Tag Archives: school

In God’s Presence There is Grace

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 ESV

It sounded like the perfect job for me. A new Christian school in the area where we were relocating had exploding enrollment for the next year and needed an elementary principal.

Wasn’t the Scripture verse the same as my former school of fifteen years? Didn’t the heart of the administration mimic my own heart for Christian education? It felt so right.

Taking the position without asking for my husband’s opinion, I immersed myself into the maze of trying to hire teachers, admit students, prepare classrooms, and order books that summer in a school where the number of students had more than quadrupled for its second year of existence.

Fast forward a couple of months, and my mornings started at 5:00 a.m. with reading the newspaper to see what I would face later at school. Unrest in the church leadership made the front page headlines on a daily basis.

Though I was determined to make sure God’s work was done despite the chaos, my husband intervened and asked me to resign after only three months on the job. Incredibly, I didn’t even know who to notify that I was leaving. My boss had already been fired and things were in such disarray.

I emailed my letter to the only one I thought was my authority, phoned the elementary teachers, and packed up my office in defeat.

Eventually, I was able to see that what had seemed like God’s plan was merely a cloud of smoke hiding my delusion that I could be the heroin who would save the day. Pride made me susceptible to deception. Instead of producing humility, this revelation humiliated me. Would God ever want to use me again?

Am I the only one who is tends to hide behind a bush of shame instead of fall before the throne of grace in my time of need? If we are saved by grace, why do we forget we are also sustained by grace?

Desperately needing to be restored, I had to push past my feelings of failure and confidently approach the throne of grace…to receive mercy…to find grace.

In God’s presence, I did not feel His disappointment with me as I feared. I felt His grace.

This was written for Faithfully Following Ministries mini study and can be seen here.

https://faithfullyfollowingministries.org/category/in-gods-presence/

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The Sound of the Brass Bell

As the ornately embossed brass bell rang out in the orderly classroom, every little soldier knew what that meant. Everyone was to be seated with eyes to the front, feet on the floor, and mouths zipped shut. Any nonconformity was simply not tolerated. Children quickly understood that foolishness would result in the crack of a ruler on the hand of an unruly classmate. Although the fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom, shaking in your boots all day long in school, afraid of a teacher tirade was no place for learning.

Imagine what I must have felt when I joined that first grade class, changing schools for the second time in the last year. I didn’t fit in, since we lived in a meager apartment in a neighborhood of affluence. The move from a spacious home in a middle class neighborhood, large enough for the massive Barbie house my aunt had built and furnished for me, had been difficult, especially having to give that beloved Barbie house away. At school, no one wanted to be my friend, and I was absolutely terrified of my teacher. The oversized ruler used to dispense justice hung on the wall beside my desk as a constant reminder not to make a peep. Just be still, do what you’re told and keep your mouth shut. That’s the way to stay out of trouble.

Later that same year, my father drove my mother, little sister, baby brother, and me to my grandmother’s house and left us. My parents were getting divorced. This meant another new school for me, but at least I had a nurturing teacher for the first time. But the old pattern of staying out of trouble was set in my mind. In just a few months, sexual abuse that would last for years at the hand of my own father during weekend visits began. Be still, do what you’re told, and keep your mouth shut was my coping mechanism for dealing with yet another terrifying situation.

Sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and touches can bring back joyful or fearful memories. God has walked with me as He allowed me to relive moments from my past to heal my soul. When triggers resurrect painful experiences, I receive grace and peace as I roll them onto Jesus. They are part of my story, but they don’t write the ending of my story. God is glorified when we allow Him to recycle our junk. And, after years of teaching first grade myself, a bell on my desk brings order from chaos without a word. Looking back with eyes of maturity, maybe that teacher wasn’t such a scary lady after all.

My Principal Wears Camouflage?

The quaint French Louisiana town of Ville Platte was such a welcoming home town for a recently transplanted Texas family. Scrumptious food, friendly people, and a Cajun culture that enchanted us drew us into this unfamiliar way of life. 

