I just finished year five of teaching.

I have taught over 100 children in the same community that taught me.

I succeeded. I struggled. I laughed. I cried.

Some days I felt like I was doing nothing, and others I was able to see results and light bulbs.

I have made many friends. Some moved grade levels, or to new schools, or retired. Each one hurt. Even the ones that just went down the hall.

I’ve taught in three different classrooms. With three different administrators.

I’m no longer a five year teacher. I’m a “starting my sixth year teacher”.

I do not have this job figured out.

Someone once told me that you can only say what you know.

What I know is what I know…and what I know is ..

that tree in the picture above was struck by lightening. It split into like a banana peeling and we thought it would die. But right there in the midst of its circumstances, it grew. A lot. New growth. Green leaves.

It’s bent and it’s leaning over but it’s alive and flourishing.

It just reminds me about life in general.. that we are going to have hard times and obstacles to over come but we decide if we are going to die or allow new growth to develop on top.

I’m pretty sure that’s why we get summers, for new growth. A chance to come back stronger the next year than we were this year.

Lord I pray for the teachers that closed their doors for the summer today. I pray that they will take the time to rest and relax. I pray that they will put new on top of the old and come back next year more ready than the year before. I pray that the time that is devoted in their classrooms, while their children are with a babysitter, is replenished back to their families this summer. I pray that next year we will all continue to grow stronger and wiser than the year before. There are many reasons we do our job, but I pray that our first reason is unto you.

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A few broken shells…

I wouldn’t have picked up these shells if I had seen them myself. Scarlett was overjoyed to find them. They’re all broken and hold no value. As she picked them up with excitement, I couldn’t help but to think that there are a lot of people that would have passed me by because I was broken and didn’t hold a lot of value. Some even that did. I’m thankful this weekend for a savior that didn’t pass me by because of my togetherness or my worth. I’m thankful for a daughter that still sees beauty in broken shells and still picks up “flowers” that we consider weeds. I dread the day that she sees the rain as an inconvenience and not an opportunity to jump in muddy puddles. Brokenness is beautiful and can be a beautiful place to be as you allow the lord to work in your vulnerability to make you whole again.

“I have two daddy’s”. This one is for the mama who feels inadequate today ❤️

Motherhood is hard.

Yesterday my daughter woke up about 4am pitching the biggest fit I had ever seen for a popsicle and tea.

Of course, she didn’t get it because it’s 4am and we are not starting that habit.

She’s been without her binky for eight days and I’m sure that some of her security and comfort has been taken from her and she is having to rely on other things.

She was inconsolable. “Don’t touch me, don’t cover me up”. My husband gets up, holds her, and she calms down and goes back to sleep. Seriously??

Why couldn’t I do that? Why did she not respond to me? Why is she such a daddy’s girl? Am I failing her as a mom? Can I not give her what she needs?

She’s so blessed to have to two parents in the unity of marriage. I love my husband in many different ways and one of the ways that I love him the most is the way that he is a father to our little girl.

We all got up this morning,despite the exhaustion, and my feelings of inadequacy, (did I tell you she scratched me yesterday too?) and we made it to church- on time I must say. As we are sitting on the pew and people are coming back to greet and say hello, a lady asks Scarlett who brad is. She responds with “my daddy” and then the unexpected “I have two daddy’s”. The lady, her eyes big and round looking at SJ like she has three heads, responds with “you do”.

Me, knowing my child and what I have been teaching her says “that’s right Scarlett tell her who your other daddy is”. SJ proudly says “Jesus is my daddy”. Scarlett knows that she has one daddy that has skin and lives in her house and another that we can only feel and lives in heaven with Aunt Joni.

I am not a perfect mom. I have another little girl coming very soon who will also depend on me to show her the way. The responsibility is great and inadequacy sets in from time to time. She’s not a perfect child. I expect her to have bad days. But I also expect her to be rooted in her faith because she has an example to follow.

Thank you lord for showing me that the small talks I have with Scarlett matter. I pray for the mamas that feel inadequate today in their parenting. I pray that you give them spiritual wisdom in each situation so that they know how to respond in a godly way. God I pray that you are the ultimate leader in our parenting. May you be the one to help us discipline our Children. Let us rely on what your word says about our children- that they are wonderfully made and if we raise them to know you when they are old they will not depart from you. Thank you god for filling our inadequate mama hearts with love and comfort from our loving father. ❤️

The Grace to have a new start: 2019

Y’all… I currently do not have this life thing figured out. I don’t know that I ever will. This past year has been crazy!

