“Live for God”, play-by-play

The Live for God Bible Study started today.  It's actually going on right now, and they're in my classroom.  Their key verse today is Philippians 2.14, with the title-"God wants us to be minty fresh!"  And my boy, Malcolm, is reading Proverbs 4 right now. 

I'm so proud of our girls, Crystal, Danielle and Victoria, who are leading.  They're so stinkin' awesome!  I love this!  And I'm listening to one of them trying to convict the kids of gossiping…"Don't lie, I know you've gossiped!"  Wow, this is great…I mean, they've got a long way to go in leading a Bible study, but this is their first one:)  (It is kind of hard not to step in though.)

Now they're instructing the kids about the 30 Second Kneeldown, where they kneel at their lockers for 30 seconds in the morning to pray.  "If they ask you what you're doing, tell them you're praying for them!  And do it!"

Memory verse time-pick a verse to write on your card and memorize the Scripture this week, but first you have to figure out what it means.

"Who's going to work on this?  Be honest!  Be honest with your parents!  Be honest with us!" 

Oh….I could go on, but I won't.  I'm pumped for this group of kids.  I truly hope that the fire that I see in the leaders catches flame in the rest of the group, and I pray that it grows.  They're so cool.  =)

SYATP

It was a slightly chilly day in September, back in 1993, when I stood at the flag pole of Neshaminy Junior High school with my friend, Andrew, to pray for our school.  It was my first See You at the Pole day, and there were so many emotions flying high in me.  My dad and I picked Andrew up early enough for us to go pray for some time, and still have be able to get to class on time.  I recall a teacher coming out to join us, but I never had her and never really got to know her.  A few people stopped to ask us what we were doing.  "We're praying for you," we responded.  Throughout the day several people questioned us about our stance by the pole that morning…it was a day to stand up for your faith or die of embarrassment.  I remember that year for so many reasons…Biology class when I had to stand up for what I believed, Jason Coleman committing suicide, and Social Studies class-in which we learned about all the major religions, and because I wanted to know more about how to reach other people, I got something like a 115% on the final test because I'd memorized all that info.  It was definitely an interesting year, to say the least.

My next three years at Neshaminy High School held many more moments of sharing my faith with teachers and peers…it always started with See You at the Pole.  See You at the Pole is always on a Wednesday-the third one in September-on which students all over the country (world?) stand around their school flagpoles and pray.  The standard time is about 7am, but if your school starts earlier, you can do it any time.  It's a day when teenagers all over are endeavoring to make a statement and to simply pray together.  At NHS it always started our Wednesday morning prayer group and our Bible study (every Tuesday after school).  We had a prayer group, that was about 30 people when I graduated, that prayed in our cafeteria during breakfast every Wednesday morning.  We would pray for each other, our classmates, our teachers, our administrators, our country.  No one really led it…we just knew we had to do it.  People would randomly join us every now and then, just because we'd become somewhat of a team:) 

Fast forward to today.  It was See You at the Pole day, and I joined one of our 7th graders and my friend, Andrea, on the grass in front of our school to pray for my co-workers, my students, my administration, and my community (of Hamtramck).  At one point, I heard one of my students get out of her car and yell "Ms. Burton!!!!"  I chose not to answer, out of reverence for what was happening in that moment.  I didn't notice that she came over, and that Andrea asked her if she wanted to join us.  I'd started to pray a prayer that was from deep within my heart…and I had no idea that she was standing there.  Huh.  God is so funny…He didn't let on that she was standing there.

I felt a bit different this morning…like I was bolder when I was 14.  How did I become tainted?

This past summer when God clearly showed me a vision of a Bible study happening in my classroom this school year.  Hmmm.  I knew that I couldn't start one.  That would literally be illegal.  I knew who in my class would be interested, but I wasn't really sure how this would happen exactly.  God even gave me a verse!  These past couple of months I've been handing this to the Lord and asking Him to guide this into existence. 

