Welcome 2019

My gut asks, “What tragedies will 2019 bring?” My mind reminds me, “Work, college classes and two graduations, a 50th birthday, an empty nest, son’s dental / ENT work and purchasing another wing at the children’s hospital.”

Then my heart says,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

I have sat down every day since my Christmas break began to blog.  I have written every day but just can’t seem to publish them.  I guess those words are just too personal to share.  However, they have been therapeutic.   I have faced some ugly truths over the past few days.  Some harsher than others but it was good to break through all that negativity and yuck.

As I sat in church Sunday, I realized that 2018’s word for me was Bitter.  I don’t know how many times I asked my co-teachers after I have made a statement or two (ummmm probably more like a rant) “Bitter, much?”

Then I heard this—

Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting someone to die.

Makes you stop and think doesn’t it?

I spent the year building a bitter brick wall around me unaware of the damage I had really caused.  I heard this quote the other day:

The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.  Jim Rohn

Now if that didn’t shake me to the bones.  I have imprisoned my spirit.  I am held captive to my own device.  With each brick I laid, I stopped praying, reading God’s word, attending church, and serving as a Christian speaker.  I have isolated myself in my own misery even though I can justify each bitter brick.

So I only have one goal for 2019:

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8

It is going to require a lot of hard work and a sledge hammer to break through this bitter brick wall.  Guess I better roll up my sleeves.

Welcome 2019.

 

Advertisements

Booyah!!

Okay, so if you have ever met a Middle School teacher, you know the term, “Booyah!”

We MS teachers have a knack of showing off or showing out.  It is in our nature.  Look we are amongst preteens and new-teens all day long.  Their, “It’s all about me” culture kinda rubs off on us.  It happens.  Just accept it.

And if you have ever been around a group of MS teachers you will hear lots and lots of proud boasting of students’ accomplishments.  We love to talk one up each other around the lunch table.  We compare stories, notes, and those pesky habits we seem to find in all of our students past, present and yes, even future.

We love to share stories about our students.  Bragging rights.  Well earned if you ask me.  So an occasional BOOYAH is tossed around the table……. Ummmmm have you met a middle schooler?  That’s the way they are……again…. rubbed of onto us…… ahem.  Seriously.  I promise.

So last night I ran across this little gem…..

“If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.” 1 Corinthians 1:31

Powerful.  Imagine if the lunch table conversations were about what the Lord had done that day.  We don’t think twice about bragging on our students.  Why don’t we brag about God?

Bragging is one thing over accomplishments….. adding “I taught that kid everything” attitude becomes dangerous.   It is that age old attitude problem we humans tend to get.  We boast to boost ourselves up emotionally and socially.

Just think what would happen if we actually gave the credit to God.  That would be a game changer for sure.

Maybe we should give God the high five Booyah! Do it.  I dare ya!

Certainly Lost the Zeal

Life is so uncertain.  The uncertainty of life causes the certainty of Jesus.

Or at least it should.

Beth Moore, in one of the studies I participated in years ago, described a time when she experienced a separation from God.  It was the hardest time she had ever experienced.

I believe that is what I am experiencing at the moment.  My zeal and zest for God has been lost.  I am so confused as to how to get it back.

Read God’s word you say…… I have.

Pray more…… I do daily.

Get involved more……. And that is just it…… when I do…. nothing.

Talk about it……. Poor Mark, he doesn’t know how to answer this question.  He listens.

I thought it was depression.  I thought it was anxiety.  I thought it was residue of the past creeping up into my heart.  I thought it was all the changes in our church.

I don’t know anymore.  I just have lost it somewhere.

So early this morning, I laid in bed trembling from the side effects of all the steroids that were pumped into me at the ER due to an allergic reaction that wouldn’t go away with even my 2 epi-pen shots…… another story for another day…….anyways, I was praying as to what is my spiritual problem.

I began to look back at when I was traveling on my spiritual blissful path.  It was when I wasn’t working.  I was writing daily.  I was running our household and volunteering many hours at church as well as participating in every Bible study I could attend.  I was literally bathing in God and soaking in all His grace, love, and joy.

Now, my time is tied up with work.  An obligation I must fulfill.  I have lost the energy to write every day.  There aren’t any classes at church on Sunday evenings to attend.  By the time I get home, cook dinner and think about going to Wednesday night Bible Study, I am either late or too tired to think much less attend.  Listen, I get it.  I don’t have the energy of a 20 or 30 something.  I am teaching like a beginner teacher having to recreate the wheel just to get lesson plans done.  I do honestly get it.  But, there are other people that work just as much as I do and still have the zeal, energy and the want to.

