I Can Do Hard Things

Run is such a strong word for what I do.

Nonetheless, I run.

I love the mental and physical sensation that comes from running.  I love the soreness that I acquire when I start running again…that is, when I go through a dry spell and jump back in again…because thankfully that soreness goes away once I'm in the zone.

A little over a month ago I was sitting around with some friends at a park in Old Town.  Late to the game, I jumped into the topic of "tell us about a dream that you have…"  

Immediately I thought of two things:

"I want to see people get set free…all the time…I just want to see people walk in freedom"

"I want to get married and have a family, of course!"  

Someone else said one of them, so I told them about another dream that I've had for many years, which is to run a marathon.  I also added that I wanted to go Hawaii, and someone suggested that I run a marathon in Hawaii.  I figure I could kill three birds with one stone by getting married, going to Hawaii for my honeymoon, and run a marathon while I'm there. 😉  I dream…I digress…

That afternoon I decided to sign up for a 5K.  Yea, I can't run a full 5K right now.  (ugh) BUT I am getting there, and more quickly than I used to!  (This is exciting)  I think my body is starting to kick into gear more quickly, and it's not considering running to be so foreign as it has in the past when I started again. Good thing.  I got off track for a few days so I skipped a few of my Couch25K training days and ran much longer than I was originally supposed to today.  I love when I actually do what I put my mind to.  It's the sort of day that I was super proud of myself.

One of my favorite things about running is all the ways God teaches me through it.  It never fails…there's ALWAYS a lesson to learn.  Plus, I am so that Chariots of Fire guy, Eric Liddell, when he says that he feels God's pleasure when he runs.  (Run is still such a strong word for what I do, so maybe I can just say that I feel God's pleasure when I jog.:)  I picture Jesus on the sidelines with a sweatband on his forehead and a shirt that says, "KimPossible iz my HomeGurl!"  He's not usually wearing a robe in those visions.

Today I decided to go out when it was late in the afternoon, and it snapped into darkness during the warmup!  The thing I love the most about the location of my living arrangement is that we have trails down GW Parkway.  Love me so trails, trees, nature…falling leaves now.  (sigh)  Except when it's dark.  I am the sort of person who could be voted most likely to twist my ankle doing nothing (not claiming it, just sayin'), so GW Parkway trails would not necessarily be my friend at night.  This evening I decided I wasn't going to care and that I'd just be extra careful.

This is what it looked like:

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No joke.  That's an actual picture I took during the cool-down.

Then I tried to force the flash and got this:

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It. Was. Dark.

This trail had some lovely little twists, turns and hills, but all I could get were glimpses of what was right in front of me, just a few steps ahead.  

Such is life, right?

There are times when God makes everything that's coming very clear.  Other times all I get is a few steps ahead of me.  That trust in Him has to be pretty real.  

"Seriously, God, are you sure this is the best road for me to be on?  I mean, can't we find a safer place to journey and learn a few lessons?  Perhaps one that would be less painful if (and when) I fall?"  

"Sure, but you'd be bored," is what I think I hear Him say to me often.  

There were times, tonight, that I would start jogging and wonder why it had just gotten harder, until I realized I'd just gone up a small hill without even seeing it.

There's a reason why Psalm 119:105 is a big deal.  

Your word is a lamp before my feet and a light for my journey.

Oh, the journey.

Sometimes I feel like I can't do hard things.  I feel like I get blindsided by little hills that I climb that I don't feel prepared for, but God tells me that I can do hard things (see Philippians 3:14 for proof).  It's my mantra for life right now.  If you see me walk through something tough and I look like I'm going to meltdown, feel free to simply say, "Kim, what can you do?", to which I will crack a smile and reply, "I can do hard things."  It may even look like I'm rolling my eyes at you, but don't take it personally…I'm really rolling my eyes at me.

Plus…

I can do hard things

Yes.  I have that as a screensaver on my phone.  A girl can never remind herself enough about WHO she is.  ;-)

While I was jogging through one of my last stints tonight, a non-running song came through on my phone, but this was a song I just don't turn off when it comes on, so I slowly jogged to a slow song. It's this Bebo Norman song that I have LOVED since college; it's the song I want to walk down the aisle to at some point in time when a man decides to be captivated by all this redheaded awesomeness.  God reminded me, once again, that even that part of my journey will have more answers someday, and even that dream will come true as well.  Even though it's hard to wait, I can do hard things.  

In two weeks I will have run myself a nice little 5K, and will begin training for a 10K…because I can do hard things.

Even if I have to run in the dark, I will do so with only a few steps ahead of me illuminated…because I can do hard things.

And I will become a runner…because I can do hard things.  

If anyone feels called to sponsor my trip to Hawaii, I will accept…because you are awesome.  (That didn't go with the poeticness of the last few lines, but figured it wouldn't hurt to throw it in just in case. 😉

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What Makes My Scribbles AWEsome

Had a moment yesterday.

It was soaking in judgement, but I didn't realize it in the moment.

