Thursday, February 2, 2012

When Words are Not Needed

I took this today ... out towards the edge of town.  It was a glorious end to a day that spilled out the blessings of hearing God's voice and following it.  Today I chose kindness.  Today the rewards of that were incredible.  May you find beauty that all but stops your heart from beating in this world, and when you do may you take the time to just stop at the crossroads and appreciate each and every detail of it.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Keeping it Real - Even When it Means Looking in the Mirror

Sometimes we seem to miss signs that the Lord is trying to get our attention ... trying to send us a message ... trying to guide us towards something.  They catch our eye for a moment, but then are dismissed as we rush ahead on our own path.  Today when I was driving home, the words on a sign jumped into my vision and read themselves into my thoughts as I was driving past them at 45 miles an hour.  It struck me.  It resonated with me.  It drew me back to it, and in response I had to park and walk back to it and take this picture.

One's first thought at meaning might be ... "Your" life is fragile - handle it with prayer.  Most days, I would have read it that way, but today I read it differently. For right before I was embraced by these words, I was deep in thought about how short I have been on patience lately.  I have so much on my plate and never seem to get in front of the 8 ball ... to quote a friend who has been feeling the same way.  Expectations of me as a teacher these days are so high.  I work long hours and pour my heart into trying to make sure that I have done everything I can to ensure that "No Child is Left Behind."  There is so much pressure on us to achieve, achieve, achieve.  We are reminded over and over that within the next few years 100% of our kids must pass the AIMS ... and that in two years  all 3rd graders must score higher than FFB on the AIMS or they will be retained.  We are asked to fill minutes so full that the true weight of them would not fit on a dozen clocks.  And ... somewhere in all that, I have become stressed to the point that I have lost my sense of humor and find myself smiling a little less often.  I forget that I want my classroom to be a fun place ... a place where we laugh and are captivated my learning ... instead of a place where we "have to learn."  The foremost takes energy and planning ... it does not happen by chance. It is the product of the magical, creative side of teachers who can make the mundane nothing short of amazing through careful planning and is birthed bu the love of doing just that ... making learning magical.  I am that type of teacher ... but it is hard to remember that on days when I feel smothered by the pressures of the outside forces that be.  Anyway, today God was talking about that with me.  Reminding me that when my patience runs short, His runs in abundance and is there for me to drink of - if only I would ask.  That He has equipped me for this work ... woven within me the creativity to weave for these children learning in ways that ignite their innate desire to learn and create as well ... and that He is there to remind me of that when I loose sight of it ... if only I would ask.  That he breathed the passion for this career for a reason ... that He uses me to touch the deepest parts of some of these kids ... that I live on in them years after they have walked through the hallways of my school for the last time ... that he has chosen me to be a part of this ... that He can revive that passion tenfold when it begins to dim ... if I ask.  AND THEN .. OUT OF THE BLUE ... "Life is Fragile .. Handle with Care." 

"Life is Fragile ... Handle with care." for me today was God reminding me that the children that I call my students are fragile ... and when I feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and uncreative ... when I feel like I am failing and can't seem to get a second wind ... I need to handle it with prayer.   I need to remain steadfast in prayer and relinquish it all to Him ... that He might do His work through me ... and empower me to do the job that I know He has called me to.  The lives I touch every day are fragile ... I need to handle the journey with prayer.

Then I get home and decide to go on Facebook and low and behold the following picture is the first thing on my wall.  (Courtesy of Meg Bitton Photography who is amazing if you are in here area!)

And this was the caption: much more is accomplished with kindness than anger. I know that things make us angry and emotional, but remember...people make mistakes and its better to love than hate.

And ... although I am not hating people ... nor am I begrudging people of their mistakes  or trying to be unkind ... but God had a translation in this for me as well ...

Being kind is a choice it is something that needs to be done intentionally.

We have to filter everything we do through the filters of kindness and love.  We have to make sure that they are the motives behind each decision that we make ... no matter how mundane.  Take for example the following paper that I found on Pinterest.

Some of the statements in the first column can make kids feel little ... while the statements int he second column get the same message across without causing damage.  It is simply a choice of the words said ... it is  ... Being kind ... intentionally.

As you can see God was pouring signs down upon me today from all angels and venues ... and today I did not miss them.  I know that what He showed me today does not only apply to my school kids ... it applies to each and every person that is in my life. 

It is 
a way of doing business 
... a way 
of doing