Posts Tagged ‘school

06
Feb
14

Courage: I Can’t Do This Without You

We have huge opportunities in our neighborhood, in our community. But honestly sometimes I’m a little afraid. I’m nervous that I won’t do things right, that I will zone out when someone is telling me something important, that I will be confused and won’t have any idea what I’m supposed to do. And yet, God is opening doors and placing opportunities to go outside my comfort zone and offer myself. To show up. Are we willing to step beyond our little spaces and offer a cup of cold water to someone who is thirsty? (Matthew 10)

I like the thought of helping people. I like the thought of volunteering and being useful, but for me the actual doing it is the hard part. Finding the courage to step out and maybe not do things the right way, admit my lack of common sense, admit that I have a directionally challenged brain and just be willing to do what is needed and to be able to a laugh out loud at my limitations and see what God can do with them is still hard for me. But it’s really not about me or my fear, my pain, my insecurities. But what I’m learning is to show up with open hands and an open heart and see what God can do with them.

Some of us from Trinity volunteered a couple of weeks ago to help in our local school with a vision and hearing screening. We had no idea what we would be doing going in there, and I have to admit I was nervous. I talked with one of our church people when we were at the school, and she admitted she had been nervous too, and that after she originally signed up, she thought, “What in the world am I doing?” But she showed up anyway, and she did her job well. Her courage amazed me…she’s 79.

The task that I was given for the screening is one of the things I’m no good at; I had to pay attention to what I was being told and then go find different classrooms. My brain does not work at all with directions and finding stuff. I totally freeze up and cannot even pay attention to what I’m being told. But I honestly did the best I could, and I walked around and around and up and down halls and eventually found what I was looking for. It was good for me to have to try to find my way around; it was good for me to be uncomfortable. It was good for me to have to walk around the building and “own” it.

During church last week, we talked about several more opportunities to volunteer and help in our local school, and a friend came up to me and said that she wanted to do things like that, but she was afraid she wouldn’t be able to do what was asked of her. And this is what I told her…I’m scared too. But what if we do this thing together? What if we face our fears and “kumbaya” it together? There’s not only huge encouragement in it being more than just myself, but there can be real community in serving together, knowing that we’re not left alone with our fears and insecurities, knowing that the people around us are facing the same fear, different situations maybe, but the same paralyzing fear to see beyond ourselves to the world around us and to actually show up in this life we’re called to live.

We’re really in this thing together. Matthew 18: 20 says, “When two or three are gathering in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” Jesus sent His disciples out in groups of two. And it’s pretty amazing when believers are gathered the things that God can accomplish through them. He works individually as well. No doubt about that. But the sense of togetherness, the courage that God can build in a community of people who are focused on Him can be pretty amazing. The energy, the strength, not to mention the excitement of being involved in something that is bigger than ourselves and not for our own glory but for His glory is just a downright “jumping up and down for joy” kind of thing.

Paul and Silas, beaten and thrown into jail, prayed and sang praises together at midnight. The result: the jailer and his family came to know Jesus. Together. There’s something about doing stuff with other people that gives us a boost of courage. A “we’re not in this alone” kind of thing.  We’re serving Jesus together. If I fall down, there’s going to be someone there to help me get back up. I don’t have to do this stuff alone.There will be someone to sing praises with to God.

Even when Jesus went back to heaven, He told His disciples that He was not going to leave them alone. He told them that He was going  to send a Comforter who would be with them always…the Holy Spirit within them, within us to give us courage to be bold and do the things that we cannot do alone, on our own. We are “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”(Ephesians 2)  But it still takes courage to take the first step and the many steps thereafter. But we don’t have to do it alone.

So whether it’s just me and the Holy Spirit or a whole bunch of people and the Holy Spirit, God can do this thing that He’s called us to do. It’s His kingdom. He’s in charge, and I may not know the specifics of what I am supposed to be doing all the time, but I know this: God has called me to this life, and He’s called me to give this life away for Him, and this absolutely begins in my home and with my family. He may be calling me to other things as well, but it starts with the people closest to me and works its way out. Jesus says in Matthew 5 that we are to let our light shine, so the good works (you know, the ones that God created that we just have to walk in) point people to God and bring Him glory.