Was sharing something I wasn't sure about with a friend.  It took a few seconds and walking out of a door to hear Him.  "Kim, that was prideful.  You are not a judgemental person-don't take that on yourself to carry."

Later I went back to the person to whom I spoke aloud this something that I'd been thinking.  I told her that while I was glad that I said it aloud, I was only glad because it gave me an opportunity to hear the words come out of my mouth, instead of just my head.  I was glad that it gave Holy Spirit a better opportunity to help me take captive that thought and make it obedient to Christ.  I had confessed to another without even trying to, but I went back to confess that I had realized there was a judgemental spirit that was creeping in momentarily.  It was already gone though.  

My friend, in all of her wisdom reminded me that no matter how passionate I can be about ministry that may be entrusted into my care temporarily, at the end of the day (and perhaps at the beginning and in the middle too) Father God cares more about that ministry.  She said that in reality, God is Who creates the masterpieces that we often see in front of us (and often receive accolades for). 

Then she drew me a little picture.

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This is what my ministry looks like to God.  He takes what little I have to offer and creates the awesomeness that people see and love to affirm me for.  

This was the most affirming conversation I'd had in a long time (and I've had some really sweet, humbling conversations these past few months).  So glad everything does not depend on me and my giftings.  Our Creator looks at my scribbles, pats my hand and says, "Oh, Kimmy…sweet Kimmy…I love it!"  Then He touches it and awes people with what He does with it.  It becomes AWEsome.  

I cannot imagine life without Jesus.  Not a fan of the pressure of feeling as if I have to create a masterpiece of success on my own all the time.  It's not necessary to carry that any longer.  

"God, this is your ministry.  What do you want to do with it?"

"God, this is your baby.  How am I supposed to handle this?"

"God, this is your debt.  You said that you paid it."

"God, this is your unemployment to carry.  You said that you would meet my needs."

I have always had a tendency to carry things that don't belong to me-to worry about things that aren't mine to worry about.  I'm so grateful that God is breaking me of that, little by little.  There's a fine line between taking responsibility for things you need to, and relinquishing all passions and control back to Jesus.  

Sometimes we're called to speak out in passion.  

Sometimes we're not.  

Sometimes we're called to jump in by faith.  

Sometimes we're called to wait.  

Sometimes we draw with God's hand guiding us.  And He'll just sit and gaze upon our beauty as we stick with Him and move with Him.  

All the time He is present, adoring us.

As a special throwback, here's one of my favorite songs from junior high.  I had the soundtrack and sang it at some point in church (although, let's be real….it's not a great song for my voice;-)  But I loved the words to this song and would rewind that tape and sing it over and over again, and just cry at that realization of where my strength and hope were sourced.

 

Spiritual Spongebob

Today is an extremely intentional day of rest.  I've been experiencing quite a bit of conviction over my
Lgfp2215+i-deserve-a-hug-spongebob-squarepants-poster time and my heart lately.  And even though it's summertime, and I'm a teacher, I've still stayed quite busy.  Too busy.  It's about to get worse. 

Yesterday some things I'd been processing for a few weeks came to a head, when my friend, Katie, read my mail last night at a prayer meeting.  Yes.  I need to rest in Jesus.  I do too much sometimes.  And when I look around at so many of my friends who are doing more than me…I need to stop and realize that it's just not who God wired me to be.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  I hate feeling lazy.  I need my heart to get it that resting in Him and saying "no" is not laziness.  Becoming a sponge again…soaking in His presence.

So I'm sitting on my bed, down in my room (I've been here all day so far, doing this)…just worshiping.  Kim Walker is belting out "He Loves Us" and I am embracing every drop His presence.  My roommate just came down to do something and she stopped.  She said, "Hmm…are you okay?  You don't just sit here.  I never see you do that.  Actually, the last time I saw you do this, you were in pain."  I smiled.  "You're not in pain, are you?"  "No." :) 

I think that pretty much sums it up. 

"And tonight, without the love of God, we're just up here making noise…but the love of God changes us and we're never the same after we encounter the love of God….and if you want to encounter the love of God right now, you better brace yourself because He's about to blow in this place!"

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;)

 

