Sunday, December 16, 2007

Piano Peace

Burned-out. Exhausted. Hurt. Lonely. Disillusioned.

These are all words I have used to describe myself in the past week. And, yes, these words sound like I've been having a rather large pity-party. At some points, I unfortunately did allow these feelings to drag me into a pity-party. At many other points, I sat quietly in full realization of the sovereignty, love, and nearness of God while still feeling these emotions. Sometimes I am struck by times when I can know God is restoring my hope and strength while still feeling the emotions from the pit He is pulling me out of.

So, that has been my week. Today was different. Today was peaceful and beautiful. Today I was able to lose myself in music: one of God's finest creations. You see, I love the piano. I love to listen to piano music, and I love to play the piano. I took lessons growing up, but have unfortunately lost most of the skills I had acquired along the way. One of the things on my list of things to do before I die is to try again. Take the time to sit and practice and allow those buried skills to rise again. A friend of mine discovered that I have this longing, and he arranged for me to play today in a private room at a store that sells Steinway pianos. It was a wonderful experience! I sat in this private room on a GORGEOUS Steinway grand piano playing away at my silly little Level 1 music books from my first years of lessons. It was far from sophisticated, but it was refreshing. This afternoon I was able to spend one hour lost in music, focusing my talent only to my Lord who is carrying me through the burn-out, exhaustion, hurt, loneliness, and disillusionment of life. What a blessing! Thank you, Lord, for giving me an hour to worship you in a unique way that brought me such peace!

"Mary responded, 'Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.'"
Luke 1:46-49

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Organizing Grasshoppers

Today I had some much needed refreshment as I went to a workshop to spend some time filling up my professional reservoir instead of pouring out of it. At one point the presenter referred to managing a classroom of Kindergarten, 1st, or 2nd grade students as something akin to organizing grasshoppers. What truth is found in that statement!!!

This week I have organized 20 grasshoppers of my own while attempting a secret teaching mission! We made gingerbread cookies on Tuesday. It was so much fun, but oh so exhausting! There is truth to the idea that you only need one cook in the kitchen at a time, so experiencing 20 cooks ages 6 and 7 was quite the experiment. Yesterday, the cookies rested temptingly on each students' desk in a plastic baggie. They had been instructed not to touch until our afternoon decorating experience. Little did they know that the "Big Bad Wolf" would come steal their cookies while they were at lunch and leave a note demanding written letters explaining why they want their cookies back (ah the joy of sneaking in a good writing lesson!). My little grasshoppers were furious, and suddenly their little imaginations were let loose!

"Miss Lowery, we saw him shake that tree outside."
"Yea, and he said, 'HA, HA, HA!"
"My gingerbread man was my best friend, and now he's gone!"
"We worked so hard to make those. That Big Bad Wolf is just mean!"
"What a waste! Our parents brought in all that stuff to make those cookies, and now they are gone!"

Oh, it went on all day! When I tried to get them back to writing by telling them, "No, the Big Bad Wolf is not on the roof and he's not in the tree...he's in a cave watching our gingerbread and trying to decide if he's going to let them come back..." well, suddenly the cave was visible from outside our window. Oops...I should have tried a different tactic.

What wonderful, exhausting fun that was! And, yes, very much like organizing grasshoppers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Unveiled Face

And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. 2 Cor 3:18 The Message

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18 NIV

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18 ESV

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Cor. 3:18 NLT

Tonight I spent some time exploring and meditating on 2 Corinthians 3:18. I enjoy each of the above translations for the different perspectives and depth of insight they provide to the text. Don't you just love the concept in this passage? I especially enjoy the image of an unveiled face. It makes me think of when my first graders have an "AHA moment." The cloud of confusion lifts and understanding dawns in their eyes. That's what I think of when I picture an unveiled face. When I approach the Lord with an unveiled face, understanding dawns on my features as I realize the magnitude of the moment.

When my first graders continue down the path of an "AHA moment," their learning can increase exponentially. Continuing with my analogy, the same is true when I come unveiled before the Lord. Coming before the Lord unclouded and open-minded allows my spiritual growth to become more and more in line with Christ. Wow! What a blessing that my Father would continue to allow me in His presence unveiled just so that He can make me more like His Son! Thank you, precious Lord!