Tag Archives: Teaching

Series: College Life | Adulting in a Kids World…

I’m going to go out on a short limb here and guess that most of my readers are middle aged women. There may be a few stragglers from other categories and that’s okay too (in fact, I welcome all!).

But I seriously doubt very many teenagers are dropping by and hanging around. However, I find myself surrounded by a sea of teenagers and young adults.

Why? I’m glad you asked…

College. That’s where they hang out these days.

Okay, so maybe they’re not just hanging out. I’m sure that’s not all they’re doing, in fact, being one of these “students” myself, I’m just about certain they’re doing much more than just hanging out.

They’re doing papers (or at least should be).
And papers.
And more papers.
They’re probably studying, at least a little.
They’re not sleeping very much (notice the papers and studying above).
They’re playing sports.
They’re working jobs.
They’re drinking coffee (and probably some things they shouldn’t)…and lots of it (again, notice the papers and studying).
They’re looking for boyfriends and girlfriends and just friends in general.
They’re trying to adult.
They’re paying bills (or maybe begging for coffee money from mom and dad).
They’re finding their way around in a semi-adult world.
And because they’re still kids, they’re partying, making friends, playing, etc.

In the community college atmosphere, I saw this, but ever so slightly. Being on a big 4-year campus, I’m dead in the middle of college life. Wow, culture shock?!

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When I first came to “Uni,” which is what I think these kids use as short for “University,” (I still haven’t figured out what “Sovi” is but I think maybe it’s the Student Union? Anyone that wants to help this “old” gal with college lingo, feel free!) back in August and the weeks that followed, I thought, “No way…I’m too old for this!”

And most days, I still feel that way. I mean, after all, I’ve got a husband, three kids, a dog, Bible studies, friends, church stuff, writing, part-time work with photography and subbing, and on and on. I don’t have time for this. And I don’t. But I do.

So all this time, I’ve been thinking how great it is that these kids are schooling while they’re young because at 38, I feel way too damn old! Ya know, these “youngin’s” have all the advantages…

But…

On my hour long morning commute (an hour if traffic’s good – one way | sometimes I find myself sing to Dori’s tune…“just keep driving, just keep driving!”), I have lots of thinking time (which is exhausting in itself but oh how sweet a time it can be!). This morning, I was thinking of how hard it’s been for me to adult in a kids world. I’m exhausted. I’m the girl that has always stayed up until midnight or later and never thought twice about it. Now, I find myself ready for bed before my kids are even in bed (and they go at 8:30p)! Actually, to say I’m exhausted has to be an understatement. I don’t even know a word to define how tired I am and words are my thing (after all, I’m an English major – though that doesn’t mean I’m a pro at this word thing by any means so don’t hold me at fault there, lol).

So, back to my morning drive…this morning, I was thinking…maybe I’m actually the lucky one here. Maybe instead of these kids having all the advantages, I actually am the one with the advantages. I started thinking about all the things in my life that are settled and the peace that comes with that…and how for these kids, nothing is settled.

See, I am married. I don’t have to hunt for the perfect man. I already have the perfect man for me and he’s my biggest supporter and encourager (if that’s not a word, I’m making it one!). I don’t have to date and wonder if this guy is going to be the one or if he’s the biggest jerk ever. I don’t have to go to parties and drink (been there, done that, worn out the t-shirt and realized it’s only by the grace of God I survived any of that) to have fun or wear minimal clothing to try and attract all the wrong people. I don’t have to wonder if I’ll ever have kids…I have three and certainly couldn’t do this college thing if they weren’t such awesome kids. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to pay the bills because my husband works so hard to make sure we are taken care of and I’ve got student loans that I know I will one day have to and be able to pay back. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to live or what I’m going to drive.

Point being…there are so many things these kids have to worry about. That list above is tiny compared to all the worries and pressures they have. I don’t have to worry about those things. Sure, I have to adult but part of that means I also have a lot more stability, security and certainty than they do. I have a family that supports me, helps around the house and in every day tasks so that I can do this adulting in a kids world thing, who pick up my slack. I’ve got friends, young and old, who are praying for me daily. I’ve got a church family that has been one of the greatest blessings from God. The support and encouragement has been amazing. I feel like I have a group of cheerleaders encouraging me daily, with the “You can do this!” and “You’ve got this!” comments.

And I’ve been down enough long, hard roads and made enough wrong turns that I know…without a doubt, somehow, I can do this and that even if I don’t, it will be okay. I don’t have the weight of what if’s on my shoulders. Most of these kids can’t say that. They don’t have that comfort or peace.

