Sunday, August 28, 2005

Love Comes softly

"Nagging never works. You are never persuasive when you're abrasive . . . Peace always has a price tag. Sometimes it costs our pride; it ofte costs our self-centeredness." Rick Warren

"A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire." Proverbs 15:1

After a long day, the tongue hangs loosely.
Clock-ticking, mind-numbing fatigue sets in
Wearing magnifying glasses
Small becomes large
Siren pillow sings it's song
Imperfections highlighted
Infinite tasks, To do lists lengthen
In the canvas of exhaustion
Lord, grant me energy
Rose-colored glasses instead
Iron-man tongue that perseveres
Strength to see the glory, the blessings.
For love comes softly
Even at the end of a long day
Even at that time of the month
Evene when I'm hungry
Even when he's too busy to notice
Even when I just want to be taken care of
Love comes softly.

Friday, August 26, 2005

7th grade Rears It's Ugly Head

"Real community happens when people know it is safe enough to share their doubts and fears without being judged." Rick Warren

"We understand what love is when we realize that Christ gave his life for us. That means we must give our lives for other believers." 1 John 3:16b

Just when you think you're moving forward,
A wind blows
A step back to keep your balance.
Just when you think you're in control,
You see the reality of your helplessness.
Lord, you have made me into a confident woman
Who wants to serve You and glorify You in all I do.
But there are moments when time freezes and reverses--
When I go back to seventh grade--
A scared, confused little girl
In-between childhood and womanhood.
Fear of rejection, being judged, studied, evaluated.
The reality is, I'm not really that important.
It's all about You.
And Lord, if they do judge,
if they do evaluate,
if they do investigate,
let them find

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Headaches, Tummyaches, and Heartaches

"Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition." Rick Warren

"No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love." 1 Corintians 13:3

Today was the first day of school with the students. I used to get tummy aches from the worry. They would wake me in the middle of the night of the eve of the first day. Tossing and turning, I'd usually get between two and four hours of sleep every night before that first day. I would come to school with headaches from the lack of sleep and uncomfortable rest. This year, I slept like a baby. Actually, it was the first night all summer that I actually slept through the entire night without waking up before the alarm or the midnight check on Lauren. I was rested, refreshed, and ready to go. I was actually smiling!
However, throughout the day, I got another ache. As the students would standup to tell me their name and four things from their "Getting to Know you" sheets, I would feel a twinge, a tightening in my chest--a heartache.
Their hands searched for the right position. Their cheeks flushed with the fear of rejection. Some cracked jokes to feel accepted. Others spoke barely loud enough to understand. It was like they wanted to be invisible or sink down into the floor, the desk, anywhere they could hide. Or the opposite, they wanted to be so loud, so obnoxious, so hilarious, that no one could ever know their true fears, hopes, and questions. Don't they know You made them for a reason? Don't they know You died on the cross so they could live life in Your love, Your confidence, Your peace, Your joy? Don't they know who they are? Lord, help me show Jesus to my students. It used to be about helping them find their "voice." But now it's all about You. Afterall, you created their "voice." They won't find it anywhere else, no matter how hard they try. Give me the words, the actions, the steps. Guide me. You take it from here, Lord. I'm just along for the ride. Thanks for a new definition of those three little words I used to dread-- "Back to school."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Evidence of Change

"The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become--because He made us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be." C.S. Lewis

"You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter." Isaiah 45:9

God, You are so amazing! This is the first year that I have actually been excited to go back to school! Thank you for working on me and making me a new person this summer. In fact, this summer will never end for me. It's still the summer; I just happened to be teaching now. After all, I can still take Lauren for walks, to playgrounds, and play games--just after school. I can still pray in the mornings and exercise after Lauren goes to bed. i can still spend time with Cody and find little ways to show him how lucky I am to be his wife--just not between seven and four. wait, I could still e-mail love notes during passing periods! (aha!) Nothing's changed. I just get to teach for part of the day.
I used to worry so much about those first days and meeting the new kids. But You changed that. I know now that it doesn't matter if I see ankle bracelets for house arrest or get cussed out on the first day, that just means I get an opportunity to show Jesus to someone who doesn't know how unbelievably awesome He is! I missed it last spring when someone asked "Mrs. Baker, why are you so nice? why do you care so much about us?" This year, I have my answer ready. I have the best job in the whole world (for me). I get a chance to bring Jesus into a public high school. Ok, so it's "illegal." Cuff me and take me away. I'm a criminal for wanting my students to know the hope, love and peace of Jesus Christ? I'm a criminal because I don't want to see my students spend eternity in torture? The ninth grade is bad enough! (hee, hee)
Thanks again, God, for dropping this seed in the right soil. Help me to bask in Your sunlight, and never waste the rain.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Reality TV 24/7

