Posted in Life, Remembering

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

A year and a half ago, I was starting a position in the office where I worked as a college student. Part of me was excited for the work I would be doing, but there was also a small part of me that wondered why I was starting a year-long non-teaching commitment in July instead of seeking teaching jobs.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

Fast forward a little less than one year when I started seeking teaching jobs since I knew the end of my time at CELTS was coming. I applied to several public schools because I thought that’s where God wanted me. I had noble plans of being this strong light in the public school system.

Maybe I could have been that light, but once again I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I was devastated when I learned that the one English position open at that time in Madison County was filled internally. After leaving the career fair (which took enormous courage for me to even enter), I sat in my car and cried. Even though it was only early spring, I felt as if all of my options were drying up.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I kept putting my application out to public schools, and in the meantime I started looking around at other types of schools. My student teaching mentor had just come from OBI, and he had told me all about the school and it’s mission. I had briefly looked at it immediately following graduation, but nothing had come at that moment. On a whim, I sent my application to the school even though no jobs were posted at the time.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan.

I continued worrying and working on applications, so I was pleasantly surprised when the president of OBI called to say they had an English position that might open up. He offered to host me for a couple of days, so they could get to know me and I could see the school.

Long story short, I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan. In my plan, I would have found a teaching job directly out of college, and it probably would have been in a public school. I had completely written VISTA positions out of my plan a summer before I accepted one in CELTS, but God had a plan in place to get me to the place where I am right now. Even though it has had it’s rough moments, I rest in the confidence that God orchestrated my presence here.

I didn’t fully comprehend God’s plan, but that didn’t make his plan any less real or perfect.

Posted in Blog, Life, Remembering

You want me to pray???

Recently I saw a Facebook post reminiscing about the times in youth group when the youth leader asked for a volunteer to pray and there was dead silence. I can certainly remember those moments, and often I was one of the silent ones. On the off chance that the youth leader called on me or I volunteered, there was a brief moment of panic. If I’m honest, there’s still that moment of panic when I’m asked to pray aloud today. My question is “why?”. Why are we afraid to pray aloud? It’s just talking to God after all. I do that frequently, so what am I afraid of?

After some soul searching, I have come to the conclusion that I think for me it’s a fear of the people listening more than a fear of talking to God. I panic that others will think my prayer isn’t “holy” enough or long enough. Maybe I won’t use the right words, or maybe I won’t have any words at all.

This morning I was reading the passage in Matthew 6 where Jesus teaches the crowds how to pray. If pointing out that pagans pray so that others can hear them wasn’t enough explanation, Jesus follows up with an example prayer of his own. Guess what? Jesus’ prayer isn’t long and drawn out. It uses fairly simple words and has a pretty straightforward message.

This example gives me courage that when I feel like talking to God, I should do so freely whether out loud or in my head. After all, when I’m praying aloud, it’s God’s ear that matters, not the ears of others.

Posted in Remembering

Perfect Memories

A little over a year ago, I made a post about Perfect Moments. In this post, I listed out a small handful of moments that I treasure in my memory. This past year, while tumultuous at times, could add a few more bullets to that list, but that’s not going to be my purpose today. Recently I began reading C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy (according my camp director “only nerds have read the space trilogy”). It’s slow going with the other reading I have to do for classes and such but since I’m almost finished with the first one I think it’s time to make a post about it.

A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking, Hman, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing.

I listed some minor events, such as watching a train go past, as my perfect moments, but really it was not those events that were perfect. There was really nothing special about those moments and some of them have been repeated with less fond memories. It was the fact that I remembered doing them with special people. The re-living of these moments made them perfect.

There’s a often quoted statement about the journey being more important than the destination. Maybe that’s true, but it might also be true that the memory of the journey is even more important than either of these.

A few more perfect memory moments:

14. It was a semi-emotional weekend, so hiking/climbing the 90 degree angled hill with my BCM friends was perfect for that moment. The perfection of this moment lies in the fact that I didn’t haven’t to think about my emotions while doing this because all of my effort was put into the climb.

15. The 9-hour drive to Washington DC. Stopping in random towns because they had cool names. Walking to the Lincoln Memorial in the dark.

