Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A prayer for the New Year

You would know we live here because we don't tidy up.
Crusts on plates, socks on the floor, crumbs and crayons,
Yet, you are welcome through the door.
More space than we had dared hope for but fewer dollars in the bank.  
We are grateful nevertheless and offer God our thanks.

Next year, in Your graciousness, I would ask for only one thing.
Peace in this family and in each person's heart. 
The ability to rest in You and that nothing keeps us apart.

Letting go of expectations is hard, but it's the only thing to do.
All I want in 2016 is more and more of You.
Whether I meet you in these I live with, or in the faces in a classroom, 
I want to get to know more people and shine the light of You.

I know now I can't be the fixer.  
The Holy Spirit is not me. 
But He can be IN me and change the only heart I can give: my own.

And one last thing I ask, 
That You would help me to be,
someone who not only gives, but receives.
After the snow melts, let there be springs of living water.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

HOPE #OneWordAdvent

What do you do when you have lost hope?  In the past, I clung on to the hopes I had for relationships, for my future and for what I thought I wanted.  But gradually I have lost those hopes.  They have evaporated like steam from a kettle.  Because those hopes, that I thought were so important and central to my life, were not real hope.  They were not based on reality.  The people involved never behaved the way I thought they should, the way I really, really wanted them to.  Then it turned out that I wasn't even the person I thought I should be either.  I had such high expectations of myself and was so sure that I met them, that it didn't seem unfair that I held other people to a similar stratospheric standard.  When I truly saw my hopes, they were inadequate.  I couldn't play the role I wanted to in changing other people to conform to my dream.  I couldn't hold on to the hope of relationships and a future that were completely outwith my control.  So I let go.  And became hope-less.  But not for long.  Because I looked to the source of hope, and found a bounteous supply that I could reach for.  Hopes that were good.  Hopes that held true promise.  Hope that didn't depend on me being in control.  The things I had hoped for kept me straddled to the past.  When I saw the fruit of that arrangement:  despair, despondency, yearning, pain, it didn't seem so attractive.  Moving into a new hope and a new future and new desires took courage but was worth it.  I don't even know anymore what my hopes are specifically.  But I know in whom my hope lies.  And He brings forth good fruit:  love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, self-control.  I want my future to be filled with the hope of these things.  The hope of the gifts He offers, the hope of something new. 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

What I learned in November

  • It is certainly very difficult, but not impossible for me to ask for help...even if it means making a phone call.

  • Every month seems to go faster than the last.

  • Thankfully third graders don't eat substitute teachers, or even give them a really hard time.

  • My kid is not the only kid who gets invisible and momentarily severe injuries and then are fine following two minutes of sympathy and pretending like you care.  

  • It is easier to be patient in a classroom than in your own home. 

  • Even after ten years of celebrating, I'm still getting used to the whole Thanksgiving holiday.

  • It seems we are just going to be just our little family for Christmas this year - first time ever.  Ideas for how to make the most of this are welcome!