Sunday, January 22, 2012

plans + 52 in 52 wk 4

Have you ever made big plans for something?  Maybe for a special birthday coming up or maybe for the long weekend you have off.  Maybe the plans are for a surgery that needs to be done so that either you're more comfortable or healthier.

Whatever the plans, they usually carry one of two emotions: extreme excitement in anticipation...or extreme worry in anticipation.  Of course, these two could be intermingled together or with others, but those are the usual ones.  There are usually two ways plans can go also.  Either they work out the way you had, well...planned (ha! pun intended), or they don't work out the way you had planned.  For example, I planned to go to college to become a teacher for most of my life.  That was my dream and my longing for when I grew up.  In 2008, that plan and longing became real as I began my first year of teaching.  On the other hand, as a teenager and a college student, I had "planned" (hoped? pleaded with God? lol) to be married with a child or two by the time I turned 30.  Yeah.  Not so much at this rate!  :) 

Do you ever feel like your plans not panning out the way you'd like is a sign that God isn't listening to your heart's cry?  Honestly, yes.  I've been there...many times!  However, I think I'm learning that it's more than that.  God hears our heart's cry; He knows our deepest and most sincere longings in life.  However, He also considers our needs above our wants.  If the plan doesn't work out, then God has other plans for you (  What else are you supposed to be focusing on right now?  What does God want to teach you?

I'm learning.  It's not always easy.  It's not always fun.  But God's teaching me and loving me through it.  Even if I do become impatient while watching my plans be washed away with the rain!

This past week, my group of Bible study girls and I started our study on Esther.  We're using Beth Moore's study, and it's going to be great! We did the introductory session on Thursday evening, and it was great to dig into God's word again.  Sometimes, I have great aspirations (plans) to dig deeper and learn more, but it's hard on your own. It's so great to have a guide to go by.  I can't wait!

For my 52 in 52 verse this week, I'm memorizing Romans 15:4.  It says...

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, we might have hope.

I think that sums up my ambition with 52 in 52 this year.  Everything word God wrote is to be used as our guide, as our example and lesson.  Through these words, we learn more about Him and His ways.  We learn of His outrageous love for us, that is not hindered or weakened by anything.  And through these, we find hope.  Beth Moore defines hope (well, I think she actually pulled it from a dictionary...) as a confidence, an eager anticipation, and a great expectation for what is to come.  Our hope, when it is not put in God, can turn out looking pretty hopeless.  However, when we seek God and and put our hope in His plans for our lives (instead of hoping in our own plans), an eager anticipation and expectation begins to grow.  An excitement for what He is doing now can help us endure the absence of what we expected to see in our lives at this time.

My prayer this week as I memorize this scripture is that God will plant, water, and grow a bright hope in my heart for His purposes in my life instead of my own.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

exciting mail + 52 in 52 Wk 3

I entered a giveaway on Meg's blog (I LOVE her blog!!!) awhile ago for an adorable print by Pam Garrison (see her shop here).  I've entered countless giveaways for various things, but rarely ever win.  Actually, I've only won one other time when I entered a giveaway for 20 zippers.  I was SO excited!!!!  However, not as excited as I was about a week ago...

Meg blogged and said I won the giveaway!!  WOO!  I about had a cow.  So, when I got home from work today, it was here!

I can't wait to get it framed and hung in my house.  It's perfect!  And it came on the most perfect day.  I certainly needed the reminder.

This week's 52 in 52 verse...
Proverbs 30:5-6 - Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.  Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

Have you started yet?


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

52 in 52 + a little update

It has been quite awhile since I'd done a post on here (besides the one I just posted that was typed up several months ago)!  Life gets busy when you're moving, settling in, and then figuring out the whole living by yourself thing.  I moved into my house Labor Day weekend, and I'm LOVING it.  I do miss my parents and having supper with someone other than my little dog every night, however I am extremely happy and know that this is where I need to be right now.  I'll do another post to give you a tour of my house.  The pictures were taken after my house warming party, so everything was nice and sparkly then. :)  Not that they aren't now.

So, 52 in 52.  That is my New Years Resolution for 2012 (although I'm thinking of it more as a goal...because who really follows through with their "resolutions"?).  I'm challenging myself to memorize 52 scripture passages in 52 weeks (one each week).  God's really laid the need to memorize Scripture on my heart the past month or so.  I find myself in situations where I really need to take a moment and just rest in Him (whether it be in the middle of a lesson I'm teaching to 19 squirmy first graders (whom I dearly love), on a hard run in the neighborhood, or just driving down the road), and sometimes when I do take those moments, I feel lost.  It's like I just can't wrap my brain around what I should be listening for.  However, if I'm still enough (maybe not physically, but emotionally and cognitively), God lays a scripture on my heart that helps me.  Hopefully, if I store more of His scripture in my heart, it'll come to mind quicker and help me get through those moments a lot quicker.

