Today I am so thankful for a Saturday with no obligations. Nowhere to be. Lots to do...but lots of time to accomplish it.
This morning I slept in a little while...then I got up and made coffee - and spent some quality time with God. Oh how my heart has missed this time. How I've failed to make it a daily priority and often think it has to come only when I have a couple of hours to sit and enjoy it. It was so wonderful - just reading, praying, and thinking about all God has for me right now. A little before Christmas, my church had a book sale to help clean out the resource closet, and I happened to pick up a study called, "Get a Life." I want to write a whole post about this book soon, but it has been just what my Spirit needed - a study about contentment in the life God has given me. He spoke to me through Scripture and truths from that study today, and I'm so thankful for that too.
I'm thankful for time to exercise outside and spend time with my roommate. To have my window open for fresh air, and to accomplish some cleaning and planning.
But honestly, today...
I'm also missing my parents. They moved to Germany this summer with my dad's job - and they will be there for three years. It's already been six months, and that's encouraging. But that doesn't make it any easier to know I can't just drive 45 minutes to my hometown and sit down to visit with them, or lay next to my mom on the couch and know with her hugs that everything will be ok. I am so thankful they have this opportunity to go overseas and experience an adventure during this time in their lives. And I'm actually really proud of them for doing it, even though I know it is hard for them too. I would be selfish to try and keep them here. But again...it's not easy when I miss them so much. I love you Mom and Dad.
I'm asking God to help me as I plan for the next week in school. I honestly have such a hard time planning my lessons. I think my second year was the very best I've ever had. I felt prepared a majority of the time, had a lot of fun activities, was excited about what I was teaching, and felt like the kids were always learning. This year and last year, I have spent time trying to prepare, but it's like I sit down for hours, only to get nowhere, then go in Monday morning and come up with what I will teach when I get there. Most people would say - "Wow, I couldn't do that!" but it's not a good kind of feeling. It's a kind of feeling like I'm not being the best teacher I can be, because if I had clear plans, I could fit so many more activities and approaches into my teaching time. It's just...a struggle for me. I have finally realized I am a great teacher in that I care SO much about my students, and I am a successful teacher in that I love to apply for grants and opportunities to receive resources for my kids...but I wonder if I will always struggle with feeling like I'm not so good at the ways I plan and teach. So - I know God cares about every area of our lives. And I'm honestly asking Him to help me as I take a few hours to prepare. I pray He will make that time fruitful and successful. I pray I will feel prepared for the new week so I can be the best teacher possible for all my K-6 graders. I love what I am doing right now...but I want to do it right.
I am also thanking God for who He created me to be. For the unique qualities and characteristics I have - some that I share with others and some He has given only to me. I am thanking Him for this time in my life of singleness where I can grow closer to Him without as many distractions in life (although goodness knows there are always distractions, no matter what time of life you are in!) But - I struggle sometimes with not trying to change who I am to be closer to others than Him, if that makes sense. I feel like I've been learning over the past few months, but especially the past few weeks, that it's ok to gently say, "Nope. This is what I think," and know if the other person cares enough about you to continue being friends, they will accept and be ok with that. I am learning it is not putting the other person down to disagree with what they like, or do, and that sometimes, maybe God will use my gentle honesty, to show other people why I feel the way I do in my standards and values. In other words, I am learning I should not lower my standards to meet someone where they are just for their approval, but I should maintain the standards I have through Him and model those for others around me. It's not that I have anyone criticizing me right now for how I live/believe, though in the world, I know there are many who do criticize, but I am just learning to recognize times I am too willing to lower my standards and seeing how easy that can be - how little steps at a time can lead to finally accepting and allowing bigger, un-necessary "junk" into my life. It's not always easy to deal with this. It takes boldness, and putting selfish desires aside. But...God is faithful, and I know letting Him work through me is not supposed to be easy! So, for all of that I am thankful too!
So, all that said - thank you Lord for Saturdays and for the ways you teach and lead me, even when it is not always easy. I pray I will always do my best to glorify you through as I learn.