Thursday, March 13, 2008

Entering the Blog World

Well, I have decided to launch into this world of blogging. Whether or not this experiment is successful, I shall see. Until the end of the school year, I'm not sure how much I will be able to post, but I shall do my best.

Right now is a time of change in my life. I have been teaching for the past three years, but after much prayer and thought, my husband and I have come to the conclusion that a different job is a better option. I love to teach, but the outside work is demanding enough that it leaves me little time for my husband, my friends, and other ministry that I would like to do. More than anything else, I will miss my kids and co-workers, but the awesome thing is that I am still very happy with this decision. For most of my life, I feared and dreaded change. Over the past few years, I think God has been working on my heart in this area.

Three years ago, I was working for my church and attending Dallas Theological Seminary. Eventually, the church did not have the funds to continue my position, and for the first time in my life I didn't know where I was headed. After many applications, the only job I was offered was in Dallas, part-time, teaching Latin of all things. My degree is in English, but I had taken two years of Latin in college. It was nothing I would have ever expected to do, believe me. I was working on a media ministry degree at DTS and thought I would be working for a church doing something with writing or visual media. However, we needed me to have a job and this would work in the meantime. So, I was commuting to Dallas every day, going to classes and teaching 5th-7th graders about Latin. Those students were a challenge. I loved them, but there were days when I went home in tears because of their behavior. Some of those students were so angry at the world and/or hurt by it. I learned a lot about how parents affect their children, both in positive and negative ways. Although that time was trying, I value it more than many of my other teaching experiences.

Through a series of "coincidences" that I can only recognize as God working, I also got a job at a school here in Denton. So I was teaching at two schools part-time and going to school part-time. Had I lost my mind you may ask? Yes, I think so. After much prayer, I decided to withdraw from DTS. While I learned a great deal there, I don't think it was the right fit for me. I might talk more about that some other time. At the end of the school year, I also left the school in Dallas at which I was teaching.

For the past two years, I have been working at the school here in Denton. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with a community of fellow believers. I love working with kids as they explore their faith in the Lord and, I hope, grow closer to Him in the process. But lack of time, lack of sleep, illness, and other things have shown me that this is not something that I need to continue doing. So, after May ends, I will begin the process of searching for a job. As I said before, in the past I feared change. Moreso than any of the other changes I have been through these past three years or so, I feel very happy with this decision. People keep asking me, "what are you going to do?" The reality is, I have no idea. Truly, no idea at all. All I know is that I am seeking an 8-5 job with decent salary and benefits. Then I have time to spend with my husband, time to minister to those in my neighborhood, time to work with the youth at our church, and time to serve the Lord in whatever he puts in my life.

I have learned over the past three years the dangerous effects of taking on too much. You cannot live your life slanted so far in one direction without sacrificing in other areas. That has been my life for so long. Now I have finally hit a point where I don't have any idea what God is going to put in my path. I know it has to be different than the way things are now, but I don't know what will happen. The great thing is that I am happy about that. I feel happy because I know change is coming, and I know that God will guide me through that change. I know that He has a plan for me and I know that plan is good, even though I don't know what that plan is. It's a strange sensation to be overjoyed about change, but I am. I think that's a good thing. I hope it is. Please pray for me if you think about it. Pray that I will be content with with whatever God puts in my path and keep the joy that I have now.

On a different note, the title of my blog comes from a quote from C.S. Lewis's book The Screwtape Letters. If you have never read it, please take some time to do so. We were studying that book in the senior English class that I teach. The context is that a senior demon is writing a series of letters to a junior demon instructing him in the art of temptation of humans. The letters, while meant to instruct a demon in how to tempt us, offer some good insight into how we fall into sin. In one of the letters, Screwtape talks about time. One of the things he says is "The humans live in time, but our Enemy destines them for eternity." The "Enemy" in this context is God (remember, it is written from the voice of a demon). God has crafted us to live in a temporal world in this lifetime. However, he desires that we live with him for all eternity. The right perspective on time and the things that happen to us is not one that dwells constantly in the past or one that worries about the future. Rather it is one lives in the moment, but with a great awareness of eternity. Lewis expresses this idea far better than I could: "He [God] would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity (which means being concerned with Him) or with the Present -- either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure." This is a hard thing to do, but I appreciated the reminder of the perspective we should have.

Well, that was a much longer blog than I intended it to be. These next few months will be interesting; that is certain.