Friday, September 16, 2011

Refocus - Back to Work

It was back to work today for me. I took Wednesday and Thursday off (besides 3 hours of training), but went back today to give a test on prime factorization, exponents, and order of operations. Do you hear that? That's the sound of my students groaning.

And, the devil tried to break me today. I got called the first racial explicative of the year. Ugh. I hate dirty words.  

But, other than that, the day went well. I am starting to emerge from the “haze.”  The past couple weeks have felt like I was just surviving. I guess my mind was constantly preoccupied. If you have been around me lately, you probably noticed I was forgetful, introverted, and slightly lethargic-acting.  It was all I could do just to get up and drag myself to work.

Today, as I watched those little furrowed brows stare with confusion at their tests, I realize just how “absent-minded” I have been. Bless those poor babies, my heart has not been in my teaching, and that has had a bad impact on their learning. Even though I tried to “fake it,” my mind has been elsewhere.  Mrs. Powell hasn’t been the motivating, loving and inspiring teacher she should be.

So, it is time to refocus! But, not to refocus on my work or my students, but to refocus on God who has placed a calling on my life.

It is not easy to be a good teacher under normal circumstances, throw in some stress and grief and it seems almost impossible. I want to make each child feel smart, special and capable.  I want to love the unlovable.  So, I am praying to be refocused. As I refocus, the Lord reminds me:  It is not by my strength, but by His.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

God is Sovereign Still

I have debated about writing this blog, or, more specifically, how to write this blog.  During the past few weeks, I have searched for others who have wrote similar blogs and found encouragement from their stories. So, I write this hoping that someone may be encouraged, but praying, above all, that God will be glorified.

This has been a difficult year. Last September, Stephen and I decided to start a family. We conceived immediately, but lost the pregnancy in November.  We waited several months before trying again. When we did, we had a very early miscarriage, what the doctors call a chemical pregnancy  (a miscarriage before anything could have been confirmed on a sonogram).  So, we tried again. We conceived in July, and are going through another miscarriage.

This one has been physically and emotionally draining. We have been through a couple weeks where we were back and forth between “we are losing it” to “it’s going to make it.” The waiting has been difficult. This morning, the doctor confirmed that a miscarriage is “impending.”

Of course, this has been difficult for us. Grieving a miscarriage is a very lonely place. And now, I find my head swimming with questions: Will this continue to happen over and over again?  Will I ever be able to carry a baby?  How many miscarriages will I be able to take physically and emotionally? Will I get to experience the joy and excitement of expecting, or will I constantly guard my heart for fear of getting “too attached?”

I realize there are many people who have experienced much worse than this. I have read stories of miscarriages numbering 6 and higher, or the loss of pregnancies in the 2nd or 3rd trimester. I can’t even imagine. We are blessed our experience has not been worse. Still, it is tough.

I never fathomed this struggle would be a part of my life, but God has used it to teach me so much. I have come to realize the self-righteous thinking that is lurking in my heart. I have learned God’s grace doesn’t show favor and it cannot be earned. 

So, this has been a very humbling experience for me. I find myself praying for God’s grace and mercy, instead of expecting it. As I look at others who are pregnant, or who have children, I repent of my jealousy and envy and praise God for his grace in their lives that he has allowed them to have healthy children and pregnancies. I am still VERY much a work in progress. God is still growing my faith in this area, and I have not “arrived” yet.

A week or so ago, someone told me, “I hope that one day you will get to stand and say how good and faithful God is.”  They implied that I would carry a pregnancy to full term, have a healthy child, and thus proclaim that God is good. When they said this, I wanted to respond, but couldn’t get it out for the tears, so I will say it now:

God is good. Today. Right now. He doesn’t have to bless me to be good. He is.

A few days later I heard, “God is good, and when it seems he isn’t it is because He is GREAT.”

It isn't easy. But, I am clinging to the truth that God is sovereign still. I know He is good. I don’t understand why or how, but I know all of this is for His glory.

Please, Lord, use me for your glory. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Much Comfort

It has not been an easy month. I have desperately needed comfort. Much comfort.

It has been a month full of…

Starting a new routine

Asking tough questions

Resolving to trust God, but

Realizing the weakness of my faith

Praying for friends who are broken, hurting, lost, and grief sticken

Feeling like I  don’t have the words or strength to comfort those friends

Moments of hope that turn into grief

Periods of grief that turn into confusion

Feeling alone

Yearning for more faith

I have no idea what your month has been like. Maybe you also have found yourself in need of comfort. There are so many places to turn for comfort, but there is only one that truly satisfies: the God of all comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

He is our comfort. Through Him we can share comfort with others.
I am seeking to lay all my desires at the feet of Jesus. I wish to honestly desire Him more than I desire anything. I know it may hurt to give some of these things to him, but I know I will receive comfort. Much comfort.