Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Lord Gives and the Lord Takes Away, Blessed be the Name of the Lord

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The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the Name of the Lord….poignant words, I heard them recited as I listened an episode of Adventures in Odyssey about the life of Job. It was Thursday morning and I was completing my normal custodial duties at Tomahawk Elementary. Little did I know that God had been preparing me for events that were to unfold about an hour and half later.

I was preparing to head to the cafeteria to help clean up from breakfast, when my principal asked to see me. My heart jumped wondering, “Am I in trouble? Does she have a teaching position for me? What PALS business do we need to handle?” I waited in her office for about 5 minutes before she arrived, my mind racing the whole time. Well, my principal arrived, closed the door and took me over to her little conference table. She started off by saying, “I have been dreading this day.” Not a good sign! She handed me a letter that let me know that due to budget cuts, my PALS job was gone. I could keep cleaning 15 hours a week, but that’s all I would have. She was pleased with my performance and was sad to let me go. I almost made out it of her office without crying, almost. She gave me a hug and a tissue and then I bolted down the hall.

I was noticeably upset and my co-worker noticed and tried to stop me. I quickly grabbed my clothes bag and headed to the bathroom to assume my other identity from my “cleaning clothes” to my “teacher clothes” for my PALS job. My co-worker found me in the bathroom and listened as I talked and cried. All could think was, “I worked so hard for nothing!” After cleaning up my face, I went on to help proctor SOL testing, which is rather quiet and tends to make one feel sleepy and gave me time to think. In fact, I proctored Thursday and Friday morning and had lots of time to think. The verse came back to mind, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the Name of the Lord.” While losing my job has been painful, God has comforted me with those words and words from Amy Grant’s new album, “Somewhere Down the Road” which I received in the mail last weekend. (Isn’t it funny how God brings us what we need before we need it?)

These words kept repeating in my mind from, “Somewhere Down the Road

Somewhere down the road,
There’ll be answers to the questions,
Somewhere down the road,
Though we cannot see it now
.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSvgne2kOP0

Overnight” also greatly comforted me!

“So, you’ve handed in your resignation,
contemplatin’ why nothin’ turns out right.
A little fed up with all the disappointments,
so what’s the point in wastin’ any time?

It’s only temporary, so what’s your hurry?
No need to worry. Don’t you know that,

(chorus)
If it all just happened overnight,
you wouldn’t know how much it means?
Ye-ah
If it all just happened overnight,
you would never learn to believe
in what you cannot see,
oo-oh
what you cannot see.

I feel like pace is at a standstill.
Do I wait till it falls into my hands?
A long highway ahead, gettin’ started.
Steady hearted, is what I think I am.

There’s somethin’ to be said for experience.
Who knows what’s ahead. Keep on goin’.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Gm1lVWXwEs

So friends, I ask for your prayers for my co-workers and myself as we have been laid off due to economic hard times. I hold no animosity towards my school or anyone, I’m just sad to be leaving a place that my heart has come to love dearly and where I have also been loved! I don’t know what is next. I know God has plans for me, but right now, I don’t know what they are. It’s been a long year and I thought I would reach out and be able to hold my medal (a teaching job) at the end of the year. And now, I’m almost there with no prize at the finish line. But thankfully, my Father is still faithful and my school family has wrapped me in love and hugs beyond my expectations. So right now, I praying for faith to believe and that “somewhere down the road, there’ll be answers”.

Psalm 145:19, “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; he hears their cry and saves them.

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Anointing and Faithfulness

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I am part of a bible study group that is going through “Anointed, Transformed, and Redeemed” by Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, and Kay Arthur. I’m only on week 2 right now, but have been so blessed by what I am learning.

I have learned that as believers in Christ we are all anointed with the Holy Spirit, but that God has a special job for each of us an individuals. That special job for me is teaching. At this point, I am in the preparation point like King David was after his anointing. He was anointed and had to wait 22 years to become king of all of Israel, though he became king of Judah 15years after his anointing.  Imagine having to wait that long for the job God has been preparing you for!