We’ve been to three different churches. Are we church hoppers? I don’t know. Call us what you want- I personally think we are just young and trying to find some direction. But I tell you what we haven’t lost in our almost 5 year journey to find a church home- and that’s Jesus. Our children have not lacked, our marriage has not lacked, our faith has not lacked. And that’s because the church isn’t god. God is the church. I’ve learned so much about who to put my faith in- and it’s not man.

I’ve been really down on myself about us walking around this same mountain of where to go to church for going on five years now. But I’ve realized too that we’ve hardly ever missed a Sunday where we didn’t go somewhere. My daddy always told me that it didn’t matter where we went as long as they preached the word of god and we went somewhere. Sometimes I feel like we are in the wilderness but I look back over the past year and I realize that god has never left us.

How else can you explain being diagnosed with a brain cyst and then after Diligent prayer… it was no longer a concern.

Doctors telling us.. if you don’t take these medicines and do these tests you will NOT have another child. Now we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of baby Hamby number 2.

It has been a GREAT year. SJ turned 2. We got our precious Abby, brad worked a murder, uncle Ricky passed away, ( even gifts we don’t want are still gifts), we went to Disney, it cost us 500$ to have our septic tank fixed, brad completed instructor school, Kimberly was teacher of the month.

Oh what a year we are able to look back on just by pulling slips of paper from Nanas old corn meal jar.

My mother in law bought me this plant my first year of teaching. I am currently in the middle of my fifth year. I am aware that it doesn’t look like much.

Last year was a challenging year for me. I showed perseverance and strength that I didn’t even know that I possessed.

This plant died last year. I was about to throw it away because it was so dead but I couldn’t part with it because it was given to me my first year of teaching.

I hadn’t really paid much attention to it until I just walked into the kitchen and noticed the liveliness it has.

I was immediately amazed by the lord. This dying plant- in a time that spiritually I was dying too- is now growing new leaves and thriving.

Thank you Jesus for your reminders that life comes in seasons. That there is a time to grow, a time to plant, a time to reap, a time to sew.

Thank you for the season of spiritual growth that I am in.

There is an opportune time to do things. A right time for everything on the earth. A right time for birth and another for death. A right time to plant and another to reap. A right time to kill and another to heal. A right time to destroy and another to construct. A right time to cry and another to laugh. A right time to lament and another to cheer. A right time to make love and another to abstain. A right time to embrace and another to part. A right time to search and another to count your losses. A right time to hold on and another to let go. A right time to tip out and another to mend. A right time to shut up and another to speak up. A right time to love and another to hate. A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-12

I won’t waste my (secondary) infertility

I can keep quiet.

I can silently mourn the absence of my second child alone.

I can cry without you knowing.

I can hide my tears.

I can smile when someone makes a baby announcement.

I can live life, silently fighting my own demons.

But I was called to not waste this time.

If I go through life never inviting people into my story, does my story have the purpose that it was intended to?

I couldn’t post this on Friday.

That test was negative, and so was I.

If you haven’t realized by now that everything that God does is on purpose…hear me now!

I went to church Sunday, fine.

I sang the songs. I went through the motions.

And when the preacher started preaching- I was the only person left in the room.

He was only talking to me. And although it was his voice, it was Gods direct words.

The only thing more he could of done was called me by my name.

“Why are you not enjoying your journey? Why are you always waiting for the next thing to take place?”

“I’ll be happy when…..”

Y’all I’m human. I have emotions. I’m not going to be positive every day. But God sure pulled me up out of my funk and said “hey, don’t let this time pass you by- there is beauty in the process”.

I pray that if it is not the lords will for us to have another child, that he will take away my hearts desire.

How can I say that? Because I know that his ways are greater than my own. I truly want his will for my life, whatever that may be.

And I want to enjoy the journey.

Are you enjoying your journey? I’m not saying your journey is the way that you planned for it to be. But. This. Is. It.

If we continue to wait for the next thing, we’ve missed all that he has intended for us to receive now.

Enjoy your journey.

Enjoy your process.

Cause if you don’t, Jesus is gonna slap you upside the head with some Pentecostal preaching.

(I always said that I hated when people posted pregnancy tests on social media 😂 well… there ya go! The things you do for the gospel)

What having a brain cyst has taught me…

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=R4CwKroZtCI

How can I list a brain cyst as a gift?

I was prepared for the battle. That’s why the Lord gave it to me. He knew that I could handle the diagnosis, the tests, the waiting on the results. He chose me for this situation.

I have never been more in love with my savior than I have been this week.

I have realized that life is so temporary. That we are all just here for a second and ultimately this is NOT my home.

