Saturday, January 19, 2013

"What if...?"

"What if I I can't get have children?"  "What if my husband can't find a job?"  "What if my Sunday School lesson doesn't go well tomorrow?"

These are some of the questions that are going through my mind right now.  I spend a great deal of my day and night worrying about the "what ifs" in life.  My worry has seemed to take over a lot of my free time.  I wasn't always like this; I didn't worry so much about everything.  All I really want is peace, contentment, and joy, but with worry, fear, and anxiety on my mind it's difficult to get to that place. 

Linda Dillow defines anxiety as, "that which divides and distracts the soul, that which diverts us from present duty to weary calculations of how to meet the conditions that may never arrive.  It's the habit of crossing bridges before we reach them."  She goes on to say that, "worry is derived from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning 'to strangle or choke'."

Wow!  Worry and anxiety can have much control over how I live my everyday life.  Living with anxiety can keep me from living a life filled with peace, contentment and joy.  That is NOT how I want to live, but yet I allow it to happen to me every day.

How can I change this pattern?!  How can I become a woman that is filled with joy, peace, and contentment?  How can I live knowing that God will take care of my daily "what ifs"?

The answer came to me from my husband.  As I was sharing my latest worries with him tonight, he said, "How big is your God?"  He threw a stuffed animal at me and asked, "Is He only this big?"  At first, the question offended me, "How could you ask me that?  My God is the same as your God!"  But was I acting like it?  Was I giving Him all of my anxiety and know that He would take care of it, or was I treating him like the size of my stuffed animal and limiting His power? 

Some of my favorite chapters in the bible are Job 38 and 39.  These chapters talk about the "bigness" of God.  My God can call lighting down from heaven!  He can raise the sun in the morning!  My God calls out the stars each night, by name.

I serve a BIG God that created the universe and yet takes care of the birds in the sky and the flowers in the valley.  He cares for me (and you) so much more.  Matthew 6:33-34 says, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for  tomorrow will care for itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own."  I think that God put that verse in His word just for me. 

I don't need to worry about the what ifs in life... ever... because I serve a BIG God that can handle it for me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Simplicity of Oranges

I love my job.  I love my job a lot.  I teach Kindergarten. 

Today my kiddos had to solve this mystery question:  "Does an orange float?"

To solve this question they had to drop an orange in water and record (by drawing) what they saw happen.  Then they had to repeat the same procedure, but peel their orange and see if there were any changes.

As I was preparing this simple science lesson for my students, I had no idea that their reaction would have an inpact on my heart.  During the lesson, my classroom filled with shouts of excitement as the students put their oranges into the water.  It was like I had given them bags of candy and told them they could eat as much as they wanted.  I hadn't ever seen their faces filled with so much excitement.  They were enjoying every minute of this activity and sharing their excitment with their friends.

"It's only an orange and water," I thought.  I couldn't believe how excited and engaged they were over something as simple as dropping an orange into water.  This was such a simple task using simple objects... an orange and water!

Just like my Kindergartners, there is so much around us that can bring us joy if we take the time to seek it out.  Psalm 65:8 says, "The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy."  God grants us joy and fills the earth with His wonders.  It's like my kiddos today finding the greatness of joy from an orange we can find greatness in joy in many other wonders that God created.  We need to take the time and look for the small things that God has given us.... something as simple as an orange can bring a smile to our face for years to come.

By now you might be wondering if an orange floats or sinks... I'm not going to tell you; try it for yourself.  Enjoy the simplicity of an orange and the joy it can bring...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let Go and Let God

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." -John 10:10

I have read this verse numerous time, but haven't spent a great deal of time reflecting on it. What I have come to enjoy about it is that Jesus keeps talking... He could have ended the verse by saying, I have come that they may have life." But He doesn't end here... He goes on to say, "... and have it to the full."

What do you think it means to have life and live to the full?

I believe that living life to the full means giving up control of your own life, surrendering all hopes and dreams to God... fully. I believe that you cannot truly experience life to it's fullest until you are completely relying on God for everything. For example, think about taking a wild car ride with some friends. What makes the ride more exciting? The fact that you have no idea where you are going! If you are driving, you know when the turns are coming and which direction to go. It's not a wild ride if you are the one driving.

I believe that this is how it works with our life and God. Life is not as exciting and enjoyable if we are driving and in control of it. Now this is a concept that I completely understand, but for me (who loves to control my life) I am always a work in progess, and God will continue to show me how to trust in Him.

The enjoyable parts of life are when we are surprised by what is happening around us... and what better surprises than those God gives to us... spend today being surprised by God... and live life to the fullest!

GPS and God

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust can be defined as "putting complete confidence in".