I actually started 2 weeks before the New Year.  So far, I've done Romans 12:1-2, Isaiah 9:6, 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, and this week is Ecclesiastes 3:11.  These come from my reading through the week, conversations with friends, and sometimes scripture that I've memorized in the past that I feel I need to freshen up on some.  No matter where they come from, it's God's Word...and it'll be in my heart.  Can't get any better than that, right?

So, what's your goal for the New Year?  Want to do 52 in 52 with me?



So, I came to do a new post on here, and discovered this un-published post.  I'm pretty sure it's back from...maybe September?   I'm not really sure.  Just thought I'd post it since it's been waiting.  :)  I still love this song!

i am so in need of You,
though my righteousness is rags,
Your mercies are new

so Lord, come down to me,
so my heart can see,
how encompassing Your grace can be

Holy Spirit, rest upon us,
Breath of God, touch my soul,
come unfailing love of Jesus,
rest upon us, rest upon us,

my mind is heavy and my days are long,
i lift my eyes up in the night,
my heart it weighs me down,
but Your burden is light,

so Lord, come walk with me
until my heart believes
all the bounties that Your grace can bring

Holy Spirit, rest upon us,
Breath of God, touch my soul,
come unfailing love of Jesus,
rest upon us, rest upon us,

i will wait for You
i will wait for You
You rest upon us
come rest upon us
Rest Upon Us by Caedmon's Call

i need rest.  good, silent, still rest in God.

i have felt so overwhelmed for the past 3 or 4 weeks.  i'm not good at asking for help - at admitting that i need someone to help me to make my load lighter.  i'm a do-it-yourselfer, and if i'm stressed and overwhelmed, i usually either fight through it or eventually break.

today is my breaking day.

after a long day of planning with the team of 1st grade teachers at work (whom i love dearly - we have an amazing team this year), i came home with 4 bags of pasta that need dying, a delicous-sounding quiche that needed to be made for supper, and a brain that was completely shot.  then i remembered my grass.  it's not cut, and i have people coming for a housewarming on saturday.  no problem.  i'll just cut it, right?  well, i don't have a mower yet, so that's not possible.  then, i burnt 7 out of the 14 pieces of bacon that i cooked (recipe called for 12 pieces, i used 7. oh well).  and my house is not ready for people on saturday.  i've contacted a friend from church that lives up the street about borrowing their mower, the quiche is in the oven, and my house will be what it is on saturday.  beautifully decorated or not, i'll still be able to show my friends.

i was listening to pandora this evening as i cooked, and now as i'm sitting on the couch sulking in my overwhelmed-ness.  the Rest Upon Us song came on, and i remembered (again...finally) a conversation i had with a friend after work today.

i've been struggling with my emotions at work when dealing with my team members because i feel like i try so hard to hold it together for my class, and when i get with the other great ladies that i teach with, i just get frustrated easily and either cry or i don't have the best attitude.  one of the teachers at work, who calls me sunshine, stopped me in the hall last week and asked if i was okay because i haven't been my usual smiley self.  i told him that yes, i'm okay, i'm just overwhelmed with everything going on right now on top of having so many new things to implement in my classroom this year.  since then, everytime he sees me in the hallway, he asks how i'm doing, and i know that he is being genuinely sincere.  i try to be genuine back, but that's hard when i don't want to always be the "life is terrible" person., back to my conversation with my friend after work.  i went to her room so she could show me how to dye pasta (not as complicated as i made it out to be), and we were just talking about life and work.  she was honest with me and said i have to make a decision - either i stay up late trying to catch myself up with work stuff, or i go to bed early so i can get the sleep my body and mind needs right now.  so, that was light bulb one.  i cannot expect myself to destress without sleep.  go to bed early?  check.  i'll do it.

then, i had an epiphany.  i thought about my rest and where it should come from - where my true rest should be found.  and i realized that my time with God, my rest found only in Him, has almost been nonexistent for the past 4 or 5 weeks.  i have been so consumed with everything going on around me in my life, that i have lost focus of His hand in my life - of His presence in my life.

this song by caedmon's call hit home immediately.  yes, i am still overwhelmed.  do a lot of these overwhelmed feelings come from self-inflicted stresses?  definitely.  will they go away tonight?  no way.  well, not unless the grass cutting, house decorating, and pasta dying fairies visit my little house tonight.  so, instead of trying to make myself catch up on everything tonight, as was my plan this afternoon after our day full of meetings, i have the one goal of finding rest in God tonight.  i want to be with Him tonight.

it's a date night with God.  He doesn't care that i burned 7 out of the 14 pieces of bacon.  hopefully He's proud that i finally got it by the 8th piece of bacon that i put in the pan (i'm a slow learner apparently).  so, pasta will be dyed tomorrow night, math plans will be looked at tomorrow morning, and i will be still tonight.

that is, after i eat my quiche and cut the grass (my friend called back, and i can borrow her mower! yay).

life is good, even if it is stressful.  however, God is great all the time, and i am so thankful for that.