Walking in Freedom

Miscellaneous musings along the way

Forgive and Forget? October 9, 2012

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 9:40 pm
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It all started when one of my high school students (I’ll call him Isaac) chose not to pay attention to the lesson because he was catching up on work that should have already been completed.  As I was moving around the room helping students with the assignment, he quickly became frustrated because I wouldn’t come over to him to reteach the entire lesson to him.  Isaac’s frustration boiled over as he angrily gathered his belongings and stormed out of my room.  I still had students in the room to teach, and I wasn’t about to chase after a student who clearly wasn’t in the mood to see things from another point of view.

 

The next day, I put a half sheet “Re-entry” form on a clipboard and handed it to him before he came in the room.  It included questions like “what happened?” and “what could you have done differently?” and “how can you prevent this from happening again?”  After being in the hallway for a bit, Isaac knocked on the door.  It didn’t take long for me to notice that he still had the “teacher wasn’t doing her job” mentality.  I told him I didn’t think he was ready to re-enter the room to which he replied something along the lines of “can’t we just forgive and forget?”

I have only God to thank for bringing to my mind the story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).  What does this have to do with a stubborn teenager?  For those of you who don’t know the story, a woman is caught in adultery and is brought before Jesus by a group of religious men.  According to the law, the penalty for this sin was to stone her.  Jesus responds by saying, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”(v.7)  Realizing their guilt, all of the men gradually leave.  Jesus, now alone with the woman, asks her if anyone condemns her.  When she says there is no one, Jesus declares “Then neither do I condemn you.  Go now and leave your life of sin.” (v.11)

 

Jesus extended grace.  He chose forgiveness.  BUT, he did not ignore her actions that led to the accusation in the first place.  He declared forgiveness and also made a call to action.  He sent her off calling her to leave her life of sin.  God does not forgive us so that we can keep messing up (Paul says a lot about that in Romans!).  We see through the story of this woman that forgiveness propels repentance (or turning away from sin).

 

I shared this story with Isaac, stressing the importance of changed behavior.  I emphasized that I didn’t think less of him as a person, but I expected him to change his behavior.

 

Yes, God does remove our sins from us “as far as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).  Even still, from the story of the woman, we see that he desires that we walk away from our sin.

 

Kind of like jaw surgery?? July 18, 2012

Filed under: Colorado,Faith — songofjoy88 @ 3:10 pm
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trying to eat warm cereal through a syringe… between the swelling, jaws rubber banded shut and numbness all over, this was quite a task! also, note the bell for me to ding if I needed something- haha!

Just over two years ago I had jaw surgery.  It wasn’t an emergency surgery or anything, so I had time to prepare, but the change from before to after surgery was dramatic.

 

Back in middle school (when it was cool), I had braces for 2.5 years, so it didn’t seem to make sense why I was now considering surgery… about 7 years later!  I didn’t need surgery, the doctors told me, but if I didn’t, I may have problems with my teeth wearing down later and needing crowns and whatnot.  Also, there was the ever present nuisance of avoiding any food that required my front teeth to make contact (sandwiches- especially with lettuce, tomatoes, etc.; chips, apples…).  Over the years, my jaw grew in a less than ideal way and my teeth didn’t fit together well at all.

 

So, I had braces for about 9 months leading up to surgery as they prepared my teeth for the position they would need to be in once they did the surgery.  Things seemed to get worse, but I knew the orthodontist was just setting things up for the surgeon.  Two months after graduating from college, I had the surgery.  After that day, everything changed… though temporarily not for the better!  The swelling was ridiculous and the whole rubber banded shut jaw made it very difficult to communicate!  In many ways, I became like a baby- laying around/ sleeping all day, eating liquids only (later mushy foods, then soft foods), not being able to talk, and dependent on the help of others to get what I needed (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) 🙂

taking my pain-killer medicine through a syringe- yum! (not really, but I couldn’t really taste anything, so it could have been worse!)

But now I can say- it was all worth it!  I can now eat whatever I want without wondering if food will awkwardly be hanging out of my mouth because I can’t bite it off!  Everything fits together so now I can enjoy the simple things like eating a burger that has lettuce, pickles and tomato on it!

 

Thinking back on all the changes and adjustments I had to make through this makes me wonder if moving and/or starting a new job isn’t kind of like jaw surgery.  For me, my first teaching job was a good fit (at least in that season of my life)… but as time went on, things didn’t fit together quite as nicely.  Nothing unbearable, but just enough to make me look ahead and consider how long that was the place for me.

 

When the opportunity to teach in Colorado came up, I had a decision.  It was less about a “right” and a “wrong” choice and more about where God wanted me in the long run and what he wanted me to be doing.

 

I imagine in some ways, the transition will be like my surgery.  A sudden change that God has been preparing me for that will require adjustments on my part.  I can’t expect to do everything I was doing here right after I make the move- it’ll take time to get plugged in to a church, learn the roads, get plugged in with a community band/orchestra, etc.  And not only will it take time, but it will take the support of others that God graciously puts in my path.

 

But, I trust, that in the long run I will be able to look back and say it was all worth it!  So, thanks to those of you who have “tweaked the wires” and helped prepare me for this transition!  And, most of all, thanks be to God who has orchestrated this and had this in his plan all along! 🙂

 

I’ll be posting more regularly now, so check back if you’re curious how the “surgery” goes!

 

Satisfied? January 9, 2012

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 9:17 pm
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“Contentment is not found in having everything we think we want, but in choosing to be satisfied with what God has already provided.”

