Little blessings.

This past year has been a struggle — to say the least. So much of my life has turned out completely differently than I expected:
I moved to Phoenix, AZ, last June and expected to be there a few years teaching at a charter school; instead I taught there for a year and then moved back home. That was not the place for me.
I was in a pretty serious, long-term relationship and, by all accounts, was headed towards marriage, but that was not the guy for me.
I had a summer job at a camp I grew up going to and loving, and ended up having a really hard time this summer in a place I thought I would always feel at home — that is no longer home for me.

Last year I had a plan for my life, and it was the total opposite from what it became. What’s that saying about men making plans and God laughing? Right. That’s my life right now.

I’ve been having a really hard time coming to terms with my life. Transition, and things changing so swiftly and drastically, are difficult for me to process. My relationship with the Lord has taken a hit, too. On top of my list of “things that didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to,” I’ve had to deal with some really stinky friend things. It’s an interesting thing when people who share your faith, who claim to follow Jesus Christ, hurt you in more disappointing ways than people who don’t follow Him. I’m starting to understand more and more when people say, “Why would I want to follow a God whose followers suck so much?” Of course, the answer is that you shouldn’t judge God by his followers. But why are we giving people a reason to even say that? We are called to be the image of Christ in a broken and depraved world, and when Christians are such bad examples of Christ, and when we are even mean to our Christian brothers and sisters, why would anyone want to be part of that?
I’m not exempt from this, obviously. I’ve hurt people in more ways than I can count. But I’ve also been hurt in some ways I never thought I would be, by people I trusted and called my friends.

As you can see, I’ve got some junk to work through. Thank God for my Christian mentors.

Despite a difficult year, God has blessed me with a great opportunity to work at a Christian academy in New York this year. I teach elementary school music to about 50 sweet, lovely, and just the most caring students, every Monday and Tuesday. These children are taught in the most loving and welcoming environment I’ve ever seen, and their behavior reflects that. They are just loving. And their teachers are willing and able to teach them about the love of Jesus Christ! It’s such a drastic change from everything I’ve ever known about school; here, we teach our children about prayer and how much Jesus loves them. We teach them what the words of worship songs actually mean for their lives. We teach them about heaven and about Jesus dying on the cross. We are laying a foundation for the Holy Spirit to work in their lives, and we are allowed and encouraged to do that! I love this place.
These were overheard just today:
Second grader: “Thank you Jesus for my house.”
and
Third grade teacher: “If we had to work our way to heaven, there would be no one there except God and the angels!”

Even though my year’s been different and difficult, I can see that the Lord is showing me His sweetness through the pure love these children have for who He is and for their teachers and for each other. — I almost cried during the first chapel of the year when every student sang “Lord, I Need You” with such genuine hearts.

– If they are crying out saying they need the Lord and their young lives are so simple compared to mine, how much more do I need Him when my life is so complicated and messy?

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