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Friday, January 24, 2014

I Will Try vs. I Will Commit

This year of teaching has taught me a lot, but there are some lessons that I hope and pray that I will never forget.

One of those lessons has to do with the importance of making and keeping commitments. I have always been a proponent for just trying. As long as you were in the mindset of trying, I could work with that. I would expect a certain amount of effort and if you messed up, I would expect you to just get back up and try again. But then the Lord had me look into my "just try" philosophy.

The challenge: is just trying enough?

Answer: No.

After much encouragement, one of my most challenging students decided to give cooperation a second chance. He said that he would give it a try. The time came for him to try and he did, however he messed up and gave up. We talked about it the situation and he decided to try again. The same results as before occurred: he messed up and gave up on trying. It just didn't seem to work. Just trying did not seem to be enough. I found myself doubting his willingness. Good thing God stepping in to clarify.

It was not my place to judge the willingness of the child, instead I needed to raise the bar. There had to be a way to encourage trying no matter how many times you fall down. Dun, dun, dun.... COMMITMENT TIME! The Lord spoke loud and clear and it made sense.

If I say that I will try to do better, once I give it a try I kept my word. I can choose to try again but at the end of the day, I have already tried. Then there is the commitment. If I say I will commit to doing better and I mess up, then I try again. Why? Because I am in it for the long hall. I will not STOP trying till I am actually doing better.


Commitments are not foreign concepts to us. The most commonly heard of commitment is marriage. If the couple gets into a fight, they do not part ways and get a divorce; they will stick it out through thick and thin--ups and downs.

I have committed to a relationship with my Lord and Savior and He has made a commitment to me. The beauty is that He has promised to "never leave you, nor forsake you." His desire to be with me has been around longer than I will ever understand. Jesus is the one we should look to on how to stay dedicated with others and himself. When we see how he dealt with David, you see how he never let go. He was kind, patient, gentle, faithful and brought joy to David's life. But it did not end there. God also was stern and kept him accountable. With all that He brings to the relationship, there is any wonder how we could misunderstand his intentions. He stays close by and His love never fails.

So, if I desire to teach my students to stay committed to changing and healing, I have to understand what it means to keep a commitment. As I study the Lord's tracks and have my own experiences, I will gain further understanding, but for now I have learned a lot. I see that you must start by saying that you are going to do more than try, you will make a commitment. Then try again. How? By first increasing your commitment to God. By being kind as God is kind. By being patient as God is patient. By being gentle as God is gentle. By being faithful as God is faithful. By keeping others accountable and God keeps us accountable. Ultimately showing love as God is love. When your relationship with God is deep, your strength to run life's race and never drop out will never wane. Then, use the strength given from God to keep pushing forward. Just keep swimming.


So commitment is more than a simple concept or desire, it is a principle we must all live by. So I urge you to do more than just say you will try, say you WILL COMMIT.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

He Comes Through in the End

Today has definitely been a tough day at work. It just seemed so endless. Too many children to watch; too many reminders to stay on task; and too many academic decisions to be made. It was just endless.

By 4 p.m. I just wanted to go home. I was running low on fuel and my patience tank was depleting. Yet, I still had my third group of students on the docket for the day. I felt like I was dragging myself along. I was just done.

As I stand at the board teaching math a while later, I realize that this last group of students did not deserve to get my left overs. I felt burnt out, but they still needed their teacher. They deserved the same positive, fun, learning environment that I had provided earlier in the day.

I wish I could say that I did a 180 and was ready again to tackle the rest of my day. Nope. That is not what happened. However, I can say that I said a prayer in my heart to God and my outlook improved. I felt like I had a little more energy and a lot more mental clarity. Most importantly I felt God speaking through me and teaching my student when I felt unable to pull information from my mind. That was when I truly felt the power.

So, what is the morel of the story? I have no idea what God meant for me to get from today specifically since I feel like so much happened, but I know that I will never forget how he answered my prayer. He spoke through me, which spoke to me. He lifted me up when I felt I could only go down. He came through for my students when I could not. So, I guess:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
~Proverbs 3:5-6

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Student Keeping the Teacher Accountable

Today, while talking to one of my students, I recalled a time when he was disrespectful to me in class.
It was only yesterday, so it was fresh on the mind. After going back and forth about what really happened, he began to share why he acted so rudely. “I knew you would ask about it. I needed to be held accountable.”

Wow. I needed to be held accountable. That is a very powerful statement to come from the mouth of a 16-year-old struggling with defiance. At that moment, God has helped him to articulate that being held accountable was something to be valued.

