Sunday, November 5, 2017

Peace vs. Pants





















I had a dream the other night that I was teaching my Lit class.
I was wearing a long sweater....
but as I gazed towards the back of the classroom,
I could see I had left my pants and underwear on the floor near my desk.
Mid-nightmare, all I could think was, "I need those pants and underwear!"

Understatement of the year.

In my dream I raced back to my desk,
snatched up my clothes and ran out of the room,
hoping against hope, that my sweater was offering full coverage.
The only place on the school grounds that I could find to pull on my clothes
was a gardening shed....with a faulty lock.

That shed was like New York's Grand Central Station.
As I was trying to yank on my pants, people kept trying to walk in.
I kept yelling at the top of my lungs, "I am in here! I am in here!"

These are some deep-seated, Freudian fears being revealed here, folks.

I told my dream to my sister, Jenny.
After saying, "Oh, no!" at least 4 times, she said,
"I'm no psychologist but I would say you are feeling vulnerable."

Once again....understatement of the year.

Now I am not superstitious...
but I am double checking to make sure I am wearing pants every day.

Because several teachers have told me that teacher brain is even
worse than mommy brain. You forget a lot.
So far I have forgotten my phone...my wallet...and my lunch.

I am determined not to forget my apparel.

And I have enlisted the prayers of my dearest friends, sending out texts, saying,
"Please pray for me. I'm going down."

This took some courage. Because I want people think I am pulling this transition off.
I want people to think I have it all together.

(Which is weird since the friends and family that I texted
KNOW THAT I HAVE NEVER HAD ANYTHING TOGETHER....ever.)

My unfettered dreams are showing the real picture.
I am operating out of vulnerable and fearful place in this season.
Which, if I think about it, makes me fit right in with my middle schoolers.
(Who wasn't completely freaked out in junior high????)

This verse keeps coming to mind...
"You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you."
Isaiah 26:3.

My mind has zero peace. It is not even close to being stayed on Him.
It is stayed on worry and anxious thoughts and a fear of lost pants.
I have always had control issues.
I struggle with trust.

But He promises if I trust Him? He will fill me with perfect peace.
That would be super great. Wouldn't it?
Sweet mercy. Yes. It would.

Our eyes are made to gaze in wonder on the God of the Universe.
Our hearts are designed to reside in a place of love,
knowing that we are cared and provided for.
Our minds are created for peace. Not heart-thumping, mind-numbing fear.
.
I need to rip my eyes off of my proverbial pants
(my lack, my anxiety, my people pleasing, my fear of the unknown)
and focus on the One who loves me most of all.
The One who doesn't know the meaning of the word "impossible."
The One who casts out fear with His mere presence.

I want to be "stayed on Him."
Stayed on His goodness and strength and purpose.
Stayed on His great love and hope and joy.

I want a shot of that perfect peace He is offering.
Don't you?

And...that really is....the understatement of the year.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

i don't like gray areas




















I am well in to my third month of teaching 8th grade lit and writing.
This week I almost had a nervous breakdown over in-text citations.
What, pray tell, are in-text citations?
My point exactly.

During our class discussion about how to include an in-text citation,
it became apparent that the real problem was not so much  figuring out
HOW to cite a fact in the paper as it was figuring out WHICH facts should they be citing.
Excellent question...for anyone but me.

It was at this point in our class dialogue that a slight sweat broke out upon my brow.
I could see the confusion in their eyes.
I am pretty sure they could see it in mine.

I told them with confidence, "You don't need to cite birthdays or common information like that."
One student asked, "But what is common information and what isn't?"
This unleashed another volley of questions.

What I finally said was, "Don't cite anything just yet. I need to get back to you."
Because clearly, I am the un-expert of in-text citations.

I talked with several master teachers and high school teachers and guess what?
It is somewhat SUBJECTIVE what you cite in a paper.
Each teacher had a little different take on it.
Well, just stick a fork in me and I'm done, folks.

Because I need black and white.
I don't like maybes or gray areas.
I like certainty and rights and wrongs.
This is true for me in lit class...it is true for me in life.

The problem is, that life and faith, like in-text citations, have a whole lot of gray about them.
This journey...it is so confusing. I can't seem to get it right.
This transition to full-time teaching has me spinning.
It has upended our family norms not mention the fact that things like citing
facts for an 8th grade paper can keep me up at night.
Who ever thought that would be a thing?

This shift has left me anxious. I may or may not have been experiencing mild heart palpations.
I have been feeling uncertain about...my calling...my gifts...my go-tos.
I am left thinking...
Am I doing what He wants me to do? And I becoming who He wants me to become?
Am I messing it up? (I'm pretty sure I am messing it up.)
So much seems unclear right now...super gray.