I have been still. I have practiced resting in him. Everything I have ever read about, studied about, prayed about was for this moment.

One thing I have learned in this process is to worship. I don’t care if you are looking at me. I will not hold back. Whatever I held back before this cyst is bursting out of me now. My cup is running over! I can not contain the spirit of worship that I have in me.

This cyst is not about me- it is about him.

I don’t know what you have going on in your life, but I do know that you have two choices. You can coward down, run away, and give up or you can steady your stance and prepare for the battle.

I will fight my battles on my knees.

I am so thankful for such a time as this. I’m thankful that I feel Gods spirit more now than I ever have before. I’m thankful that he chose me to fight because he knew that I could.

I will praise the Lord until I take my last breath. Satan you have done NOTHING but increase my praise. You have done NOTHING but make me stronger. You have done NOTHING but make me love my God more now than I ever have before.

I am so confident in who I am in the lord.

I struggled for years with anxiety and depression, self worth, and love for myself.

This situation has taken all of that. I know who I am and who’s I am.

I hope when you see me next, you think “that girl is crazy”. I am not holding back. You are NOT promised tomorrow and you may get the same or worse drs report that I got last Tuesday, at any time.

I was prepared because I was seeking the lord in the good times. And now even the bad times are not that bad.

Heavenly Father,

I pray that you use my situation to speak to someone today. I pray that people will quit with their complacency and turn back to you. I pray god that people will be prepared to battle and fight before the situation ever arises. I thank you god for entrusting me and equipping me to handle this. I thank you for the outpouring of support that I have received from my family and friends. God I pray that if someone does not know you, that they will respond to your call. My only explanation for such joy in such a dark time is you. I know that your hand is upon me. I thank you for the lessons learned during this time. I thank you that I am bold, and courageous, and confident. I know that my life is in your hands. I feel you holding me and comforting me. I love you Lord.

Amen.

Don’t Pray for Patience

“Don’t pray for patience”. Ever heard that one? I used to be terrified to pray that I would be patient because I knew if I did, it would be tested.

Lately I’ve prayed for self worth.

I’ve prayed for unshakeable faith.

I’ve prayed that people would see my heart.

So out of those things, what’s been tested? All of the above.

Lord help me to love myself just as I am. Help me know that I am enough.

And the enemy tells me that I’m insufficient. I’m not doing enough in different areas of my life.

Lord I want to have unshakeable faith. I want to know that I know that I know that you’ve got my back and my life is In your hands.

Infertility sets in. Discontentment. A head ct just to be sure the symptoms are a medicinal side effects and there’s not something structurally wrong.

Lord I know that I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I cannot hide how I feel. Let people see the intent of my heart, the love, and the compassion in everything that I do.

Being viewed as emotional hurts my self esteem. I want to be strong and an overcomer. I don’t want a weak spirit.

I believe that God gives the strongest people the toughest challenges. And even my challenges are small in comparison to what others are facing. I also know that God cares just as much about my self worth as he does someone else’s life threatening sickness.

I know that I am weak, but in him I am made whole and strong.

I know that emotions are temporary and not defining of my spirit.

It’s by no accident that the very areas of your life that you are diligently praying for — the enemy is working equally as hard to make sure these prayers don’t come to pass.

And as I sit here, unfaithfully worrying, I’m reminded at how short lived this life is. That if a doctor tells me bad news tomorrow, I had today.

I’m reminded that although my faith seems the size of a mustard seed; that’s all the lord asks of me to have anyways.

I’m reminded that a kind spirit and a soft heart shows strength in the lords eyes and ultimately his opinion is all that matters.

I’m reminded that I am a daughter of a king… and if I’m treating myself less than that, I need to re-evaluate the treatment of myself.

How can you be a princess and not be confident?

Who will treat me better than I treat myself? And if I constantly feel inadequate, I am reminded that god always chose the most unqualified people to do his works. Which is perhaps where I come in, in all of this.

I am reminded that today is Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday. And the next day after that is Wednesday. Tomorrow won’t stop for a head CT and Wednesday will follow suite.

I am going to keep praying for my self worth, my unshakeable faith, and that others will see the intent of my heart, Because Satan would love nothing more than to see me quit. He would love nothing more than for me to have negative self talk. He would love nothing more than for me to feel weak because of who God made me exactly to be.

I will not give him the satisfaction.

No matter the results of the test, I give god the glory for today. And for tomorrow. And for Wednesday. Because regardless, tomorrow is coming and I’m just thankful for today!

