Monday, February 22, 2010

Evidence of Things Unseen

So, we’ve been learning about faith at church the past two weeks. I’ve been working through the idea of faith for a long time now. I have thoughts of people not being healed because I’m praying for them and I have no faith- like if I pray for they’ll automatically be lame again when God sees that the “unbelieving Amanda” touched them. Then I wonder if God would really put that kind of pressure on a human, someone who is incapable of being anything but depraved. I wonder why when I’m scared at home at night and pray scripture over and over again, I’m still scared out of my mind. Is it my lack of faith that makes the scripture seem dead to me? Or is it the enemy creeping in? Or both? I have absolutely no idea. And that makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to drag myself out of this depression that I find myself in. That if I don’t have enough faith to know God will take care of my for a few hours of sleeping how will I trust that he can heal me emotionally and spiritually of the wounds that the enemy has injured me with. What I know is this- I need to unpack this for myself. My well-being depends on it. My relationship with Jesus has suffered so much because of it. I do not think its coincidence that our daughter’s name is Faith when, since she was born, I’ve been walking through such a tough season. I do think its unusual that I’m just realizing it now.

Anyway, I know (beginning to learn) this:

1. God gives out portions of faith to us. I won’t even begin to try to understand why God gives out how much he gives to each person. I know I’ve met people who trust God with every inch of their life. And some who don’t. And I wonder how he chooses.

2. The Bible says “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So I need to hear/listen the God through the Bible to be given my portion.

3. The Bible says that God is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” Okay, I’m connecting the dots here. God gives out portions of faith to those who seek him. The more you seek, the more you find.

4. We must exercise the muscle of faith. That is hard for me to grasp. If God gives it out, how can we possibly exercise to build that muscle?

Mike, our house church leader, explained faith like this. He and his wife have a sweet daughter who has profound hearing loss in one ear and severe hearing loss in the other. He knows that God has told him she will hear. He has faith that God spoke that to him. He said that means “I’m gonna pray until I die, she hears, or Jesus comes back.” Floored. That IS faith. Lord, please increase my portion of faith.

Please tell me your experience.  Open the floodgates, people.  I need your wisdom.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Teacher Rant Ahead

Disclaimer: I know student's parents read this blog.  My blog is an honest look at me-good and bad.  Any parent that would read this knows my heart for their babies, my students. 

This week every apsect of my teaching has been put into question.  What I'm teaching, why I'm teaching, how I'm teaching, when I'm teaching what, how long I'm teaching each individual subject.  And its been coming from every angle- other professionals in the building, parents, administration, etc.  It's enough to make a kindergarten teacher scream.  It's enough to make a kindergarten teacher the bathroom down the hall and around the corner from my classroom.  I came home each night aching. And exhausted. Exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually to be quite honest.  I came home to a beautiful baby I had no energy to play with, to a wonderful husband who sat in silence because I didn't have the wherewithal to have a conversation with.  And each morning I walked into a classroom that made me cringe.
If you know me, you know I love teaching kindergarten.  I LOVE teaching kindergarten.  I love TEACHING kindergarten.  I do not love reading a script to kindergartens.  I do not love getting told that someone who comes in my room once every other month knows my students better than I do.  I do not love getting told I have to do this and can't do that from someone who sits in an office in a building that sees no children who has never spent a day in a kindergarten classroom in their entire professional career as an educator.  I do not love relying on a textbook to tell me what my students interests are.  I do not love getting told I must teach certain things at certain times for a certain amount of minutes to people that have an attention span around 20 minutes.
My classroom is a challenge. It is every year in different ways than the year before.  That's not the issue.  The issue is that I would like to be trusted that I desire the best for my students.  I would like to be trusted to know that I am fighting for what's right for my students, that I'm not just sitting idly by while things run amuck.  That I come home and cry and pray for my students- that God would show me how to handle each situation in love and with compassion.  I would like people to know that a degree in early childhood education means something.  That I devoted years of my life to studying the development of young children, not a brand of curriculum that graces my desk.  I would like EVERYONE to know that if you'd just let me do my job it works out better for EVERYONE.
This year I had enough requests from parents wanting their child in my class to fill over half my class. That's a big deal to me.  It means parents look at me and believe that I will work my hardest for their child.  Next year I bet I won't have five.  And its not because my philosophies have changed.  It will be due to fact that I wasn't able to teach the BEST way for my students.  And I'm pissed.  Not because my requests will go down, but because my students didn't get what they deserved.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Funny Valentine

TJ reads my blog at work.  Hopefully he is slammed today and spends all day making runs and doing run reports.  Or he's probably going to kill me when he gets home tomorrow.  But I don't care. I am bestowing the gift of laughter to all 3 of you who read this puppy.

TJ does not sing outloud.  EVER.  In church, you can hear a smidge of sound flowing from the vocal chords, but that's about it.  He hums occasionally.  He whistles like a champ-melody, harmony, guitar solos. But he does NOT sing.  And I'm convinced this is the reason why.
He is notorious for getting words to songs wrong.  I'll give two examples to illustrate my point:
1- Remember that song "I'm a baller. Shot caller.  20" blades on the Impala."  TJ thought is said SHOCK CALLER.  Like for a dog.  I laughed so hard I cried. Then I told the whole youth group.  And we chastised him for literally YEARS about it.
2- Gotta have more cowbell!  TJ thought it said "Don't fear the reefer."  And when I tried to tell him "TJ, it says REAP-er," he looked at me, straight face, serious as a friggin' heart attack and so "No Amanda. REEF-er" and held his hand up like he was smoking a joint. Again, laughed so hard.  Still give him crap about it at least once a month.
So last week we were watching the Superbowl.  Actually TJ was watching the Superbowl.  I'm more of a college football fan.  And I loathe bandwagon riders so this was not the sporting event for me.  Finally, time for the Half-Time Show.  I love The Who.  They come out and start perform and TJ looks at me, this time slightly confused and says " Kleenex Wasteland?"  I thought surely he did not say that. Surely not.  So I asked him, "What did you say honey?"  He said it again, "KLEENEX WASTELAND?"  I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Still laughing.  (If you're confused, get on iTunes and listen to Teenage Wasteland.  Then we can be friends again.  Forgive and forget, that's what I always say.)

He's my funny valentine.  My funny, doesn't get the words right, valentine.  But just to be fair I thought the oldie "Barbara Ann" was "Bop-A-Ran" until like last year. Bop, bop, bop. Bop, bop. A. Ran!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me?

I ran across this picture today.  I melted into a little puddle.
It made me think of this.  Do you see my necklace by her hand?  She would hold it in her hand to fall asleep. 
Then my mind turned to this.  One of my absolute favorite pictures of her to date.  She's so content.
All of that led me right back to this.  The first time we ever loved anyone more than each other.
(Don't let the screwed up date at the bottom mess up my moment, people.)
She's 14 months old, guys.  She's fiesty.  She tells me "oh, no."  She's definitely a Perkins girl. She loves to reads her "boo" (that's pronouced books minus the ks).  And dances.  Does she ever.  To Sesame Street, the Black Eyed Peas, and reggae music.  Especially reggae music.

So, why didn't anyone tell me that I'd be a mess everytime I thought about her being teeny tiny?
Why didn't anyone tell me I'd melt in a puddle every time I see her baby pictures?
Why didn't anyone warn me I'd be a wreck with each new milestone meaning you can't go back to the one before?

Because I am.  And I do.  And if you wanna see a wreck, you're sure to find one here.
It's the most oxymoronic feeling I've ever had in my life. 
I love her and think its so cool to watch her grow and become independent.  And I want to find a medicine to stunt her growth and make her a baby forever.