Tag Archives: success

Done.

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Today (Thursday) was the last day of school for my kids and my 5th graders too.  Teachers still have to go for another day to close up things and enter grades into the computers.  But we are done!  I just didn’t expect to feel sad.  I expected to feel giddy and happy, but instead I have said good-bye to some students who are going onto another country and some teacher-friends that I have come to love this year.  As I drove home alone in the rain, I actually cried a little.  No joke, I cry about 3 times a year, so this really surprised me.

Last day of school

Last day of school

Aside from knowing that I’m going to miss these smiling faces, I think it was the emotion of completion that got me chocked up.  This was a really hard year for me… but I succeeded.  I did it!  With God’s strength and constant help, I made it through something really tough.  The pressure of being “strong” has held me together for so long that once the need to be strong was no longer there, I collapsed under the weight of it.  I didn’t even realize that I had been carrying that burden.

Me and a flower from sweet Hannah

Me and a flower from sweet Hannah

Now it’s going to sound shallow when I tell you that I am coming home with some really nice and thoughtful teacher-gifts.  (I have some parents with good taste represented in my class!)  I had a special needs girl in my Bible class, and she gave me a flower and several hugs.  I love it!  And I have a collection of precious cards from my kids.  Here’s a few of my favorite lines from those cards:

~ I will miss you as long as I remember 5th grade memories.

~You have been my very favorite teacher this year so far.  (several kids have come mid-year)

~I enjoyed doing all the art projects and Bible class because you made me understand things from the Bible that I did not understand.  P.S.  Do not tell anybody that you are my favorite teacher.  (Just in case some other teachers are reading this… you didn’t see anything here.)

~I am thankful for all the hard work you’ve done this year.  I know it can be hard to not get angry at us. (haha!  I think I only lost my temper twice the whole year.)

~Thanks for keeping an eye on me this year.

And here’s the best one from one of my 9th graders.  Earlier in the year I surprised her by anonymously putting a couple of big bags of chocolate chips in her locker after she teared up in class telling me how she missed baking treats for her family back home.  Then she returned the surprise a few days later when I found a batch of cookies on my desk.  She said this poem wasn’t original, but I still really like this.  I’m going to keep this card, for sure!

“Once in a while you meet someone, and your thoughts are rearranged, ’cause their wise words affected you, and you realize you’ve been changed.  They give the special gift of truth, and teach you it’s okay to wonder; so you search ’till you find what you’re looking for, and your doubts are torn asunder.  God placed them in your life for sure, and He used them as a key, so I’ll take just a minute to thank you, because you were that person for me!”

That’s a keeper.  Pretty words nicely said, I like to have them in my head.

What if “Success” isn’t the Goal?

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“For some people their apprehension about stepping out in faith is really a fear of failure.  They do not do what God has called them to because they are afraid they may not succeed.  Listen carefully.  When God calls you to something, He is not always calling you to succeed, He’s calling you to obey!  The success of the calling is up to Him; the obedience is up to you.” ~David Wilkerson

The Kingdom of God has been rightfully called “The Upside-Down Kingdom”.  It’s like stepping through Alice’s Looking Glass into a place where the first are last, and the meek inherit the land, and to be the greatest you must be the servant.  Everything we know in the world is turned on its head… including the standard of Success.

Would it shock you to learn that God is not at all interested in your personal success?  Joel Osteen has it all wrong.  In this Upside-Down place, God is more interested in the Process of making you who he wants you to be than in making you a successful person.  He’s more interested in crushing and squeezing you to make you into sweet wine.  He may call you to do something which will look like failure in the eyes of the world.  He sent Joseph to Egypt as a slave.  He sent Paul to Rome in chains.  He banished John to a remote island.  Why?  Because He had a purpose which required this kind of process.

Joseph was to be the source of rescue for his family years later when a drought ravaged the land.  Paul was chained to a Roman guard so he would settle down and write the letters of the New Testament.  And John was sitting quietly in a cave when the Revelation was given to him.  All of these men had to accept what looked like failure in order to achieve the calling.

“[The call of God] has nothing to do with personal sanctification, but with being made broken bread and poured-out wine.  Yet God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us.  We say, ‘If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way, then I wouldn’t object!’  But when He uses someone we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, to crush us, then we object.  Yet we must never try to choose the place of our own martyrdom.  If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed—you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.”  ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.