Once upon a time, I was sure that I would have joined the ranks of parents by now. My life plan involved being married by the time I was 25 and having a child or two by now. I would be spending my days changing diapers, having play dates at the park, and wiping snotty noses.
As you may know, this once upon a time is not my current reality, and while there are times when I wish it were, I believe that there is purpose in this time. I get to love on 25 little ones in my classroom each day, hang out with a great group of pre-teens and teens at youth group, and play auntie/grown up friend to my parental friends’ kids…
…which is where the sweet community comes in. In the last month, I have changed diapers, had play dates at the park, and yes, wiped a snotty nose or two. I get to kiss owies, plan surprises, exchange hugs, snuggle newborns and high-five big kids. I get to sing about Jesus, pray for a good night sleep, and teach to say, “I’m sorry.” I get to live my life knowing little eyes are watching…and I get to sleep at night. 🙂
Someday, I hope to miss hours of sleep for a little one who shares my name. For now, even if they don’t shout “mama,” their
little growing voices are precious. “Anga” works for me.
So here’s to all my parental friends who share their sweet wee ones with me in this journey. I am better for it.
*Parental Friends- friends who are parents. Although my parents are wonderful people and definitely friends, they deserve another post altogether and don’t fit into this one.
Not so much on the wander part. It generally seems so pointless.
But I digress. This old Christmas carol came to my attention last week when a local high school a capella group came to sing at my school. (Why it’s ok for them to sing clearly Christmas songs about Jesus, I’m not sure. I am, however, glad that we got to hear them!)
Ai yi yi- more digression. This is what I get for writing at 12:15am.
Anyway. My students were sitting quietly, slightly enthralled by the music and therefore allowing me to focus on the music when I really listened to this song, maybe for the first time. There’s a lot of gospel in this song- the sinful nature of man, the substitutionary atonement, the “promise of ages” fulfilled by Jesus’ birth, and the supremacy of Christ- to get started.
And yet…the point of the song includes and goes beyond the accurate theology. There’s something about taking the time to wonder and maybe, to wander under the sky, that brings my busy heart to worship. Jesus the Saviour came to die for poor on’ry people like you and me. That’s worth considering.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Saviour did come for to die
For poor on’ry people like you and like I;
I wonder as I wander out under the sky
When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall
With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all
But high from God’s heaven, a star’s light did fall
And the promise of ages it then did recall.
If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing
A star in the sky or a bird on the wing
Or all of God’s Angels in heaven to sing
He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King
Independence…it’s a good thing, right?
I’d like to think so. My natural tendency is some odd combination of fiercely independent and people-pleasing rolled into one. Neither option is healthy or God-glorifying, unfortunately. (Oh, how I wish they were sometimes!)
Isaiah 30:18 has been one of my favorite verses for a long time. As is normal for me, I returned to this chapter to let it sink in more; as is normal for God, He encouraged me through His Word.
The rest of the chapter is not exactly birthday songs and party hats. God’s people had forgotten/ignored Him, tried to solve their own problems, and experienced trouble because of their choices. Their biggest problem may have been their ardent desire to be independent. He is still God, though.
“Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.”
In the midst of their independence and consequential trouble, God’s people heard truth based entirely on God’s character in the face of their abundant issues.
Maybe the reason this verse gets to me is the overwhelming kindness of God expressed here. In the face of my issues, His character remains. He is gracious, compassionate, just, and patient, and He is the One I need! Where I desire to be independent, He longs to be gracious. Where I want to have it all together and not need help, He is compassionate. When I want things done yesterday, He blesses those who wait for Him.
Maybe dependence is a good thing…
“It’s time to move on.”
Prepare the pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, and boots.
But life doesn’t always match the calendar.
School has started,
but the weather is just perfect
I’ll take a few more iced drinks and flip-flip days,
even if I do have to get up for work,
is God’s truth. So I love to read different (usually highly-recommended) books and see how God’s truth and spiritual principles pop up in random places.
One of my latest reads, Good to Great, is actually about business and how to make a company great. However, a few paragraphs on the motivation behind great leaders struck me as pertinent to life outside an office. This quote begins with a sub-quote.
‘We’re just never satisfied. We can be delighted, but never satisfied.’
Those who built the good-to-great companies weren’t motivated by fear. They weren’t driven by fear of what they didn’t understand. they weren’t driven by fear of looking like a chump…
No, those who turn good into great are motivated by a deep creative urge and an inner compulsion for sheer unadulterated excellence for its own sake.
What if that excellence is the glory of God? What if the deep creative urge is the expression of God’s character in His image-bearers? What if I was consistently motivated by passion instead of fear?
Thankfully, God has been revealing where I am motivated by self-induced pressure and fear instead of joy and passion for His name. The freedom in revelation and restoration bring delight and excitement for the future! While there is a measure of satisfaction, as I’ve written elsewhere, it’s complemented by deepened hunger and anticipation.
“Do it again, counting out loud.”
“This time, play it staccato.”
“Again. Keep counting.”
“Now, add your left hand.”
Teaching piano involves some explanations, some demonstrations, and some evaluation. Today it included all of the above as well as some directed practice.
The old adage says that “practice makes perfect.” Some say practice makes permanent, and perfection depends on how you practice. It’s true for playing the piano, and it’s true for thinking. Repetition of the wrong notes or the wrong timing makes it easy–natural– to play the passage wrong. In the same way, unhealthy or untrue thoughts become more and more entrenched as I rehearse them. Unhealthy and untrue beliefs follow quite naturally.
My Teacher offers a better way- He speaks life.
When habit dictates perfectionism, my teacher Jesus whispers, “Peace.” When fear of failure looms, He calls me beloved. Instead of “do, do, do,” He says, “Come.” And when I see years of practicing wrong and get discouraged, He reminds me that there is no condemnation in Him.
“Redemption’s now the story of my soul.”
I went to work with these poppies closed up tight, and when I got home…they practically said,”Hello!”
Flat-bottomed clouds like the ones I drew as a kid
The world warming up and smelling like Negotino
Kids singing the smile bringer song spontaneously
Chatting with some great girls while cleaning bathrooms
And a God Who knows what to give and take
Made this day a great one to bless the Lord.
For sunshine and 66 degrees, I am grateful.
For peace in the midst of mystifying my doctor– losing my voice with beautiful vocal cord function– I give thanks.
For a microphone that makes me look like an aerobics instructor or pop star, depending on who you ask, provided by the school district for my teaching amplification, I am glad.
Because Jesus died but didn’t stay dead, I am alive, too. That makes everything else look like small potatoes.
I am blessed at work in many ways…23 little people to love, to start. But since I can’t post pics of them, here are a few more reasons to be thankful at work.
1. The globe, moved down to be more easily explored as we learn about the continents. Geography has never been more fun!
2. Naming each area of the classroom and the accompanying comments: “It’s so cold over here in Antarctica! I’m gonna go to Africa to warm up!”
3. Speaking of Africa…country names everywhere- on the couch, tables- even when they are missing a letter. (No, there haven’t been protests or war in Egypt or Libya yet, though those world events have come up.)
4. Books from the library for a book frenzy- 30 seconds with a new book and a partner to explore before passing it on.
5. Phototropic plants, carefully seeded by little fingers and headed to the school garden before long.
6. A reminder of my own education as I teach
7. Breathe: directed by my speech therapist and a good reminder for my soul. (Placement near the escape key is not intentional. :))