“For every house is built by someone, but GOD is the builder of everything” Hebrews 3:4

“My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.” Isaiah 32:18

“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:25

“The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” Proverbs 3:33

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

“Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” Proverbs 24:27

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14: 1-2

“Home” is mentioned so many times in the Bible. At the end of a long day, I just want to go home. God is repetitive in his teachings about certain topics. I keep coming across the theme of home lately.

I’ve come to the realization that “home” has many different meanings.

1. Home is where I want to go at the end of the day. Where I can put on a moo moo and relax. I can be one hundred percent myself. I can talk about my day to my husband and receive all the love from my daughter. The Bible says that if I am his, I will live in a peaceful dwelling place, a secure home, and an undisturbed place of rest. When I get off from work, my husband has had a long day, I am so full of joy to know that we will meet in a peaceful dwelling place.

I have grabbed hold of that verse and prayed over my household that we will receive that which God has given us (a peaceful dwelling place, a secure home, and undisturbed rest). Over the summer, anytime Scarlett would go to spend the night away from home she would cry and cry saying “mommy, daddy, home”. She can feel the security in our dwelling place. It’s not something that Brad and I created, it is something that God freely gives because we are his people.

2. Home is where I grew up. There is something about walking into your mamas house while a big pot of chicken soup is on the stove, picking up your kid and dinner all in the same trip. The Bible says that the rain came down, the streams rose, and the wind beat upon the house but because of its FOUNDATION it did not fall. (Come on somebody!!) Life will beat on my house, but because of the generation before me- I have a solid foundation and I will not fall!

3. From 7:20 until at least 4:00 everyday, home is My classroom. For some it’s a sheriffs office, a doctors office, a salon, a restaurant. The word of God Says to put your outdoor work in order, get your fields ready, and then build your house. Take not that this says “then build your house”. A house and a home are different. Many things in life come before my house..very few things come before my home. A house is temporary. A house is wood. Materials. The word says I need to prepare my fields first. Whatever your work “home” is (and I say home because you are there more than you are at your house home) you have a field to prepare. I have 23 students that I prepare a field for each day.

4. I can only imagine that if the lord will give us a peaceful dwelling place here on Earth what our heavenly dwelling place will be like. The word says that my heart shouldn’t be troubled. Even in the midst of my day to day craziness, he is preparing a place for me. What I love about that verse is that it says he has MANY rooms. I love all of my earthly homes- my foundation home, my peaceful dwelling place home, and my work home, but YALL the whole point in all this is our father’s house. We will dwell there. Forever. Can you imagine the peace and the undisturbed rest?

Thank you lord for guiding me to a better understanding of “home”. I pray for everyone reading this post and the homes that they represent. Some people read this and though “I didn’t have a foundational home.” Oh lord show them that you are their rock and in you they are made new. I pray lord that each person will accept the gift that their homes will be peaceful dwelling places. I rebuke confusion, chaos, and misery, from their homes. I pray that the plans of the enemy against their homes will be CANCELED in the name of Jesus. In a raging world may their homes be just the opposite.

Thank you lord.

Amen.

Why there is hope in education…

I wasn’t the best student. I’m sure I played an instrument in music when I wasn’t supposed to. I’m positive that I got in trouble in gym for not sharing or taking turns. And everybody in the South knows I talked while my teacher was talking, when my teacher wasn’t talking, and any time in between.

In the fourth grade I had a rough go with a teacher. I was diagnosed with ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). I think it was a misdiagnosis- it was a bad year- but none the less, it was there.

I was the kid that didn’t like math. I was the kid that DID respond to extrinsic rewards. I wanted your candy, your ice cream passes, and the junk that was in the treasure box.

My mama would spank me in a minute. We believe in the Bible and she did NOT spare the rod. My parents were on me like white on rice. However, the decision to make good choices each day was up to me.

I’m sure I wasn’t every teachers favorite. They may have looked at me and said “she makes me tired”. 😂

I thank God for the teachers that invested in me. All. Of. Them.

Today I am a hard working, obedient 😉, Jesus loving, mommy and teacher.

I love my kids like they are my own. Because I had teachers that loved me like their own despite my childhood struggles.

I am so blessed and honored that a few of the people that invested in my childhood are also a part of my adulthood, as my co workers.

I can only pray that one day one of my students will sit alongside me in a meeting. One day I will see “Sarah” in a faculty meeting, or “David” at our county opening ceremony.

There. Is. Hope.

“That” student needs us.

Give them a skittle if that’s what they need.

Let them be little. Help them develop their character.

I love my Butts county story.

I love my home grown education and career.

I love the circle of life ❤️