Tuesday, October 25, 2011

new things

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
   now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
 I will make a way in the wilderness
   and rivers in the desert.
- Isaiah 43:19

In late April, I wrote about this Scripture that the Lord had laid on my heart. This Scripture was showing up everywhere- blogs I read, devotionals, sermons, etc...I had no idea what it meant, but I kept telling the Lord I wanted to be ready for whatever new thing He was going to be doing in my heart.

As most of you know, I commited to teach for two years at Colegio Binimea. It seems as though at least several times a week, someone asks me "So what are you thinking about for next year?" Well, here's your answer, folks: Athens, GA.

This summer, I went home for about a month's time. This time was so blessed, and I saw so many lovely friends. During this time, I spent a few days in Athens. I love Athens. I truly do. And the Lord is calling me back there. All I can tell you is that He has placed a burden on my heart to be back in the Classic City. My time here in Chihuahua has been so wonderful; the Lord has been so good to me and is teaching me so much. I love my life here. I love my church, my friends, my students, and my little house. But there is a tugging in my heart to go back to Athens. It is almost as though I never finished what I started there four years ago. Like there is something else waiting for me that I did not tap into while I was there.

There are so many things I love about the Classic City. I love that it is a college town. I love that my girls are there and that there are so many beautiful relationships with beautiful people that I have there. I love that there are myriad opportunities for ministry. I love that it is a city with a small-town feel. I love seeing little kids who are dressed up on gameday, already bleeding red and black. I love my church family. I love running through Five Points and eating breakfast at Mama's Boy. I love North Campus and the IM fields trails during the fall. I love Two Story Coffeehouse and Jittery Joe's and The Last Resort. I could go on...



So what, do you ask, might I do once I reach Athens? I don't know. That is up to the Lord. I would absolutely love to find a position in one of the elementary schools as an ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher. While at UGA, I earned an endorsement to be able to teach these classes, and now that I am fluent in Spanish, I want to use those skills. The two weeks I spent with ESOL kids during my student teaching were my absolute favorite two weeks out of my entire four years of pursuing an education degree. I fell in love with those kids. When I was with them, what I was doing didn't feel like work. And that is how I know that ESOL kiddos are my passion. Because I just wanted to do everything I could for them to be able to feel comfortable in their own skin, proud of their culture, and confident of their academic abilities.

If nothing is available for the 2011-2012 school year, I will do what pays the bills. Seriously. But preferably with kiddos. I miss my Broadacres kids, and I would love to work at one of the rec centers or a Boys and Girls Club...I'll work two part-times if necessary...whatever pays the bills and keeps me where the Lord wants me! All I know is that right now, I am in position in which the majority of my time is spent being a light in a place flooded with light. The desire of my heart is to be a light in the darkness. And I know that opportunity exists and is waiting for me when I return to Athens in God's good timing...

So friends, that is what is on my heart for this next season. For right now I am loving life here in Chiwas and trying to savor the moments the Lord is giving me here with the awesome community He has provided for me. He is so good. I don't have many specifics about this next season, but I can rest in knowing that He knows everything. A couple weeks ago, I read the following in my Jesus Calling devotional. It was perfect:

"I am perpetually with you, taking care of you. That is the most important fact of your existence. I am not limited by time or space; My Presence with you is a forever-promise. You need not fear the future, for I am already there. When you make that quantum leap into eternity, you will find Me awaiting you in heaven. Your future is in my hands; I release it to you day by day, moment by moment. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow

I want you to live this day abundantly, seeing all there is to see, doing all there is to do. Don't be distracted by future concerns. Leave them to Me! Each day of life is a glorious gift, but so few people know how to live within the confines of today. Much of their energy for abundant living spills over the time line into tomorrow's worries or past regrets. Their remaining energy is sufficient only for limping through the day, not for living it to the full. I am training you to keep your focus on My Presence in the present. This is how to receive abundant Life, which flows freely from My throne of grace."