One of my favorite spots was one of the many local meat markets where the little old man who owned the market spoke to me in French (I don’t know any French) and probably enjoyed seeing the bewildered look on my face.

Buying our first Louisiana home in the piney woods north of Chicot State Park, our closest town was Ville Platte (which means flat town), which was ten miles away traveling down a hairpin-curved, tree-lined road each day. 

The trip into town each day made you feel as though you were on vacation, the way the forest gently caressed the pavement and teemed with wildlife. (Once, we actually saw someone who stopped after running over a squirrel and pick it up.) At the end of that road was our charmingly small Christian school, where both of my children attended and I eventually became principal.

Times were pretty rough for our little school back then. Because of some pretty steep tuition hikes over the past few years and parental concerns over the campus not having a junior high or high school, our enrollment in the K3-6th grade campus had dwindled from the peak of 120 to fewer than 60 students. 

It was the only Protestant school and one of only two private schools in the area. Being a satellite campus of a larger school in Opelousas, there was support despite the projected budget loss for the year. The staff was top-notch, and parents did all they could do to help. 

If the campus was to survive, we needed more community support.

After much prayer, an unorthodox idea to express the urgency of the situation to our local pastors came to my mind. They had started a local ministerial alliance and were willing to allow me to speak at their next meeting. 

I am a deer hunter, and my husband had purchased me a used set of camouflage army fatigues from a traveling vendor. It may seem crazy, but this girl felt God nudging her to wear my deer hunting attire to the meeting to emphasize the war we were engaged in for the hearts and minds of the elementary children of the area. 

Needless to say, I didn’t tell many people about this plan, but I had the few people who knew praying that God would use this act of obedience to communicate the need to the pastors.

That fated evening, I dressed in the camouflage pants, jacket, boots, and even hat to attend the meeting and started out for the meeting. Excited about doing something that God asked of me and scared because I might look like a fool, I felt like I was on a real mission. 

Because it was in a church located in a neighborhood I was unfamiliar with, I found myself at the wrong church. Imagine me stepping out of my car all decked out in camo and finding out from someone standing outside the church that it was not the church I was seeking. After an awkward conversation and a few laughs, I left and finally arrived at the meeting. Looks on the pastors and priest’s faces were priceless, even the pastor who allowed me to speak. 

If God was up to something, they had not gotten the memo. When it was my turn to speak, I passionately described the grave situation of our campus. I demonstrated by my improper meeting attire and Holy Spirit inspired speech that we needed their help as fellow leaders in the work that God was doing through our school in Ville Platte. 

Although no one laughed at my ridiculous outfit, most did not seem overly concerned about my message. Had I really heard from God or was I going mad?

You know, sometimes you just blindly obey what you feel God wants you to do, even if you feel it sounds crazy, and trust Him with the results. That night, I left the meeting without knowing if my mission was accomplished. 

As the year progressed, it became evident that the campus would not be open the next school year. Once that was announced, I became aware of the significance of my night in camo. Unbeknownst to me, one of the pastors, who happened to be an avid duck hunter and new to Ville Platte, was moved by God when he saw and heard me that night. 

His church entered into an agreement that ownership of the campus would be transferred to his local church for the next year. Talk about a great turn around for what could have been so tragic! Fifteen years later, the school is still thriving under godly leadership.

Is there something God is asking you to do that you fear might jeopardize your reputation? Remember that Jesus made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself to the point of the cross. Who knows what might happen if you just obey and trust Him with the result. 

I think of the time God used a praise band instead of an army to bring victory or when he had an army march around a city and blow a trumpet before He knocked down the wall. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise and accomplish His purposes so He, alone, gets the glory. 

Maybe you’ll never have to be a principal who wears camouflage fatigues to a ministerial alliance meeting in the heart of Cajun country, but when the call for some out-of-the ordinary act of obedience comes, what choice will you make?

#livefreeThursday

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