Saturday, May 26, 2007

Class Dismissed!

"I'll miss you, Miss Lowery." "I love you, Miss Lowery."

This was the mantra I heard time and time again as I said goodbye to my students on Thursday. While these thoughts should have brought tears to my eyes, I found myself longing for the last car to drive away so that I could dance before the Lord for bringing me through this year! Now, I will miss some of them, but probably not for a few more weeks. This makes me think...did I try to really see each of my children for the child of God that they are?

This is a question that I need to meditate on for the summer before a fresh set of young lives grace my classroom in twelve weeks. But for now, I get to relax. The Lord brought me through a wilderness this year and has planted me on the other side. This summer I get to revel in the inexpressible joy of God's provision!

So, for those of you in a similar situation: just rest and relax. Delight in the Lord and he will bring us back to school ready for a new year! But for now-class dismissed!

"Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
I will praise the LORD all my life;
I will sing praises to my God as long as I live."
Psalm 146: 1-2

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lessons in Control

Today has been a day to meditate on God's control. I have found myself dwelling on what is my business vs. God's business. I am emerging from my thoughts with the sense that I still don't get it. After these last several months of letting go and letting God, I still have to make a concerted effort to maintain this philosophy. I wonder if this will ever just become second nature. Will I quit worrying about whether or not someone received just punishment for a wrong-doing? Will I quit mentally-formulating what steps I think would be best to orchestrate a future happening in my life? Will I quit exhausting myself by letting busyness and stress eat me up instead of clinging to peace?

I spent 24 hours this weekend at the Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. While there I was overcome with the sense that these creatures that God spoke into existence don't worry about what comes next in life. There is a verse somewhere in the Bible (at the moment I cannot locate it) that speaks about how each part of the Lord's creation praises His name by simply doing as He created them to do. I sat and watched this weekend as buffalo, longhorns, prairie dogs, deer, and turkeys all peacefully went through life instinctively knowing that they would be provided for. And yet, I find myself fighting this at times. I wonder if dreams I have will happen in the way I have planned and dreamed. I wonder if I will be able to get through this last week of school without losing my mind. When these questions arise, I usually choose one of two things. I either start trying to force things to happen the way I hoped, or I go into survival mode and tell God I'll come find peace after I get through this.

Standing on a large hill overlooking the Wildlife Refuge I realized how incredibly selfish I have become. Each moment that I have is a gift of the Lord, and my gift in life is to use that moment to praise Him. He is guiding my steps as I walk along, and I don't have to concern myself with what comes next. My prayer is that I continue to learn these lessons in control until it becomes second nature. Jehovah God, keep teaching me and making it clear that you are the Almighty and I am the child!

"Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feed them. Are you not much more valuable than they?"
Matthew 6:26

Monday, May 7, 2007

Letting Go of Fear

It's time! Time to let go! Time to stop letting fear govern so many parts of my life. Time to not fear an adventure. Time to plunge in with both feet into something new knowing that The Love of my life is right there with me every step of the way! In light of all of this I commit to:

-let God hold the reins of my life,
-pray fervently and earnestly for His guidance and direction,
-turn my anxiety over to my Creator who knows my innermost thoughts, and
-joyfully tumble into Scripture as I seek out the heart of my Father.

As I type this out, fear plagues me. Am I really ready to let go of fear? What happens if it doesn't turn out well? Well, it's going to take baby steps. Even then my adventure may not be as "thrilling" as someone else's, but it will be my adventure just the same! And I guarantee it will be thrilling to me! And, who can ever say they are completely ready to let go of fear? Isn't that why we call it a "leap of faith"? My adventures in life may not always turn out well. But, one thing I have learned in the last year is how amazing God is even in unpleasant moments. He brings joy through the suffering. I have now experienced that, and I pray that the next time life bites me I will be ready to look for the joy!

It's time! Time to let go! Time to let God! Time to become a fearless woman after God's own heart!

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Scene: 2nd grade boy and girl in the nurse's office after the boy has rammed his toe into the classroom door because he was angry. The girl has accompanied him to the nurse and sits beside him as his toe is cared for.

Girl: Do you know the fruits of the Spirit?
Boy: No
Girl: Let me see if I can remember them. (pause) Self-control. That's one of them. Self control is when God helps you not hurt yourself or someone else even if you get angry.

Girl proceeds to go kindly, calmly, and gently through each fruit of the Spirit explaining them to Boy.

Girl: Does Jesus live in your heart?
Boy Shrugs
Girl: Can I pray for you right now so Jesus will come live in your heart?

Girl prays for boy, and he repeats her petitions while the teary-eyed nurse looks on in awe.

Many of you have heard this story already, but for those of you that haven't...what I have just put before you actually happened at my school on Friday! I can't help but joyfully laugh at a Lord who puts himself right into schools where He is "not supposed to be." The nurse told me one of the most amazing things about the whole incident was the gentility and grace with which the little girl taught this young boy. I have been in awe all weekend as this story has rolled around in my head. What a mighty and awesome God we serve!! May we all learn a lesson from this humble and precious little girl!!!!

"From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise."
Ps. 8:2

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

When Did Life Get So Busy?

Why do we expect so much out of ourselves? Why do others expect so much out of us? How come, when I already feel spread thin, something else comes along to make me feel even more stretched beyond my limits? Is it my fault that I'm overwhelmed? Is it my fault that I feel pressure from all around me to keep doing, doing, doing, and while I'm at it perfectly?!?!?

Let me just say that since it is May 1st, some of my ranting and raving can be attributed to the end of the school year and a longing for a much-needed vacation. And, yes, in many ways it is my fault. It is my fault for holding myself to perfection. It is my fault for trying to do more than I can. It is my fault for leaving out time with God because the rest of the world needs me right now.

And, that's the crux of the matter, isn't it? I'm too busy and spread thin because I forgot to invite God into this crazy time of year. I've gone into survival mode. As in, "I am just going to get through the next three and a half weeks, and then I'll take care of myself." I've forgotten that maybe God can equip me to be my best during this time instead of just surviving. The problem is I don't know how to draw on that power. What do I pray for in order to change my attitude towards one of opportunity instead of defeat? Maybe admitting this is the first step. Maybe I just need to lay with my face to the ground, and say, "God I am so tired and worn out I don't have it in me to do all I need to do. But, you placed me here for 'such a time as this.' Please work in me. Please give me your strength and power. Fill me with your presence and your attitude. I can't do it, but you can. And, I'm okay with that. Use me Lord...even now!!!"

"I can do EVERYTHING through Him who gives me STRENGTH."
Philippians 4:13