, I can lift my face without shame; that the darkness will be illuminated by light; that I can stand firm without fear; that I can be secure in my rest with You and that I need not be afraid of anything or anyone.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I try to keep a sidebar of my "Daily Gratitude". I've really enjoyed having these small moments of appreciation. I couldn't, possibly, list all that I am grateful for each day but having the simple reminder to keep an "attitude of gratitude" has been worthwhile for me. I keep the sidebar posts going but 'cut and paste' that list when it gets lengthy.
I AM THANKFUL...
- April 3: ...for the God of all comfort who sustains me in all circumstances and situations.
- April 2:...for supportive friends during difficult days.
- April 1: ...for the silliness and giggles of children.
- March 31...for life-long friends that bless my life in more ways than they could imagine. Love you, Randy and Debbie.
- March 30: ...that one of my previous students is receiving the care he needs as he begins his battle against cancer at such a young age. Please pray for this young man, Keith.
- March 29: ...for a day of relaxing, replenishment and rest.
- March 28:...for an enjoyable evening of "eating out" with my husband and having the opportunity to reconnect with a treasured friend from the past. It was wonderful to see you, Sandy, and it was so nice to meet Ken!
- March 27: ...for my principal and friend, Michelle, who is supportive and loving.
- March 26: ...for a classroom assistant who goes above and beyond her "responsibilities", Thank you, Nadine!
- March 25: ...for my patient friend, brother in Christ, and counselor who listens, advises, rebukes, and prays with love in his heart all the while. I do thank God for you, Jim.
- March 24: ...for complete moments of stillness and solitude. It's as if I can almost hear the footsteps of God as He walks to me to wraps His arms around my heart.
- March 23: ...for a nice evening spent with my sister, Sheryl and her baby boy, Kaeden. Gotta love CiCi's pizza cinnamon rolls/bread...
- March 22: ...for a quiet, enjoyable day at home with my husband.
- March 21: ...for a peaceful day at home. I actually slept 14 hours!!! Dang!!
- March 20: ...for the weekend to FINALLY be here...'nuff said!
- March 19: ...for my "new-to-me" frig that my sweetie surprised me with. Thank you, Wayne!!
- Angel or not, I will worship the Lord above all.
- Lord, my heart is open and my hands are willing, please use me any way you want me. I want to be Your servant and fulfill Your will for my life.
- As my mother used to say, you're full of the fullness of life and and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3: 19)
- I am usually sore and ready to collapse after I'm done working out or doing something strenuous. Unfortunately, I am not in the best of shape and can't seem to hold onto the motivation to do much about it(!!)
- Even in the most crowded of rooms I can still feel alone.
- Any day is a day fraught with peril but thankfully, through God, we have been made more than a conqueror.
- And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to simply 'chilling out' after 2 emotionally-tough days, tomorrow my plans include major "spring-cleaning" in preparation for the family Easter next weekend and Sunday, I want to attend Bible class and get re-connected with the small fellowship groups.