Saturday, September 22, 2018

Preparing for...

I must warn you...I've been reading headlines again.

After the last post I wrote on Freedom vs. Bondage (which also came from a headline I had read), I probably should have stopped reading things online. Inevitably, I end up clicking on the article, then reading it, and then mentally comparing how this secular trend has infiltrated Bible-believing churches. I find myself then pondering and mulling over what I've read for a few days (stewing may be a better description), before coming across verse after verse during my morning devotions that are extremely applicable to what got me going down this path in the first place.

WHEW! I just lost my breath writing that mouthful!

Needless to say I've read something else that has led me to respond from a Biblical perspective. (Funny how that word keeps popping up.)

You may have seen the same headline I did: How Lawn Mower Parent's Set Their Kids Up to Fail. A Lawn Mower Parent is basically defined as someone who mows down obstacles for their children as they try to save them from having to suffer things like adversity, conflict, rejection, failure.

Many would try to excuse this behavior by saying that that's what parents are for...or that's what parents do. But how does a Christian parent explain verses like, Thou, therefore, endure hardness as a good solider of Jesus Christ. (2 Tim. 2:3) or Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. (Prov. 25:4)

Do we forget that in order for dross (impurities) to be separated from silver, the silver must be heated to 1450 degrees Fahrenheit? It's at that temperature that silver becomes a liquid, causing the dross to float to the surface where it can be skimmed off. If the Lord uses this same technique to purify a Christian parent, don't we think He would use the same process in our children?

It becomes our responsibility then as a parent to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4), to see that we teach them to have the right perspective when faced with adversity...not to "mow down" the obstacle to make life easier or more convenient.

But Christ calls us to be disciples, followers of Him, not at our own convenience or only when it's easy. We in turn then are to bring up the next generation to follow Him as well...not quitting when faced with conflict or even the idea of possible conflict. Think about it: where would be if Jesus had quit when the Jews rejected Him? We'd still be in need of a Savior...One willing to face rejection, so that we all could truly LIVE.

Growing up as a preacher's kid, I had a front row seat to life in the ministry. I not only saw but heard my parents and my family ridiculed or mocked because of our strong Biblical standards and convictions. But I never saw my parents angry or ready to fight back. Instead I saw my Dad walk the auditorium early every morning praying for families pew by pew. I felt my Mom's arms hold me as I cried over something hurtful someone said or did. She would quietly quote verses from God's Word about trusting in Him and not leaning on my own understanding.(Prov. 3:5-6) 

We called these "teachable moments", priceless memories that I recall when, as a parent, I find myself holding my own child who has suffered some form of adversity, conflict, or failure. I desire for them to be able to learn and grow not just correctly, but Biblically...so that one day when they sit holding their own hurting child, they can then teach them to carry on...to endure...as a good solider of Jesus Christ.

After all, it's not about making it easy. It's about turning these into "teachable moments."

Simply Carrying On,

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Freedom vs. Bondage...

A few days ago I inadvertantly stumbled across a headline about a recently released book describing how a young woman had broken free of the purity movement...which basically emphasized saving yourself for marriage. I have to admit I was intrigued as to why the author associated "purity" with "bondage", and so I clicked on the link.

What I found is that alarmingly, this same kind of trend is occurring in Bible-believing churches everywhere. People are deciding that the standards and convictions from the Word of God that have been taught to them from their youth are really chains that keep them in bondage. This saddens me greatly!

Scripture actually speaks about bondage. Paul wrote to the church in Galatia and commanded them to Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us FREE, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Gal. 5:1). Even back a chapter in Galatians 4 and verse 3 he wrote Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. Later in verse 9 of the same chapter he asks the question But now, after that ye have known god, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

This begs the question: Why, after knowing God, the blessings of God, the abundant life that He offers in Him, would someone want to once again place themselves in bondage to the things of this world?

Perspective. You remember that one word resolution from a few posts ago? I believe that Christians lose their perspective as to why they separated to begin with. It's not what you're separating from, but Who you're separating to.

Think of Eve. She lived in a big beautiful garden filled with hundreds of trees. And of all the trees she could have eaten from, she picked one fruit from the tree God had forbidden her to eat of.

Why? Her focus shifted from the abundance around her to the one thing she couldn't have. Oh how she desired to eat it, and within a short amount of time she had reasoned away God's Words and ate of the forbidden fruit.

The results were not quite what she thought they would be. Because of her disobedience, she had to leave her perfect world to face toil and struggles, pain in childbrith...the murder of her second son at the hand of her firstborn, a perfect world thrown into chaos and turmoil from sin. I wonder if she ever regretted the bite she took...if she somehow wished to go back and do it all over again.

