Archive for February, 2008

Thankful for the Sovereignty of God

Some days I can really start to wonder what is going on, what God is trying to teach me, and when I will ever feel 100%…

2007 was a rough year. I had a sore throat and cold once a month except for August and September. I had the stomach flu in February and again in December. I was diagnosed with strep and mono in December as well… So, I thought I was on my way to being healthy in time for student teaching.

I’d been eating healthy, no sweets, lots of fruits and veggies; taking lots of vitamins; washing my hands so much they were getting dry enough to crack.

But alas, student teaching in a 2nd grade classroom in the middle of what has turned out to be a very, very germ-ridden winter in Indiana has left me sick once again. Last week was the first week of student teaching and I loved it. I thought I had gotten through it without catching the bug… Then Friday afternoon, I hopped in my car after school and heading north to take over for a friend of mine watching  my kiddos for the day. I was super excited to take care of my kiddos for the weekend since it had been almost 3 weeks since I last saw them.

Upon arrival I was greeted with a 103.8 fever which broke that same night… Sunday, however, we didn’t make it to church because the oldest was also running a 103. 6, and I woke up with a cough. Little did I know that I would basically lose my voice by Monday afternoon, be running a fever myself, and find myself in the doctor’s office yet again on Tuesday, missing a day of student teaching.

The verdict came down… An ear infection in one ear, an almost developed one in the other ear, a sore throat that left untreated would have gone into strep, a wheezing, hacking cough that required an inhaler, and a fever that required lots of ibuprofen and tylenol taken every 3 hours in order to break… Yep, the joys of student teaching and being around sick kiddos…

So, I find myself at home again today, resting up and obeying the doctor’s orders of being on my meds for 24 hours before returning to school. She also said I had to rest my voice, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Maybe I will declare it a whisper day in the second grade 😉

Amidst all of this, it is so easy to get discouraged. I’m used to being sick once, maybe twice a year… Yet somewhere in the last 14 months that has changed and it’s overwhelming at times. Just when I think I am out of the woods, that I have been sick enough times to insure I won’t get sick again, it starts all over again.

Physically, I feel maxed out when I shouldn’t. I do little besides school, church, and sleeping. I decided against a Saturday job during student teaching since I had been so sick.  Emotionally, I constantly have to critique and change my thinking to be in line with God’s sovereignty. Spiritually, I have to constantly be battling to be in the Word. When I feel so gross it’s all I can do to finish my assigned homework or lesson planning. It’s discouraging to pick up my Bible only to not be fully alert and in study mode due to the sickness.

Yet… I remember the Lord is sovereign. He is in control and as long as I can remember that and meditate on it, I will be okay. I have no need to worry about getting sick again, how this will effect my completion of student teaching, or even how I grow in Him during this time. Knowing our Lord is sovereign and beginning to wrap my head around what that really means is something I am so very, very thankful for during this time.

I eagerly anticipate summer with fewer germs and fewer germ carriers. 😉


Hell’s Best Kept Secret and The Rest of God

For the first month of the new year (I can’t believe we are one month into the new year already!) my goal was to read two books, followed by one every month hereafter. I figured with being sick and having a week of break left I’d be able to do it… well, I finished one and got further along in the other… I’ll try to finish it up here in the next week or so and start on another book I haven’t decided upon yet…

Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort was really just a review of the Way of the Master Class from this summer at The Bible Church of Brownsburg. He took some points further and gave more illustrations to use when engaging those on their way to an eternity in hell apart from God’s grace. He refuted the ‘love, joy, peace gospel’ in which he stated, “When the sinner sees the awful consequences of breaking the Law of God-that he cannot escape the certainty of judgment-he will see his need to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Later he says, “But we do sinners an injustice by enticing them with only the benefits of salvation.” This is so very true and I look back on a period in my life a few years ago in which I was involved in using a method that failed to accurately point out man’s depravity and complete sin nature. Rather, more emphasis was put on having a wonderful life. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for that time in my life, for learning boldness in sharing my faith, and hoping some seed was planted…

He then goes on to show why the Law is so effective to lead sinners to Christ, a schoolmaster as the Scriptures say, and how to use the law. There is a chapter on being bold, having faith in Christ to do things we often don’t think possible. He shows the Christian who is inactive in sharing their faith, how very disobedient they are. Christ commands us to share the gospel with others, he doesn’t politely ask.

I had never read anything by Mark Buchanan but ran across a book of his, The Rest of God, Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath, for a cheap price and thought it could be an interesting read. While I do not agree with everything in this book, so far I do not have any huge red flags that would cause me to caution anyone from reading it. In fact, I have gained a lot from this book in the few chapters I have read.

Right before the start of the semester I read his chapter on work and establishing the work of your hands. In this time of my life the work is a few classes and student teaching. He says, “What if your work became worship? What if the work of your hands-repairing lawn mowers, scouring pots, paving streets, mending bones, balancing ledgers, (doing homework)…? What if Jesus himself was your boss, the One who watched over you and whom you honored with your efforts? (I was thinking how intimidating this could be and feed such a perfectionist nature, but then balanced with grace, how sweet this could be)…
“Here’s a radical idea: next time you’re tempted to complain about your work, praise God for it instead. Next time you open your mouth to gossip about people you work with or smear those you work for, stop yourself and turn in the other direction: pray for them, thank God for them, find the good in them. Next time you want to quit, pour that into worship….
( I LOVE that line-especially as with mono at the start of the semester I was wanting to quit in numerous ways)
Name the ways this work has blessed you, provided for you, allowed you to be a blessing. Pray for those you work with. Look at the things your work has provided: the clothes you wear, the shoes you walk in, the food in fridge and cupboard, the table you eat at, the car you drive. Even if it’s not much, it’s more than nothing…”
It seems so simple, so very basic for a believer, but how often do we really stop and think outside our pride, thanking God for the very ways the very work of our hands (which He enables us to do) has benefited, blessed, and grown us. How many times have we used this a chance for worship?

Another comment from Buchanan that caused me to stop and think was from his chapter on renewing our thinking… “God is more interested in changing your thinking than changing your circumstances.” He had prefaced this quote by saying that often we don’t change our minds or renew our attitudes until someone, either God, or friend, family, boss, etc changes our circumstances. We see fit to be discontent, complaining, not renewing our minds until our circumstances change to how we wanted them all along.

I’m in the fifth chapter and he has more good things to say, but those were two that stood out to me over the past month as a student, battling mono, and also finding myself thinking how often I really do fail to be thankful, to renew my mind, to choose to glorify God. This month alone has caused me to see and experience God’s grace in new ways. I am so very thankful and in awe of the fact that He could love a sinner like me.

So, that’s it for January… February goals will be to finish up The Rest of God and get started on another, yet to be determined, book.