This past week, a couple of girls at our school, that go to Real Church, asked to start a Bible study.  They asked if they could have it in my classroom on Mondays, after school.  Then today they went around to all the classes to tell the school about it.  "Live for God" was the title of the flyer they handed out to our kids.  About 10 kids in my class signed up, saying that they were interested (including 2 Muslim kids that I'm pretty sure didn't know what they were signing up for :).  Most of the other kids I expected to sign up, and 2 of the boys with extreme anger issues also signed up.

Honestly, do you know what happens when you see a vision happening right before your eyes?  Do you have any idea what it was like to hold back tears today? 

If you happen to think of me on a Monday, ask God to speak in our Bible study, please.  There just might be a revival in my school, yet, this year;)

 

To Next Year and Beyond

So I have had this thing with my teaching certification…it expires next June. There are 2 different levels of teacher certificates around here:  Provisional and Professional.  You get your Provisional right out of college.  The state of Michigan, in order to collaborate with the colleges to squeeze as much money out of its teachers keep up with No Child Left Behind standards for teachers, require that a teacher needs to either take at least 9 credits to renew her Provisional certificate within 5 years, or take 18 credits (or a Master’s Degree) to get her Professional certificate. 

For the last several years I’ve looked and looked and tried to see how on earth I could possibly budget to take some classes to renew my certificate in June of ’09, but it just wasn’t happening.  I didn’t want anymore debt…I had a peace that it wasn’t God’s plan for my life.  I’ve looked for different ways to try to get grants to pay for it-or at least help-but with no such luck. 

Last year when I started the Literacy Project with some great professionals in my field, I thought for sure that it was going to open up a door with Grand Valley State University to receive some sort of credit to help me out with my certification…but nada.  So here I learned all this wonderful stuff, applied it, saw myself grow as a teacher, and I’ve known all spring that I wouldn’t be able to teach after this school year.  Part of me, honestly, was kind of burnt out and I wasn’t too sad about stepping out of the classroom. 

Something happened at the end of the school year (and I was encouraged by a WONDERFUL woman named Susan…one of my teaching mentors and friends) to not let go of my dream to keep teaching.  Susan really did play a great role in this, because the woman had nothing to gain or lose by me stepping out, nor staying in…but she’s seen me in my classroom, with my kids, teaching my kids…and she really, truly believes in me as a teacher!  I seriously can’t deny the power that happens when someone who knows what they’re talking about, tells you that you have a true gift for something…it does something in your heart.  (Don’t ever forget that when you’re speaking into someone’s life!  Especially if you know what you’re talking about…what you say really means something:) 

Anywho, my heart was rejuvenated, and I began to really seek God again for further direction.  I started jumping down a few different thought paths that after a day or two, definitely didn’t seem like the paths that were meant for me.  And then one day, less than 2 weeks ago, (and literally 1 day after asking a group of friends to pray for my decision-making in this area of my life-thanks friends!) I landed on this website, for the National Board Certification for teachers

I think I’d heard of national teacher certification before, but I’d never known anything about it (although I figured that it would probably be a big deal).  I’ve never known anyone that had it, and after these past couple weeks, have only found 1 person who’s ever even heard of it!  I spent some time on the website, asked some questions to other educators and people at the state department…oh yeah, and I prayed about it:)  In three days I’d had my decision (I knew I had to move quickly because of deadlines) and I applied to go through the process to become nationally certified as a teacher! 

The process doesn’t cost nearly what it would cost for me to take the credits I was needing, and the state of Michigan gives out grants that will cover half of it (not many people actually apply, so there’s a good chance I’ll receive the grant).  It will give me my Professional certificate in Michigan for 10 years!

I’m sure that I’ll have lots of things to say about the process, but for now, you can know that it’s going to take a lot of planning, organization, mad teacher skills ;-P, reflection, time, patience, and God’s creativity to pull off.  The odds are actually against me…only 40% of the teachers who apply for this ever get it, and typically teachers have 3 yearly teaching cycles to complete each part well enough to pass (if you don’t do well on one of the 5 parts, you could always pay to retake that part the next year)…I only have one year of teaching left, so this next year is my only chance!  I have until March 31st to complete my entire portfolio (many teachers have been working on this since January) and I also have to take a 6 hour long assessment on things that aren’t covered in the intensive portfolio pieces.