Since that time death, grief, pain, and suffering are something we've all had to deal with as a result...and the reason God had to send His perfect Son as a sacrifice for our sin.

For Eve, she had gone from freedom to bondage.

For almost forty years of my life I have known nothing but church and ministry. And I find that not only am I not bitter about what I could or could not do, I am so very grateful for all that I have been taught. I found it's just not worth focusing on what God says I can't do in order to have the right relationship with Him. That only brings bitterness and contempt toward the Word of God...which makes His commands feel like chains of bondage.

Yet when I look at the abundance of the Christian life around me, I find freedom...and joy....AND peace.

There's no need to break free. You see...I'm already free, because that's what the truth of God's Word makes me. (John 8:32)

Simply Serving Him,

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Jumbled Jargon...

I've often wondered why people shudder when they find out that I teach high schoolers. They seem so eager to hear which grade I teach until I teach in the high school pops out of my mouth.

Then comes the shudder, and a sympathetic Oh, you're one of THOSE teachers.

In the South you can almost hear the unspoken Bless your heart at the end of the above statement.

To be honest, high schoolers really aren't that frightening. Everyone assumes that they're disruptive, earn poor grades, and make a teacher want to pull their hair out. But I've never taught any of them that were like that. 

Well, there may have been one or two over the years that made me want to rethink my career choice.

I guess I see beyond the exterior to the awkward kid underneath, someone who struggles to understand the social, physical, and mental changes they are going through and how to fit in in the big wide world around them...all while prepping to leave the safety of their parent's care.

Remember when you were in high school? I most certainly do and now I'm shuddering.

Two words: awkward nerd.

I've discovered over the years that you can learn alot from a teenager. For one thing, things aren't what they used to be.

Back in my day (that sounded just like something my own Mom and Dad would say), we used words like cool, or dude...sometimes there would be a tubular (sounds like I grew up with surfers), or a rad if things were...well, cool.

I learned a few days ago just how much times have changed. In fact over the past two days my students have taken great delight in "teaching" their teacher the finer points of high school lingo. So just for laughs here are a few:
  • No Cap: apparently this means no joke
  • Bruh: I was completely confused by this one until they told me it's like saying Bro when you're talking to someone or could mean seriously? when someone says something utterly ridiculous.
  • Lit: means awesome. (I'm trying to figure out what's wrong with just saying awesome)
  • Totes Adorbs: Only a girl would say this about something that is totally adorable
  • Ratchet: said when something looks trashy
  • Basic: being called this is really a cut down...you're just trying to do what everyone else is doing. You do NOT want to be labeled with this (is what I was told)
I see I'm going to have to make up a cheat-sheet to have in class just so I can interpret what's being said around me.

Oh, and when I said I was going to write about this new lingo on my blog, one of my seniors said, You have a blog? No cap!

I simply nodded yes and replied, I know, Bruh. It's totally lit!

Simply Learning the Lingo,

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Happy Fall Y'all...

I don't know if you can tell but...
...this girl is ready for fall!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Thematic Thursday...

Have you ever heard of a One Word Resolution?

Apparently I'm not the only one who runs out of words halfway through their day.

It's like a New Year's Resolutions, but simply paired down to just one word that describes a goal one would like to work toward in their spiritual life throughout a new year.

You may be thinking that I'm already planning ahead for 2019, but honestly, I can barely plan on getting through a week let alone three months before December 31st rolls into January 1st.

But  a few days ago I inadvertently landed on someone's blog...someone who I really don't know from Adam. Her post was quick and to the point of choosing the word "quietness" to be her resolution for the year, and the reason for choosing this word as a goal to work toward in her own life.

Since I quickly realized her and I were both "A" type personalities, quietness is rarely a word that fits in with who we are.

In other words, we are never quiet...and I think her and I could get along fabulously.

Her post, however, caused my thoughts to wander in the direction of a word that could possibly describe my own spiritual goal these past nine months. One quickly came to mind: perspective.

It's not a word I purposefully chose when the new year rolled around, but one that the Lord has been constantly dealing with my heart about: having the right perspective about what matters and what doesn't really matter.

I constantly struggle as an "A" type personality and find myself fretting over what needs to be done. I also get bent out of shape when everything doesn't get done....weeks in advance. But what do I sacrifice in the meantime? A right spirit? A happy home? Peace?  Joy? Contentment? An abundant Christian life?

All of these have been promised by the Lord for His children, but how many of us actually take advantage of these promises?

