A Quick Run-down of Recent Blessings

3/9/2015

A Quick Run-down of Recent Blessings
I want to take a moment here to talk about how much God has blessed my life recently, through the people I love, and through my church.
Well, it’s almost half-way through the semester. We’re six weeks in, and in terms of time but not coursework, we’ve almost reached the spring break midpoint. I will be going with a group of other students to volunteer in a creative writing/tutoring center in Chicago, to invest in K-12 student’s creative writing skills and help learn from the educators at that center. Volunteering is so awesome when you truly have time for it, and I love our Alternative Breaks program at my university. It’s fabulous.
Speak of which, you know that feeling when God has set you on the right path, and good things just kind of come to you? There is nothing better than being able to send the same kind of love out into the void, in the way you live your life. I’m no saint, but I’ve never been this happy in my entire life. The conclusions God has led me to are good, and the path towards becoming an educator, hopefully a mom, and whatever else have been so convicted as of late. I see it when I take care of my dogs. I know it when I strive to get my life in even better order, so that I can be a fierce role model for the kids I hope to encourage. I know it when I’m at church, and when opportunities to contribute to my community spring out of seemingly thin air. This week, I got to volunteer during my church’s growing elementary kids ministry, during second service. I swear, the more time I spend with kids, the happier I become. In the small tutoring position I have at my old elementary school, I am so inspired by the kids I work with.
I feel so home in my classes lately. I have one class that I don’t particularly like, but it is something powerful to be able to observe teachers from Psychology, Dance, and Expanded Media, and see how they approach teaching from different vocabularies and slightly different understandings. What is most fascinating is how little is different. I think in specific disciples, we become so focused on what we are uniquely doing, that we forget how fundamental teaching can be, for better or for worse. We all have had our fair share of both good and bad teachers, regardless of the roles they have played in our lives, or the titles they have shared. Either way, I’m grateful for my teachers. They are so unaware of all that they do right. I tell them from time to time, but truly, it is such a higher compliment to mimic all that they do right, and do my best to disregard the rest of it. Each of these people is a walking dictionary of information, and I’m blessed to be around them. If you approach college with that attitude, there is no reason people won’t help you, and if you can, you should take that to the bank.
Some of the questions that the second graders I work with ask are so like the questions that rise up, out of my own heart. We make being human overly complicated, I think. If we just followed Christ through grace and let him guide us, teaching us to be better versions of ourselves, then the entire world would be thoroughly blessed. These kids give me hope. They are so bright, and they genuinely love to learn. There is nothing better than when one of them remembers my name for the first time, or I have the chance to see that the silliness I chose to model the first day has paid off; when they trust me. I want them to feel like they can talk to me about the things they care about, but I can also have the opportunity to be a role model in their lives. Being an authority figure is leadership in a way that isn’t optional to steward; it’s required. You have little humans looking up to you. You must make good choices.
I honestly can’t imagine how we invest so little in kids, yet seem to think that society would miraculously fix itself. Without proper instruction, all of it goes up in flames. We must provide the support we care to ask for. Not only isn’t it foolish to ask for things we don’t first demonstrate, it’s reckless. Why would you blame a child for your own failures? It is nice to know how faithful God is, in all of this. He is kind like no human has the right to claim, but the joy in these children is such a raw knowing. It makes you want to protect that spirit of goodness in them, if you care to pay attention.
I used to not like school. I have rarely enjoyed college for the joy I imagined it to be, as a freshman. I loved being in Chile on study abroad, but I rarely invested in my classrooms. Looking back, I think it was a maturity thing. I wasn’t there yet, and I usually gave all that I thought I had. The rest hinged on being vulnerable, and more so than I or the rest of the world was prepared to deal with. There is something entirely different about being open with what you love and why you love it. It edifies. It is powerful to be willing to be led. I love learning from people. There is nothing better than listening and savoring what a person has to say, and giving that truth the power to change your heart.