It seems like I’m a touch on the crazy side right now…but I have to admit that I’m running with some serious adrenaline to walk through this intensive process, and to do it well.  Only having one chance at this is very risky, but I honestly feel that God led me to this place.  I don’t believe in gambling, but I do believe in taking risks.  Risk-taking isn’t necessarily my forte, but I do value it and know that sometimes it’s just what God is calling you to do.

Needless to say, I’m excited about this opportunity to step into something a bit bigger than I’ve ever expected.  But, remember that Literacy Project that I’ve been working through?…yea, everything I need to know for this certification process I learned through the project.  Can’t help it but think that God was setting me up. 😉  All this, not to even mention the fact that I’m moving up with my students to teach 5th grade this next year, which will end up being amazing because I get to jump right into the year (and the cert process) already knowing my kids!

Remind Me Again?

So often I've heard this saying, that God cares more about my character than my comfort.  I say it myself, and in all reality, i actually believe it!  It's not that God doesn't ever want us to be comfortable, but He's simply more aware of the fact that the things that will shape our character happen to be the things that sharpen us…I can't imagine any tool that needs to be sharpened thoroughly enjoying that process-right? 

But honestly, in moments like the present I just kinda wish God didn't care so much.  Well, deep down I don't wish that, but on the surface I pretty much do.  There's about a million things that are uncomfortable right now…a couple relationships, my job (hopefully this will change?), some uncertainties, some tensions I don't feel like dealing with…they're all JUST HARD!  Plus, it's the end of the school year and there's a ton of stress that dwells in the last couple weeks of school.

So, I think I need someone to remind me again…why does God care more about my character than my comfort?  Oh, right…because He wants me to continue to grow.  Does it all have to come at one time though?  :-)  Seriously…Well, Father knows best.  I choose to trust Him. 

On a completely different note…Barak anyone?

They Don’t Even Know

Kid_in_armorWhen I was in ninth grade, I remember competing at a fine arts competition and hearing a particular song sung over and over again.  I recall thinking it was funny that so many people chose that song. No matter how many times I heard a girl (it usually was a girl:) go up on stage, in her poofy hair and long dress, sing that song that day, I teared up each time. 

Warrior is a Child, by Twila Paris

Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right
But even winners can get wounded in the fight
People say that I’m amazing
Strong beyond my years
But they don’t see inside of me
I’m hiding all the tears

(Chorus)
They don’t know that I go running home when I fall down
They don’t know who picks me up when no one is around
I drop my sword and cry for just a while
‘Cause deep inside this armour
The warrior is a child

Unafraid because his armour is the best
But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest
People say that I’m amazing
Never face retreat
But they don’t see the enemies
That lay me at His feet

They don’t know were words that resounded in my head…no one really knows!  Well, Jesus knows, but sometimes (if we’re really honest) we encounter crises of faith and we question whether Jesus even knows.  The fact of the matter is that the whole point of Jesus coming to join us here on earth for a season was so that He would know (as in experience), even as we know.  Jesus gets temptation, and He gets being let-down.  He gets it when Satan is telling Him lies and He has to decide to choose the Truth instead.  He may have never sinned, but He understands the human condition resulting from The Fall.

I guess these are really my pondered thoughts…Sometimes we just don’t know the battles that other people are facing inside, and sometimes others don’t know the battles that we’re facing inside.  Inside battles can be so enormous, and while someone might see a taste of it on your face, in a comment, or in a blog post:), they really don’t know.  But there’s something to intercession and fasting that I’m learning about-and not even as an intercessor, or a faster, right now. 

No matter what kind of battle I’ve been facing over the last several months, God has simply been blowing me away with His faithfulness.  I have been a warrior-but feeling like a child.  But God has been choosing stronger people in my life that are standing as warriors to fight for me.  How humbling.  I’ve had so many people telling me that they’re praying for me, and that God has been placing me on their hearts.  I’ve had people tell me that they’ve been interceding and God just puts my face in front of them…This has been happening for months!  Just like Hannah, He hasn’t forgotten me…although perhaps our physical goals are a little different:) 

The funny thing is that those people, they don’t know

People don’t have to know.  I mean, it’s good to share our hearts and struggles and sins with each other-that’s vital for growth.  But when people choose to go to war through prayer and fasting, they don’t necessarily have to know what’s going on…God just uses them in battle to fight because they’ve made themselves available to go where He is and obey.  I’ve been humbled knowing that none of the people that have been praying for me have known the depth of why they’re praying for me.  (I’m not even totally sure of that depth)  They’re simply obedient people who love God and love people…and boy do they love to pray:)

29 points!?!?

