My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

PR30 – Day 5 February 28, 2010

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 8:47 pm

PR30 – Day 5 (February 27)

CELEBRATE

On Friday we had our Black History Program at the Junior High/High School.  It was powerful and touched my heart.  Students shared poetry, song, dance, lip sync routines, and we had a few alumni students come to share their theatrical talent with us, along with a student from SIU who gave a powerful speech.  There is so much swirling in my mind right now about this topic of celebrating African-American History that words can not really express in this blog what is going on deep on the inside of me.  In addition to this celebration, I have been reading a couple books on this topic as well.

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

What’s Wrong with Being Black by Matthew Ashimolowo

The more I am learning, the more I realize I didn’t know, that I am unaware, that I am ignorant of certain issues.  We question so many things about a culture or people group in looking at statistics or our own neighborhoods, but do we recognize our own sin?  Do we recognize the generational oppression that has been placed on a people?  Do we even want to open our eyes to these struggles and recognize patterns in our own behavior?  It’s deep.  It’s hard to face.  It makes me weep. 

In class on Friday after the program I had the students gather their desks in a circle and we discussed some things.  We talked about what impacted them from the program.  I asked them what stereotypes they have heard about “black people” and how it makes them feel.  I have a biracial student in my class and she spoke about the struggle she faces representing both cultures, but not feeling totally embraced by either one.  I shared my heart in working in Cairo and my frustrations in seeing so much talent, so much potential…but seeing apathy and disregard.  Tears were rolling down my face as I shared with one particular class how much power, potential, and talent they have within themselves and don’t even realize it. 

 “Do you even know who you are?  You are powerful.  You are strong.  You can impact this community.  You can impact this nation and beyond!”

 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

  

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”

-1 Timothy 4:12

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PR30 – Day 4

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 8:21 pm

So, I am behind a little in my blogging.  Oops.  Things got a bit busy this week, but here I go, I’m catching up.

Day 4 (February 26)

Love…it’s all about LOVE!  Sometimes Christians get trapped into this, “ministry” mindset…about doing for the Lord…about serving the Lord.  I’m not saying those are bad things, but what I am saying is that my perspective has shifted.  Really, to me, it is more like, “doing WITH the Lord” and “serving WITH the Lord”.  I mean, what can I do for Him anyway?  I can love Him back…in my heart, in my words, and in my actions.  We get to choose to love Him back.  Isn’t that amazing?  We get to respond to His love towards us.  And we get to show others that love too. 
Here are some verses on love that compel me, that really stir me on the inside to know His love more and more and to be propelled in that love as I move forward.

 

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  -1 John 4:18

  

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  Colossians 3:13-15

 

As for these verses found in 1 Corinthians, I sometimes replace the word love with my name and read it.  If I have love, all of those things should be true of me.  I’m not there yet, a work in progress. 

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”

-1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

PR30 – Day 3

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 8:08 pm

PR30 – Day 3 (February 25)

Word of the day…DISCIPLINE.

A good father discipline’s the children He loves.  I know He loves me, therefore I know He disciplines me.  I am afraid to even think about where I would be without His loving discipline. It isn’t the most pleasant thing to go through, however the ending outcome is us looking a bit more refined, and looking more like Jesus.  Is it worth it?  I say yes.  When I look around at children who are not disciplined at home, I see rebellion, and lots of it.  It makes me sad that these young people would choose certain actions that only cause pain to themselves and others.  A life without discipline is a life of pain and hurt to yourself and others.

When I discipline my seventh and eighth graders at school, I remind them,

“When Ms. C disciplines you, she still cares about you.”  I guess we all need that reminder that discipline is for our good and comes from people who truly love us.

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of His reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

Proverbs 3:11-12

 

PR30 – Day 2 February 24, 2010

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 6:43 pm

 

Here we are PR30 – Day 2 and already I am so pumped about this little experiment.  I am sitting here in my bedroom typing on my little netbook (by the way, I  received this netbook for FREE while taking a class, which is also FREE), all ready for work with my cup of coffee…pondering the GOODNESS of our GOD!  He is so good!  I am not just saying that either, I’m really feeling it on the inside when I write these words.  Forgive me Lord for complaining at times, when you are so stinkin’ good to me!
Okay, okay, before I start preaching…focus, Heather, focus.   For day 2, I am feeling lead to talk about perseverance.  This can only become part of me, part of my character through some hands on experience.  I bet you can think back in your own life to certain things that have grown perseverance too.  It’s not fun or easy, but in the end you take a deep breath and say, “WOW, I think that was worth it.”  You become stronger, more secure in your foundation of what makes you you.  Of course, I have a long way to go in this area, and really I have no idea what the saints go through in other places where there is extreme persecution.  I’m not even comparing.  I’m just simply reflecting on how my “classroom called life” has brought me to really appreciate the process of perseverance.

