Wait and See

Wait and See

Miss Shoaf, Will we use the Chromebooks in Science today?

Miss Shoaf, How many chapters of Holes will we read this afternoon?

Miss Shoaf, When will you grade our tests?

Miss Shoaf, Who gets to be the Math Magician today?

Miss Shoaf, Can I solve number 3 on the board?

Miss Shoaf, Will we have a substitute in P.E. next week?

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My answer to all of these questions is the same:  we will have to wait and see.

The constant barrage of questions I get as a student teacher can be annoying if not overwhelming.  Yet, I sit on the floor of my dorm room tonight, and I exhale my relentless questions to God.

  • Will I pass student teaching?
  • What will I do after I graduate?
  • Should I pursue Option X?
  • Why am I even a student teacher in the first place?
  • What is the purpose of all of this?

Just Wait and See

Suddenly, those words that I say to my students without a second thought are the worst words in the world.

WAIT and SEE

I don’t want to wait.  I want to know now!  Yet, I must trust that God has my best interest in mind, just as I seek the good of my students.  As hard as it is, I know that God wants me to learn and grow.  He knows that I don’t need to know yet.

And so I wait. Very impatiently.

Hello, My Name Is Jonah

Hello, My Name Is Jonah

I have never heard God as plainly as Jonah did in Jonah 1:2, but if I did, the conversation would probably go like this:

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God: Kat, before you were born, I made an amazing plan for you.  I want you to _____(fill in the blank)____.

Kat: Yeah, I know You are sovereign and all that, but what You want me to do sounds hard and dangerous. Can’t I just stay here?

God: It will be hard, but it will also sanctify you.  In the end, this plan is for your good. Now go!

Kat: Um…sure…I’ll get right on that…

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Instead of completing whatever task God had asked me to do, I make my own plans and fulfill my own desires.  A few months later, we would have this conversation.

Kat: Hey, God! I’m, uh, feeling a little stuck here.  I can’t seem to get out of this mess.  Can You throw Your daughter a line?

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God:  I watched you the whole time you were making that mess.  Why didn’t you just do what I told you to?

Kat: I already told You!  The task that you had for me was hard.  Swimming into deep water seemed much easier.  But now I realize that I was wrong! I am drowning, but if you pull me out, I will go work on the job you planned for me.

God, in His grace and mercy would save me and give me a second chance to obey Him.  Full of piety, I would do what He told me to do and see the results He planned.

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Kat: So, uh, God? It’s Kat here.  Did you happen to see what Marci did last week?  You really should punish her for that.

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God: Yes, I saw her mistake.  She slipped, stumbled, and fell.  But the next day, she cried out for forgiveness, and I pulled her to her feet, just like I pulled you from the pit.

Kat:  Ugh! Don’t You see, God?  THIS is why I didn’t want to obey You at first.  I knew that You are gracious and merciful.  I knew that if I let You use me, You would expect me to be gracious and merciful too.

God: What good is your self-pity doing? Should I not care for Marci who has a soul with an eternal destiny?

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You see, my conversation with God would be very similar to Jonah’s conversation with God.  Like Jonah, I think that my own plan is better than God’s sovereign plan, and I want to be the judge of who deserves forgiveness.

Jonah’s story shows us that we will always fail when we go against God’s sovereign plan.

How will you respond when God calls you to do something hard?

Why I am not worried that Trump is Our President

Why I am not worried that Trump is Our President

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At 11:45 on Tuesday night, I turned off my computer and crawled into bed.  At that point, Trump had more electoral votes than Hillary, but I had a suspicion that Hillary would pull ahead as more states submitted their results.  Although I was curious about who would lead our country for the next four years, I was too tired to join the thousands of individuals who were guzzling caffeine simply because they wanted to know the results.

Just under seven hours later, I rolled over and looked at my clock.  Sure enough, it was Wednesday.  The apocalypse had not happened.  America had lived to see another day.  Before even reaching for my phone, I said a prayer.  “Lord, no matter who won the election, let them lead our nation with integrity and wisdom.”

I powered on my multiple electronic devices and selected the tab titled “2016 Election Results.”  To my astonishment, the majority of the progress bar was red. Donald Trump had been elected to lead our nation.

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I am neither condemning or condoning Trump.  I would probably be writing the same post if Hillary had won the election.  I do not care if our president is a male or female, a republican or a democrat, a Caucasian or a minority, a Christian or an Atheist, a politician or a businessman.  I will always vote for the individual that I believe will best lead our nation, but I will not “freak out” about the results of the election.