But I was reminded during my morning devotions to Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked. (Eccl. 7:13)

Let's face it...our lives are filled with crooked paths, many of them sent by the Lord for trial, testing, or growth. It's not my job to make them straight when He desires them to be exactly as they are. It's not my job to lose my peace, my joy, my right spirit.

What is my job is to have the right perspective...to learn and grow in my walk with Him.

And I can keep my joy in the process.

Do you struggle with the right perspective? Consider the work of God...maybe He's made your path crooked to help you grow. No use crying over what can't be changed. Learn and grow, My Dear Friend.

Simply Taking a Step Back,

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Here a Little, There a Little...

You've probably noticed lately that my posts have been a little sporadic: one here, one there. I'm actually quite proud of myself when I get a moment to sit down and type something that has nothing to do with school...only to find that what I end up writing about is ALL about school.

Over the last few weeks I've found that my laptop has become an extension of my arm. I'm on it to record grades, attendance, and discipline slips before classes begin in the morning. Then I rely on it to run powerpoint as I teach my lessons, and be there for me to update grades at lunch. If I'm not typing in coke codes, I'm writing up blog posts for my students with instructions on extra credit or videos to help explain any questions on the day's lesson.

I love my laptop, but seriously, there are times when we need a break from each other. But then that means not writing and journaling here. Oh, what a conundrum.

After talking all morning long I've also found that by the evening I've completely run out of things to say. I no longer give detailed answers to questions from my hubby or kiddos. It's a grunt here...a "no" there...an "oh, yeah?" thrown in...and maybe a few fragmented sentences to get pertinent information across while minimizing word usage. It's the life of a teacher.

If you wanted me to, I could tell you all about Manifest Destiny and the conflict leading up to the Civil War; how our nations laws and government were created; or what forms of matter our universe is comprised of, and how it changes but is never destroyed. Yet as soon as I step through the door to my house, there are no more words. Ahhh, blessed quietness.

I can just be....for a few minutes at least before starting work on the next days lessons, and helping the kiddos get their work done for the next day.

Oh....and I've also learned that I can put a little boys tennis shoes on upside down.

I'm not upside down (although sometimes it feels that way), but he likes to lay on his belly to see if I can actually get them on correctly...and on the right feet. For him it's a delightful game...for me? Not so much.

So besides running out of words and learning a new trick, I'm off to bed...to get up and do it all over again.

Simply Livin' On Repeat,

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

They Don't Stop Growing...

Why is it melancholia sets in when our children turn another year older?

Today my baby crosses a milestone. (I say baby, but really, she is anything but a baby) Today's her birthday and even though she is super excited about the presents she's getting, the cupcakes I made especially for her, the special phone calls from cousins far away, she doesn't quite realize how her getting older makes her Mommy and Daddy feel...well, that much sadder.

We started reminiscing last night after taking her for a special birthday dinner.
This story could begin: It was a dark and stormy night...

Seriously, my mom, hubby, and I had to make a mad dash to the hospital in the middle of a wild thunderstom after suffering through contractions at home for over ten hours....only to be sent home when the contractions stopped once we were situated in an observation room at the hopsital.

I had even spent an hour running the stairs in the lobby before they sent me home because I was so determined I was having that baby! No such luck.

The next morning I woke up in more pain than the night before, but this time we took our time getting ready before heading up to the hospital. We even stopped at Whataburger for breakfast (I did NOT eat), but they took forever getting our order together.

I may have been heard saying in the midst of a contraction, "I can make breakfast faster than this!"

On the way we were faced with a dilemma: for months the Texas Department of Transportation had been reminding people that they would be shutting the interstate (one of our routes to the hospital) down to remove an overpass in one of their many roadwork projects.

You guessed it...this was the day. We figured everyone would certainly be avoiding even being on the interstate, only to be shocked when we found five lanes of bumper to bumper traffic...and they were not moving.

In a power move my husband reversed up the on ramp to the instertate, much to the chagrine of sheriff who was monitoring the traffic. Boy, was he angry as he motioned quite pointedly Pull over!

I may have been heard saying while in the middle of a contraction: "Officer...pant, pant...I'm in labor....pant, pant, pant...andwereonourwaytothehospital...pant, pant, pant!" Needless to say he was not interested in delivering a baby on the side of the road.

An epidural, a nap, and five hours later, our baby girl, Melody, was born...
...with a full head of black hair.

Boy, was she a cutie!
I miss these days....well, sort of.

And just because we're reminiscing...
...back to the days when I was way skinnier and my baby was still "My Baby."

Happy birthday, my Melody! We are so very thankful for you and your sweet, sweet spirit!

Simply Signing Off for Now,