I love resting in knowing that He is already in the future. My finite mind cannot comprehend that detail about His amazing character, but He is there. And He will provide exactly what I need at the exact time that I need it. He's just good like that. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

speechless

The kiddos had an essay of the week that was entitled "A Good Sub," in which they were supposed to write about the characteristics of a good substitute. The following is what one of my fifth grade boys wrote. I promise I simply copied exactly what he wrote; I'm not tooting my own horn here:

A GOOD SUB

I would describe a good sub in many ways. But for me a sub is nothing compared to Miss Miller. She is one of the best teachers in the world. She is not any kind of teacher, she is a bomb teacher. Anyway, back [to the] theme a good sub will always obey a teachers notes and asigments [assignments]. However they only [do] what they are told and do not do games or stretches. A good sub is kind to the students and doesn't usually give homework. A good sub also watches for a childs reactions.


NOTE TO MISS MILLER:

You are one of the most wonderful teachers I have had. You have taught me how to be responsable and I know you love me and so do I [love you].


I am beaming from the inside out. :D


Saturday, October 22, 2011

El Alfarero


El Alfarero (The Potter) is the church which Capilla Calvario Chihuahua planted about two months ago. This church is an extension of LightShine, a ministry in which the church has sponsors for the kids in and their families in the States. These sponsors are essentially supporting LightShine as an entity. The ministry consists of a family-style meal served to the children, tutoring, Bible lessons, crafts, and worship. I have had the privilege of translating some of the sponsor letters, and they are just precious. These children are hiding the Word in their hearts and learning so much. They love to learn more and more about the Lord. This church was founded to reach Tarahumaras, but there are also Mexicans attending. The attendance goes up and down, and most of the time we don't know who will be there, but we pray that God will bring exactly who He wants to bring. Here are some of the kiddos singing "Vamos a Cantar" ("Sing, Sing, Sing") after service with my friend Mario one Sunday afternoon. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazima Ministries


Still learning and being challenged by the life of this one woman through her book and life.

Monday, October 17, 2011

blessings, blessings, blessings

Catie and I at graduation, May 7, 2010.

God is good. I mean, really good. A couple weeks ago, I received an email from this dear friend of mine, the one and only Catie Johnson. Catie and I were a part of "the awesome ladies otherwise known as Cluster F" at UGA. We spent just about every day together for two years, in which we learned, grew, prayed, laughed, dreamed, and discovered just why we wanted to be teachers anyways. Catie is a wonderful woman. She is hardworking and disciplined, and she truly cares about the people in her life. Her new home is Colorado Springs, Colorado, where she teaches kindergarten and represents Teach for America and more importantly, Jesus in a dark place.

So back to the email. Catie wrote to tell me a quite amazing story that shows just how small our world is. One Sunday morning, Catie visited a new church, Rocky Mountain Calvary. Little did she know that RMC is the sending church of my pastor Sean, and his family, our Lightshine pastor, Chris, and his family, and my friend Amanda and her husband Chad. Insanity.  Or God.

Amanda and I on Mexican Independence Day.

But wait, because it gets even better. This Sunday morning, a man stood up to talk about missions, and he specifically spoke about missions in Mexico and the Calvary Chapel that he helped to found in Chihuahua. And this man is my Bible study teacher, Chris. His wife, Heather, and I are friends, too, and their kids just started attending Colegio Binimea this year. And that Sunday, they were in Colorado to share about what God is doing in Lightshine amongst the Tarahumara people. And Catie was there to hear it all.

It gets even better. Catie sought out the missions pastor, who led her to Chris and Heather. They met and talked about me and how small our world is. And the following Saturday, Catie ran in 5k race that raised money for orphans. Wow. How amazing is God?

Just wait, because it gets even better. In two weeks, I am going to visit Catie! I have wanted to visit Colorado for a while now, and Texas is quite a bit closer than Georgia...so after a few phone calls I worked out rides to and from El Paso to go and visit Catie for my next school break, which is in just two weeks. And what is even more exciting is that Amanda will be there, too! She has to do some stateside business stuff, like get her last name changed, blah blah blah...so I get to spend time with Catie and meet her sweet kiddos and then do touristy things with Amanda. And Catie's family is coming up later in the week, so I will hopefully get to meet them, too.

Overwhelmed right now by just how much He loves. Last night I barely slept a wink; I was so excited. And I still am...it doesn't seem real! I love the way He works.

Friday, October 14, 2011

How can you not be moved?


26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. - 1 Corinthians 1: 26-28 (emphasis mine)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

failing and faith



So there is this blog I like to read. It is called "In the Name of Love", and yesterday, the author brought forth this challenge: In 100 words or less, describe one thing you would make, create, produce, curate, or invest if you knew there was no way you’d mess up. It may seem trivial, but there is a power in ownership and dreaming about possibilities.