My lack of care is not due to ignorance, illogical hope, or “millennial apathy.”  My peace is due to Romans 13:1.

…No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, an no one rules now without that power from God.

Even in a democracy, God is the one who appoints leaders.  He chooses to use the citizens’ votes to do so, but He is supremely in charge.

This means that ultimately, Trump is not answerable to the nation.  He is answerable to God.

Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work.

-Romans 13:4

So do not dismay.  As a new man moves into the White House, the same God is orchestrating eternity.  Our president is simply “God’s servant to help [the nation]” (Romans 13:4).

Dear God

Dear God

 

Dear God,

In light of my upcoming college graduation (only 7 months away!), people often ask me what my plans are.  But, God, I don’t know what the plan is. Since You haven’t let me in on that information yet, You might still have time to change the plan, so here is some information to help You out.

I really love taking pictures, and I have experience as a camp photographer.  If You could just make Your plan for me be that I will travel and take pictures the rest of my life, that would be great. 

Yet, for some reason, You led me to major in elementary education.  God, here’s the thing:  I don’t really want to be a regular classroom teacher, so if Your plan is for me to use that degree at an elementary school, can I be an art teacher?  Or maybe a P.E. teacher or computer specialist?  Thanks.

Also, I prefer to be outside, and I hate being cold, so can you keep me in the Southeast?  I really don’t want to go too far from my family.  If you want me to move, I will go to Texas or Arizona, but don’t make me go to New England.  I would freeze to death. 

And while You’re at it, I want a healthy paycheck (I promise I will still tithe), and good grocery stores.  If Aldi and some thrift shops are within 10 minutes of my house, I will be happy. 

But really God, that’s all I am asking.  That’s not too hard is it?

Most nights, this is the prayer I want to pray.  I want to give God my list of personal desires and requests for my future.  In search for worldly happiness, I want to bend Him to my will.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.

I Corinthians 9:19-20

But I am not my own…

For you are His Workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God hath before ordained that you should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

…and God’s plan for me has been set from the foundation of the world.

What is more pleasing to the Lord, your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice?  Listen!  Obedience is better than sacrifice.

I Samuel 15:22

He doesn’t need Kat to plan her own future, despite her type-A personality and attempts to be perfectly organized.  What He desires is for me to be obedient, whatever the call, wherever the place.  As terrifying as that faithful obedience is, I know that His plan is much better than mine could ever be.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification.

I Thessalonians 4:3a

 

WIAW: Stress Free Saturday

WIAW: Stress Free Saturday

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Today for What I Eat Wednesday, I am showing pictures of my meals on Saturday.  I wrote the text Saturday morning, and I felt that it gave appropriate “spiritual food for thought” to pair with my comestible activity for the rest of the day.

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Breakfast: The best way to finish off a jar of peanut butter is to make oatmeal in a jar!  I added grapes to make it more like pb&j.

 

Be anxious for nothing -Philippians 4:6

I seem to quote that verse on a second by second basis, and yet I am so bad at obeying it.  I tend to do the opposite and worry about everything.

Mid-morning snack: vanilla yogurt with strawberries and mandarin oranges

Right now, it is 4:30 Saturday morning, and this is what I am thinking:

  • What if I got a failing grade on the speech I gave yesterday?
  • Will I have enough time to get this assignment done?
  • What will the cafeteria serve for lunch?
  • If I swim today, will it give my mind a rest or be too taxing on my muscles?
  • I told M and K that I would take date-iversary pictures of them this afternoon, but I don’t really know what they want or what their style is.
  • Did I drink enough water yesterday?
  • Should I make my WIAW post for Saturday or Monday?
  • Should I go to the elementary school on Monday to do some prep work for student teaching?
  • I wonder if I can pick up some extra hours at work this week.
  • Should I have bought a different type of cake mix to bake for the hall meeting on Tuesday?  
  • Will I pass my licensure tests next month? 
  • Am I prepared to student teach in January?
  • What am I going to do after graduation?
  • Am I worrying too much?

I am sure the list could go on for quite a while.

Lunch in the cafeteria: banana & peanut butter sandwich (toasted in the waffle iron because the panini press was gone), mixed vegetables, and cottage cheese with cranberries

Be anxious for nothing,

But in everything with prayer and supplication 

Let your requests be made known unto God. 