Perhaps I’m a hard worker, and perhaps I’m quite passionate about what I do, but I would be a fool to take credit for something that God has done.  He is so good, and so kind to us in our weaknesses!  It just so happens that I’m a teacher and I teach all kinds of kids, with all kinds of weaknesses…here’s a snapshot of a great thing God is doing in my classroom…

Email to a parent from earlier today…(name has been changed)

Matt is definitely improving in reading!  His fluency and
comprehension have both bumped up quite a bit on the DRA test.  And on
his MAP test (on the computer).  His normal growth by the Spring would’ve
been 15 points, but he actually grew 29 points in half the time!!!!
That’s fantastic!  He’s still at about a 3rd grade level.but his growth
over the course of just months is great!  I’m so proud of himJ

…and this was a part of mom’s response…


YOU SHOULD SEE ME AT MY DESK CLAPPING AND DANCING IN MY SEAT.  WE HAVE BEEN
WORKING SO HARD WITH HIM AND WITH THE READING. 

…my conclusion?

God is SO faithful to accomplish in us what we can’t do in ourselves, by ourselves…

Just Because I say, “Merry Christmas”, it doesn’t mean that I know Jesus

During this time of year, when we throw Jesus a birthday party, I get sHabanativityset3100598
ad at Christians who act…well…un-Christlike.  I’ll never understand the hostility that Christians show towards people who don’t allow nativity scenes on the lawns of civic places and those that don’t say "Merry Christmas", but "Happy Holidays".  I’ve heard the song by Go Fish, called "Christmas with a Capital C", and while it’s not a bad song, it’s just another excuse for Pharisee’s to say, "Yeah!  It’s called Christmas!  So I’m gonna be rude to you because you don’t want to say, ‘Merry Christmas,’ or let me put my nativity scene out!!!!!!!!"  The word "Christian" literally means "Little Jesus", which actually causes me to realize that I don’t really deserve such a description.  We just don’t act like Him, and it really comes out during this time of "celebration"…sadly. 

Honestly, a lot of the people that "celebrate Christmas" do so simply because it’s become a cultural thing.  I couldn’t possibly care less if the store I buy things at have the words "Merry Christmas" on anything, or they wish me so.  This season is about Him and me.  I could wish a thousand people a MC and yet still walk with deep sin in my life…would Jesus be pleased with my MC?  Of course not. 

Don’t get me wrong…I would be so happy if everyone at Kohl’s today knew Jesus in a deep way-so deep that they were overflowing with joy about Who He is and that they couldn’t help themselves but wish me a Merry Christmas…but a simple Merry Christmas from someone that has no concept of the love of Jesus really doesn’t matter all that much to me! 

Merrychristmasmyspaceglittergraphic
So I got this email forward (that I hadn’t received before:) and I liked it…

   





Dear Children,

It has come
    to my attention that many you are upset that folks are taking My name out of
    the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I wasn’t actually born during this
    time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to
    celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival;
    although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally
    feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those
    of you who have been blessed with children of your own.

I don’t care
    what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND
    LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers
    you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My
    birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santa’s and snowmen and put in a
    small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that
    there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there
    would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact
    that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas
    tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any
    tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a
    teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks
    was. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you
    want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list.
    Choose something from it:

   

   

1. Instead of writing protest letters
    objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love
    and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely
    this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit
    someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just
    need to know that someone cares about
    them.

   

   

3. Instead of writing George
    complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why
    don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family
    this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4.
    Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they
    don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I
    came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that
    I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and
    forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will
    attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and
    hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you
    meet a warm smile; it could make the
    difference.

