Sunday, August 29, 2010

He Hears Me When I Call

I will warn you right now. This post is not the most coherent or sensical. But it's where my brain and heart were led.

I don't even know where to begin with this post. There have been so many things going on as of late that my head is just swimming. Here's the reader's digest version:

  • School started two weeks ago and I'm teaching a completely different content (I'm now teaching second grade regular ed when for the last five years I've taught elementary music). I don't know the curriculum and, while it's not difficult, it's new. And new is difficult. I'm a first year teacher all over again, and it's absolutely consuming virtually every waking moment.
  • Grad school started two weeks ago as well. We're writing a 50-ish page research paper -- with chapters. Chapters, people. I can barely get myself to write a paper with paragraphs. I haven't written a research paper since high school (which I didn't fare too well on). I don't have any idea what I'm doing except that I'm up to my eyeballs in articles about why the arts are important in public education.
  • My sustained obedience to the Lord has waivered a bit the last few days in my giving Him part of my day to meet with Him. I'm still trying to balance the craziness of the school year with my obedience to my Lord.
  • Some relationship/friendship issues came to a head -- which was actually a really good thing, but never easy.
  • Satan has shown his ugly face. I am dealing with ugly, false accusations at work. I do not like Satan.
  • I "fell off the wagon" in regards to some promises I made myself and the Lord about a previous relationship. I am currently disgusted with myself.
So, all in all, things are feeling a bit out of control. But the Lord knows me. He is my Maker. He knows my heart. And He made me to hear Him best when He speaks to me through music. This morning after I drug my sorry rear to church, I was blessed nearly to tears by the song we sang. It's a song I'm fairly certain I've blogged about - "He Knows My Name". When I was dealing with the initial heartbreak of my last relationship (see past blogs if you're unfamiliar), the Lord wanted me to know one thing --- He heard my cries. He was shouting to me "I HEAR YOU!!" And I love Him for continuing to remind me that He hears me. Lord Jesus, I praise you for hearing me! I take comfort in knowing that You hear my cries.

I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And He hears me when I call

Tonight (while I was frantically finishing my lesson plans for the week), I was listening to another song that has spoken to my heart like crazy -- "How He Loves". The Lord has been so good the last couple of weeks to allow me to worship Him with this song on the way to work on multiple occasions. (I think some of my students' parents are beginning to get curious as to what I'm doing sitting in my car in the parking lot with my hands waving around in the air. I digress.) I noticed a part in those lyrics tonight that I had not noticed before.

I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way He loves us

I don't freely admit this, but I have a fear that has become an ongoing sin-battle for me. I am terrified of being alone for forever. I'm afraid of not being desired or loved or sought after. And, while I have for the most part conquered this fear, I have only done so by daily choosing to believe Him and trust Him with my future. Every once in a while (i.e. this weekend), I fail to trust and turn back to my own ridiculous ways. And I have regrets. Lots of them. Lord, thank you for reminding me to focus on how you love me so that I don't even have time to maintain my regrets. I can repent and then move on and leave them behind.

My Bible study tonight was another reminder my amazing Father blessed me with tonight. The Lord has given me peace of mind and heart (John 14:27). He is here with me (even if I feel alone and remain single for forever) and He doesn't want me to fear (John 6:20). In fact, He never intended for me to fear. He wants me to trust Him with my future - my everything (Mark 5:36).

I have a Father who calls me His own. He'll never leave me no matter where I go. Thank you, Lord. Satan cannot have this child. Satan works in vain because my heart and soul and mind and life belong to the One true God, the God of Creation, the Lover of my Soul. I am moved to tears by the idea that He is jealous for me, His glory eclipses all of my afflictions, and He hears me when I call. I love you, Lord.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.  
Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.
Strangers are attacking me
ruthless men seek my life -- men without regard for God.
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Let evil recoil(!) on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them.
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; 
I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from all my troubles, 
and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.

Psalm 54

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This Chaos We Call Life

Okay, so it's been FOREVER since I've blogged about anything because my life has gotten CRAZY!  I officially became a second grade teacher last Monday.  The week before that was teacher back-to-school week with meetings and convocation and such.  I have to admit, I was quite emotional about the whole thing.  At convocation they had a slide show of pictures from the previous year and my choir was on the slideshow from our time singing at the Royals in May.  I was completely shocked by my reaction, but I immediately started crying and BARELY escaped the ugly cry.  Apparently, I was still adjusting to leaving my first love - teaching music.  

But I'm thrilled to say that as soon as my wonderful class arrived on Monday morning, the tears were gone!!  I mean, seriously, I had 23 second graders staring at me.  I was a little too preoccupied to start crying.  :-)  And, God bless their beautiful little hearts, I've had my old choir students come to say good morning to me EVERY day since school has started!  Oh, how I love them!!

So I was going to take a picture of the new classroom and my new team --- but this past week was SOO busy!  I took my camera to school every day and every day I forgot to take the pic.  I'm crossing my fingers that I'll remember to take the pictures next week so I can share them with you. Bri, if you're reading this, help me to remember to take our picture!!!

So, in the mean time, lots of other things have been happening besides school starting.  For one, last weekend my laptop got fried in the thunderstorm.  I forgot that it was plugged in the wall and it got zapped.  DANG IT!!  Fortunately, a dead laptop was just enough excuse for me to go buy a brand new MacBook Pro!  LOVE IT!!  Seriously, I think I have a crush on my computer.  Is that even possible?  Look how beautiful it is!!

