Wondering how

It’s Monday, I had the day off, and I’m overwhelmed.

I don’t know if it was all of the traveling over the weekend, all of the stuff I have this week, or the stuff I know has to happen for next weekend, but I’m not feeling so good. I’m staring at a week with an activity every evening, homework to be done for WDP, a pile of grading, a week without complete lesson plans, a completely booked upcoming Saturday… and my anxiety is rising.

And it’s time to go to bed. Ugh.

I’ve been working on something for the past two weeks that went really well– balance. I had work time, but then I had rest time. I had focus time, but then I had free time. I cleaned the house, but also managed to stay sane. I slept every night for way more hours that I used to. I saw my husband. It was grand. The plan was to keep all that up. But now I’m looking at this crazy week and wondering how?

Regardless of the to-dos, I’m drawing a line right now and going to bed. Not sure right now if it is the most “wise” action, but I think it may be the most necessary. I have to draw some lines. And I need to remember that previously when I did draw these lines, things still somehow got done and nothing fell apart.

Still a bit anxious, but I’m going to pray that God will take that away and bless this decision to rest. Goodnight ūüôā

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Failure to rest

It’s not a resolution. It’s something that came up in a conversation with my WDP leaders at the end of the semester. And then God kept bringing it back up.

I don’t take a Sabbath. Yes, God tells us to. I get that. But I’m busy. In fact, I’m exceedingly busy. He gets that, right? Well, that’s what I kept telling myself anyway. But when someone pointed out that not taking a Sabbath was a sin, well, that didn’t sit real well with me.

It’s not a harsh thing to point out one another’s sins. We’re actually supposed to do that in Christian community. No one was pointing fingers or anything. Part of WDP is learning to fight sin– in our own lives as well as in the lives of those around us. It was actually in a conversation about my own self-righteousness that the whole Sabbath thing came up. While it isn’t finger pointing, I sure did feel ganged up against that night. But it was for my good.

And they were right. About both.

So, God kept bringing it back up, I began to have anxiety attacks due to negligent self care, and thusly, yesterday, I vowed to have a Sabbath.

I pretty much failed.

I cleaned house, did laundry, ironed, planned lessons, and cleaned my shower doors. The only Sabbath-like activities were reading a couple chapters in a book on prayer and going to church. Oh, and Downton Abbey— but that totally counts as rest ūüôā

And then today at work when the other teachers were talking about how rested they were, how ready to teach and love these kiddos they felt, well, I realized that I wasn’t. When we prayed during morning devotion, I realized I had read about prayer, but I hadn’t actually done it. Sigh.

If we were perfect at everything, we wouldn’t need a Savior. I need him. I need God to keep showing me that I was designed for a day of rest. I need him to remind me that he and I are in a relationship and relationships need quality time. I need to trust in Him that the Sabbath takes priority over the to-dos and accept that some things won’t get done. I cringe even as I type that last sentence… I need him to teach me to trust.

So, I’m 0 for 1 on the Sabbath thing so far. Brian said he was actually really proud of me– he’d never seen me take and hour to sit in silence and read on a Sunday! And God wants us to come to him as children– and children aren’t very good at things on the first try– so at least I nailed that part ūüėČ

A path and a purpose

I didn’t want to go to the interview. Actually, I was looking forward to the other interview with the other private school I interviewed with last Thursday.

When they called, they told me the position was elementary. Elementary?! I’m middle school-material! But they keep their 6th graders in elementary, so if I wanted to teach 6th graders there, I would have to be elementary. Ugh. The position was also still being determined, but at that point was multiple subjects– and I’m English.¬†But the cheerful voice on the other end told me to come on in for the interview and we could talk about it more there.

When I showed up the next morning, I met some of the funniest women. I was enjoying conversation, standing around gabbing, when they told me that the position is now just English. 5th and 6th grade English. They asked me if this was okay with me.

It was about this time that I realized God was doing something incredible.

I’ve never had an interview like this– the women were hilarious! Parts of it felt like a comedy act, except that they were also so sincere. For every question they asked, I had an actual real-life story and answer. They would squeal, or say they just got chills, or reach over and touch the other one when I would answer. I knew they were excited, but I couldn’t believe it was over me! My experiences over the past couple years lined up in such an exact way that I had the perfect answers to their questions. At this point I was no longer thinking that God was doing something. I was beginning to see that He has had me on a path for quite some time.

I was falling in love with these women, and apparently the feelings were mutual. Then, I had to give a mini-lesson. They brought in third graders.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I panicked. I don’t do elementary. They’re little. And they need things. And they’re scary. But the little, needy, scary things walked in and well… they didn’t look so bad. Cute, actually.

The lesson went well. They loved the cartoon and pictures I had on the iPad, and they seemed really engaged. My interviewers, however, were engaged in something else. They were sitting back behind the students going page by page through my application and exhibiting the same exuberance from the question and answer time even though all my information was in writing. This was insane.

The kids left and the interview continued. It turned out I would actually be teaching both of these ladies’ children, so they were personally invested in my responses. And my responses were still¬†everything¬†they wanted to hear.

As I followed one of them around the campus for a tour, the other interviewer went to speak to the headmaster. My tour was cut short when I was called into his office. The women sat on either side of me as the headmaster asked me about my experience, my faith, and if I wanted to work there. Wait– what?

Yup. He offered me the job on the spot. I told him I would have to speak to my husband and get back to him, even though inside I wanted to hug the man. I did get a group hug from my interviewers before I left. We made plans for me to be there the following morning. I mean, if I decided to take the position…

Before the headmaster offered me the job, he told me that he thought I was sent there by God. This is an incredible thing for a person to say. Thoughts raced through my head: They want me. Me? Me. And they think God sent me. Like I’m an answer to prayer. But I’m nothing. This is crazy. This is crazy.

