"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Reflections on Grace

I'm sitting here listening to rain softly fall on my window panes, and I'm once again reminded of the good and beauty around me.  I don't have time in real life to sit around and post incessant pictures and blog posts like I want to.  Or I choose not to.  Life has become this amazing, beautiful thing lately.  I am enjoying savoring every moment, drinking it in full.  Who am I these days?

Grace has transformed me from a doer to an acceptor.  I don't feel the need to cross off every single thing on my to do list like I once did.  I feel satisfied that at the end of the day, I have done a job that (albeit imperfectly) was done with my heart focused on Christ and His glory.  I'm content.

Grace has transformed me from rigid to fluid.  I have never really been one to go with the flow in many senses.  I am not one for conflict, but my own personal agenda being messed with used to send me into a tizzy.  And now I just find myself stopping and saying "ok God this is the situation.  You brought this change for a reason.  I don't know why, but help me walk through it."  And those major problems become even smaller than annoyances.

This week I noticed a change in my students- just more off task that normal.  But I reflected and prayed and pondered.  And realized maybe I needed to restep up my number of positive interactions to the same level as the first few weeks of school.  It's an attitude and focus shift that has 100% to do with me- not with my kids.  And when I went to school the next day, I was able to completely return to the blissful joy of teaching with my students.

The past 2 days have been just fantastic.  I feel beyond blessed.  Yes, my children sometimes act like 6 year olds.  Silly children :)  But grace is always there for me to ask for and then impart to them.  Grace makes all the difference.

It's so interesting, especially being in a school and hearing so many conversations about child behavior, how often we just don't have grace for the child.  We are so egocentric really in our own adult behavior we forget that a child is really just a child.  How short 6 years on this planet really is...  How tiny those little fingers trying to write on the lines really are...  How even at 29 I struggle with impulse control when I want to talk to my neighbor in the middle of church or staff development, and yet I think my kids have lost their minds when they do this same thing... Silly me... I have grace for myself, but can forget to have grace for the little ones.  Or how often I lose the bill I need or my keys or forget to turn off the curling iron or leave my shoes lying in the middle of the floor.  Simple things an adult should be able to handle, yet I do them all the time.  And yet still forget my own imperfections when staring at a little child's messy desk and missing writing paper.  Or how many times I have gone to my team leader to have her restate directions I should probably remember... Yet wonder why on earth my kiddos ask me to repeat directions 5 times in 5 minutes.

Grace.  It really is reality.  How foolish it is for me to forget how my life and existence is completely and entirely wrapped up in His grace and the grace of others.  How can I not share this grace with the least of these.

I have so much right now that I am thankful for.  My time of peace and rest and pure joy continues with each day I spend on my new campus, with my new admin, with my new team.  I am so thankful for all God is going to teach me this year.  I am so thankful for His purpose in my life.  I am so thankful that life really is 1000 gifts that keep on giving.

The Lord always gives me verses for my school year right before I start.  They don't always make sense initially.  Here is what he has given me this year:

Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not yours, but God's... You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you... Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.  ~ 2 Chronicles 20: 15, 17

I'm not sure what that verse will mean this year.  I do know that for all the 1000 joys of my new school, there is a whole lot to learn.  New school culture.  New perspectives.  New personal dynamics.  New ways of viewing the same expectations.  New grade level.  New standards.  I do find great encouragement knowing that God in His Sovereignty placed me in this exact culture with this exact new set of colleagues and this exact set of children.  And more than anything, I know he did it for my good.  And I know that if God is grace, then all these things that seem hard are really just opportunities for His grace to flow in and His grace to flow out.  Each moment is filled with the holy.

That just blows my mind.  The moment of fear- God's there.  He's holy and good.  And because of His presence- that thing that wants to overwhelm me is actually holy and good.  If only I lock eyes on Him and allow Him to lead.  My heart overflows.  Oh friend, taste and see that the Lord is good.


Kiki said...

LOVED every single word in this post. Especially the grace that we so often have for ourselves as adults that we seem to lack with kids. That is so true and such a reality check for me. Loved it. If God has grace for His children, we need to do the same. Thank you for this, girl! :)

And I also loved that verse. It honestly couldn't have come at a better time for me to read. Thank you so much, friend! I am so glad and so excited that you are loving every minute in your new school/class!

ThistleAshD said...

Thanks girl :) It always amazes me how much truth God teaches me through my kids every year. He changes my thinking so much all the time. I love it- because thinking His way brings joy. (and thinking about kids my way brought frustration)

Glad you loved that verse! I was really drawn to it too as I read it right before school started. So comforting to know who goes before us!

Megan Card said...

LOVE this. And you :)

ThistleAshD said...

thanks girl :)