So, while I’ve looked at this thinking from the perspective of “I’m too old for this…” I think I’m realizing these “youngin’s” don’t actually have the advantage. They may have more energy (or drink more coffee) but I have peace and security that only comes through life experiences and an unfailing trust and faith in the God who has brought me through the darkest times. Kudos to me for adulting today!

While you’re here, would you please say a prayer for me…that I can be a light to these kids. I don’t know their backgrounds. I don’t know their struggles. But I do know my own and I know how hard things can be. And I know what it’s like to go through the hard times alone, without the support of family and friends. I imagine, like myself as a teen, many of these kids are facing some of those same struggles I faced. Please pray that I can be some kind of encouragement to them, a light in whatever their darkness might be.

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Oh the lessons…

Lessons

My heart sank when I walked in the room.

It was the first night of new Wednesday classes at church.  My class … a women’s Bible study on forgiveness.  (Insert big WOW here for – nothing like a big topic, right?!)

The book we are following, The Unburdened Heart by Suzanne Eller, is simply amazing.  She does a great job of writing so that no matter what your story is, you can relate to the thoughts and feelings expressed in the book.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  So for the past few weeks, I’ve been so excited about how God is going to work in the lives of the women who come to this class, myself included.  I can’t wait to see how he works and the amazing things he will do.

As excited as I was to start this journey, I was filled with anxiety and fear.  I had spent the whole day fretting over praying out loud.  A few weeks back, I shared a little here about how God was working on me with prayer.  Surely I could tackle this praying out loud thing, right?  I was going to do it this semester in class – I would take the reign and pray for the women in my class.  After all, God has been preparing me for this.  Still, I was afraid, nervous, anxious.

Philippians 4:6-7  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Instead, I walked in with nerves raging and quickly noticed an unfamiliar couple sitting in the room – a man and a woman.  Immediately, my heart dropped.  My class was suppose to be only women.  In my head, there was simply no room for a man.  We were facing some really big topics, the possibility of deep, intimate conversations, some that simply wouldn’t be possible with a man in the room.  Without asking him to leave, I gently warned him that the class would probably be all women and that he may feel uncomfortable as well as the women who attended and hinted that he might want to consider a different class.  In most ways, you could say I handle the situation fine but the outcome was not at all what I had hoped for.

The couple left.  Not just left my class … they left the church.  If I had to guess, I’d say they left angry.  Angry that they had made the effort to come.  Angry that they needed my class and didn’t feel welcomed.  Even though my intentions were right, they left angry.

What was suppose to be a light and fun evening quickly started off totally wrong.  I managed to somehow pull myself together enough to get things going.  The class went on, women came, women opened up, we passed the tissue box around on the first night!  It was great and I am absolutely looking forward to the next 11 weeks with this wonderful group of ladies, getting to know them and seeing God working in their lives.

Why did I share the story above?  Well…if you’ve read many of my recent posts, you know that God is really teaching me.  Sometimes, lessons are pretty hard to learn.  Sometimes we have to make mistakes to learn from them.  It’s like riding a bike, sometimes we have to fall before we learn to ride.

This morning, as I’m sitting in the Sunday service, listening to our pastor talk about the man that was born blind that Jesus healed, my thoughts went elsewhere and I thought about the couple from Wednesday night.  Sitting there in church, I kept thinking about what I could have done differently.  Did I really handle it the way I should have?

The answer was simple – it was NO!

I did not do anything wrong by the way I addressed this couple but that doesn’t mean I did it right either.  Perhaps instead of standing across the room and going on and on about how uncomfortable he and everyone else would be, instead of suggesting he go elsewhere, perhaps I could have first of all introduced myself.  I did not even introduce myself.  Here was the this couple I had never met before, in my class, and I didn’t even take the time to welcome them or introduce myself.  Secondly, I could have gone over to them and after introducing myself, I could have leaned in close to inform them that this was really suppose to be a women’s class, however, they were welcome to be there if they choose.  Basically, I could have shown them kindness and acceptance, even if it went against the rules I had placed on the class.

Proverbs 21:13  Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

Philippians 2:4  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The thing is, we have encounters like this every day.  God is trying to speak to us and teach us new things every day.  I am so thankful that through this, I learned a very valuable lesson.  I learned to be still, to take the time to acknowledge people, to welcome them, to show them kindness.  I learned not to be so quick to react.  I learned that even when a choice seems right, that doesn’t make it the best choice.

How many times has God tried to teach me something and I failed to see?  How many times have I turned away from his lessons?

While I am so sad that this couple left and the weight is heavy knowing that I am the reason they left, I walk away thankful that through this difficult situation, God is teaching me and that I am able to see it, able to learn from it and hopefully it will prepare me to handle situations better in the future.  Let my mistake be your lesson!