David was a shepherd when he was anointed (I Sam 16:11). Then he was a musician and armor bearer for King Saul (I Sam 16:17-19, 21). Then, he was a messenger to his brothers (I Sam 17:15, 17-18).  Is there something wrong with this picture? An anointed KING was a shepherdmusicianarmor bearer (for the king, who was a selfish king serving in the position David should have had), and a messenger? None of those jobs appear to be very glamorous, yet God knew those jobs were preparing him for the future. As a shepherd, he learned to be a gentle and caring leader, yet also a protective, courageous leader. As a musician and armor bearer, he learned to serve in the palace and learned how affairs of the king went. He also learned humility by having to serve the king, whose position he should have had himself. As a messenger, God was preparing him to be HIS messenger to the people of Israel.

I have found a similar parallel in my own life at this time. I have a master’s degree in teaching and I am fully qualified to teach Prek-6th grade, but I don’t have my own classroom. I have a passion and gift for teaching that God has instilled in me, yet I am currently a PALS instructional aide and a custodian, not very glamorous jobs in the eyes of most people. Yet, God is using this time to prepare me for teaching.

I have been learning humility (I hope!) through cleaning. I have learned to be much more appreciative and grateful for all the hard work the full-time custodians do 8 hours a day! I have also taken advantage of the opportunity to listen to many podcast sermons from which I hope I am learning and growing in the Lord. I wouldn’t have this time to learn from the Word, if I had a normal teaching job.  And strangely enough, though I dread cleaning sometimes, God has given me joy in the midst of cleaning. Priscilla explains this point in my life clearly when she quotes Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King from Experiencing God:

Whatever your life entails right now—no matter how far removed it seems from what you expected—He has anointed you and divinely equipped you to not merely handle it but to thrive in it. If you can’t be faithful in a little, God will not give you the larger assignment. He may want to adjust your life and character in smaller assignments to prepare you for larger ones” (Experiencing God p. 39; ATF p. 46).

I feel like cleaning and learning from the sermon podcasts must be God’s “life and character adjustments” for my life at this time.

I also feel that being a PALS aide has helped me prepare for teaching. I have had the blessing of being able to test many children and teach kindergarten students in small groups most of the year. I have learned to love kindergarten students. I have had time to observe seasoned teachers and how they manage their students and have learned some very useful tips and tricks. This week and last week, I have actually gotten to substitute in kindergarten and 1st grade and it has been so nice to be back in a regular classroom. 1st grade reminded me today, that I feel like I belong in 1st grade so much, just like I did when I was student teaching. It was like coming home!

I may also get a chance to be a musician again and be even more like King David. There is a teacher at my school with two daughters that I might have an opportunity to teach piano! They are little and will only be in 1st grade, so teaching them will be a labor of love some days, if I do. Once again, though God is taking a gift and bringing it back to me and allowing me to teach and serve through it! God’s ways are simply mind blowing!

I’m hoping my faithfulness will bring a classroom of my own this fall. My heart’s desire is to have my own class, but I realized this morning while listening to a sermon that God doesn’t owe me anything, including a teaching position. I’ve already received his grace and not wrath for my sin. My job is to be faithful without expecting a reward. I like how Priscilla Shirer put in my study book, “The first step after being anointed was to serve. Often servanthood and submission mark the truest test of the anointed person. David was no less anointed by God when serving than later when he sat on the throne” (ATR, p. 45).

I’ll leave you with Priscilla’s last words from today’s study, “Today I want to encourage you to commit your whole life to the Lord, especially if it looks drastically different than what you had in mind. Don’t despair and become frustrated in the seasons of waiting that the Lord might allow you to go through. Rather, ask Him to allow your spiritual eyes to clearly see His hand in every aspect of each season. Fully engage and rely on His Spirit to empower you to do what He has called you to do” (ATR, p. 47).

So, my prayer is that You Lord, will allow my “spiritual eyes to clearly see Your Hand in every aspect of each season.”

P.S. My last blog about my friend that is lost, well, doors may be opening and I wouldn’t have been able to share Jesus if I wasn’t working where I am working…God’s plan is so much bigger than my own!