Sunday, August 30, 2015

One Bird Left

We drove out to Indiana on Friday to drop off Allen and Audra at school. We stayed in a nearby hotel and arrived on campus to move them in on Saturday. Audra has two roommates who seem nice. They spent quite a bit of time setting up their room, decorating, and in discussing organization and decorating ideas. There was even some discussion about different devotionals they have used. Allen showed up to discover that his roommate opted not to transfer to IWU. So Allen has a single for now.  He quickly unpacked his stuff, put together his bed, and declared himself settled. We managed to purchase a car for them so they have transportation. Since the trip out is 8 1/2 hours, this should make things a bit easier for them and us.

These were taken yesterday evening...just before gathering in a circle to pray as a family for them. We said our good-byes and then left. I'm glad that they have each other and that they get along so well. They always have. I feel very good about the school and it's strong Christian stance. We attended a worship service last night to welcome new students. During that worship service, a prayer was lifted up for the new students and a short message on following Christ was given. I couldn't help thinking about the contrast between this experience and the experience my parents had when dropping me off at college. My college was clearly not a godly environment. My roommate was definitely not a believer. There was nothing to welcome new students and certainly no worship service, although I believe that my parents prayed for me as they drove away that day. I think leaving me there must have been difficult for them. I feel at peace about leaving them there...but think that they could have chosen a school that was closer! ;)

We will miss them. The house already seems a bit quiet. Now we must adjust to having only one child left. Alicia is in eleventh grade this year...which means that in two years, we could have three children in college at once! I don't know that they will be home before Thanksgiving break, but there is a parent weekend in October.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

An Unexpected Answer to Prayer is another crazy story where God left me with my mouth hanging open. I think He really enjoys doing this for His children on occasion.

I was nearing the end of my delayed grief. It had been really a difficult thing to go through. I was glad to finally begin seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. One day I cried out to God and said, "Lord...I'm getting this! I'm accepting it. I'm okay with this now...but can you please just let me know somehow that he (the one I lost) is following you? I just really want to be assured that he is walking with you." I had almost forgotten about that cry out to the Lord when about two weeks later, God suddenly just dropped the answer into my lap.

Before I tell you what happened, I need to tell you the following as background information. At this time, I had been corresponding with a childhood friend who was living in Ohio. Quite frankly, this woman was driving me crazy. She was sending me multiple emails a day...mostly full of nonsense. You know the of puppies and kittens, urban legends, stories that ended with instructions to "send this to 10 people if you love Jesus," and the like. It got to the point where I pretty much stopped opening the emails she sent. I just hit delete.

One day I opened my mailbox and against my better judgement, I opened one of her emails and actually read it. I'm still not exactly sure what made me do it...but I know it was definitely a God thing. The story was quite a touching one about the friendship between Steve Green and Rick Husband. When I got to the bottom of the page, the author identified herself as a secretary of a church, which she named, along with its location. I immediately recognized the name of the town because of sending the letter of apology to first of the two individuals mentioned in this post.

"Wow," I thought. "I wonder if this is the church that he and his family go to." Honestly, I figured that there were probably a dozen churches in this town and probably some more in neighboring towns that he could have attended just as well. In any case, I decided to look at the church's website just to see what sort of church it was. I did not expect to see his name or anyone else's in his family. My husband and I are very active in our church...and yet, you cannot find either of our names on our church's website anywhere. I just expected to go on the site and see names of staff, a mission statement, what sort of ministry opportunities they offer, etc.

When I went on the site, I was surprised to find an entire church directory on it. There it was-his name, his wife's name, their address, and phone number. It even mentioned that his wife was the children's choir director. I was absolutely stunned and knew it was God's way of showing me that this person and his family were following Christ. To be honest, I was also a little annoyed by the church for putting this directory on the site. I just thought it was a bit of an infringement on the privacy of its members. (Jeepers! You never know who's going to run across it...crazy x-girlfriends for example!) A couple of weeks later, I still couldn't believe how my prayer had been answered. I just had to go on the site to look again. The church directory was no longer there.

I was just so amazed that God had really cared enough to answer my prayer. I had not gone looking to find the information. I had not stalked him and his family trying to answer this question. The answer had just been given to me! Even the disappearing church directory such a short time later was proof to me that the Lord's hand was in this.

Monday, August 24, 2015

"The Preacher" Writes Some Words

I have quite a few very cool stories that show me how real God is or that he just wants to bless us with something amazing. I'm going to record some of those stories here. I just feel like they should be documented before they are forgotten or lost to time. Some of the stories have something to do with the trial I have spoken about recently...others don't. The other day I thought of one that should be put into the same category as this one.

Allen was always a unique child because of his hunger and thirst for Jesus and the Word of God at such a young age. Before he started school, he would sit at the kitchen table and painstakingly copy down Bible verses word for word. He would usually use the box of memory verses that we used as a family. He would ask me to read the verse to him and then he would slowly copy each letter, each word, each punctuation mark onto a piece of paper. Meanwhile, I would be doing the dishes or cooking dinner. I was so intrigued by his dedication, but I had no idea what the Holy Spirit was doing in this little guy's life while he worked hard at this until he started school.