Grad school started this week, too.  It's Research Problems which poses a serious problem for me -- I have to write a research paper.  I don't know about you, but the last research paper I wrote was in high school.  Surprisingly enough, neither my undergraduate degree NOR my master's degree required a research paper.  I am NOT NOT NOT looking forward to that.  But I think I've picked my topic - Fine Arts Education in the Public School System.  Shocking, I know.  :-)

With school starting and grad school starting and everything else that went on this week, needless to say, by the end of this week, I was absolutely exhausted!!  My mom emailed me at school and wanted to know if I wanted to get dinner with her Friday night.  She already knew the answer.  I rarely say no to free food.  So we ventured out to Houlihan's and ran into some of my favorite people in the world - the Snyder's!!   Alicja (who's really now a Carter, although I still call her a Snyder) was home from Oklahoma for the week and she just happened to be enjoying a night out with her parents at Houlihan's!  They invited us to eat with them and we completely crashed their party for the night.  We had so much fun!!

PS....Little makeup to start with + a long day at school + a sweaty recess duty does NOT equal a good time to take pictures.  But we did it anyway.  :-)

Okay, so my bedtime has come and gone, but I want to leave you with a beautiful reminder that I received this week of how good the Lord is!  My friend Courtney is such a blessing in my life and reminded me of some very important things in the middle of the craziness that was my week.  I'll just use her words:

This week God reminded me very distinctly of a conversation we had here in February. I had a memory of your face--it was adament and hurting. I realized it was your ugly face post Texas boy #2. Then God reminded me of your countenance sitting at Custard's a few weeks ago. It was full of peace and contentment. And I realized HOLY MOLY, you are RIGHT....He has brought you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO far in these six months. I just swelled up with this sort of big sister pride of you and thanksgiving that He has shown Himself so good and faithful and your trust and belief has GROWN SUBSTANTIALLY and MATURED!! Amen! Hallelujah!
You are now headlong into a long stretch of committment and schedule, I hope to remind you and encourage you to stay in the Word of LIFE and TRUTH this school year. 

Thank you, Lord, for these words.  They are so TRUE and such a testimony of how GOOD and FAITHFUL you are!  You've created a pathway through my wilderness and a river through my desert.  Jesus, don't stop your work in me!  Help me to continue to be faithful to you through this chaos we call life.  I love you, Lord.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I'm Not Who I Was

I love this song. Actually, I love just about anything by Brandon Heath. But the Lord has really been showing me lately that I'm not who I was. I'm not who I was a year ago, a week ago or even just a day ago. And I praise Him for that! Thank you, Jesus for continuing your work on this difficult lump of clay.

There are some very specific people (mainly men I used to date!) that I wish I could sit down with and share what the Lord has been doing in my life - to share that, thanks to Him, I'm not who I was when you were in my life six months ago or two years ago.

There's a song we used to sing growing up in church called "Pass It On." Anyone remember it? Super cheesy, but we loved it even more because it was so cheesy! There was a line in that song that I just remembered that says "I'll shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD! I want the world to know...."

That's how I feel about the fact that He is doing such a HUGE work in me. I want to shout it from the mountain top - PRAISE GOD!!!
I want the world to know.....that I'm not who I was.

"I'm Not Who I Was" - Brandon Heath Music Video from W. Ashley Maddox on Vimeo.

I'm Not Who I Was - Brandon Heath
I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was

I used to be mad at you
A little on the hurt side too
But I'm not who I was

I found my way around
To forgiving you some time ago
But I never got to tell you so

I found us in a photograph
I saw me and I had to laugh
You know, I'm not who I was

You were there, you were right above me
And I wonder if you ever loved me
Just for who I was

When the pain came back again
Like a bitter friend it was all that I could do
To keep myself from blaming you

I reckon it's a funny thing
I figured out I can sing
Now I'm not who I was

I write about love and such
Maybe 'cause I want it so much
I'm not who I was

I was thinking maybe I
I should let you know that I am not the same
But I never did forget your name, hello

Well the thing I find most amazing
In amazing grace is the chance to give it out
Maybe that's what love is all about

I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I'm not who I was

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hot, Hot, HOT!!!

I am a football fan. More specifically, I am a Kansas City Chiefs fan. And not just a fair-weather fan. I am a serious FAN. I adore my Chiefs! So, when the Chiefs moved their training camp from River Falls, Wisconsin to St. Joseph, Missouri (about an hour north of KC), you can bet your bootie that I was going to be going to St. Joe. What I didn't plan was to go to training camp on the HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR! Seriously, the heat index today was at 115 degrees! Thankfully we went up for the morning practice at 8:50am (really, we got there around 9:20ish).

So my mom and I headed north to Missouri Western State University. Can you tell I was excited to get there?!

We were trying to be a little frugal and opted for the free parking over the $10 "premium" parking. We regretted that quickly. We ended up having to walk all the way across campus in the heat. It seriously felt like we had to walk a mile to get to the fields. Eventually, we made it!

We had arrived! Wrong. A little bit more walking....but you can see the action in the distance.

Here's what training camp looked like!

Watching practice...

The coaches....

More of practice....

I know this is supposed to be for kids, but don't I look like an intimidating football player?? HA!

Me and my mama!

THEN.....practice ended and the QBs and some specialists came over to sign autographs. Here's me and Matt Cassel - ish. He's in the background.

I know our first and second string QBs. Our third stringer is new.
And HOT.
He may be a little younger than I like, but I think he could be my future husband. Hot. Football player. Taller than me. YES PLEASE! I'm going to be working on this one...

And as if that wasn't exciting enough....DWAYNE BOWE came over! WOO HOO!!!

And look how he loves me!! We're besties.

I seriously jumped up and down after this moment! I know, I'm a dork.

All in all, I'd say it was a very productive morning. We got to check out the Chiefs. I found my future husband. And I made a new best friend. Now if only every morning could be this productive...