Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year's Offering

Back in August, when we started school, I felt that God have given me a word to begin th new school year. 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)

This word has been scrawled across my lesson plans, helping me maintain a focus of why I teach, and my purpose in teaching.  

As I welcome in the new year, and begin considering the direction of life and making adjustments.  It can be overwhelming, especially when confronted with past failed resolutions.  My resolutions have oscillated between simple "to do" items on a check list - set up recycling -, to huge character changes - be more positive. The problem with these is that while I'm drowning trying to stay positive in the midst of a messy life, the "to do" items never get checked off.  

Resolutions, for me (and most people I know) are short lived.  The change I want to see in my life is change that is hard, and if I force it and work hard for it, in the end I'll likely end up discouraged and defeated. 

Instead, this year I am choosing a New Years offering, offering each of my days to God, focusing my life on His love,  His glory, His power. Seeking ways to reflect that and give it to those around me.  I believe that with this as my focus, God will be create change in me that I struggle to do alone. 

My verses:

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. 

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. (Psalms 51:17 NLT)

Just as 1 Cor. 10:31 gave me perspective in teaching - what ever I do (teach) do it to bring glory to God- helped me get my focus beyond mandates, evaluation procedures, and curriculum issues- offering my life will change my focus from ovwewhelming character flaws and impossibly long
"to do" lists and lo living a life that brings glory to God.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December 31st

Bringing in the new year seems to breathe new life into the world.  The calendar turns a blank white page of opportunity ready to have life and purpose scrawled upon it. A chance to begin again, a chance to redirect, an opportunity to focus.  New Year = New Life. 

That is what January 1st is. 

So what is December 31? A closing? An ending? A time to reflect? A time to say good bye?
I had never considered December 31st as a closing or an ending, but always a day of anticipating new beginnings. That is until this year . . . 

B's grandmother passed away early in the evening, December 31.  Her death was not expected, though also not a surprise, as her health had been robbed by dementia and has been deteriating over the past few years. 

Death is never an easy topic, loss and grief are uncomfortable. Standing at the periphery of the grief, my heart hurts most for those left behind. For my father in law who has lost both parents, for my husband who has lost a pillar of his childhood memories, for my children who feel the sadness of a relationship that never had the chance to fully form - I grieve. 

I also ponder the inevitable force of change which defines life, defines its moments.... I consider death and rebirth, the driving force behind New Years resolutions. A resolve to change, a resolve to put something to rest, a resolve to begin something new. Death and loss force perspective upon you. Force me to consider what resolutions I will make? What will I put to rest this year, what new birth will I experience?  
December 31st, the closing of a year, a day to say good bye, a day to reflect, a day to refine, a day that marks an end.

I find something beautiful about Janiece's story ending on December 31st.