Posted in Devotion, Gratefulness

Rejoice Always

This time of year leaves me feeling drained, which can very easily drain me of my joy. I see the exhaustion taking its toll on my students as well. They and I lack motivation, often complain, and wonder if we’ll ever catch a break in the schedule. It’s the fourth week of school, and it can be very easy to forget Philippians 4:4-8.

This set of verses is the focus for my classes this year. It doesn’t directly relate to my content, but it does directly relate to our attitudes surrounding English class and life in general. It’s very easy to get discouraged, worry, or complain, but these verses remind us that there is always a reason to rejoice in God. We simply need to replace the negative thoughts with “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, anything with excellence, and anything worthy of praise”.

This morning I woke up feeling kind of under the weather physically, tired (in spite of going to bed at 9 pm), and unmotivated to face the day. As soon as I recognized that attitude in myself, I realized that I couldn’t let that negativity seep into my students. In order to combat that today, I started each class by asking the students what they could rejoice about today. Many said answers such as waking up, winning a game, or being one day closer to fall break. My attitude took a turn for the positive as a result of this simple exercise. Ultimately, we were able to remember that we can always rejoice in God because he is awesome!

(As a fun bonus, extol was one of our words of the day, so we were also able to talk about extolling God.)

Posted in Devotion, Gratefulness

Replacing thoughts

Worry and fear are often what separate me from God’s presence. The devil knows that I am susceptible to worry, fear, and over analyzing situations, so in order to keep me from worshipping God, he plants little thoughts into my brain. Through reading Max Lucado’s book, Anxious for Nothing, I am reminded that the fastest way to destroy those worrisome thoughts is to fix my eyes back on God.

In Philippians 4:8, Paul gives a formula for thinking in order to achieve his difficult command to “rejoice in the Lord always… Do not be anxious about anything.” (Philippians 4:4,6). He says, “finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”.

Lucado gives the example of a woman in a difficult situation who found something within her situation that applied to each of these qualifications. While I can’t take credit for this idea, praying to God following these qualifications seems brilliant. I think when I find myself worrying or over thinking, I’ll try to focus on this scripture.

(Sorry the picture is sideways)

Posted in Gratefulness, Life

God and I

God and I went on an adventure together today. It was a bit muddy and slick and totally delightful. As followed the trail markers through the quiet forest, he reminded me that he has given me trail markers in life as well to keep me on the path. My heart panged a bit as I saw a couple taking engagement photos, but God reminded me that no matter my marital status he is more than enough to satisfy me. A child’s shriek of fright and the mother’s reassurance as they climbed a hill put a smile on my lips, and God reminded me that he’s given me much to smile about. All in all it was a good day basking in God’s beauty. Enjoy the pictures below and remember how much God loves you.

Cumberland Falls, Kentucky

Posted in Gratefulness, Life

Celebrating the Connections

“Woah oh we need each other.” (Sanctus Real) How true that statement is. Even as an introvert, I still need to get out and socialize. As I’ve been overwhelmed by classwork and other responsibilities this week, I’ve realized this even more.

This past week in class we read a story by Ray Bradbury called “The Pedestrian”. In this science fiction short story, a lone man walks the streets in a futuristic city. He’s stopped by a police car, questioned, and eventually taken to the Psychiatric Center for Regressive Tendencies. His “regressive tendencies”? He writes; he walks; he doesn’t own a tv; he isn’t married. These may not seem very “regressive” to our society, but in a society where people go to work and then come home to watch their viewing screens in darkened silence, this behavior is abnormal. In fact, the main character has not seen another person walking in the ten years he’s been walking the streets. The message of this story is clear: we can very easily allow technology to deaden and isolate us to the point that what was once viewed as normal begins to be viewed as regressive. The fact stands that people need each other.

I’m grateful for all of the people in my life, whether I met them 25 years ago, a few weeks ago, or somewhere in between. I appreciate the relationships God has give me whether I speak to certain people daily or only occasionally. This weekend I was especially grateful for the friends I made in college and maintained relationships with. Here are some highlights of our time together.

*The bottom two photos are borrowed from friends (Clare and Amanda). Kudos to these ladies for helping to document the trip.

Now get out and appreciate the people God has put into your life.

Posted in Gratefulness, Life

It all points to God

I’ll never claim to be scientifically astute or even intelligent, but as I toured the NOAA where my brother is working this summer, one thought kept running through my mind, well maybe two.

1. These people here are very intelligent and passionate to be able to spend their lives watching these computer screens and predicting weather and space patterns. I’ll stick with my line of work because I think I’d go crazy here.

2. I’m sure all of the work they do has value in my life somehow, but the tour really impressed on me that there has to be a Creator with an intelligent design. When the scientist was talking about the Earth’s electromagnetic field (or something like that) protecting it from some sort of something (my brother would be ashamed about how ignorant I still am of all these terms), it just seemed so apparent to me that God had it all planned out and he created a perfect place for us to live.

While this tour wasn’t my most favorite aspect of the trip, it definitely helped me appreciate all of the work of God. Join me as I pray for the scientists in this field who may not see God’s design when they look at the skies and for those who do believe and are fighting to protect their faith.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Posted in Gratefulness, Life

I’m not superwoman, but I have a super God.

Don’t try to be superwoman: that’s the lesson of the weekend.

I had grand plans of trying to make it back to Oneida for the 11 am service at my church after attending the early service at my brother’s church. I probably could have made it fashionably late if I had been cautious and smart. Instead I was on the side of the road with a defunct car, a policeman, an ambulance, my brother and his girlfriend, and many tears at 11 am on Sunday.

God had his hand on the entire situation though and still does. I wasn’t hurt, and I didn’t hit the car coming towards me. I only spun and hit the ditch a couple of times before I ended up back on the road with a busted tire and quite a bit of damage to the car. Roxie (my car) has been treated kinder, but God used her to shield me from any physical damage.

When I was in high school, I wrote a poem about slowing down. Metaphorically I was speaking of slowing down to enjoy life, but in light of this past weekend, I think slowing down while driving is a good idea as well. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to be superwoman and fly back to Oneida (good intentions and all), I wouldn’t be driving a rental minivan right now and worrying about Roxie. One lesson I’ve learned is to not rush. If I can’t be part of everything, so be it. God has a plan for each location I’ll be. While I write that last sentence though, I also realize that God has a plan for my accident as well.

It’s hard to say yet what good will come of my accident, but I know God has a plan to take even this unwanted situation and bring glory to his name. Already he’s provided for me through many concerned people and a good insurance company, so I have no doubt he has a plan. For now, I’ll wait on the prognosis, and in the meantime I’ll take life a little slower.

Most of all praise be to God that I am safe and that no one else was involved.