For our school teachers (an apology and a prayer)

I felt like a schmuck.

Today in church, my pastor called all the educators in our congregation forward so we could collectively pray over them as the new school year begins. He noted our beautiful state of Idaho spends less than 48 other states on education. (Only Utah spends less.) My heart sank and I internally lamented how much I wish that were different. I instantly began plotting ways I could personally supply the needs of the many classrooms in my school… city… state. Ideas began to swarm in my head: fundraisers, donations, gifts. We can do this!

And then I winced.

I recalled this snarky post I made on Facebook just ten days ago.

FB Post

Obviously, my attitude was just a little different on 8/13 than 8/24. At registration, I resented the costs the school had “pushed” on to parents. I felt presumed upon by the system. At church, when I saw the people who labor daily to do much with very little, I longed to give more… to stand in the gap and come alongside their efforts for my children and so many others.

Face to face with this incongruity, I was forced to examine why. I realized I have a deep sense of entitlement around the things I perceive to be free (or already paid for in taxes). I expect them to function optimally for me. Aligned perfectly to my agenda and my timeline and my budget.

How very thoughtless.

On the other side of this equation are people striving to utilize limited resources for the benefit of others. I’ve become so myopic; I’ve literally lost sight of those who steward the funds to instruct the young minds in their classrooms. It wasn’t until I again saw their heads, bowed in prayer, that I was reminded of the abundant hours they work with meager funding, not just in salary but also insufficient materials, curriculum and paraprofessional support.

Thank you, teachers and administrators, for your faithful stewardship of what little we give you in time and money. I’m sorry. Sorry for failing to remember that the fees I pay to register my kids, and the cost of their supplies, help offset the personal funds I know you regularly, voluntarily, and sacrificially, put into your classrooms.

As we embark on this new school year, we entrust you to our God. The One who built a nation from one obedient man named Abraham. The One who used merely 12 unremarkable men to take His message to the masses. The One who multiplied loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes.

He does much with little. Your offerings are precious to Him, to us, and to our children. I pray He might multiply those offerings in your classrooms this year. Not just in having “enough” physical resources but in a truly fruitful harvest of learning experiences in the hearts and minds of your students.

May you see His faithfulness as you keep “doing good.”

 

Galatians 6-9

4 Lessons from Lip Surgery (Spare Yourself the Trouble)

I was afraid.

In May I shared with you my diagnosis of skin cancer and my fears around the location and removal of it. My surgery was July 14th and I’m now on the mend. Not surprisingly, I’ve learned a few things during the last 10+ days of recovery. Spare yourself the skin cancer surgery and just learn these nuggets vicariously through me, okay?

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The Economics of Grace

He couldn’t even look me in the eyes.

The weight of yesterday’s foolishness on his conscience made it impossible for him to lock his gaze with mine. Though I had tucked him in bed with assurances of my love for him, he still awoke this morning unreconciled.

He’s since apologized and our relationship is restored, yet he still bears a countenance of guilt. I console him again with scripture:

Lamentations 3-23

While delivering that truth to his tender heart, I pondered why I don’t often wake with the awareness of guilt that he so frequently does. I’d love to think that’s because I have fully internalized the grace contained in the Lamentations passage.  Read more

Put your money (and sunscreen) where your mouth is

I’ve dug my heels in. But I may not be winning.Walking the Talk2

I make a conscious, daily effort to take a stand against the cultural norms of our day in the area of body image. Yep, that’s me: middle-aged, suburban rebel. Americans worship youth and beauty, thereby shackling women (in particular) with concern over their appearance. We pay thousands of dollars, and spend countless hours, “managing” our bodies as measured in pounds lost, grays dyed, wrinkles stretched/treated/injected, breasts implanted, cellulite extracted, teeth whitened, and the like.

I want something different for my daughters and the young gals for whom I lead Bible study.

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When you need a reason to stay in the game

Staying in the Game“I don’t want to go.”

My daughter informed me that she had qualified to run in the district track meet but that she didn’t care to.  Only the top three runners in each event are sent to compete with students from all the other schools in our area. Her news thrilled me, so I puzzled over her reluctance.

It didn’t take much probing to determine the cause for her lack of zeal: Read more