-Nancy DeMoss

 

Not sure where I stumbled on this quote, but I’m glad I jotted it down. 🙂  And while it is good to be satisfied with what God has provided, I desire to be satisfied with God himself.  I’m definitely not there yet.  John Piper has definitely said a few things about treasuring Christ and being satisfied in Him.  Most notably, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”

 

The words of Psalm 90:14 inspired the song “Satisfy” by Tenth Avenue North:

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
   that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

 

And another good song- “Only You Can Satisfy”

 

The truth of God’s word through these songs is refreshing and calming.  I think I’ll be playing these songs on repeat indefinitely… 🙂

 

For such a time as this December 11, 2011

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 2:32 pm
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This post is for anyone dealing with uncertainty or discouragement (particularly related to your job)… It’s an exerpt from something I wrote as I was processing through some things.

 

The bottom line is that you’re here now. No matter where you are a year from now or 5 years from now, you have been placed here to do _____________, so that is what you will do. And maybe the thought has crossed your mind that you don’t feel best suited for this job.  But, if you weren’t here, someone who doesn’t love God and doesn’t really care about the people you work with could be in your place. And even if you don’t always feel like you’re having much of an impact, if you weren’t here you wouldn’t be having any impact. So all you can do is choose to trust that God has you here and somehow in his great big plan, this is the best place for you right now.

 

I’m reminded of the words in Acts 17:26-28a:

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘In him we live and move and have our being’”

 

He has placed you right where he wants you and you can choose to look to him during this time of uncertainty and discouragement.  I also love Mordecai’s words to Esther encouraging her to be bold and trust God in Esther 4:14: “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

 

For such a time as this, God has placed you where you are to have an impact on the lives of others for his glory.  Maybe this isn’t such a bad place to be after all!

And here’s a song to get you pumped up about where God placed you by Flame. 🙂

 

All poured out October 26, 2011

Filed under: Faith,School — songofjoy88 @ 6:25 pm
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All poured out

I’m left here weak

Can’t even stand

No words to speak

I’m falling fast

When will I land?

He’s calling past

My circumstance.

 

He’s led me here

Despite my fear

So thankful cuz I know He’s near.

But I’m feeling a bit precarious

Because He’s living vicariously

through me.

He’s giving me eyes to see

What I missed before

Everywhere-

An open door

But when opportunity knocks,

Will I usher her in?

Or just tell her to come back again?

 

Now’s not the right time

So much to do and I’m

Barely doing what I’ve got to do

What makes you think I have time for you?

But wait, this is the very reason He placed me here

I think it’s time that I finally faced my fear.

Step outside my comfort zone

Until outside myself begins to feel like home.

 

Keep Me Abiding October 8, 2011

Filed under: Faith — songofjoy88 @ 1:52 pm
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Two weeks ago I attended a women’s prayer retreat with about 30 women from my church.  The theme was John 15:1-17 where Jesus describes himself as the vine, God as the vinedresser and his followers as the branches.  The key verse was John 15:4- “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. ”

As I walked up the narrow winding road through the woods, I asked God, “What does it mean to abide in You?” 

He answered Unscheduled, uninterrupted time with me.  You don’t plan what you’re going to talk about before you hang out with friends and you don’t keep texting or talking on the phone when you’re with them- more like that. 

Not just asking (or telling) me stuff.  As you would with a friend, ask what I have been up to.  Listen and receive.

As I processed what God was revealing to me, this is what I wrote…

Abiding is not a thing to do-

it’s a posture of the heart,

a stillness of the soul,

a focus of the mind,

an openness to hear Me speak,

an eagerness to respond to My presence.

Stubborness can make me a slow learner sometimes, but slowly it started to sink in that abiding is less about what I have to say to God and more about what God desires to reveal to me.  Wow! 

God persisted with this truth: Maybe what I have to say to you, dear child, is more important than what you have to say to me.

As I processed the passage and went through the prayer guide, God continued to reveal His truth to me.  One of the questions was “What are the barriers in your life that make it difficult to abide?”  I wrote down busyness and that abiding is not viewed as productive.  Gently, my Teacher helped me see how faulty that logic was!

When there is a difficult situation in my life or lots of work to be done, my initial thought (perhaps yours too) is to buckle down and get to work.  Act now- pray for God’s blessing and direction later.  I need to DO something, even if I sense a lack of clarity.  Lack of action can be viewed as nothing more than weakness and cowardice.  Or maybe not.

John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  This verse directly opposes my human logic.  The only way to bear fruit is if I abide in Christ.  Without Christ, nothing matters.  If I want what I do to matter, Christ must be the source of it all.  I need His help to understand that abiding must preceed action!

Echoing these thoughts, I can’t think of a better song than “Full Attention” by Jeremy Riddle. 🙂  Lord, keep us abiding in You.

 

The Noted Quoted August 22, 2011

Filed under: Just for fun — songofjoy88 @ 8:58 am
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I usually have plenty to say, but this time I’ll leave it to some other people.  Be enlightened by this random selection of quotes that I like. 🙂

  • “It’s easy to stumble out of church. It’s almost impossible to stumble out of community. One more reason why circles are better than rows!” – Andy Stanley
  • “As with every other aspect of life, we are called to be thoughtful, full of thought, in our relationship to technology. Not daftly dancing along to the latest drumbeat, enticing as it may be. Rather, asking ourselves whether we ‘should’, not simply whether we ‘can.’ Should I let my children play a video game now? Or should I accompany them on a hike? Should I watch a movie? Or ought I read or write or pray?” -Tom Rowley
  • “There is never going to be a day when I stand before God and He looks at me and says, ‘I wish you would have kept more for yourself.’ I’m confident that God will take care of me.” –David Platt
  • Irony: the opposite of wrinkly.
  •  “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” – Frank Clark
  • Everything is easier said than done, except for talking- that’s about the same.
  • “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” -Sam Ewing

 And here’s a sweet song for you to listen to…

“Open up the Sky” by Deluge