Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Overhead Projectors and Answered Prayers

Most people who know my family know that education is in our blood. With both of my parents in the education field, some would have guessed years ago that I, too, would travel the road to teaching. As a young child, one could often find me in my bedroom/“classroom” teaching my students of dolls, using an “overhead projector” made from a window, a flashlight, a piece of wax paper, and dry erase markers.

However, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided to make teaching my own path, my career choice. Growing up, I witnessed Mom grading papers all night, staying late in her classroom, and often traveling all over to see her students participate in extracurricular activities. I saw my Dad teach, coach, and ultimately earn his spot as an administrator—but it wasn’t easy. My family lived in schools. So, when it came time to decide my future, teaching didn’t seem all that appealing anymore. I wanted to do something different, to travel down a different road—one that my parents did not.  After almost four years serving in a residential treatment home for struggling teenagers, my childhood dream of teaching more than dolls suddenly seemed to have more meaning. During this rewarding season of my life, I experienced teenagers struggle through some of the most difficult times in their lives while trying to hold their heads above water in school. Perhaps this was the beginning of my path taking a new direction. Many people had given up on those students, while a select few of us began to actually invest in and care about their lives. Eventually they began passing classes, while others accomplished a goal they never thought they would—they graduated from high school.  In fact a few weeks ago, Jeff and I received a high school graduation invitation from one of our former students - we couldn't be prouder!  Working with Jeff these last few years in youth ministry has only amplified this desire to serve students again...

After years of praying and seeking the Lord's timing - starting in August 2013, I will finally have my own classroom, with real students (not dolls) and hopefully get that overhead projector I always wanted.  I'll be starting this new career at Brownsboro ISD as their new high school speech and debate teacher.  What a journey I have ahead of me?!

I am a product today of answered prayers, God's faithfulness AND His perfect timing.  Not to mention, an even better product of two educators that have gone before me and have paved the way.  I am so thankful and blessed to now follow in their footsteps into the world of teaching!  So, please, please read this with encouragement knowing that God is always faithful, always on time and hears our prayers.  The plan you think is great - God has a way of turning it around and making it even greater - way past anything you could ever imagine or hope for.  Be patient for that.  It's well worth the wait!

Ephesians 3:20 NIV "Now to HIM who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us."


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Keep Plowing

I remember a time in my life when my Mother gave me some very short, but awfully powerful words of encouragement.  "Keep your hands to the plow..."  It was a time when a few relationships were breaking and I was somewhere between fighting to keep them or moving on without them.  This is not exactly a place anyone ever wants to be, especially someone that is so relationship-oriented as myself.  You can imagine how this decision was more than my fragile heart could take.  My emotional, physical and spiritual health began to decline and my range of focus was gone.


Mom and Dad have always been fighters for me - fighters for our family and without question have always supported us.  They also have zero problems challenging us when we're in the wrong.  They have taught us to take responsibility when needed.  And, in cases like this, taught us to move forward, with my hands to the plow and keep doing God's work - even if that meant going without some relationships.  It's a really hard lesson, but one that has stuck with me. 

In keeping with this analogy - I can't help but think, what happens when a farmer doesn't keep his hands to the plow?  His rows are uneven, his horse (the one he's leading, ironically) gets off track and the harvest suffers.  But, what happens when you DO stay the course?  Callused hands.  My husband likes to brag from time to time about his callused feet and hands because they are markings of work - tattoos of labor.  (Also another reason why he says he'll never get a pedicure - he's proud of those calluses).  Ha!

So, from one set of callused hands to another - let me share a little from this Southern girl's heart:
  • Keep your hands to the plow, especially on days that you are tired, weary and heavy-laden.  Sometimes (maybe all the time?) God does His best work when we stop depending on ourselves. 
  • Don't look behind you.  It's a dangerous journey when you start to look behind and not at what's ahead.  You could even miss out on some really great stuff. 
  • Invest in tools that help CULTIVATE your harvest. I'm not a farmer, but I would guess that they invest in the best tools to help produce the best crop.  In the same way, invest in people that help cultivate the "fruit" in your life.  Are they watering and giving you sun to your soul?
  • Callused hands can lead to a bountiful harvest.  I doubt any farmer would look at a row of trees or fruit and say - "WOW, that was so easy!  It took absolutely no labor of love."
  • Your obedience and faithfulness in doing Kingdom Work, will always pay off.  The God I serve honors those that love Him and follow Him.  Hang in there. 
So, friends - keep those hands to the plow and remember that you may be surprised what those callused hands will produce...

With Southern Love,