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?

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c6/94/e8/c694e88e468e6affcf219457857a0a38.jpg

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.

Remember

Remember

I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.  I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.   – Psalm 77:11-12

I would be lying if I told you that student teaching is easy. On the days that I make students cry, on the days that I forget to give full instructions, on the days that my lessons fail, I am convinced that I should just switch majors.

If I had a dollar for every time that I wanted to quit…

Hanging above the desk in my dorm room is a quote from Nicki Koziarz:

Sometimes you just need to look back and remember the places God has brought you through.

Surrounding the quote are dozens of pictures. There are pictures from Africa, from when I wanted to completely give up on ever making a decent video. There are pictures taken only days prior to my overnight stay in the DFW airport. There are pictures from all 4 years of college when I was anxious for a multitude of reasons.

lookbackandsee.jpg

And the Lord brought me through all of it. So every time that the Enemy says that I am flailing and aimless, I must look back and see what the LORD has brought me through. If He brought me through those struggles, he will bring me through this one, too.

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:

Image result

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…

Image result

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?

Image result

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.

Image result

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.

Image result

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?

Image result

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?

“I Only” Syndrome

“I Only” Syndrome

i-only

I struggle with an extreme case of “I Only” Syndrome.  These are a few of the causes:

  • I am only taking 14 credit hours this semester.  Some elementary education majors take 21 hours.
  • I only work 19 hours per week. Some students work over 30 hours.
  • I only sing in the choir and help serve Wednesday night meals.  Some girls teach Sunday School. 
  • I only made a 90 on that quiz.  Some classmates made a 100.
  • I only watched Chopped and took a nap on Monday afternoon.  Some dorm residents wrote research papers.
  • I only blog when I feel like it.  Some bloggers consistently post five times a week.

The symptoms of “I Only” Syndrome are feelings of guilt and inadequacy.

“I Only” Syndrome is rooted in a constant need to be “good enough” in comparison to peers.  Some believe that they need to be “good enough” to go to heaven (but salvation is only found by grace through faith).  Others are trying to earn love, acceptance, popularity,and prestige with their “good enough” actions.  Some (myself included) just want to prove to the world that they are “good enough” in every aspect of life.

There is no one who does good, not even one.

-Romans 3:12

Here is the truth:  I will never be “good enough.”  Even if I demolish the causes of “I Only” Syndrome, even if I become the person who takes 21 credit hours, works 30 hours a week, teaches Sunday School, makes a 100 on every exam, writes research papers, and posts a new blog every day, I will not be “good enough” to merit any sort of eternal reward.

As we read through the Gospels, we see that Jesus did not think anyone was “good enough.”  He did not wave at the spiritual leaders and say, “You’re doing a great job of being ‘good enough!’  You don’t need me around!”  Instead, he said that even if someone was more obedient than a pharisee, that person would not be “good enough” (Matthew 5:20).

God does not want me to be “good enough.”  He wants a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17b.

broken-and-contrite

“I only” need to be humble and obedient.

Why I am not worried that Trump is Our President

Why I am not worried that Trump is Our President

trump

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.

trump2

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).

Change {And Why It Scares Me}

Change {And Why It Scares Me}

This afternoon I went on a walk to appreciate the beautiful colors of Autumn, and my mind drifted to the topic of change.

change1

I have never been one to like change.

I didn’t want to start first grade because I was afraid of staying at school after lunchtime.  Since my three closest friends transferred schools after fifth grade, middle school brought the fear of eating lunch without them.  When I moved up to high school, I was terrified of the upperclassmen.  The daunting world of college was more frightening than I thought I could handle.

change9

You see, I don’t like change because it is scary. I am fearful.  Change is terrifying.  I am frightened.

Despite my fears, I loved first grade–as a first grader, I learned to spell “long” words (like because and swimming).  In sixth grade, I became friends with two girls that stuck with me through the most awkward years of our lives.  Some of the upperclassmen that I played sports with in high school actually turned out to be friendly.  Furthermore, college has taught me more than I ever anticipated.

change10

I wish that I had learned the benefits of change by now, but change still haunts me.

When change happens, I have to face the unknown. I always like to know what will happen next, when it will happen, and how it will happen.  But when change occurs, those three facts are generally left up in the air.

And then there is the truth that change is painful.  Routine is comfortable, but change is unsettling.

chang3

Yet, I know that change is necessary…Change is beneficial…Change brings progress.

Without change, we  might have pumpkins, but we would not have jack-o-lanters.  We might have trees, but we would not have the beautiful colors of Autumn.  We might have caterpillars, but no dazzling butterflies.  Pain might exist, but there would certainly be no knowledge or strength.

change8

Most importantly, change brings our salvation and sanctification.

In the past all of us lived like the world, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people.  But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much. Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God, he gave us new life with Christ. You have been saved by God’s grace.  –Ephesians 2:3-6

change11

When I was still living a life of self-pleasure and sin, God’s mercy and grace were great enough to rescue me.  He changed me and gave me a new life.

So, as hard as it is, I will embrace the change that brings godliness, beauty, and hope.

 

Questions for you:

Do you like change?  How do you deal with change?

What is the best thing that change has ever brought you?

Little Joe

Little Joe

Joseph had it rough; some could even argue that he had it worse than Job.  Job’s dismal circumstances were the direct result of Satan’s attacks, but Joseph was betrayed by his family and close relations.  God had blessed Joseph with favor and the promise of success only to seemingly strip him of everything and undeservedly sentence him to two years in prison.  He had every right to be bitter–justice had been violated–,and he had reason to be discontent–God’s promises to him were unfulfilled.
Image result
As I was recently preparing lesson plans about Joseph’s life for my children’s evangelism class, I re-watched The Ballad of Little Joe, the VeggieTales country-western movie about Joseph’s life.  Read what Little Joe prays while he is in jail:
Hey, God. Little Joe here.
Not to complain or anything, but what’s going on?  I tell people what their dreams mean, and they always come true.  But you gave me a dream a long time ago, and I’m in jail.  And I didn’t even do anything!
I’m trying to do what’s right, but I’m a little confused.
Well, please be with Pa, and baby Benjamin, and most of my brothers…okay…and Jude, too.
Goodnight, God.
Image result
Can you ever identify with Joe?  Despite doing exactly what you think you should, everything seems to be working against you.  I cannot claim to know exactly what God is doing, but I can assure you that He is working all things together for good–for your sanctification (Romans 8:28-29).
Rest assured with this verse from the end of Joseph’s story:
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to preserve many people alive.
-Genesis 50:20
Image result
When life gets rough, remember that we can only see the present circumstances.  God is addressing all of eternity.