"God enjoys watching every detail of your life, whether you are working, playing, resting, or eating. He doesn't miss a single move you make." Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23

I wonder if You get bored when I'm sleeping, except when I dream.
I wonder if You laugh too when Lauren says "Where's my prince?" when she misses her daddy.
I wonder if You shout when the world gets too noisy; it's awfully loud down here.
I wonder if You love Cody's eyes more than I do, since you formed them.
I wonder what You wish I'd change; I'd love to see a checklist.
I wonder what You think about when I try to decide what to wear; does it really matter?
I wonder what You feel when I overreact and don't trust You.
I wonder what You want me to do as a Christian teacher in a public school; could I get some "do's" and "dont's", please?
I wonder how You can love me the same as everyone else, and yet differently.
I wonder how You can still watch over me when I continually walk into danger.
I wonder how You can bless me, when I forget to pray, even at meals.
I wonder how You will be with each of us at the same time in heaven.
Well, I guess I'll find out when I get there. Until then, keep tuning in.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sincerity of Worship

" . . worship must be genuine and heartfelt. It is not a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all!" Rick Warren

"Man looks at the poutward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b

Lord, I have found that holding myself to this format of poetry is getting in the way of authentic communication with you. i don't want to offer you anything contrived, anything flowery, anything that isn't truly my heart. So, if you inspire a poem, I will write it. If not, I will simply talk to You, my best friend since before I was born. I just want to know you, Lord. I want to be closer. I want to let go of this stupid controlling, perfectionist nature of mine and give everything up to serve you--even my love for the power of words. Nothing compares to your power. I want to stop caring about what "I want." Lord, make me an instrument of your love to this world. Play me like a fiddle! I just hope a few people hear it and start dancing to Your tune . . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

On Borrowed Time

"Life on earth is just a dress rehearsal before the real production . . . We're not completely happy here because we're not supposed to be! Earth is not our final home. We were created for something much better. " Rick Warren

"God has . . .planted eternity in the human heart." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Alone in a room full of people
Lonely on a crowded bus
A stranger in the mirror
A traveler in my own home town
And all my life there was a question--
Where do I fit in?
Now I know
Why I get homesick at home.
Why "stuff" is never enough.
Why perfection is never perfect.
Why I never truly belonged.
It was all about you.
It was all about coming home.
It was all about living on borrowed time.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Camels, Cash, and Cradles

"As a camel kneels before his master to have him remove his burden, so kneel and let the master take your burden." Corrie Ten Boom

"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

The genie grants three wishes
I pray the same three prayers
I seem to say the right words
And I try to "cast my cares."
But I seem to take them back again
With worry that very same day
Why do I hold on to these burdens
that I want to give away?
I long for a better prayer life
More time to meet with you
An intimate encounter
A place to escape, rebuild, renew.
I long for blessed, steady finances
Not extra cash to spend.
Just bills paid, bellies fed,
And offerings to extend.
I long for a new baby to love
My family seems incomplete
I long for another little hand on my finger
Big eyes, wide smiles, tiny feet.
These three prayers I feel each day
Tugging at my heart,
So today I let them go
For I have done my part.
Yes, I'll think of them again
My heart will hold them until
I find out from You
What truly is your will.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Words, Words, Word

"To discover your purpose in life you must turn to God's word, not the world's wisdom.You must build your life on eternal truths, not pop psychology, success notivation, or inspirational stories." Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self." Matthew 16:25 (msg)

Emerson said you should "trust thyself"
Shakespeare "To thine ownself be true."
In Cosmo, Vogue, and even Time
We read "It's all about you!"
Dr.Phil gives great advice
Barns and Nobles has shelves and shelves
Full of endless titles promising
"You can find yourself!"
Twelve steps, Seven Habits,
21 Immutable laws,
Who Moved my Stinkin' Cheese?
And "How to Fix Your Flaws".
Doctors have framed degrees
And speakers have awards
Writer's smile from shiny back covers
But what are we moving towards?
He narrowed it down to just one book,
One Person, well, maybe three,
One simple owner's manual
From the inventors of me.
He formed my little feet
Before I took my first step
He was their the day I was born
And I will meet Him after my death.
The Hollywood voices
And the editors of magazines
Have no idea who I am
Or what life really means.
Lord, I don't want to find myself
I just want to follow You
For that is the only way I can
"To mine own self be true."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