16. Trying on crazy outfits in the Goodwill dressing room.

17. Making a cake to celebrate my mom’s birthday. Surprising her with a house full of balloons and later quietly popping all of these balloons.

18. Debating the importance of education, learning, and school with the middle school child I tutor.

19. Reading through the Psalms from beginning to end. Finding perfect psalms that fit my situation. God’s Word is awesome like that.

20. Being called Ms. Teacher by my sophomores. Oh that kid. “Did you miss me?”

Posted in Remembering

Torn Memories

Today I felt like part of my childhood was torn away. I was very excited to show the old post office in D.C. to my friends. I remembered visiting it in eighth grade. It was full of life and energy. Then we didn’t get to ride the elevator to the top because the line was so long.
Today there was no line.

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The place closed down earlier this year and will soon close for two years while it is renovated into a hotel.
The view from the top was cool but the inside felt like a ghost town. It’s strange to think that I now have this clear memory of this place that won’t exist much longer. Does this mean I’m getting old?

Posted in Remembering

Passing notes

In middle school my friends and I passed notes during class. (It was one of my few digressions from good student.) Our method was to use a fairly small sheet of paper and stealthily write and pass. In seventh grade we even invented our own alphabet so if we got caught the teacher couldn’t read our oh so important notes.

Things have changed since then. The students at school did an exercise about non-fiction in social media where they were supposed to silently pass notes. It made me recollect my middle school escapades.

I wonder if children in school even pass notes on paper anymore. Or do they just text?

It’s crazy to think how much has changed since I was in school. I used a floppy disk to write my fourth grade portfolio. The internet was fairly new. I didn’t have a phone until 8th grade and that was only because I went on a trip without my mom. (That phone was basic too but I thought I was on top of the cool ladder.) Kindle and e-book was not even a thought. I walked to the public library to use the internet. I remember when smart boards were new. It was a big deal when my high school got wide screen tvs for every classroom.

I’m not wishing to go back to those days. For the most part the progress society has taken has been positive. It just makes me start to feel old. Alas, the world is always changing.

Posted in Bible Study, Remembering

Drawing Lines

When I was a little girl, I used to take our laminated map on long car trips. I would figure out where we started and where we were going and use a dry erase marker to connect the points. I drew a line.

There’s more to this story than entertainment for a young child. Now that I’m a bit older, I also try to draw lines, not between two places on a map, but between me and somewhere I want to be in life. I decide that I want to do something in life and then I draw a metaphorical line to get there. I make plans.

Go back to the car. That line I drew on the map did not determine how we wherever we were going. My mom determined that part. Similarly, I can draw metaphorical lines, but God ultimately determines the path I take.

Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our step.

Posted in Literature, poetry, Remembering

Love is the Best Option

To Love or Not to Be Loved?  [October 18,2012]

“Last night as we were riding back from North Carolina, our backseat philosophers started playing the game “Would You Rather?”  The premise of this game is to propose two opposite options for members of the game to choose between.  Everytime I have played the idea is to answer with your gut reaction, but these three people, being education majors, wanted to have a debate over the options.  The question they posed was, “Would you rather be able to love but no one ever loved you back or not be able to love at all?” 

Neither option is all that great.  You are either able to love but never receive love or you can’t give love.  It doesn’t seem like one will ever be happy.

I would choose the first option, because I would rather be able to give love than rely on others to give it to me.  It makes me happier to see others happy than to be happy myself.  Even with this ability to make others happy, there will still be some depression in my life, because I would know that I could never receive love from anyone else.  That would make me feel inadequate and…unloved.  I suppose the positive part of this is that I would stop focusing so much on if others liked me or not, because I would know that no one would ever love me.  I would focus more on giving love to others in order to make myself happy.

The good thing about this proposition is that it will never happen.  There will always be love in human beings because God gave us that ability.  We will also always be loved because God always loves us.  So I never have to make the decision between loving and being loved.”

 

I wrote this a few months ago, and today I would like to add a few words from Tennyson.  In his long poem, “In Memoriam,”  he writes about love and loss in canto 27.

I hold it true, whate’er befall;

I feel it, when I sorrow most;

’Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.

Tennyson has it right.  I would rather be able to love.  Even if loving means losing sometimes, at least I have experienced love.