The most recent lesson in this has been living and working  in Cairo, for the past (almost) five years.  I LOVE living here…but I also dislike it at times.  It can be very frustrating coming against the spiritual darkness that exists here.  I get frustrated for me, for the students, for their parents, just everyone involved.  The coolest verse on this topic that has really helped me to stand strong in the midst of all of this has been Romans 5:1-5.

Romans 5:1-5:

 1Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Through him we have also obtained access by faith  into this grace  in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

 

 

This is the ESV, for more depth read the amplified version (www.biblegateway.com).

The promise here I must hold onto is this…

Trails = perseverance = Character = Hope = 

No disappointment because God’s love is poured into my heart through His Spirit.

 

So, ponder that for a moment the next time you find yourself in a nasty situation…your character is being developed, along with HOPE…and you won’t finish in a state of disappointment.  Praise God!

 

PR30 – Day 1 February 23, 2010

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 6:39 pm

What is PR30? 

 So glad you asked.  Let me fill you in.   For the last few years I have always done some type of countdown to my Birthday.  Mostly in the form of the “SMG” experiment which is “Surprise Me God”.  This time, I decided to do something a bit different. 

PR30 stands for “Project Reflection to 30”.  I will take the next 36 days until my 30th (yes, 30th) Birthday to reflect on God’s goodness, blessing, favor, grace, and growth in my life and also keep my eyes open for new areas He is working.  I’m excited about it, as it will only bring me closer to Him.  Lately, things have been a little frustrating here in Cairo…so I am going to fight off the enemy with some PRAISE!  Here we go…

PR30 Day 1

As I reflect on God’s goodness in my life, I can not help but remember when He first revealed Himself as Savior.  I grew up going to church, I was pretty involved, lead the younger ones, mission trips, VBS, the whole bit…but something was missing.  I was a “good girl” at church and did the right thing, but with my high school friends it was another story.  Here was the reality…I didn’t even understand WHO Jesus was to me.  Sure, I had heard some Bible stories, and even shared them with the younger ones…but there was NO revelation for me.  I remember being asked in Sunday school to read a scripture…I felt like I was reading another language.  It was that abstract and foreign to me.  Until…God broke into my life!  Amen.  Now, I think He was always at work and bless their hearts for serving Him and speaking truth to us young people…I was just deaf. 

While in college I was invited to go to this campus ministry dealio.  Of course, I always had excuses…”I’m too busy”, “I don’t know anyone there,” “I have a speech due tomorrow”.  You get the idea.  Finally, after a whole semester of being invited, I decided I would go.  It was time.  I went, it was great.  It wasn’t so much the people, or the community, or the joy that made me turn my head (although those things were present), but the message about Christ.  For maybe the first time in my life, I heard who JESUS was to ME.  I mean, I really heard, my ears were opened.  It was like a light bulb went on.  Later that week someone from the staff team came over to my res. hall to chat about what happened that night (I had filled out a comment card and they responded).  Of course, I was a bit nervous, didn’t really know what to expect.  Talking about God?  This wasn’t really my normal everyday conversation.  When JJ described to me how I was separated from God, my sin, God’s love, His plan for redemption, His provision through Jesus…it all clicked.  That was the day I surrendered my heart over to the one who rescued me from sin.  That was the day my new life began. 

I wish I could say it was all roses and butterflies after that moment.  It wasn’t. I still struggled with some things from the past…it really took a semester for me to get off the fence and really surrender everything.  But looking back, every day is a day to surrender.  It’s not like a moment…it’s an everyday choice to yield to truth, to justice, to righteousness, to the King.  That is my desire…to yeield to my King in all of my imperfections.

“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost,  but now am found, was blind but now I see.”