My classroom called life…Kingdom lessons

My desire is to abide

PR30 – Day22 March 17, 2010

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PR30 – Day 22 (March 16)

Sound

Music is powerful. It touches our hearts in a deep place. It moves our spirit. It inspires. It allows us to reflect, worship, communicate, and release our emotions.

I was made to worship Him, and part of that includes music. That’s not all of course, but that’s part of worship. Through music, through song, through instruments, I long to worship the King in Spirit and truth.

There is power in music. Sound waves can literally shift the climate. I’m not talking anything weird or hocus-pocus. As I listened to Ray Hughes messages on worship, I was struck with the science of music and sound waves. I don’t quite understand the details of all of the science behind music and sound waves, but I am excited to learn more about it all, it is truly fascinating.

Look at the Bible story from 2 Chronicles 20, when King Jehoshaphat went to battle. The Lord instructed him to put the worshipers in front of the army. What? That seems strange, huh? But, that was the Lord’s battle plan…so who is going to argue with that? Let’s have a little faith people. If God tells us to do something, we better do it. Come on! Check out what happened when King Jehoshaphat obeyed the Commander and Chief…

He told them they would not have to fight in this battle, that it was the Lord’s to fight. That’s what I’m talking about! Do you have battles in your own life right now? Do you struggle with things that you know the Lord wants to give you victory over? I have a good friend who gives me the following advice when I am in a “battle” of sorts, “Praise Him Heather, just praise Him.” Haha, I love it! The first time she said it, it caught me off guard. Now, I’ve begun to embrace this mentality. Not all the time, but I am learning. When I am in a place of struggle, I want to see past it, already see His glory on it, already see VICTORY!

I wish to praise Him on the battlefield.

 

PR30 – Day 20

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 5:07 pm

PR30 – Day 20 (March 14)

 

Excellence

“Heather, there is a difference between excellence and perfection.” These words were spoken to me by my supervisor five years ago while I was working with a ministry over the summer. They have stuck on me like superglue ever since. For some reason, I have struggled with perfectionism for the majority of my life…until that point. I felt I had to do things perfect, or I didn’t even want to try. I would keep at it, critiquing myself along the way. Not wanting any type of mistake, blemish, or mark on what I was doing, just wanted it to be perfect. It didn’t matter what it was…dance, artwork, school work, projects, performances, my job responsibilities, planning, preparation, relationships…basically everything. I would beat myself up when things were less than perfect. Not a way to live. Pretty stressful at times. Such pressure. Since this person has given this advice, I have learned to strive for EXCELLENCE and not perfection. There is only one who is perfect, and that certainly is not me. I desire to be a woman of excellence…with this there is freedom. Freedom to make mistakes, to learn and grow from them.

Lord, help me to live a life of excellence. I desire to be excellent at loving people as you do. It’s all about love. You are more concerned with my heart motives behind the thing, than the thing itself.

Let me move in a heart of love.

 

“Whatever you do, work heartily as for the LORD and not men, knowing that from the LORD you will receive the inheritance as your reward.  You are serving the LORD Jesus Christ.”

Colossians 3:23

 

PR30 – Day 16 March 11, 2010

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PR30 – Day 16 (March 10)

The F.O.G.
The “Favor of God”, you know what I’m talking about.  It comes up in those random times at work when you just have these rediculously awesome things happen and someone might ask you, “How in the WORLD did that happen?”  You simply say, “It’s the FOG!”  Yea, I like that!  Really, I am not trying to be silly.  This is for real.  Esther was raised up for “such a time as this” and she responded to authority and honored authority, she had some major FOG going on in her life. 

It can show up in many different ways.  It doesn’t always have to be tangible and physical although it might just manifest in that fashion. 

Here are a few definitions from Websters Dictionary:

1.  something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act: to ask a favor.

2. friendly or well-disposed regard; goodwill: to win the favor of the king.

3. the state of being approved or held in regard: to be in favor at court; styles that are now in favor.

4. excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment: to treat some people with favor and others with neglect.