The other day I had to attend a teachers conference in a nearby town that I had never been to. When it comes to directions and me, I'm not very good at them (I like to think that north is always in front of me). I get lost pretty easily, and get nervous driving in big towns in which I have no idea where I'm going.... although this time was different. I had a GPS with me for the trip to an unknown city. I was putting my trust in my GPS, and it was so easy for me. It was so easy to put my 100% trust in a little machine to get me to a city I have never been to. I can't even really explain this the way that I want to, but it is very hard for me to put 100% of trust into anything... and I did it so easily with a small machine.

Why is it so easy for me to put my trust into a small machine but not always God. I started to dig deeper and look at the attributes of God. In Job 38 God is talking to Job and asking him a series of rhetorical questions. Each question God asks give a some insight into his power, here are just a few...

  • God laid the foundation of the Earth (vs. 1)
  • God gives orders to the morning and shows dawn it's place (vs. 12)
  • God brings forth the constellations (vs. 32)
  • God sends lightning bolts on their way. (vs. 35)
  • God gives understanding to the mind. (vs. 36)
Wow... God has all of these attributes and so much more! Now, I know that putting my trust and confidence into something is not always easy, but that is because things and people will always fail me no matter what, but what if I (we) put that trust and confidence in God who will never fail us. Sounds like something to to consider....

Still and Silent

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

For anyone who knows me.... they understand that it is extremely hard for me to be still and silent. When there is silence for any length of time, I feel as though I need to fill it by talking and asking questions. It's difficult for me to ride in elevators, subways, and sit at conventions because I have to be still and silent for such a long period of time.

I wonder why this is? Why do I, or anyone else, feel as though silence needs to be filled?

There are so many distractions in life! Music, television, friends, family, homework, cell phones... NOISE. With all of these distractions it is very easy to fill silence with something and get used to that noise in our life a being a normal part of it. Not sure about you, but I have taught myself to not only fill the silence with something, but have a pretty short attention span. Teaching kindergarten over the years has allowed me to change activities every 5 to 6 minutes. Doing this day after day has made my own attention span short, and therefore makes it hard to stay still and silent... :)

Now... I do realize that the scripture verse is saying to be still before God, and I understand the benefits of being still and silent before God. Jesus was silent before His Father many times in scripture, here are a few examples.

  • "When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place..." (Matthew 14:13)
  • "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35)

Now it would be easy for me (and you) to keep living day to day without be silent (really silent) before God, but just think how much He has to say. What if we actually slowed down and listened to Him? I'm willing to start being quiet (at least I'll try) ... :) How 'bout you?


So... patience. When I think of patience I like to think of the teacher me and the personal me. As a teacher I feel that I am very patient. Not too many people can tie 20 pairs of shoes, zip 20 coats, and smile the whole time. In my classroom I need patience, and I feel that it is a quality that comes easy to me. I wonder why this doesn't flow into my personal life.

In my personal life I am not patient AT ALL! I'm the kind of person that has to read the last chapter of a book first. Really... I do that all that time. I just need to know what's going to happen! I can't wait for it. I also like knowing what's going to happen all the time... I don't like surprises... or at least I don't like waiting for them. I have zero patience!

You may wonder why I'm thinking about patience... well, this morning I was doing my devotions and it was all on being patient... maybe God's trying to teach me something (as always)! Anyway, I read Acts 1:1-4. In verse four Jesus says, "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about." Hmmm... WAIT, huh? The disciples are instructed by Jesus to wait for the Holy Spirit. Jesus gives them what they need, but they have to wait for it. I feel that Jesus does the same with me... (even though I don't want to admit it) He has great blessings to give me, but I need to wait for them... I just need to be patient... I just need to be patient... I just need to be patient... I'll keep working on it... :)

Bossy... Me... Really?


So I was informed by one of my students that I'm bossy! This made me start to wonder, "Am I bossy?" Should I believe a five year old? Hmmmm...

What I love about teaching Kindergarten is that my students are so honest with me. They inform me when I'm having a bad hair day and they tell me when my red vest I'm wearing looks like a life jacket (both of which have really happened). But they also tell me that they love my shoes and that I sing pretty.

I love their honesty in life. They aren't afraid to be bold and tell the truth about what they think on different topics. And so often they pretend to be me! Most Kindergarten students love to pretend being their teacher, and mine love to pretend they are me. Watching them being me is sometimes scary... what qualities in me do they act out?

Knowing that they want to be me while they are playing really makes me think about my words and actions during the day. I want them to know me as kind person... AND NOT BOSSY! This is why it probably made me so concerned when one of them said that to me! I don't' want them to leave Kindergarten knowing me as bossy and not kind! Sort of got me thinking of my words and actions throughout the day... trying to be kind in all that I do.

Now, not to justify this situation... maybe I really am bossy and it took a five-year-old to make me realize that (something that I'm working on), but I do have to tell my students what to do and this one student doesn't always like that... hmmmmm is she just used to getting her way, or am I really bossy?

Anyway..... as I spend my day trying not to be so bossy, you can spend your day thinking about what it would look like if a five-year-old pretended to be you? How would they act you out? Really makes you think, huh?