I don’t have a lot of courage. I don’t particularly love doing new things. But I know God can do this thing through me (whatever the thing is He’s calling me to do at the time), and it’s even more exciting to see when He does it through others. And then, when we all join hands and hearts and do it together, I almost come out of my skin with joy.

Courage bleeds neediness.

Courage sees hope in dark places.

Courage leans heavy on Jesus and moves in the middle of fear. –Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways, 136

16
Mar
13

Not the Path I Would Have Chosen

When Jeff and I moved to Nashville almost six years ago, we came here to help a struggling school. When that school closed down four years ago, we had no idea what to do with our five children (ages 4-12 at the time) who attended that school. It was sad to see so many families struggle with where they would send their kids to school, as well.

Feeling like we had no other options, we went ahead and homeschooled. We had homeschooled several years earlier when our older boys were younger, so I knew we could do it, but I didn’t really want to, to be perfectly honest.

After the school closed down, my plan was to home school our kids for a couple of years and then find a  private school our kids could attend. So, for me, homeschooling was a very temporary thing, to say the least. I love my kids, but I didn’t want to hang with them every day, all day long.

We survived homeschooling for two years, and then that next summer I begged God to release me from homeschooling my kids. I was done. When I realized He was not answering my prayers for release, I realized I might be in this for the long haul, and instead of fighting it, I chose to embrace it.

I had a decent relationship with my kids. I was physically present and took care of them, but I struggled with being emotionally present a good deal of the time. For years, I struggled with emotional affairs, always looking for greener grass elsewhere and not satisfied with God or what He had given me.

But a few years ago, God really began doing His healing work in me, and I began to have victory in an area that I thought I would struggle with for the rest of my life. As a result of His healing, I now had the time and the emotional energy to invest in my kids and began being in real relationship with them, not just passing them in the hall or cleaning up after them or even teaching them school.

We began talking and haven’t stopped yet…real conversations about God, about the stuff that they feel and what they’re going through on a daily basis. We laugh; we joke; we play games; we talk. Jeff and I love sitting in our dining room in front of the fire talking and hanging out with our kids. It is truly one of the best parts of my life.

I’m not a creative home school mom who comes up with fun activities for my kids to do, and my kids would probably say homeschooling is pretty boring for the most part. But what I’ve found in being around my kids all day long and them being around each other is that I would not exchange the relationships I now have with them and the ones they have with each other for anything in the world. It’s a gift from God. And I am just so incredibly grateful.

I would not have chosen this path for myself, but I’m thankful for my loving Abba who chose it for me and gently pushed me down it. He really does know what best for me, for all of us.

And those years the locusts ate…they’ve been reclaimed and restored many times more than I could possibly have imagined.

I will lead the blind by a way they did not know;
I will guide them on paths they have not known.
I will turn darkness to light in front of them
and rough places into level ground. (Isaiah 42)

23
Sep
08

Does Jesus Care About A School?

When we moved from Alabama to Nashville last year, Jeff came to be the principal of Pioneer Christian Academy, the school he graduated from 20 years ago. Jeff never imagined being a principal of a school, and I certainly never imagined being married to a principal. But we knew that this is where Abba was sending us, and we saw Him part the Red Sea to get us here.

Pioneer is a school that has been around for 40 years on the Northside of Nashville near Goodlettsville, but not many in the community seem to know about it, and it’s a miracle if you can even find it. If you happen to stumble across it, it is one of those weird God-things, and funny thing is, there have been quite a few of those in the last year…I see Abba’s hand all over this place.

Pioneer’s legacy has been one of legalism all wrapped up in fear, from the sign in the principal’s office that said, “Be sure your sin will find you out,” to the faculty and students walking around on eggshells, fearful that they were going to cross over some very real imaginary line. The fear and condemnation have been thick, so much so that some alumni and former students refuse to even step foot on campus because they cannot stand what the school used to represent for them.

