Saturday, December 15, 2012

WORD to your problems

I have had the honor of teaching the Wednesday night adult class at church for several weeks now. This has been happening even while I was finishing up my internship (and my degree--hallelujah!), and I have needed to overcome some serious mental and emotional stresses to be able to share.

Things did not go as expected during my internship. They all ended up well, but there were points where I wasn't sure if it was even worth finishing. It was even traumatic at a couple points.

At possibly the worst time in the experience, when I was ready to throw in the towel, crawl under the house, and sleep the world away, I had to teach on a Wednesday night.

I didn't know how I was going to be able to do it. I was struggling so much, but I'd been given a word from God through my pastor the previous Wednesday night. The word began with an acknowledgement of things I'd been through in the past, things I'd tried and failed at, things I'd never mentioned to anyone. They weren't major things, but they were significant to me--especially since I don't talk about them. Those things seemed petty in the grand scheme of things. But the word given to me that night started with God saying that they weren't petty to Him.  It was an eye-opening way of saying "Hey, before you hear what I'm going to say, you need to REALLY understand that this is ME--God, and I KNOW you."

What followed was a confirmation that I have been called to teach the Word, and that God had given me a special mantle for understanding and explaining the Word. God knew me, and had appointed me to be what I was and meant that I should know it in a very real way.

I had to deny the mental and emotional mess I was in and reject what the "evidence" around me was saying. To do this, I NEEDED that word from God. I had to know (and hold on to that knowledge) that God was happy with who I was and what I had accomplished (so far). It was one of the most difficult struggles I've gone through to date. Interestingly enough, I had also taught on rehearsing God's truths to "transform us through the renewing of our minds" that same week, so I had a bit of a pride issue going on: You know--"you just told all of them how you're supposed to get through this kind of thing, so did you believe it or were you just blowing 'pretty words' out there to sound good?"

Well, I did believe what I'd said. So I grabbed tight to it and plunged in. I got my Bible out and began studying for the lesson I was going to share that night, and within 15 minutes, I felt a supernatural peace flood through me. It was beyond my understanding. My problems were still there. I still had to deal with everything, but it was okay. I was in my "God place."  I shared all this that Wednesday night.

The next week started out well, but gradually the weight of the problems I was facing drew me down. It wasn't as bad this time, but that's like saying "he only knock out my teeth this time." The thing was, I still had that word from God, and this time, I had an experience to hold on to as well--God met me where I was, showed me that He cared, and did it in a way that showed He knew what I'd need before I needed it.

I got a call that Wednesday night to teach again. I laughed out loud. God was apparently trying to teach me something.

The same thing happened again. Not as profoundly this time, but that doesn't make it any less amazing.  I did need as much this time, but God still showed up. (Hello awesomeness!)

I have been teaching every week since, and SOMETHING crazy has happened either through the week or (for the past two weeks) something happened on Wednesday starting at about 3 PM. Two weeks ago, I was doing great. All was well, and then, around 2:30/3:00 I suddenly had a MASSIVE headache, dizziness, and exhaustion. I got home from picking up my kids from school, and hit the bed.
I woke up at about 5:30, and the first thing I thought of was "I have to teach tonight!" (Church starts at 6:30) "who can I get to cover?" But I didn't WANT someone else to cover. I truly LOVE to share God's Word.
Then I remembered the weeks that God met me when I had problems, and I decided that before I called someone else to do the class, I was going to give God the opportunity to do physically what He had done mentally/spiritually.

He did. By the time I got to church, I felt so much better, and by the end of church that night, I felt fine.

This week (LOL) At about 3, a little cough I'd been dealing with got suddenly worse, and I nearly lost my voice.  I was at a bit more than a whisper.

So, I went to my Bible and started studying. . . . . and nothing. I could be heard, but it was pretty rough. But I wasn't about to give up without a try. So I figured that I would just go, and if they couldn't hear me, or it was too unpleasant to listen to, someone else could share.

I shared, they listened, and it was good.  God didn't heal me, or do some supernatural intervention in my heart, but He DID let a guy with almost no voice, talk for an hour and share His word anyway.

A couple of people said it was one of the best messages they'd heard in a while. That, my friends, is ALL God.

Just thought I'd share. ;)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Day is done. . .

Well, I'm closing the book on another chapter of my life. I have finished my internship and turned in my last assignment. I'm just waiting for confirmation from my teacher that all is acceptable and I'm done.

It's kind of strange. I can't even begin to describe how glad I am that it's finally finished (Lord willing). But this has been a major focal point of my life for nearly five years now--this has been my "reality."

I find it difficult to trust the feeling of freedom that I want to feel right now. Something in the back of my head keeps whispering, "You don't need to get comfortable. As soon as you think you can relax, something else is going to jump up and require your undivided attention."

But here's the thing: I came into this whole "Go to school/Become a teacher" thing because I believed that God was calling me here. I STILL believe that this whole journey was God's plan. (I have learned so much about myself, and GOD, that I would gladly have gone through it all for just that). I went into this with the attitude that just because God was calling me to the Education program (Teaching Degree), that didn't mean He was necessarily going to call me to be a teacher. I was pretty sure that was what He had in mind, but He has thrown me some curve balls in the past (and I'm okay with that), but I wanted to make sure that I kept in mind that He might have other things for me to get out of the experience--other than getting a degree.

And I have gained much.
I have struggled through this process. Many times I came very close to quitting. I'm talking about standing in front of the Admin building ready to walk in and resign, email typed and ready to send, phone in hand number dialed and . . .  you get the idea.  I have been stressed to the point of illness. And I've questioned God's plan for me in this over and over.
Many times I decided that God couldn't want me to teach, so WHY should I finish this, only to have God re-kindle a passion for connecting with students or some other thing. (He repeatedly gave me what I needed to hold on "just a little bit longer.")

I finished this thing. And there is something REALLY significant about pushing through difficulties and completing a thing.

I had a chance to work in both the public schools and in the private schools, and I have come to a conclusion: I don't want to teach in a school.

As I have learned how to be a better teacher (and student), I have applied what I learned in my Christian walk. This includes the time I spent teaching the Tweens in Sunday school, and moved into the opportunities I've had teaching the adults on Wednesday nights.

I've opened up new things in my own Bible studying and been able to share those things in a way I didn't even know was possible a few years ago. I've learned so much about how to communicate with a purpose, that has helped me deliver a message that is IMPORTANT to me.

THIS is what I want to teach. I want to open up God's Word and share the AMAZING author of wondrous thing. If I'm going to pour over a text and spend time and energy preparing to share information, I want it to MEAN something. I want it to be something WORTH sharing.

I also want time to devote to the passion that I have kept buried for years and years. I want time to write the stories that dance around in my head. I feel very strongly that God has a plan for me where writing is concerned. (I'll go ahead and say that I'm prepared for this too to be a direction that could lead somewhere other than being a full-time author.)

I will have a degree, but more importantly, I'll have the education and the life experience that came with that degree.

God may call me to a classroom one day. If He does, I'll go.

For now, this chapter of my life is complete. I have but to turn the page and see what's coming next. I don't know what the future holds, and I'm not sure what paths I'll eventually travel, but I know one thing: I won't be alone, and it won't be meaningless.

Good night, everybody.
Until next time,
God bless!