Do you ever get that feeling that “life is supposed to mean more than this”? That feeling comes from God. I know it’s true when I let myself dream. Like a little bird, I flutter through avenues of different possibilities and beautiful musings, and they always are just elaborations on steadfast love, and the grace that precedes it. It’s like weaving, or playing the guitar really beautifully, or French braiding (like I still have yet to learn). I can’t shake the image of weaving something lately. Like a tapestry, I feel like these little loves scattered throughout my life are guiding me into the roles I am meant to assume, in order to bless others. All I really want is for my life to matter. God provides that, and he always has. In Christ, there is an infinite purpose. I am part of a team that has transcending history, and will live to transform the world. There aren’t really words for that, but you can see it beaming out of someone’s smile when they simply know.
I like knowing enough Scripture to have a rich inner dialogue in analyzing what the right path for my choices will be. I like being able to talk to God about what gives me unease, or scares me. There is peace in always having someone so much greater to turn to. I can’t get rid of him. His stability is pure.
I love my church, not just because it is a place where I come to know God greater, but because it is encouraged if not expected that I would invest in others. That makes me so happy! Like, being around all the people who could use some steadfast love in their lives, and learning from one another. I can’t imagine a greater thing.
When you have radical shifts in your faith, and those become apparent in your life, it can be tempting to believe in things that are no longer really relevant, but have become habitual limitations. Little untruths that hold us back can be overwhelming when we don’t grant God liberty to guide us in fighting them. They snap like balsa wood, if you resist them. It’s a miracle to realize how little I care to look back anymore. My identity isn’t rooted in the past, but it grows into the present, through the vine and the overwhelming love of Jesus. It’s infecting everything, and thank God. What a gift, to have such sharing power, overwhelming from grace across all corners of what I know and what I have yet to experience. It is unreal, and yet, it is.
If I clung to these little untruths, I would have no room for the rest of the love that has been growing here, through grace. Perhaps some things were once true, but even more so, maybe all of it can be true! I don’t think all things are lies at the time we invest our energy in them, but I certainly believe that they can become outdated very quickly when God has full reign over your life. They seem to become cardboard ghosts to doodle upon, once you have given that trust over the God. There is so much more room when I let his love be infinite, like I cannot be. I ask for more, and he shares. If it were just me on my own, I would feel so lost.
I like how we each can ask for this grace in our own time, before God, in our own way, with our own words. He gave us each slightly different words and understandings, no matter what language you speak, how old you are, what burdens you carry, or what other ways you see yourself and the world. He made you. He is just that good, that he could weave our lives so intricately that we would only be able to know enough to praise about as we uncover it. Home is knowing that he is in charge. Freedom comes in accepting it.
I’ve been daydreaming a lot about how God wants to use the various passions he’s given me. It’s funny, because there are a lot of cute boys on campus right now. I’m totally not joking; spring time is upon us. I just get this premonitory feeling that my time would be better spent really investing in the future and learning how to use the gifts God has given me, than even paying all that much attention to guys. Seriously. It’s not that some of them aren’t cute, it’s that for the time being, I’ve got better things to deal with. All of that nonsense will work itself out as it does, and I’d much rather sit back and see what happens while investing in the future than get all anxious about why the future doesn’t come to me quicker. I already feel pretty well adjusted to the path God wants to provide for me. For now, it’s just a following thing, and man does that feel great.
Don’t you ever get to that place where you are just done trying to create your own destinies? All these converging overthinking nonsenses, and I really just don’t have the time to worry. I like having options, but for real Internal Voice of Crazy, simmer the hell down. Nobody has the time for your diatribe. Take a time out. I’m sure you’ll casually resurface once again, when I have much better things to do. For now, this stuff is mostly minor league recalibration and watching God build a foundation in my life worth standing on. You really have no place here. Scoot!
God has grafted me into a season of creativity, and hell yes. Little Russian nesting dolls of layered opportunities, this is the life I’ve been led into, stumbling. Can you think of anything better? Because I sure can’t. Do you know how great it is to listen and answer your own questions, only because you asked, by the end of the day? He’s putting out all these fires I had no idea were even started. Best part? Easter hasn’t even happened yet, and Easter is the greatest.
I hope you’re having a lovely week. Blessings upon what you do, and who you serve. That there would be trust in how you listen, and that you might demonstrate grace, even when you don’t expect it.

All the love,
Haley

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haleynoohra

I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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