– Philippians 4:13

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Snack while writing lesson plans: (an American classic) a hotdog and chips (I usually don’t have hotdogs in my room, but earlier this week, I really wanted a good hotdog.  Since I am picky about what counts as a “good hotdog,” I went to the store and bought a pack.)

I think my problem is that I never really make it past that first line of that verse.  I get so worried about not being anxious that I fail to realize that God does not leave me to find my own peace.

Supper in the cafeteria: penne pasta with chicken, vegetables, and alfredo sauce, and a bowl of cottage cheese

God wants me to bring my worries to Him in prayer with  thanksgiving.  He doesn’t expect me to mitigate my own fears.

Pre-Bible-Study-Snack: Peanut butter crackers…protecting the world from a hangry Kat.

…My peace do I leave with you. I do not give it as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid. 

– John 14:27

Snack at Bible Study: 3 Pumpkin Cheesecake bars made by our hostess (don’t you love our patriotic plates in the middle of Autumn? 🙂 )

So right now, I am bowing my head in prayer and dedicating myself to a stress-free Saturday.  I am going to fervently surrender to God’s grace.  Then I will crawl back into bed and rest in God’s peace, eager to embrace His mercies that are new every morning.

After-Bible-Study-Snack: Greek yogurt with peanut butter (I added about 4 oz. of peanut butter to this after taking the picture…I usually eat about 4 oz. of peanut butter a night).

Did I spend Saturday completely stress- and worry-free?  No.  Nonetheless, typing that post did help me put my anxiety into perspective.  I must daily hold my life up to the light of eternity and surrender my struggles to God.

Thanks Jenn (Peas and Crayons), Laura (sprint2thetable), Arman (thebigmansworld) and Meghan (cleaneatsfastfeets).

Rest in Faith

Rest in Faith

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Daniel read the decree and shook his head slowly.  Once again, the government had made a decree against the One True God.  According to the newest law, citizens could only pray to and worship King Darius.  “Lord,” Daniel whispered, “Is our nation too far gone?”

Years before, Daniel had began a thrice-daily ritual of praying in his window facing Jerusalem.  Despite the government’s rule, Daniel kept his appointments with God with peace

Peace like a river.  Peace that passes understanding.

As promised by the law, Daniel was punished–thrown into a pit of bloodthirsty lions–certain death.  Daniel faced the consequence with faith.  

Faith like a mustard seed.  Faith unleashed.

And–spoiler alert–Daniel lived.  God honored his peaceful obedience and faith.  God sent supernatural, unexpected salvation, and Daniel, with thankfulness, was able to rest.

Faith brings peace, calm, and rest.

Rest in faith.

 

 

Small Potatoes

Small Potatoes

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{Disclaimer for all of my Bible college friends:  yes, I used the Message instead of ESV, KJV, NASB, etc.  No, I am not a heretic 🙂 }

I sit across the supper table from a friend that I met the first day of freshman orientation.  After three years of college, a lot has changed.  He is engaged and about to add Master’s level classes on top of his undergrad courses.  I am writing lesson plans and preparing for student teaching.  Both of us feel stretched thin with work, classes, ministry, and social events.  Yet, we have remained close friends.

“We’re old,” I say, and he nods solemnly.  Three years older.  Three years academically smarter.  Three years supposedly wiser.

And those three years were far from easy–academically, emotionally or physically.  We faced daunting tests, questionable cafeteria food, unending papers, dramatic relationships, and late nights.  Meanwhile, the world around us fought ISIS, diseases, hunger, human rights, poverty, and politics.  As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “On the outside it often look[ed] like things [were] falling apart on us.”  It would be easy for us to become depressed.

These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. 

– 2 Corinthians 4:17

Small potatoes.  Just like the french fries that my friend quickly devours off of his plate, the world’s struggles will disappear.  There is something beyond this world that we hold as our hope.

There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

-2 Corinthians 4:18

Yes, this world boasts hardships aplenty.  But there is so much more beyond this temporary life. Beyond this life, there is a street paved with pure gold.  There is a city surrounded with twelve pearl gates (Rev. 21:21).  There is a land with no night, no toil, and no tears (Rev. 21: 4, 22:3, 22:5).  Most importantly, there is a Savior who is preparing for us to join him (John 14:1-3).  There is an eternity of praising our God (Rev. 22:5).

Heaven is our hope when time gets hard.  Heaven is our promise as we endure this world’s pain.  Heaven is our eternal celebration.

The world is just a small potato.