I was so shocked at the statement that I instantly performed some introspection. How willing am I to be held accountable?

Also today, a friend of mine vented about one of her coworkers that was not open to being held accountable. She rehashed many memories of frustrating scenarios and impact it left on her. It was hard to see her hurting, but at the same time it made me think. Why do we as adults reject accountability so often? When we see that spirit in children, we instantly know how to diagnose that child; but we do not perform the doctor role when the patient is ourselves.

Lord, this is definitely one of the reasons your Word tells us to possess a humble spirit. When we are filled with pride, it is close to impossible for us to grow. Why? Because we are not doing anything that warrants a change. How sad.

So, despite my title of teacher, without my student’s knowledge, he taught me a refresher lesson on being humble. If I critique others for being difficult with God, then I must not refuse to surrender my weakness to God and take his help—whatever form it comes in.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Past Words, Present Reminder

As I looked back on some of my old posts, I feel like I have relearned some very important lessons tonight.

One  I am very thankful to be reminded of putting God in front of me instead of behind me.

I don't know if it is memory loss or just pride, but I find it to easy to develop that "I've got it" attitude even thought it has failed me in the past. I am not referring to confidence, I am referring to the type of thoughts that slowly/quickly push away God. Thoughts that remove him from the throne of our hearts. Thoughts that belittle his character and magnify my own. Dangerous thoughts.

When I want to take the reigns, all of a sudden I know that answers to more questions and the great mysteries. How funny is that. I am no where intelligent enough to answer all the questions of life, let alone the tough questions I meet each day. Then why would I think I could manage it all on my own.

Job 39-41 was written for moments like this when I forget how great God is. When God reminds me that he is the one who gave horses their strength. The one that created the hawk to fly through His wisdom. I can not compare.

But, I am not saddened by such revelations. I am empowered. I was not created to do it all on my own. I was not created to answer all of my questions. I was not created to become the creator. I am the creation. I need to stand up behind the one whose death allows me to be white as snow. I don't have to know all the answers because all I have to do is ask and it shall be given unto me.
"Trust and obey"
It is easier said than done, however oh so important. Do not slip into the valley of pride and discouragement. Stay connected to the source of life- the Living Water. 

"Pray in the Spirit at al times with all kinds of prayers, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God's people." Eph. 6:18

I was reminded of this principle for a reason. I need to meditate on it this weekend and apply it to my life again. How about you? Why has God led you to this message?


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Was it Meant to be Easy?

As I sit here trying to motivate myself to be productive despite my tired body and mind, I wonder if I am trying to hard. Today was a long and extremely productive day at work. I feel very proud of what I was able to accomplish with my coworker, yet as soon as I walked through my front door, I did not feel the same motivation.

Now hours have passed and I feel shame for how I have spent my time. I have calmed my spirit, but have I used my time wisely?

Then I stop and ask God what he thinks.

I hear two things: balance and that my strength is small and his is great!

How could I ever forget that? If I really want to be a woman of action this year, then I need to derive my strength from the only source that is never without momentum. How silly of me!


Thank you for today and for qualifying the one you have called. Please ignite my mind and spirit in the evenings. Let me never go an hour without dwelling on you or including you. Forgive me for my short-comings and continue to teach me how to do better.


I guess it is not as hard as I thought to get moving. Off I go!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

More than a Phrase

I know that Happy New Year is a phrase that is easy to roll off the tongue. However, I actually want this year to be a happy one. I don't want mediocrity. I do not desire to barely make it through. This new year will be more than I could ever imagine, but I have to do it God's way. I have expectations and desires. I can envision a future that makes me smile:

My Happy New Year:
Increase of patience
Writing more
More dates with God
A successful semester
My students drawing closer to God
Visiting friends in different parts of the country
Traveling more than in 2013
Becoming more financially sound
My heart opening up more to God's will

This is not the end of the list, I see a future of adjusting more to living a balanced lifestyle. Exercising more and drinking 3 liters of water everyday. 

So Lord, I want to give you the desires of my heart that would make me happy. I also open the door for you to give me desires that I do not know I have....

My Happy New Year Part 2:
Trials that increase my love of others
More challenges from my students
Hard weeks to remind me that I need you

... As many challenges that come my way, I renew my commitment to you. 

It will not be easy to achieve a happy year. I must always lean on Christ. I must be content with the life that God has given me instead of dreaming of a different one. I must have God's Word live in me and ignite me. I must choose to be happy. Not an impossible task because I have experienced happiness in the Lord before, so let's do this thang!