Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It's Been Awhile

It has been awhile since I’ve added an update! School has been busy, and it is not lacking in daily stressors that require constant attention…and prayer.

For those of you who are faithfully praying for me, I’ll add a few updates for you. One prayer request is for revival in my classroom and in my own heart. The last month has been difficult, and part of the reason for that is a lack of focus on what actually matters: glorifying God. I’ve been challenging my classroom to really be praying for God’s presence among us each day to help us keep growing closer to each other and closer to Him.

One praise that I’m very excited about is our break from school next week. My roommate’s family is coming down from Canada this Friday, and we have some plans to see a different part of Mexico that I haven’t had a chance to explore yet! I’m very excited, and I can’t wait to share pictures and updates on how that goes. I’ll also be very thankful for the time of fun with friends. It feels like it’s been awhile since I’ve left the classroom for some real adventures.

Here are my violin players :)
Here are my violin players :)
One area that is new for me this semester is my music lessons. Coming back from Maine over Christmas break, I was able to bring my violin back with me. I have two students currently, and I am loving teaching music again! I miss my piano and my guitar back home, but having my violin to play with some of my students makes up for it all. J

My final real good news…I have discovered how handy and amazing Uber services are. Both my roommate and I are feeling footloose and fancy free since discovering how easy and safe we feel with Uber. Now I sound like a commercial. Basically, Uber is a taxi service with a few more checks involved for safety, and it is very inexpensive considering how fast and convenient the services are. Last Sunday, my roommate and I took an Uber to church. Then we adventured out on the town for sushi and Starbucks, which if you know me are two of my biggest all-time weaknesses. I miss my car a lot, but this discovery has been a huge blessing for us! Freedom to get around when needing to or just for fun has been a struggle at times.

All that to say, I am loving it here. Back home, my family is buried in snow. Here, I am experiencing the most beautiful weather (it was around 85 degrees F today) and really enjoying what God is doing in my life and teaching me. J God is very good, and His blessings are beyond what I can describe, and I love Him.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Showing Our Fruit

Galatians 5:19-26
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.
I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the reasons behind why we do things. There are many reasons and rationalities behind every action, but what is the real driving force behind our decisions? As a teacher I am forever searching out the answer to this in order to understand my students’ behavior and help guide them. As a human being, I really wish I could pinpoint reasons in order to make my life more directive.

While dealing with problems with others, it is important to look past what people say, and really look at their meaning behind what they say. From what I’ve seen, people are not usually self-aware enough to explain their actions on the spot, especially when they are 12 years old. I think back to a conversation I had years ago. I had no idea how much weight was dependent on my response to the topic. I was being tested. I listened patiently to a political rant on a more controversial topic, and I fell for it. I responded with a political argument, as if that was really what the conversation was about. From that moment on, nothing I said to that individual was worth listening too, because I had missed the heart of the issue and instead took sides with an argument that I don’t even care about. In retrospect, after seeing the results that followed the conversation, I realize that what was being communicated was not a political opinion. It wasn’t a question or an invitation to talk. It was fruit coming out from a seed of bitterness planted years before.

If I had a chance to redo that conversation, I would completely ignore the topic, and I for sure would not argue it. Instead, I hope I would point out that what was being said was simply the fruit of something in that person’s life, and it was not fruit from the Spirit of God since it was contrary to what the Bible said. Then I would challenge that person to check the actual reason behind the many opinions and actions. I guess my goal would be to try to help shine light on the actual culprit and lies that my friend was believing. Many people do not hold the insight to pinpoint their beliefs to bitterness, fear, frustration, pride, or other things. Instead they assume that anything they believe in so passionately must be blessed by God, but passion is not one of the fruit claimed by the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5. Rather passion is lumped in with the works of the flesh.

To a certain degree, a lot of our actions tend to be a performance. We are performing based off of what fruit we are growing, and we are all growing some sort of fruit in our lives, considering life is growth/change. When I have a student hiding in the corner, that is a performance based off of fruit possibly involving something with fear. When I have a student who fights me to take charge of the class, that is a performance based off of fruit possibly of pride or frustration. When I avoid large crowds and meeting new people, that is a performance based off the fruit of distrust.

Looking beyond what people do and say helps me see people as souls. So often we look at people as the enemy, yet God says in Ephesians 6:12 that we aren’t actually fighting against flesh and blood.

It is important to check the reasons behind why you are doing what you do. It is important to make sure that you are producing the fruit of the Spirit, because that is how we know He is inside us guiding and changing us.

How to help 6th graders learn this? Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” He was around the age of my students when that was said about Him. They can learn from His example. He was able to be close with people while pursuing and loving God. The best way to prove God’s presence in our lives is to show His fruit. When Jesus told the disciples that it would be better to have the Spirit come than Him stay with them (John 16:7), He knew that the Spirit would give us power and make a difference in all our lives. It doesn’t matter how old you are. If the Spirit is present, then there should be fruit.