Tuesday, February 21, 2012

*Some Vitamins and Some Thoughts *

Today I got some vitamin gummies at the store because they were calling my name. The only problem is I could eat the entire bottle in one sitting because they are SO good. I remember as a kid I would try to get a hold of the Flintstone vitamins and hide under my bed and eat them. I remember a distinct time when Molly yelled: "MOM! Abby is eating the bottle of vitamins again!" I quickly ran to hide from what awaited me in my closet. I know all these people tell me what a great kid I was, but I remember doing things like that. They literally had to hide the vitamins from me. I've always been a muncher.

Earlier I got the chance to go back to my alma mater and speak to some freshman education majors on what I've learned during my first year of teaching. It was so strange going on campus on a regular school day and not being a part. It's kinda neat how whenever I drive through a place I used to know, it's almost like a movie of memories plays before me. I can see myself in my head living those old memories…like I'm watching a movie of my former self. It's amazing what all is stored up in my head that I access at random times.

As I was driving by those familiar red buildings, I saw myself the day that my backpack broke because it was too heavy. I saw myself dressed up and carrying a bag of glue sticks and a project. I saw myself panicking over what presentation I had to do next or which school I needed to be at. I saw my old roommate…the saving grace at the end of the day. Katie used to feed me and let me lay in her bed and watch her movies after a long day. She would even give me apple juices on particularly bad days. She was brought into my life at the exact right time and unfortunately taken out of my everyday life before I was ready.

My day as a college professor was really neat and it reminded me of how far I've come. We should celebrate everything we've accomplished more and stop trying to always get ahead and be happy with where we are. Teaching for adults also made me glad that first graders give a LOT more feedback than adults. Blank stares are not really my thing and my six year olds are always wanting to add to the conversation. Maybe a little too much so, but I'll take it. I love my babies. I need to remember how lucky I am everyday.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

*Miracle Cheer Shoes!!!*

"You have GOT to be kidding me! That didn't REALLY happen!" I answered as I was handed the shoes for the very first time. Something about them connected with my inner soul right away when I touched them. "We were laughing so hard when it happened!" they said finishing the story. But I wasn't laughing….I was in shock.

I have always struggled with trusting God. I KNOW the truths and I do believe them, but when it comes to truly trusting God to come through for me, I sometimes find myself faltering. God taking care of me sometimes doesn't look the way that I want it to and my human frailty causes my faith to lose it's luster. Uncertainty in my heart can creep in more easily than I'd like to admit.

"God, I know you are faithful. I know you promise to take care of me, but it would be nice if I had something tangible to help me remember that. Sometimes I chase after things in this life because I can FEEL them…I can SEE them. I know that's wrong and they become idols, but sometimes I find it easier. It always ends up leaving me empty, but I do it anyway which I hate. I guess I just want something tangible from you…something I can feel and touch to know that you are going to keep your promises to me. I want to have something to remember you are going to take care of me when things get uncertain. I'm a broken human and I don't deal well with uncertainty at all. I know that's wrong and I really don't need something my hands can touch, but I would like that, ya know?"

…..I guess He did know.

Last Thursday my cheerleaders were heading to an away game when one girl realized she forgot her cheer shoes. Obviously, without the cheer shoes it's hard to cheer and it was going to mess up the entire night. They were hoping that there would be extra somewhere, but nobody could come up with any ideas. They just kept driving to the game with no promise of a pair of cheer shoes.

As they were driving down the road a little later, they suddenly spotted something white on the side of the road. When they got closer, they realized that it was a pair of bright, white tennis shoes. The girls told the driver to stop so they could get out and look, but the mom obviously told the girls not to jump out into the street. Well, she ended up getting them herself and GUESS WHAT…..there on the side of the road was a brand new pair of white cheer shoes!!!! NEW TAG AND ALL…..A PERFECT fit to the girl who needed them. The squad took a picture with the miracle shoes and they were GLOWING in the picture. That part is kind of funny, but very fitting. They don't glow in the picture I took of them, but I know they are a miracle.