He started kindergarten at Canandaigua Primary School and had Mrs. M as a teacher. From time to time she would pass out paper to the children and tell them that if they knew how to write any words that she would like them to write them down. She would put these papers in a binder that she referred to as a journal. If they only knew some letters, that was okay too. She didn't expect anything amazing from the children, but this exercise usually gave her a good indication about how the children were progressing with writing. Usually lists of words were short...including words such as mommy, daddy, dog, cat, a, the...or would include a very simple sentence. But not my Allen. This is what he wrote:

Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37 

This was quite a shock to the teacher. She was so stunned that she had to keep the paper and tell me about it. This woman was not a believer as far as I know and didn't quite know what to do with Allen who was constantly talking about Jesus in class. She sometimes referred to him affectionately as "the preacher." Meanwhile, the classroom aid was quietly cheering Allen on because she was a Christian herself. To be quite honest, I was quite surprised too. I had no idea that he was capable of writing something so intricate without having to copy it from another source. He even knew the biblical address of the verse. I truly believe that the Holy Spirit was actually teaching my 4-5 year old how to read and write. I also knew and was blessed that these words of truth were seeping deeply into Allen's mind and soul. This actually has brought tears of joy and gratitude to my eyes.

Somewhere in my stuff, I have the very paper that he wrote out the verse on. I found it and added it to the post. I also added a gospel tract of sorts that he created (with his own words that I added to the back) around the same age.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fear not...nor let your anxiety take over your thinking!

Yesterday, I went into the library at my new school just to look around. I took Audra with me because she wanted to see it. I looked through every cupboard, drawer and file cabinet. I looked at the book shelves and figured out where all the light switches are (one can never take that for granted). I looked at what technology is available and my teaching space. I started considering how I would arrange my office.

Suffice it to say...I was a bit overwhelmed. I started to feel some mild anxiety but managed to think my way out of it. However....this morning I woke up with a knot in my stomach and general feeling of dread. That is basically what depression feels like and it stinks.

I had applied to five different school districts since June. I got turned down for three of them after one interview and never even got called for another. The last one was a part time position in a really nice school district in Monroe County. I had some very strong connections in this school district. When I went in for the initial interview, which was just with the principal, he basically told me that due to some raving recommendations and my previous work in the district, that I was their top candidate. Wow! I thought, "This is it. I don't even care if it is only part time." I would be working in a large HS with another librarian who is full time. They used to have two librarians at that HS and were hoping to build that up again. I also knew that there may be a chance of getting a full time position in another school in that district since I know of an upcoming retirement next year. I was happily envisioning myself working for this school district soon.

I was pretty content, when I got a phone call out of the blue. It was the principal of the HS in Wayne CSD. He told me that they had a full time position open and didn't get many applicants. He had learned of my credentials by looking through the digital applications online that had been made public to all the school districts that used this particular service. He found mine and was sufficiently impressed. He wondered if I would be willing to come in for an interview. I had actually heard about the opening but missed the deadline for applying. I decided not to worry about it, so I hadn't given it another thought. I agreed to come in.

By this time, I actually had my heart set on the part-time position. I figured that I would go into Wayne, only to have it confirmed that the school district with the PT position would be the better choice. That was not what happened. Instead, I was pretty impressed with the place. The principal and assistant principal were very personable. I immediately felt very comfortable with them. I was called in for a second interview a week later and felt the same thing. It wasn't at all what I expected. Now I knew that I would have to make a decision because I knew that I would be offered both positions. (I just knew...sometimes you do) The next morning was my second interview for the PT. It went very well, and I think that it would have been a good choice.  I know I could have been very happy there, but decided on the FT at Wayne.

So...back to this morning. I woke up with this knot in my stomach. Ugh! I hate when that happens. I just started having all sorts of doubts about my decision. It didn't matter what I was thinking, because the decision had been made. I had already notified both schools of my intent. I just had this general feeling of, "What have I gotten myself into?" Typical of depression, I was sure that I didn't really have what it takes to be successful at the FT position. I wish that I was positive thinking all the time...but I'm not. I had to go in to school to do paperwork today and meet the superintendent. I prayed on the way up there that the Lord would allay my fear and anxiety. I had been pretty sure that I had felt his leading to choose this school, but now was assaulted with doubt (oh me of little faith).

I went to the district office and met with the super. As soon as I sat down with him, I felt very comfortable. I met several other people and everyone was very nice. I was feeling good again. I also was quite happy to learn that my salary will be very comparable to what I got when I worked in Webster. I had assumed it would be less because it is a more rural district than Webster is. I went over to the HS to go into the library again. Then I started meeting all sorts of teachers who came in to say hello and introduce themselves. One of the English teachers told me that she had already reserved space in the library for September. I met my mentor, who is going to be a wonderful help to me. I have heard nothing but positive things about my full time aid. I can't wait to meet her.

So ...the Lord certainly allayed my fear and anxiety today. I have the weekend to relax. I will be in a few different days next week...but not every day. Allen comes home from the Adirondacks tomorrow. He and Audra will be around for one week and then they will head off to school at Indiana Wesleyan University at the end of next week. Yes...they both chose the same school. That is quite nice for us. (Gordon just did not give us a realistic financial package, so IWU was the choice) After we drop them off at school, I will have quite an adjustment to make with only one left at home. How did the time go by so fast? I'm glad that I will have a new job to keep me busy...not to mention that it will help cover the bills. My first day of school is August 31. The first day for students in our district is Sept 2. Alicia does not start school until the day after Labor Day.

I am sure that when I get into the swing of things at my new job that this blog will become very quiet once again, but maybe not.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Job

There has been a change of status for me as of yesterday afternoon. Yesterday morning my status was "unemployed."  I am happy to say that I am now employed by Wayne Central School District as the librarian in the high school there.

It needs a lot of it has been neglected for many years. Rolling up my sleeves today!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

God is Slowly Working On Me...As I Surrender

So...God is good.

He knows the way I take, and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

God is still working on me and I know that when He is done, I really will come forth as gold. The thing is, God works very slowly on us. It takes a lifetime for him to complete his work in us.

Really, it's kind of exciting. What's next, Lord?

I still want to be like that lady from the retreat center, no matter what it takes.

Photo by my sister, Martha Teal. Stolen by me.