5. a gift bestowed as a token of goodwill, kind regard, love, etc., as formerly upon a knight by his lady.

Next time something just seems too good, just praise God.  It’s His favor shining down on you.

Also, remember to handle the FOG with some serious humility.  It’s nothing to flaunt or take pride in.  Just praise Him and be thankful for the FOG.

 

PR30 – Day 13 March 10, 2010

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PR30 – Day 13  (March 7)

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”
Proverbs 27: 17

It is so good to have people in your life that can speak truth to you.  People that are not afraid to tell it like it is, even when they know it will be hard for you to hear.  It is good!  You know those friends that will just speak it. Sometimes you leave frustrated, sometimes you leave encouraged, but you always leave changed.  This whole process is something I have come to appreciate more since living in community with roommates (since college).

I encourage you to listen, to receive, to be humble when someone is sharing with you an area in which you are growing.  It’s okay.  We are not perfect.  We know the perfect One and are being made more in his image daily.  Don’t beat yourself up, just listen and allow the Spirit to change you from the inside out.  He cares about our hearts, our motives, those deep things that are unseen.

“Better is open rebuke than hidden love.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” ~Proverbs 27:5-6

 

PR30 – Day 12 March 7, 2010

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PR30 – Day 12 (March 6)

Creative Expression

When I was a little girl, I was constantly creating and expressing myself.  Whether I was dancing in the kitchen, doing gymnastics with my sister in the living room, painting, drawing, writing stories, creating scrapbooks, or playing teacher…it was free-flowing.  As I got older, I tended to be more reserved in creative expression.  Having a bit of fear…will people accept me, is this good, am I beautiful?  I think this is something many teenagers and young adults face as they question their creative expression.  We tend to want acceptance and some of that freedom disappears.  Fear dissolves freedom.  Lately, I have been reclaiming my creative side.  Yes!  God is a creator and He lives inside of me by His Spirit, so I have the capacity to create and express.  Amen.  This is true for you too!

There is a passion deep within me.  A passion to be an ambassador of Heaven in expressing the Kingdom here on the Earth.  There is a passion for mobilizing youth in the arts for worship.  There is a passion within me to raise them up.  I feel it deep on the inside. 

Do I know how this looks? 

Do I understand what steps to take? 

Not really.

I know the one who will  guide me.

This morning, I listened to a podcast from Expression58 (www.expression58.org) titled, “Kingdom of Creativity”.  Oh, wow!  My heart was stirred.  Wow!  This is my heart.  This is my destiny.  I was created to worship Him in spirit and truth.  This message is my heart. 

 

 

Things shift in the spiritual environment when we worship, when we create, when we express the God in us. 

 

PR30 – Day 11 March 5, 2010

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 8:56 pm

PR30 – Day 11 (March 5)
SURPRISES

I pretty much love surprises!  Random special presents are my favorite!  They don’t even have to be that big of a deal and I get all giddy excited.  Little notes, random “happenings” throughout the day, blessings, divine appointments…whatever the surprise is, I just LOVE IT!  So, not many people share this type of love language…or so it seems.  Perhaps they do, but they don’t realize it yet.  Either way, when it happens to me, I just get filled with butterflies on the inside, I can’t help it. 

For the last couple years leading up to my Birthday, I have done a countdown of sorts.  It was called the SMG Experiment, which stood for, “Surprise Me God”.  It was great.  Each day I took notice of those special presents from my Father.  Sometimes tangible, sometimes a lesson learned, and other times a divine appointment to bless someone (or be blessed).  Simply precious.  If you are interested in reading some of those past memories, you can look back at my blog under Surprise Me God.  I even encouraged others to do the experiment along with me. 

