Monday, September 15, 2008

A little of this, a little of that.

Ok, so six year olds are ridiculous. And sometimes ridiculously funny. Today, one of my students was having some trouble finishing his work, and was going to have to finish at recess, much to his dismay. So he thought about it for a moment after I told him the bad news, and then he said
"Mrs. Campbell, I think I know why I can't do my work. It is because my best friend Trevor is not in my class this year, and I am VERY sad about that."
I tried not to chuckle, and assured him that he would be fine, when he interrupted me by saying "You know, it could also be because my dog died."
I felt kinda bad, and so I said "I'm sorry, honey! When did your dog die?"
And he replied, matter of factly, "When I was three." AAAAGGGHHH!

He, at least, was not asking me when and where he could buy a gun like one of my other little crazies. It is a crazy world in first grade, let me tell you. You have to hang on for dear life sometimes.

In light of that, I would like to give a shout out to my good friends on the front lines of the battle field we like to call primary school, Ashley and Meghan. Way to hang in there, girls. And keep me from going insane.

Well, the Lord sure is doing a painful, wonderful work in me in this season. I am terribly exhausted from the madhouse at work, and desperate for more time with my husband (who some times seems like my only stability). And yet God seems to be fostering in me more patience, peace, and grace in spite of it. I have found myself in situations that would normally cause a nuclear explosion of my emotions, and yet my reactions exude peace, patience and grace. This is not to say, however, that I am suddenly free from the unstable temper and emotional breakdowns that have marked me in the past. They still rise up in me, and most often at the worst time. But I am trying to "[be] confident of this, that He who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ (Philippians 1:6)" I believe God is less concerned with my many defeats as He is with the smallest of my victories.

I am reading the book "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper, and it is amazing. Everyone should read it. He says that "God created us with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all the spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work not to be made much of, but to make much of Him in every part of our lives." It is definitely changing how I think about my life and the choices I make. It is just interesting to think about how often we do not treasure Jesus as an all-satisfying passion in our lives. I am so prone to treasuring other things instead of him, that "compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ" are worthless. Even the depth of intimacy I have the grace to share with my husband pales in comparison to the everlasting, soul-satisfying pleasure that comes through Jesus. I still can't really wrap my head around it, but I am still praying for the Lord to work it out in me.

And lastly, my new Scripture-prayer for this week is Psalm 63:3-"Because Your love is better than life my lips will praise You." This is awesome for times where life seems horrible, because it gives us hope that the love of Christ and the redemption found in Him holds something better for us. It can also bless us in the times of abundance and joy because the love of God is better than life even then! Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the depth of Scripture and what it means for us. I am going to pray continuously this week that I would be reminded of this truth so that I can hold fast to it as I blunder through this tough period of life.

Ok, I'm peacing out. Gotta do Social Studies lesson plans so my peeps at school can ignore them and focus on the billions of hours of math, reading, and science we are supposedly required to fit into one day! Lata.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wow

So I have never blogged before, but I have been so encouraged by the blogs of others, that I have finally decided to make one of my own, ha. I am not even really sure how people find your blog unless you tell them how, but if you have found mine, congratulations. You are better than I.

I'm Jenny. I'm a teacher, first grade AND 9th grade girls Student Bible Fellowship (awesome, by the way), and I enjoy a pretty simple little life with my amazingly gentle and strong husband, Sean. (Are you supposed to introduce yourself on here?)

The real reason I decided to start one is that I feel like the Lord has used the trials and teachings of other dear friends written out like this to encourage me, lift up my head, and remind me that I am not alone. We all struggle and we are all a mess at some point in our daily existence. And perhaps someone will be encouraged by my blurbs about my own journey with my precious Jesus (which is sometimes more of a stumble).

Well because being a teacher is probably one of the most challenging jobs in history, I am feeling a little beaten down these days. August is the worst, and getting in the swing of things is sometimes reminiscent of torture in elementary school. But my raggedness is not simply because of my job, though my job plays a large part. I feel like lately the Lord has been heavy on my heart concerning my own sin. I have always thought of myself as little else than one who belongs to Him, wholly and completely. For some of my life I may have behaved and believed like that, and it is perhaps something I have continued to believe that I am, even when I have not lived up to it. But He recently confronted me with the truth that my coworkers know little if anything about that person. I am not that person at work. Not that I am the opposite, I just don't burn in front of them. And I think the reason is that I think of it as temporary. I don't foresee myself ten years down the road in that same first grade classroom, with those same faces and rules and menial tasks. The thought of that terrifies me. There is a voice deep in my spirit that says there has to be more than that for me. (This is not a belief that there is no eternal value in the profession. I believe it is one of the only professions that actually HAS eternal value. I do not devalue it on any level, I just don't believe it to be my true and final calling.) And regardless of whether that is true for me or not, Scripture is very clear in 1 Corinthians when it says: "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." Whatever the future may hold, this is the life the Lord has assigned to me right now. I am called here. And my life is not wasted if I am a teacher forever, it is wasted if I don't live it to make much of Christ, and Him crucified. In everything. Even this.

So how do I do that? I find myself constantly asking "Why here? Why teaching? Why not singing? Why not another country? Why not movement and change?" I feel as though my passions lay dormant in me because I have no place to use them, no avenue by which to enjoy them! And yet God is silent on these matters. It is not for me to know right now, I suppose.

What is for me now, however, is to remember the faithfulness of God throughout my life. In my weakness, His power has been made perfect in me. In my brokenness, He has saved me. Every time.

So my prayer is this, that I would "be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to Him." (2 Samuel 10:12)