Here's my answer:

If I knew I could do one thing without failing, it would be to begin an after school program/club in Athens, Georgia out of my own home that would feed, tutor and love on kids who needed it most. I would want kids to be able to come and find physical, emotional, and spiritual nourishment. The kids would learn all about who and whose they are, and they would have a safe place to land outside of their broken home lives and the stresses of school. There you have it, my dream.

Last night was our final Calvary Chapel Distinctives class at church. This eight-week class has been a study of what exactly sets Calvary Chapel churches apart from other churches- Baptist, Pentecostal, Methodist, Lutheran, etc. The last chapter of our book was entitled "Ventures of Faith." I will admit that I read about 90% of it in the car on the way to study, but our conversation about the study was nothing short of challenging. Our teacher Chris challenged us to think about how to live and walk by faith daily. It is so easy to think about the "glory days" by talking about things that God has done and ways that we have stepped out in faith in the past. But what can we say that God is doing right now? How is He moving in our hearts today? What kinds of steps of faith are we taking today?

Sure, I took a big step of faith in moving here to Chihuahua. It was probably the biggest step of faith I have ever taken. But are the "big ones" the only ones that count? What about the faith it takes to go against the status quo? To create challenging lessons for my students and show them how to walk out their faith? To take some cookies to my neighbor? To pray with boldness and confidence? Those steps of faith are important, too.

I have been so challenged by Kisses from Katie as I have read more about what her life entails and how her daily life was completely inundated with people who simply need someone to take time to care for them. The Lord has shown me just how selfish and prideful I can be. He has not set me free to be a spiritual big-head full of knowledge and theology, but rather to be His hands and feet to a world in need.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Well, it changes everything. When I am confident in who I am in Christ, it won't matter if I fail. I can take a step of faith and know that God will cover me in His grace and uphold me with His right hand. His word tells me He will, and He has done it before. So why worry now? I mean, I do have the creator of the universe on my side. That is something to get excited about.

So who knows if I will ever realize the dream I wrote about above. Does that really matter? All I know is that I want His dreams to be my dreams. And when I allow that to happen, I don't have to be afraid to fail. He'll catch me anyways.

photo cred

Sunday, October 9, 2011

have Your way

God is so good. We had such a sweet time of worship tonight at church. I love this song Pablo chose for us by Leeland. His friend translated it into Spanish, and so we sang the Spanish version, but oh, the words. The desire of my heart.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday morning musings

So last night I went to bed around 12:30, thinking, I can sleep in tomorrow. It is Saturday and I don't have to wake up early. You can imagine my dismay when my body woke up naturally at 6:15. I went to the bathroom, crawled back to bed, and could only stay there until 7:00. Sometimes having an internal clock is really annoying.

In other news, this week I was sick for two days. :( I stayed home from school on Monday and Tuesday. I must tell you that my sickness was the really annoying undiagnosable kind in which I did not even know what I had. No fever. Just misery. All I know is that I was lethargic, achy, weak, and tired. Most likely my sickness could have been named none other than fatigue. My two days at home were actually quite nice; I was able to read, watch movies, and sleep.

Anyways, I have been thinking about the list. Reading has always been a passion of mine. I love getting lost in someone else's story and being challenged by someone else's words. When I was a little girl, my sister wanted to run around and climb thing. I was content to stay inside with my nose in a book. My gramma worried about me and thought I was lazy. I just loved stories...and still do. This summer, I rekindled my love of reading. In the past few years, I have been reading more nonfiction than fiction. The memoir genre has really captured me, but I had to read some fiction to shake things up. So I read The Help. And like everyone else, I loved it. I was swept away in the horrific problems of the old school deep South. From there, my reading just snowballed.

Here's what I have read lately and loved:

Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist
I just finished reading this for probably the fourth time. I love Shauna's honest yet thought-provokingly gentle style of writing. Definitely one of my favorite books. Ever.

The Scent of Water by Naomi Zacharias
This one was slow in the beginning, but oh so good once it picked up. Also a very honest writer. I appreciated her words about finding grace in brokenness.

Christy and Todd: The College Years by Robin Jones Gunn
So I read the entire Christy Miller series at least 2 or 3 times in middle school. And this little trilogy of their college years together is just presh. The author knows how to craft a story that makes you laugh, cry, and also challenges the ways in which you view love- through rose-colored lenses or with the attitude of Christ.