And while you’re here, can I ask you to pray for me?  You see, because I allowed anxiety and fear take over, we failed to pray at all Wednesday night.  I did ask the class to keep the couple that left in their prayers, but I failed to pray for our class and I didn’t even take the time to ask someone else to pray.  I allowed fear to get in the way and that’s not what I want.  I know God has been preparing me for this and I know that it’s not about me, it’s about him.  Please pray for me, that he will use me and give me the words of prayer that my class needs.

 

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Yes to God!

YestoGod

It’s that time again!  It’s blog hop time with Proverbs 31 and Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible studies!  Yay!

This study is Lysa TerKeurst’s book, What Happens When Women Say Yes to God.  We had four choices on topics this week.  Here’s mine:

4. #yestoGod. Share a time you caught a “glimpse of eternity” as you said yes to what God was asking you to do.

Back in July 2011, I had just joined in with the P31 online Bible studies.  The first study I followed was Wendy Blight’s book, Hidden Joy.  Wendy is a very gifted writer and her book absolutely impacted my life in a huge way!  Around that same time, I began feeling this overwhelming desire to pour myself into Scripture and anything that kept me in God’s word (keep in mind, this was very unusual as until then, I hated to read anything – even or maybe especially my Bible).

As I went through the study, I just felt like God was leading me to teach.  I have to explain this for you to understand how ridiculous that idea was in my mind.

First of all, I has spent the past 10 years hiding out in the church nursery.  It was a safe place where I could hide any real feelings or emotions from everyone else.  I could spend all my time at church focusing on these kids and not myself.  It was my escape from real life.

Also, I am not at all good with Scripture or memorizing, knowing much of anything about the Bible.  At the time, I knew Jesus, knew of Moses, Jonah and a few other folks from the Bible but that was just about the extent of my knowledge.  (How sad that is now!)

I wasn’t good with prayer (still working on this one) and had never, ever prayed out loud.  In fact, until this past weekend, I could still say that.  God was certainly working on me this weekend and had me WAY out of my comfort zone when I was finally able to pray out loud in front of a group of women.  He’s still got a lot of work to do on me in that area, lol!

I had never, not once, attended a Bible study or class – NEVER!  The only Bible study I had ever done, I was in the middle of and it was online!  I had no clue how it worked to actually be in person, what teachers did or even what those who were there to learn did – nothing.

But still, I felt that’s exactly where God wanted me.  I couldn’t understand any of it.  Why would he want me to teach others?  I don’t even know my own way but he wants me to lead someone else?  “This is insane,” I thought.

These feelings were so strong, I knew I had to act on it and in a moment, I chose to say YES to God!

I emailed our education pastor at church, fully expecting him to laugh right out of his shoes and reply back with a big fat “No!  I’m sorry, but who do you think you are even considering this silly notion?!  Not no but NO!”

The thing is, that’s not the reply I got.

He said, “Yes!”

At that point, you can imagine I was a little extremely shocked.  I couldn’t quite understand first of all, why he would even consider the idea.  Second, what was I doing?  I had no clue where to go from there.  I had no idea what I was doing and what was I thinking getting myself into this?  It didn’t matter because this was it, I was doing it.

I said Yes to God!

I taught my first Bible study class, on the book Hidden Joy, in the fall of 2011.

That first class will always, always be such an important part of my story.  The women who came gave me hope.  They gave me confidence in a God I wasn’t sure I wanted to trust.  They encouraged me, supported me and even thanked me.  It seemed like they actually enjoyed it and God really worked in all of us.  I couldn’t believe it!

Still filled with doubts, I continued to feel this strong desire to teach.  I wish I could really make you understand just how crazy this thought was in my mind, but it would not let up.

The next semester, I asked our education pastor if I could continue teaching.  Still filled with the same insecurities, this time I feared now that folks had taken my class, maybe someone didn’t like it, he’d have doubts about me and tell me no.

He said, “Yes!”

I went on to teach the winter 2011/12 semester, spring 2012 and fall 2012.

At this point, I started feeling like if I didn’t take a break I might get burned out.  So, I for the winter 2012/13 semester, took a break and took my very first, real, in person Bible study class.

In the spring 2013, I was back to teaching.  This summer, I took a break from our church to take a class with my sweet sisters at another church.  My second in person Bible study class :)

Come September, it will be back to teaching for me.  I’ve just gotten the okay from our education pastor to keep it up and with his support and encouragement, along with the support and encouragement from our lead pastor, I know I am doing exactly what God wants me to do.

I am this wounded, broken girl who doesn’t know Scripture very well, very much out of my comfort zone and who is not, in the least bit, confident about her ability to teach, but I am absolutely confident that God can use me, even especially in my brokenness and that he can work through me.

Because of that, I say YES to GOD!

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