The truth is that so much of faith...is fog. Mysterious. Uncertain. Nebulous.
Not one of us get it quite right. Figuring it out on our own doesn't work so well.
We are foverer fumbling in this life.
Getting to God on our own merit just isn't happening.
All have sinned and come short (SUPER SHORT) of the glory of God.

That is why Jesus came.
He is about the glory.
He knows we have none of our own...so He fits us with His.
He promises to transform us from glory to glory.

The thing is? It is borrowed glory.
We believe in Him....and He credits us with His righteousness.
We trust Him...and He cracks the darkness of our lives with His brightness.
We hold on to Him with arms wrapped tight...and He delivers us.
All the glory belongs to Him.

Thank goodness it is not up to us to get it right.
Thank the sweet Lord that we don't have to figure it all out.

His glory cuts through the gray.
We are bent and broken and He speaks healing and hope over our lives.
We are lost in the storm and He warms our wind-swept hearts with the light of His love.
We are locked in confusion and He bursts in with clarity and guidance.
We are anxious and vexed and worried and He wraps a blanket of peace around us.
We are exhausted and bone weary and He makes us lie down in green pastures.
We are soul-hungry and He brings Sunday dinner...
a fortifying banquet to celebrate His goodness and strengthen our hearts.
That is glory.

We have to remember that the penetrating, gray fog of life is sitting right
over the ever-widening, unending ocean of God's love.
And you and me, we sit smack dab in the center of that ocean.
It flows over and around us and it bouys us up.
And His love is not subjective. It is the same yesterday, today and forever. Vast. Limitless.
He doesn't change His mind about us. He loves us all day. Every day.
Even when life feels gray.

The truth is we are surrounded on all sides by His love.
We need to keep reminding each other of that.
Because we seem to forget when the fog rolls in.

Jesus loves you, friend. And He loves me.
He is with us, holding us, keeping us, preserving us, lifting us up, in this moment in time.
That is a solid, unbending fact.
That is the embodiment of truth.
And THAT....
is anything but gray.

Friday, September 29, 2017

I am still alive....really....I am...



















You. Guys.

The Tired Supergirl blog has been dark for almost two months.

Because....teaching.

I am officially an 8th grade Lit & Writing teacher with a desk and mail slot
with my name on it.

I would be lying to say that the transition for me or my family has been
without some bumps along the way.
(By bumps, I mean mountain ranges of change to be traversed.)
In fact, I am just going to say, in advance,
that this will be a YEAR LONG TRANSITION.

I haven't even had to face my first field trip or go to speech meet.
There are many hurdles to jump in the coming year....a lot of stretching ahead.

But I will say this....
I am thinking give me a year or two and I am going to love this gig.
Because first of all, I love kids and I love books and I love writing.
And I love to laugh. And teaching involves all of the above.
So there you go.

Secondly, I never realized that teaching was kind of like being a mom...
except with grades. There is a certain amount of sadness that has filled me
when I realize that with each assignment I give my students...
I am also giving myself an assignment to grade.

I was talking to my friend, Crystal, who teaches 7th grade,
and I said, "Ummm...so the grading...it never ends!"
And she said, "Yes....just like laundry."

LAUNDRY! MY ARCH NEMESIS FOR LO THESE MANY YEARS!
That brought me down, folks.

There have been a few awkward teaching moments...
like the one where a student informed me that my pants were unzipped mid-sentence...
followed by the one where a student informed me that I had food in my teeth...
mid-sentence.

But I just let them know, "You guys, this is not the last awkward thing that will happen
this year.  Awkward is my specialty."

I also told them, "Hey, anyone who has back and helps me in those awkward moments
will be rewarded."
I am not above bribery.

I think they might be looking forward to those times.

But there are these moments when I see a student's eyes light up with understanding
and I think, "This is so cool!"

Even more cool? I am learning new things like crazy.
My brain might explode because there is SO MUCH I don't know about teaching.

 I asked the kids,
"Did you know that your teachers study every night just like you?
They looked at me in confusion.
"Who here thinks that we sit on the couch and eat bonbons every night?"
Most of the kids raised their hands.
Bonbons would definitely be preferable to grading...that is for sure.

The added bonus of my new career path is that my boys come
and pop their head in the door and say, "Hi, Mom!"
God has given me a job where I get to actually see my kids, their joy, their friends,
and their journey.

Could I ask for anything more?
Nope. I couldn't.

This wasn't the journey I had planned for myself...for sure.
My friend, Jane, said that my next book should be titled, The Accidental Teacher.
It has a nice ring to it.

I will keep you posted on how it is going...
after I finish grading things....maybe check back in in June.