I wasn't there for the Thursday game, but was there at the Monday game to hear the story. The entire thing threw me for a loop and I was in awe of how the Lord provided for my cheerleaders that night. "Man, I would LOVE to have these miracles shoes!" I said looking at them mesmerized. "Well, take them!" the other coach said to me a few seconds later. Me? Take them? I was surprised that I could keep them because they WERE miracle shoes and all. Why would I be the one to get them? I wasn't even there. It all seemed so….odd.

I took the shoes to my car and as I was driving home I touched them with my right hand at a stoplight to see if they were real. I kid you not, while I was touching them, I heard that small voice of God I've heard since childhood say to me very clearly: "See? I will take care of you just like I took care of her with these shoes. Wear them on the days when you need reminding."

I got home and put on the shoes….they were a perfect fit. Can you BELIEVE that?!?!? I know…it seems like it's impossible. I might even sound a little crazy to some people, but it really did happen!!!

Even now I can hardly believe that all of this is true and I feel so loved by God that I can't really express how it makes me feel in words. I have the shoes out right now so I can see them every time I wake up and I get such comfort from it. Sometimes when I think about God…..I feel so small. But other times like this, I feel so important. Like I matter so much to God and that He truly cares about how I feel and what will help me. Maybe the girl forgot her shoes just for me. I have no idea how the shoes got onto the side of the road in perfect condition, but there they were- waiting for her…waiting for me. The miracle shoes might have helped them that night, but they will continue to help me for a lifetime.

Will I get married in those miracle cheer shoes? Absolutely. Will I be buried in them? I hope so…and don't y'all forget that. Just like He provided shoes for my cheerleaders, He will provide for me when I need it. Everything will make sense….and the shoes will remind everyone of how faithful God is whether we feel it that day or not.

Praise the King of Kings who is higher than anything else in existence, yet bends down to help his precious, broken humans that He holds so dear. Nothing is too small for Him to get involved in….not even a matter of the feet.

Friday, February 3, 2012

*A Valuable Quality*

The great thing about being a teacher is you can teach the future generations the things that you personally think are important. I didn't realize it until this year, but one quality that I think is so valuable to have is to be easy to apologize to.

I am in the middle of 6 and 7 yr. old disagreements a lot and I have noticed something VERY clear about human nature. When we are hurt, we are usually very hard to apologize to. You know…someone realizes they are wrong and goes to make things right only to have that person cover their ears or mope around. I hate it when I go to say I'm sorry to someone and they are like: "Well, you should be!"…and really half the time I think they are wrong too and I'm just trying to throw the peace sign up and move on with life. What's the point of staying in a fight, anyway? I was just trying to make amends and so and so is just making me mad ALL. OVER. AGAIN. There's nothing worse. Both people are at least a little wrong in most fights anyway! Doesn't the terrible forgiver know that?

"You need to work on being easier to apologize to." I find myself saying all the time at school. I have already seen how friendships get stronger and how people are able to mend if they are willing to do this very hard thing. The easier you are on people who come to apologize, the better things will be. And probably the more apologizes you will get! If nobody ever says they are sorry to you, maybe look at how you react when people come to you for forgiveness. Are you Patty Pouty Pants? A Run Away Reita? A Pay For It Patrick? How about a Greggie Grudge A lot? Don't let that be you.

The fact of the matter is…the bible calls us to forgive and forget. I know some things are so serious that you need to figure out if you need to separate yourself from that situation for intense purposes, but if it's not life altering…we need to forgive and put it behind us like it never happened. I personally like to think the best about people and I don't just assume the worst when we fight and it would be nice if people would do the same for me. We need to move on and not make a fuss about it until we believe that person has paid their dues in full. It's not easy…but it's right.

I try to be very, VERY easy to apologize to because I personally love apologies, haha. They make me feel so much better and if a person actually humbles themselves and does that, it's worth being nice to them for it. Most people wouldn't even say they were sorry, so the fact that someone does shows something good about them.

So…. are we being easy to apologize to or are we covering our ears? Do we not let that person play with us once they've hurt our feelings or are we willing to move on? Do we run from anyone who has hurt us and aren't willing to listen to what they have to say? Do we change our opinions about people if we have a fight? Why would we do this if we know that we ourselves have a sin nature, too? What's so shocking about someone else having one? A fight does not change the good sides of a person. They can still make great monkey bar partners…if only we will let them.