When the Bridge Feels like a Tightrope

"You will be tested by major changes, delayed promises, impossible problems, unanswered prayers, undeserved criticism, and even senseless tragedies." Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life

"God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it,and so provide you with a way out." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Jesus, I know you bridged the endless chasm looming between me and God
Yet, sometimes my steps toward You look foreign, awkward, odd
I know the bridge is wide and sturdy with beams of the strongest steel,
But when the wind blows, the chasm below echoes as if to appeal,
At times, my steps look more like walking the tightrope at a circus I once saw,
Arms out, shaky steps, believing in Newton's first law.
In reality I know I could break into a sprint to reach the other side,
Yet there I stand, wavering and teetering, feet together, arms reaching wide,
It feels more like a balancing act than a drive on an over pass,
When life seems to let go of the wheel but not let off the gas,
Yet even in these times I can still sense your protective peace,
Even when my arms get tired from all the elbow grease.
I will trust in the bridge and walk toward You on the other side.
For there You stand, steady and waiting, feet together, arms open wide.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Thermostat or Thermometer?

"He carries an emotional thermostat that sets the temperature around him--not a thermometer that merely responds to it." John Edmund Haggai

"Delight yourselves in the Lord; yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of the Lord. Don't worry over anything whatever; tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds as they rest in Christ Jesus." Phillipians 4:4-7

Lord, make me a thermostat
Adjusting to the rise and fall of life
Instead of a thermometer
Who merely shows the heat of strife.
Fill me with your peace,
Confidence that you are near,
Strength to grab hold of my thoughts,
Avoiding mood changes so severe.
Lord, make me a thermostat,
Constant, stable, steady,
So when you cut through the noise
To call me, I'll be ready.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

K-mart Calamity

"Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord. " Leviticus 19:32

Strolling through K-mart at just about ten o’clock.
I bumped into a scene like a toe on cinder block.
“Hurry up, Mother.” the lady said with a sigh.
Knuckles meeting hips, with pursed lips and rolling eyes.
Around the corner staggered an elderly woman at a snail’s pace.
With wise and wearied eyes gently set in a stone life face.
“The lady at the salon said I should try this certain brand . . .”
Her cautious voice floated to me as her tender eyes scanned.
“Just get whatever’s cheapest, Mom. I don’t have time for this.”
And I wondered if this harried daughter ever stopped to reminisce.
Had the years of her own care-taking become so obsolete?
Had she erased the years this women spent holding her bicycle seat?
My spirit grieved as I saw the older woman’s eyes genuflect
As her daughter pointed to a generic brand for her mother to select.
“I also need more Depends, honey. I think their in the next aisle.”
“What? I just bought a package last week! Shouldn’t they last a while?”
As they turned the corner, my feet were suddenly filled with lead.
As my heart sent swirling, muddled images up to my head.
My anger subsided into tears and I never saw them again.
But, Lord, let me not forget the lesson I learned right there and then.
When I think of the future and possible honor of caring for my own mother,
I hope I will always treasure our friendship and how we lean on eachother.
I don’t really know the whole story, but I will pray for these women anyway.
And forgive me for K-mart prayers where I want the cheapest answer today.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Just the Tip

"We want our strength in public to be explained by what goes on in private between us and God. If we faithfully nurture what is beneath the surface of our life, people will marvel at what they see of God in us." Elizabeth George

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners seen by men . . . But when you pray, go intro your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:5-6

Above the surface,
One-seventh of an iceberg looms in the distance
While the other six-sevenths
Forms the roots under the waves
Thank you, Lord
For meeting me beneath the horizon
For flashlights under tents of sheets
The corner of the couch before sunrise
The stoplight that takes too long
The steamy silence after a long shower
Just a second of breathing space
The radio inside my head
The song inside my heart
The legroom for the soul.
Lord, let me be an iceberg
Formed by the sun You lift
And the wind You blow,
Glistening with the hidden secrets of You.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Chidren's Dictionary

And he said "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3

Today: just a game to play.
Strangers: a new friend to find.
Errands: opportunities for adventure.
Walk: outdoor journey, skipping expected.
Work: ?
Morning: all done sleeping, time to play!
Night: all done playing, time to sleep.
Church: a fun place to sing songs and learn about Jesus.
Daddy: my prince.
Mommy: Daddy's big princess.
Me: Daddy's little princess.
Jesus: the King.