Some Thoughts of Late

  1. I’m not really sure that this title makes sense
  2. I really love my class
  3. I still miss my old class
  4. They miss me-mostly because I made them pancakes:)
  5. My new class LOVES it when I read The BFG to them
  6. I have more ESL students than I ever thought I’d have
  7. I have a kid named Freddie who cracks me up to the core (I’m sure you’ll hear more about him)
  8. My friend’s dad passed away from cancer this morning…
  9. I’m really tired and trying to get over a cold
  10. Tonight I spilled coffee ALL OVER my shirt…sad
  11. It’s fun mentoring teachers!  This year I’m an official mentor for 2 teachers-one that I informally mentored her first year, and one that’s brand new!
  12. It’s fun being officially mentored!  I’ve had such a great experience watching Brian and Susan come into my classroom and show me how to do some of the things they’ve been talking about.  What a cool thing to see myself becoming better, just because of that!
  13. As I’m growing into a better teacher, not only year by year, but (now) week by week, I realize how much I’ve really changed from my first year teaching.  I’ve been making so many statements about things like curriculum and management and following them up with, "If First-Year-Teacher-Kim would’ve heard Fifth-Year-Teacher-Kim say that, she would’ve thought she was crazy…and maybe wanted to punch her in the face!"  It’s hilarious how much my perspective has changed.  I’m currently fighting to get the kid that barely speaks English and has zero parent support at home (who recently punched a girl in the face) into my class!  Honestly, what’s happened to me?  🙂
  14. Tomorrow I get to take a girl’s senior pictures!
  15. I wish that I had more time to write right now-perhaps I’ll continue later.

It’s a Tear-jerker

I just watched the best movie I’ve seen in a long time.  Forget Hairspray (which was a great movie too).  Check this one out here, from National Community Church, in Washington DC.

I’d also like to add a couple more personal pictures from Cotk a few weeks ago.
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This is Sabrina and Nichole, withPastor Brad.  They both got baptized a couple weeks ago, and it was so fantastic!  One of my all-time favorite things about spending time in discipleship at our church is walking with people through baptism.  It is honoring…and tear-jerking.  God is so good.  He is so faithful.  He is so full of grace.

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Cognitive Desk Space

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I realized, just a little bit ago, that I spent about 10 hours in meetings today:)  It was a great day, but my cognitive desk space is so full and overflowing with piles…

Cognitive desk space has to do with memory, and I think it would everyone a little good to learn a bit about this for a minute.  I think every pastor, small group leader, teacher and friend should know a little bit about this, because it helps some things to make sense.  People zone out after awhile, not just because they’re tired, or you’re boring:) (or I’m boring), but also because there’s just too much "new stuff" to process at one time.  The desk space is used up!

You’ve got your short-term memory.
You’ve got your long-term memory.
Then you’ve got your working memory (your cognitive desk space).
-This is important for people to have, in order to develop concepts
-It’s limited!  Think about your office desk.  You can only put so many things on your desk to work efficiently.  (Outrageously stacked piles don’t count…except that’s how I feel right now.)
-It combines incoming information from short-term memory, and stored information from long-term memory (which is why helping someone build background knowledge is huge when speaking to a group of people).
-Problem solving isn’t likely to occur, straight off the desk space, so to speak.  It’s got to be connected to something from long-term memory for deep problem solving to occur.

Okay, for real, I’m becoming a literacy junkie.  I just googled "cognitive desk space" and got this.  Which lead me to looking through a few Power Point Presentations for trainings on the topic of literacy to underachieving students.  My brain hurts so much, thinking about brains!:)

I would like to add, on a side note, that I’m going to be kept accountable to keeping my classroom extremely neat and tidyBrian and Susan were telling us this today and then they saw the exploding expression on my face…wide eyes, slowly raising eyebrows, forehead crunching together.  This was when Susan said, "Okay, Kim, I’m trying to read your face, but I can’t…what are you thinking?"  Being comforted by the fact that we were closing in on a good 24 hours spent with these two folks, I was more than comfortable sharing the fact that I struggle with that (and every friend I have, laughs and replies, "Amen!"…even if they, too, struggle with that).  It bothers me that I have a hard time organizing my classroom (and bedroom, for that matter!) and keeping it neat and tidy.  Growing in this area would be will be huge for me!  I’m going to expect great things from God in this area.  I made a connection tonight, when my friend, Gwen, said that I must have piles on my desk space, after today.  I thought, "Yep!  And I’m not going to feel like going through those piles for a couple of days here.  To be honest, I may leave some of them for a few weeks, until our literacy team meets up again!"  What a connection between what goes on in my head to what goes on in the rooms I live in, day in and day out!

Let me take it a step further and apply this spiritually.  There may not be any application here, but please allow this to be my "journal", in which I would process through the thoughts…  What if we had a "spiritual desk space", very similar to "cognitive desk space"?  We’ve got the long-term, foundational things that God has done in us, and creatively helped us to "get".  Then we’ve got the things that He’s popping into our lives/hearts that were new recently, so they’re like short-term for a little bit (which is hopefully on an on-going basis).  And then there’s the whole other aspect of our "sds", on which He is just beginning to teach us/change in us…but He’s not going to try to do it all at once!  He’ll connect a concept or a change to a testimony of something else that He’s done in us, or that He’s been doing in us (long-term stuff) to something new!

Wow!  How’s that for processing?

Does this make sense to you at all?  It is definitely 12:35am (Hey, does this count for two days of journaling, since my first 10 minutes of this post was on Thursday, and the last 35 minutes of the post was on Friday?)…

Best.
(every time I write about the literacy project, i will sign off as Brian ends his emails. Best. to me, it’s kind of a stamp that signifies where the post stems from…i know, i’m strange…just let me be:)