I wanted to share some fun/random surprises that have been coming my way lately (no particular order)…

  • I get to see many friends and family around my 30th Birthday which is coming up March 31st.  I will be going to MN/WI for a YouthWorks training right before my Birthday, which will not only allow me to see my family/friends, meet new friends, and also experience training at the YMCA camp where I worked for 9 months as an Outdoor Educator/Teambuilding Facilitator.
  • On my Birthday I hope to have some fun festivities planned with friends around Cairo.
  • After my Birthday and over Easter week (Spring Break), I will be headnig out to Redding, CA to visit my close friends of mine.
  • I won a trip to the Bahamas!
  • I won a $100 gift package from IHOP KC after putting my name in the drawing at the Forerunner African American Aliance table.
  • My students are sharing prophetic dreams they are having, which is always fun.  Sometimes they are about them, sometimes about me.
  • One of my students just recieved the gift of tongues (not in class..although that would be fun too – haha).
  • I keep seeing reminders that God has me here for a purpose.
  • God is moving in my family bringing restoration!
  • My friend Peter wrote a blog about me and my experience in Cairo.
  • This summer I get to work as an AD in California and Colorado!  Super pumped about going back to work with YW and in three amazing locations!  I will also be able to connect with some friends in Cali. while I am there.  A good friend of mine is the Youth Director at the church in San Fran we are staying at!
  • I am really enjoying the opportunity to serve on the worship team…I’m learning how to harmonize.  Yay!
  • I love how God connects people…I have some new friends in the area that I know God has connected me with for divine purpose.
  • I was given a FREE netbook while taking two classes for professional development (the classes are also FREE).
  • My good friend Amanda is bringing her college ministry down to Cairo for a mission trip in a couple weeks.
  • I was asked to be in two close friends’ weddings coming up in the next year!  I LOVE WEDDINGS!  How wonderful to stand beside these sisters on their special day.
  • Building closer relationships with people at work…going out to eat…working out together.
  • Starting off the day in morning prayer with a couple teachers (and my mentor when he is in Cairo).  Thank you for U-N-I-T-Y.
  • A good friend of mine has been subbing for me in the classroom when I am out.  Thank you Ms. Terry!
  • Every other week, my co-worker leaves a dozen eggs on my desk from his chickens. 
  • I had the opportunity to take some of the high school students to an Eddie James worship deal in Paducah.  We had a blast!
  • One class watched “Horton Hears a Who” and another watched “Bella” after ISAT this week.
  • I have seen the attitudes change of a few of my students in the past couple weeks.  PTL!
  • Meeting amazing parents and partnering with them brings me joy.
  • Living with four wonderful people and walking through life together…and of course Stacy and Jesse not too far away. 🙂

 

Hmmmm…what else?  There are too many blessings to name, but these are just a few.  I encourage you to reflect on the blessings in your life.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

~James 1:17

 

PR30 – Day 10 March 4, 2010

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PR30 – Day 10 (March 4)

Abiding

Jesus speaks:

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he  it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

(John 15:5)

 

I so long to be in this place, all the time.  Abiding.  Being the branch.  Connected to my vine.  I need to be fed and nourished through that vine.  The vine is my lifeline.  The vine is my source.  Without the vine I would die.  The only place where I can bear fruit is connected to my lifeline. 

 

The fruit that I’m talking about includes some of the following: love, joy peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  Do I want more of that?  Yes please!  The fullness of God is available to me, so of course these sweet fruits are also available to me.  The more I abide, the more I get hooked up.  Thank you Jesus! 

 

PR30 – Day 9 March 3, 2010

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 10:21 pm

PR30 – Day 9 (March 3)

Thanksgiving for the journey of becoming a Teacher…

As I sit here in class, my students are quietly taking their ISAT (Statewide standardized test).  I ponder the things that have happened this last year of my life.  It is such a wonderful surprise to me that I am a Teacher.  A Junior High Math Teacher.  Life has a strange way of coming full circle.  What I mean is this…God never starts something in your life that He doesn’t intend to finish. 