Praying for Your Future Husband: Preparing Your Heart for His by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer
Loved and needed this. Jokingly told a friend that I picked it up to figure out "what I could pray to make him come my way," but I got so much more out of it than that. Each chapter challenged me to think about the woman I want to be.

Currently reading:

What Women Fear: Walking in Faith That Transforms by Angie Smith
I've only read the introduction so far, but the second time I read it I was crying, so I am expecting good things...I'm reading it along with other women at (in)courage and watching the videos with the chapters, too. Feels good to know that other sisters in Christ are doing battle over the same strongholds.

Fit to Be Tied by Bill and Lynne Hybels
Coincidentally, these are Shauna Niequist's parents! And my parents recommended this one to me, and so far it has been quite eye-opening. 

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis
I have raved about Katie numerous times before, and I got her book in the mail yesterday. Probably going to start reading it today.

Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
Literally the best devotional I have read since My Utmost for His Highest. I look forward to what I get to read each morning because it is so affirming and just right. I want everyone I know to have a copy of this book. If I had the funds I would buy one for every one of my friends.

So that's my current book list. And as far as cooking goes, this week I made some yummy quinoa with chicken, black beans, and tomatoes, and some squash casserole, too. Mmmmm...I always feel better about what I eat when I made it and it was not processed at some factory. :)

Have a good weekend friends. I'll leave you with this song from Adele. Girl can sing.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

writing in pencil

"Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we're not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we've barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a daring dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we've said we'll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope."
- Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines

current obsession

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday morning Scripture


Psalm 107:9

English Standard Version (ESV)

9For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Signs of Fall

Each week, my fifth grade students have an assignment called the Essay of the Week. Last week, they were told that they must spend some time outside and think about how each one of the five senses could feel and experience fall. They could only write one paragraph (some did much more), yet proved to be some of their best work yet! I was so proud of them and told them that I was going to post their work on my blog for everyone to see.

Student 1:

Autumn is a beautiful time of year. There is a light scent of rain in the cool air. The leaves have a tinge of pinkish red. They are as crisp as burnt toast. Sparrows sing in the yellow dotted trees. Autumn is truly a beautiful season.

Student 2 [English is this student's second language]:

Autumn is a beautiful season. It feels fresh and soft because of the wind. You can hear the birds flying and the wind blowing. The color of the leaves change, and it turns into a beautiful sight. It is one of the most wonderful times of year because of its beautiful sight. There is a lot to do [in] autumn, like fly kites, look for dried leaves, and many more [things]. It's so wonderful!

Student 3:

Fall is almost here. I can taste it, I can smell it, I can hear it, I can feel it and I can see it. I can hear the crickets that sound like thousands of whistles millions of miles away. They started not too long ago. I can taste the sweetness of apple cider and feel the warm sensation running down my throat. I love the wonderful smell of rain and it is a sign of fall. I can feel the nice, cool breeze and see the dancing leaves in the wind. The signs are here at last; it is going to be a blast.

Student 4:

Fall is magnificent! It is very fun in many ways. For example, I love to wear all the different styles. Also, it's nice that it's a bit chilly in the fall because in the summer it's often times too hot and in the winter its usually too cold, but fall's weather is just perfect.

When I go outside I like to hear the leaves fall off their branches as the wind takes them to the ground. What's also fun is to jump into a pile of leaves. It's also cool to watch all the bugs crawl around preparing for winter. I love to walk outside and smell the fresh air while drinking a hot cup of apple cider. But my favorite part is to eat pumpkin pied and see all the fall colors. And that's why fall is magnificent!

fullness of joy

Well, October is here. Which means I am swooning and my head is in the clouds. I love October. So much. It rained twice this week. Twice! That doesn't happen often in Chihuahua.

Right now I am house-sitting for a friend, and I welcomed October with a big mug of chai tea as I wrapped up in a blanket on a rocker and let the Lord speak lovely things over me and remind me of His beautiful promises.

At staff meeting on Wednesday, a co-worker shared the lyrics of this hymn, and I just love all of the affirmation it carries:

  1. He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
"He Giveth More Grace"-Annie J. Flint

I'm looking forward to all this month has in store, because as always, He gives grace upon grace upon grace...

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