   

   

7. Instead of nit picking about what
    the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who
    work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t
    allowed to wish you a ‘Merry Christmas’ that doesn’t keep you from wishing
    them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so
    much money on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at
    home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference,
    support a missionary – especially one who takes My love and Good News to
    those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one. There are
    individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no
    ‘Christmas’ tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or
    receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them
    to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they
    will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a
    statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a
    Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence.
    Let people know by your actions that you are one of
    mine!

   

   

Don’t forget; I am God and can
    take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll
    take care of all the rest.

Check out the list above and get to work;
    time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have
    a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:
    

   

   

 Detailblueringbabyjesus

   

   

I LOVE YOU,
   

   

   

JESUS

~Earthly Author
    Unknown~

A Moment to Ramble

How do you even jump back into blogging when you haven’t done it in so long?  Wow.  It has certainly been a stretch these past couple of months.  Just when I think I’m about to start to really de-stress, something else comes along.  Eh, that’s life. 

I really miss writing, although I have been writing some-just not here for everyone to see.  I kind of felt the need to not write for everyone to see for a little bit and gain some of my own perspective on some life stuff.  You know, the stuff that only God can really help me with anyway. 

So here I am, rambling on about how I haven’t written for awhile.  Give me some time, I don’t have anything profound to share at the moment…or even really funny.  But I will tell you about the last week or so….

I did get to spend my Thanksgiving break with my brother, Dave, and his family, in Chicago.  Stephanie’s parents were there too, and that certainly added to the enjoyment.  Anthony and Angie Sorbo…one was a church planter and Bible school builder in Indonesia for 50 years and the other was a church planter’s wife for about 30 years, I guess.  Angie was also the Pennsylvania/Delaware District Missionettes Coordinator, and when I was a little girl, she was one of my heroes.  That’s an entirely different story, but nonetheless, I got to hang out with some heroes.  Good times. 🙂

Ryder is getting bigger and funnier, Ross is getting better at soccer and Robert is actually getting smarter…who’s 12 going on 16.  What’s up with teenagers anyway?  Today’s newest update is that Ross has a new email address, so we’ve already emailed several times this evening, and I’ve even introduced him to chatting online (did I mention he’ll be 8 in February?).

Mom gave us a HUGE scare on Thursday when my dad had to call 911 to rush her to the hospital because she wasn’t conscious.  It’s a long story, but PRAISE GOD, she got out of the hospital yesterday and she seems to be doing much better.  Her heart rate is a bit abnormal, so please pray for her complete healing.  She’s been working hard to get healthy…

Funny story about her heartbeat though…So she was telling me that when the nurse put her in her new room (from ICU), she had noted that she could see Target from the window.  My mom’s heartbeat immediately sped up when she realized that and the nurse said, "Well, I can see where you’d rather be today!"  My mom’s response was, "Yeah, the worst part about me being in the hospital is that I’m missing all my good sales!"  Well, folks, that’s my mother for ya!  I’ll be praying that God gives her even better sales than she would’ve had before.  He would honor that kind of stewardship, right? :0)

In talking with her today, she inspired me in a healthy way.  I’ve not been doing so well with all of my health goals…well, with any of them.  I get so discouraged and that really stinks.  I can actually sit there and read The Word and reject encouragement about my issues.  Now, that really stinks!  So I’ve been praying through this…crying through this…and coming up and down over this.  Then I talk with my mother today, while I was in the grocery store, and I feel inspired!  So I dragged myself back to the produce section, which I originally sped through, and bought some great stuff to make vegetable soup.  Well, it’s a start…again.  I wish I was as patient with my own failure as God is with me…then again, I’ll never quite reach God’s potential.  Still, it’s something to shoot for.

Lately I’ve had some tough walls to push through, and thankfully, I’ve pushed through many of them.  They have to do with several areas of my life, not just one or two, but somehow they all intertwine into ME.  I’ve seen sides of me that I don’t like and sides of me that I’m shocked by.  Moments of bravery and confidence have come out of nowhere and insecurities attack when least expected.  Let’s just call my life, Cedar Point, and hopefully that makes some sense.  Through every moment of sick desperation and ugly depression I want holy moments to arise.  I want missional moments to bring life to dead moments and I want to seize opportunities of hope.  There are few things more certain than hope, as it comes to life from the grave!  Deep hope and trust arise from deep places of gravity…but only if we allow them to.  This is key.  Staying in the deep places of gravity too long will lesson our senses to the true hope of the Cross.  We become numb to the Cross and it’s purpose in the world…in our lives.  It distorts our desire for community with others and fabricates something else…something that was never intended for us.