I studied and prepared myself at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse to be a Teacher.  When I was younger, I always pictured myself teaching…maybe it was because my grandmother taught, or maybe it was because I liked bossing the other kids around when we played school together.  Either way, I just had it in me to teach in some capacity.  While in college I started really embracing the Lord and living my life for Him.  During that time, I realized there were so many other things that I could do with my life.  My passion shifted from teahing to desiring to become a Missionary.  I had a heart for the nations and wanted to interact with people from other lands as I shared the love of Christ with them.  It was hard to picture myself teaching in one classroom and being so stationary.  My student teaching experience came during my last quarter of school and it was okay.  I wish I could say I had a wonderful experience, but it wasn’t that way.  My cooperating teachers were amazing and I enjoyed working with the students, it just wasn’t my passion.  After that little adventure, I was pretty certain it would take a miracle to get me back in the classroom. 

So, here I am, a Teacher.  I can honestly say that this has probably been one of the most challenging years of my life, but also one of the most refining and rewarding.  My students teach me everyday.  They teach me how to love.  They teach me how to extend compassion.  They teach me how to perservere.  They teach me patience.  They teach me how to discipline.  In many ways, I believe they are even preparing me to be a parent (when that time comes).
As I take this moment to refelct, I want to thank you God for giving me this amazing privilege to teach these teenagers.  Forgive me for complaining about all the hard things I have had to endure here.  I embrace this season and ask for continued grace, strength, perserverance, and most of all LOVE.  Thank you for this gift and help me to always see this experience as such.

 

PR30 – Day 8

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 6:51 pm

PR30 – Day 8 (March 2)

Hmmm…what to write about?  Jesus, what do you want me to share this morning?  I know, I am a day behind, but I’m about to catch up with this blogging assignment. 

Life is all about CHOICES

I talk to my students about this all the time.  Just the other day I was reflecting with a friend about the life choices that brought me to Cairo.  Little did I know that decision would bring me to the place I am now.  I thought I was making a year committment to be a missionary in this little town in Southern IL…I had no idea for the adventure that lay ahead.  Really, I would have laughed if God would have told me I would still be here five years later…and teaching!  Ha!  That was far from my mind at the time.  I am thankful that He guides my steps, if I listen.  I can choose to let Him guide me, or I can choose my own path.  He loves me so much that He allows me to make my own choices about where to go and what to do…but He always has my BEST in store when He gently leads. 

When faced with making choices – whether life changing or small…I ask you…what is the determining factor?  We are all faced with 100’s of decisions to make every single day.  Not all super significant, but some will touch your life and hopefully another’s.  Consider your decisions, consider your path, consider where God has brought you and the purposes that He has for your life. 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  You will seek me and find me.  When you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you declares the Lord.”

~Jeremiah 29:11-14

 

PR30 – Day 7

Filed under: PR30 — charredsmore @ 10:13 am

PR30 – Day 7 (March 1)

Places to call Home

In my short (almost) 30 years, I have had the amazing opportunity of living in many diverse states and environments.  In each of these places, I have come to appreciate different cultures and people.  Living in community with other people really teaches you a whole bunch and refines you.  I will have to write a whole blog about this community living thing to share some thoughts.  I’m definitely a fan! 

Here are a few of the unique places I have lived:

  • Grew up in White Bear Lake, MN
  • College at the University of WI- La Crosse
  • Lived at a YMCA Camp for almost a year while working as an Outdoor Educator/Teambuilding Facilitator (WI)
  • Lived in Lake Tahoe, CA for a summer doing mission work (yes, it was mission work)
  • Lived in Boulder, CO for a summer as I worked with a youth ministry.
  • Lived in a Teacher’s Lounge of an old shut down school during my first summer with YouthWorks in West Virginia.  For real, it was a Teacher’s Lounge.
  • Lived in a church classroom while working my second summer with YouthWorks in Alamosa, CO.
  • Lived in community with some amazing peeps in Cairo, IL for the past five years.
  • Various mission trips throughout the years: Detroit, Panama City Beach, New Orleans,  Biloxi,  Hungary (Europe), Jerez (Mexico), and Mozambique (Africa).

I am thankful for each place, the people I have met, and the lessons learned.  Thank you God for giving me the opportunity to travel to so many different places.

This summer, I will have new adventures in San Fran, San Diego, and Denver!