Am I spiritually ill?  I have taken Beth Moore’s advice and I am praying that God will give me the “Want to” again.

I know the repercussions of the hard hearted and the lukewarm Christians.  That scares me.  I don’t want to be that person, ya know?

I thought perhaps a drastic change is needed.  I really don’t want to move to another church.  I love my church family.  But then again, I only feel myself fading into the background and no one is really noticing.

So anyways, why I am posting this I have no idea.  I felt a nudge and thought what the heck…… perhaps, it would get me one step closer to getting the zeal back.

16 Years!

Hard to imagine that 16 years have passed since my beloved son was born.  At the time I am writing this…… was the time he came into this world.

His first year was tough on us…… Mark and I.  Not for  him….. he was a fighter.  His strength was immeasurable.  Years 2-5 were battles.  His hearing.  His speech.  His VPI:  Velopharyngeal Insufficiency.  But again, his strength and perseverance held strong.  His parents went through those years fueled by caffeine and sleepless nights.  The hospital stays alone were enough to push us over the edge…… but not our boy.  He took everything in stride.  Smiling. Laughing. Showing everyone his silly personality.

He overcame.

We have watched this sickly little boy grow into this beautiful soul of a young man.  His temperament is still the same but intertwined with the occasional tribal teenage grunts. His accomplishments have left me in awe.  His kind heart and gentle soul warms those around  him.  His competitiveness and game playing astonishes us all.  His laugh is more infectious than when he was little.

Everyday, I whisper (cause ya know it ain’t cool for a young man’s mom to do this) “I love that boy!”

Happy Birthday!! May God continue to bless you as you have blessed me!

United

Last week, the middle school teachers and administrators sat down for a meeting.  Our goal was simple to hash out the first week of school and to draft a plan of action for our newly adopted motto:  “Ready to Learn.”

I had awakened that morning with Jeremiah 29:11 on my heart and mind.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

God has a plan.  We were meeting to plan. So naturally, I had to follow through with Jeremiah 29:12:

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

So I whispered a quiet prayer for the meeting I was about to attend.

Once we gathered together around our conference table,  I was suddenly aware that each one of us have unique talents and spiritual backgrounds.  We all teach a different subject.  We each have a special passion for our subjects.  I never realized that history could be so exciting, that math could actually be fun, and that science was more than just dissecting poor helpless frogs.  I mean, let’s face it, English rocks and I love it!!

But when we come together, we have one thing in common the most–our students.  Because of those students, we unite and we put our differences in subject passions aside.

Now, as I glanced over to all my colleagues, I never really took note of our spiritual differences.  We are all believers of different denominations and at different points on our spiritual journey.  Funny, I never realized it.  I just considered us all Christian.  I think God allowed me  to see that difference for a reason that wouldn’t be revealed until yesterday in church….. I will come back to that in just a moment.

The night before our meeting, I texted our group and said, “We should open with prayer.”  We have been doing that prior to meetings recently.  We all agree that we are more focused and feel the strength of God to conquer whatever is thrown our way.  So it was just something I threw out there……a reminder.  A simple reminder.

So remember Jeremiah 29:11-12 was weighing heavily on my mind that morning.  I felt God pressing me to pray.  As each person arrived and it was looking like the meeting was about to start, the Holy Spirit was screaming at me to pray.  So, I said, “May I pray before we begin?” So we did…… and a productive meeting was held.

Which brings me to yesterday in church…….. I know you are thinking–Regina, get to the point!!  –well, you see, I was sitting there thinking about my middle school peeps.  I was thinking about how we all see things through different sets of eyes.  And yet, we work so well together.  We are a strong unit.  Hardly a day goes by without us texting one another or we shoot a picture of something that reminds us of each other.  We have laughed together, cried together, and we break bread together for 180 days each year.  We are all Christians and strong believers…….. and we pray together……. then, BOOM!!

A prayer is being set up with the idea of how we, believers, need to come together and be united in prayer in order to bring change.

BOOM!  I tell ya!!

I am so fortunate that I work with a group of believers, that pray together, that bring the differences to the table to create a solid unified approach to teaching…….. united.

Like Mother Teresa one said, “I can do things you cannot.  You can do things I cannot. Together we can do great things.”

BOOM!