But that’s how God works. He waited until the last possible second this summer to change my teaching position. He knows I’m good under pressure– He designed me that way. And He revealed how he had been preparing me through every experience I had at my last school and on the mission field and in my walk with Him. We don’t always get to see that part– we just have to trust that He is sovereign and sees a bigger picture. But this time, I got to see it. I got to see His hands move.

My life is not an accident. God didn’t say poof! one day and then step back to see what would happen. He is intentional. He is sovereign. And He is loving.

I looked at Brian in the doctor’s office where we met up afterward and shook my head. “Why do we doubt?” I asked him. “Why do we doubt?”

***

Post Script: Never say “never” to God.

The first time I said never to God, I told Him I was leaving my hometown and never coming back. He gave my my first teaching job there.

In college, when people would assume that my English major was a path to teaching, I would grimace and gasp, “Never!”

And as a teacher, when asked if I would consider¬†teaching¬†elementary, I again grimaced and swore, “Never!”

Yesterday, I began my new job as an elementary teacher.

Some may say He has a sense of humor. And while that may be true, I think it’s also true that our Creator knows us a little better than we know ourselves.

Full trust

Lindsey and I committed to something prior to our wedding that is not unique, but from what I can tell it is probably uncommon. We committed to share all of our passwords and account information for all of our online activities. Email, Facebook, Twitter, and more– it’s all open.

This was actually an easy choice for us. We are completely open with each other anyway, sharing things that have not been shared with anyone else.

I know what some of you are thinking. Some of you reading this are asking, “Wow, do you really not trust so much that you have to share your passwords?” You’ve got it all wrong. It’s the opposite, we share everything and are fully open because¬†we trust each other so much.

The guiding principle for this is simple, our marriage is more important than we are individually. We are a team now. We are no longer two, but one. When viewed in that light, it would be odd to not  share all of our access and information.

Four Ways I Know My Wife Loves Me

Ok women, this post is for you. Err, well, I think most of our posts are for women if you look at our Facebook page¬†(shameless plug, like us!). Anyway, here is what I have learned in two and a half months. ūüėČ

From a man’s¬†perspective, the four ways I know my wife loves me:

1. She believes in me

Whenever I get a crazy idea, or just come back around to an old one, Lindsey is always on my side. She jumps on what I’ve said or asked, provides insight, and pushes me to do my best work. When I write she is my sounding board and editor, when I cook she is honest and helps figure out how to keep making things better, and when I doubt she reassures me. You know that saying, behind every great man is a great woman? I’m not great, but I know she is.

2. She trusts me

Even though I am not perfect (I know, it’s not a shock) Lindsey believes and trusts me. When it comes to a decision, an opinion, or simply the little things, Lindsey consistently shows me that she believes in me and what I say. Now, she doesn’t think¬†everything¬†I say is true, or that ¬†every decision is wise, but there is a consistent pattern that shows she has great trust in me. That is critical, the trust must be deep and run both ways.

3. She tells me so

Too simple, you say? Nope. Not all men are as talkative or as willing to be mushy as I am, but I can say with confidence that we need to hear this just like you do. Just don’t be surprised that we won’t always react the same way.

4.  She stands behind me in public

When I am¬†involved¬†in something important outside the house, like at work, church, etc., she is always supportive and right there with me. Whatever discussions have been had or differing opinions offered, we¬†consciously¬†present a united front to the world. This is a joint thing, with each of us supporting the other and bending here and there. I don’t think its value can be overestimated.

My hero

I was a sleepy-head this morning. We went to a wedding last night and then to ice cream and then attempted to watch our Sunday shows on the couch, though I didn’t quite make it through one. It was tough to get up this morning, a natural consequence of dancing the night away. And worth it ūüėČ

But zombie-Lindsey wasn’t paying much attention when she walked out of the house this morning. She remembered the purse, the lunch box, the graded papers, and the coffee, but she forgot the salad dressing and the wallet. The wallet was still in last night’s clutch, as a woman MUST carry a cute clutch to compliment the cute dress. But that same woman needs to put the wallet back in the everyday purse or there are problems… which brings me to the part of the day where I arrived at work, an hour (without traffic) from home, with no wallet and an almost empty gas tank.

I called Brian. I had several creative solutions for getting home, but he insisted that coming out here during the day and bringing me my wallet was the best solution. When we looked at pros and cons, it really was the best solution, but I HATED the thought of him taking two hours out of his day to drive down here and back because of my mistake. I really hate putting people out. But again, he insisted. He wanted to do this thing for me, and it was driving me crazy.

He asked me, “If the situation was reversed, would you see it as a hassle to bring me my wallet?”

Of course, not. I love taking care of my man. It brings me so much joy to know I’ve done something, not matter how small, to make his life better, happier, easier, or more enjoyable.

“See?!” he replied.

Why do I have a problem with him wanting to take care of me? Is it because I’m self-suffifcient and can do things on my own? Is it because I don’t want to “owe” him anything?

I got a text a couple hours later that my wallet was back in my car. As a teacher, I can’t exactly leave my kiddos unsupervised and run out to plant a huge kiss on my hero’s face, though I desperately wanted to. But now I have my ID, I have my wallet, and I can buy gas after school today and make it all the way home… thanks to my husband.

I need to trust that my husband isn’t making a mental tally mark in the “Lindsey Owes Me” column every time he does something nice.¬†I need to let him cook me dinner and run errands for me and even make a two hour trip because of my absentmindedness.

I need to be grateful instead of hesitant.

I need say thank you instead of trying to do everything myself.

And I need to learn to let him love me.