Jesus.  He is the focus.  Who He is…this is what draws us from the depth of our graves to the depth of the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Wait in His presence.  Wait.

Name Changes

Without even opening my eyes, all tangled up in my down comforter, I woke up with a couple thoughts.

First, I thought about how, a day from now I was going to be standing in front of my new class, tackling the job of getting to know their names.  And then I immediately thought of how some of them don’t think of themselves in terms of their names. (Yes, all this before I even opened my eyes:)

Some kids think their nickname is:  "Loser", "A**hole", "Shut up", or "Fool".  Others think their nickname is:  "Obnoxious", "Loud", "Stupid" or "Slow".  Still others respond to:  "Fatso", "Tubby", "Stringbean", or "Ugly". 

What response do you think I would get if I were to bring this up in my class?  Do you think my kids would sit confidently in their seats, knowing that I’m not talking to them?  Or would only a few of them do that?  Would some of them start staring at the board behind me, envisioning the moment someone named them with one of those nicknames?  How about the kid that would begin to look down at his desk, thinking I’d be talking to him…and him only?  Or what about the kid who would then, out of fear that I was going to call him out on his nickname, point to the chubbiest kid in the class and yell out, "Fatso!  She’s talking about you!"  Everyone would laugh because it would take the pressure off of them for the moment.

What if, somehow through the course of these next ten months, transformational change could take place in my kids’ lives?…so much to the point that their names were changed?

I think of how God changed Saul to Paul, Abram to Abraham, Saraii to Sarah, Kim to Kimpossible:)…there are so many more examples in the Bible of when names were changed because of either what God had done in/through them, or because of what He was promising to do in/through them.  Listed here are a few examples.

God can even change my name from "One-who-tries-to-solve-everyone’s-problems-all-the-time" to "One-who-releases-others-issues-to-Jesus" :0)  Oh, I pray for that change to occur!  I want to see my kids who are afraid to read aloud in class to be known as excellent readers (aloud).  I want to see my kids who hate writing to be known as the best in the school!  I want to see my kids who barely pass each year in math to show deep understanding of math concepts.

Oh, me and my lofty goals…:)  I suppose my goals are a bit much, compared to some of what I’ve experienced in the past.  But, as Nick from My Big Fat Greek Wedding said to Tulah, "Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be a part of who you will become."  Hopefully I can communicate to my kids that who they are now will be a part of who they’ll become…in a good way, even if it’s negative right now.  A kid that isn’t much of a reader right now that can read at grade level in May should be able to say, "I couldn’t read much in September, but look at how I’ve grown!  Now I’m a Fantastic Reader!"

In conclusion (this is how a 4th grader ends his essays;), I believe that I heard God’s voice on this one this morning.  No, it wasn’t audible, but it made my heart beat faster, the more I thought about seeing kids’ names changed.  God’s changed names with the snap of a finger, but I’ve got TEN MONTHS…GO! 🙂

Ever Feel Like This?

Jeremiah 31:18-19 (New Living Translation)

18  …‘You disciplined me severely,

      like a calf that needs training for the yoke.
   Turn me again to you and restore me,
      for you alone are the Lord my God.

19 I turned away from God,
      but then I was sorry.
   I kicked myself for my stupidity!
      I was thoroughly ashamed of all I did in my younger days.’

…or of all I did yesterday…that works too.

Really appreciating God’s grace, once again, today…

Not to mention, this verse keeps popping out to me.  I read it a couple weeks ago…

Zephaniah 1:12 (New Living Translation)

12 “I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners
      to punish those who sit complacent in their sins.
  They think the Lord will do nothing to them,
      either good or bad.

In context, or out, the bolded portion describes my human nature sometimes…complacency sucks.  So I go back to the first verse and say, "Turn me again to you and restore me, for you alone are the LORD my God."