The school has really struggled and has been more or less coasting for the last 10 years. It’s hard to run a school in neutral. So Pioneer needed a jump start, and Jeff was coming to literally shift it out of neutral and turn it in another direction.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have a hard time dealing with change, and some people seem to like neutral. Some would rather have something stay unhealthy than to be a part of growth and change…change is very uncomfortable for me as well, but I’m learning it is a necessary part of being alive…otherwise life is lived in an unhealthy coma-like state.

And Pioneer is no exception. It has to grow and change, and Jeff sees a vision for it to be other than it is. So, Jeff talked about his vision for the school, but, instead of the school growing, it actually decreased in attendance. But the ones who left, teachers and students alike needed to go…no hard feelings or anything…just going a different direction.

Pioneer is a school that’s quickly growing a heart, among other things and only those who can see past surface things, like old carpet and Pepto-Bismol pink walls, will truly get it. But for those that do, it’s like an unexpected gift…it’s actually becoming a place where the students want to be, and that in itself says a whole lot.

This year, there are teachers teaching at the school because Abba brought them…that’s all there is to it. I look around and think, why in the world are these amazing people here? But maybe this thing is bigger than a school…maybe it’s about seeing Christ in each other, about embracing our diversity, and loving each other in the process.

But right now at Pioneer, finances are a serious issue, due to the lack of students. My faith is big in some areas, but finances have always thrown me for a loop. I have fear and doubt all mixed in with questioning whether Abba can really provide for a school or even if He wants to. So I’ve been asking the question does Jesus care about a small school on the Northside of Nashville?

I was at a Moms in Touch group the other morning where we pray for our school, the faculty, and our kids. And one of the other moms really believes that Abba is going to provide for the needs of the school. I told her that I had my doubts, and I asked her if she thought her faith was big enough for the both of us. She told me it takes the faith of a mustard seed, and I think that’s about all I’ve got right now…

I know it’s often thought tacky to talk about money…maybe it is…maybe it isn’t. But I don’t think Jesus thought it was, because He says, “Ask and it will be given to you.” And I tend to think this phrase also includes money or students or whatever the need is…I have a hard time asking for things…I hate it, really…I grew up thinking that asking for stuff was presumptuous, but clearly, that is my own issue… 

So, Jesus, I’m asking. I’m asking that a school that cannot get enough of You these days is able to remain open. I’m asking that You provide the money or the students or both so that these adults and little ones alike can see You, can experience Your power, can feel Your presence move and are mindful that You are the One doing it. Provide the daily bread or part the Jordan River…we’re like the Israelites standing on the shore in the middle of flooding season and see no way to cross on our own. Our strategizing and our planning are all in vain if You’re not in it. But I see You, and I know that You can provide what is necessary if this is Your will. I am already grateful for what You have done in us and through us and in our midst. Help us see You and experience You in a way that a school never has before. Help us be a light in our community that points people to You, Abba, because knowing You and experiencing You are what it’s all about, and the school is just a small part of it. But I’m here, and I’m asking because we need You more than anything…

I got one of those e-mail cards for my birthday, and at the end of the card, Eph 3:20 came across the screen…”God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine.” So, right now, in the middle of all my fear and all my doubt, I’m praying and hoping that Abba will provide the miracle that will keep the school’s doors open, that He will do the “far more than we can imagine.”

And, yes, I still have my doubts because humanly speaking it looks bad. But I know this for sure that Abba is bigger than my fear, bigger than my doubts, and really it’s not about me anyway…my faith or lack of faith. But I have a feeling that whatever happens, it’s going to be one of those things that when I finally see what’s really going on, I’m either going to be falling on my face in gratitude or dancing till my head pops off…

“Word of God speak,
Would you pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty.
To be still and know
That you’re in this place…
Word of God speak.”

www.pioneerchristianacademy.org




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