Thursday, October 16, 2014

For A Moment

Today I'm sharing a guest post by my friend Shelley Fisher. 
Shelley is a Wife, Mom to four boys (God bless her) and teaches in Christian Child Care. She has a heart for children and for sharing the love of Jesus with them whenever she can. I'm excited to share a bit of her heart with you here today. 

“We do not see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs.  To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment." -Lisa Delpit
This quote rings especially true for me as a Christian believer and how my beliefs affect me as a teacher and as a parent.   
My beliefs not only dictate how I behave personally, but how I interact with children overall.  Teaching children is an extremely high calling and one God takes very seriously.  He places a huge emphasis on this, as He himself said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  
He also states in Luke 17:2, “It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to sin.”  In literal terms, this means to show children the love of Jesus, bring them to Him in the light of our own love and belief in Him, and do not harm them in any way that will cause them to sin.  Sin, in this instance, means to cause them to not believe because our actions prove He is not who He says he is.  
Unbelief is a sin in and of itself… blasphemy.  This command is given to every “teacher” of children...any person who has ever encountered or engaged a child has the opportunity to positively or negatively impact their lives forever.  That’s a long time.   
I work in a Christian childcare center and so I am able to exercise my beliefs in an open environment.  
I’ve also worked in a secular childcare on many occasions where my beliefs are not openly accepted.  To put my beliefs “on hold” is to deny my God and “cease to exist as ‘myself’”.   Even “for a moment” can be life altering to a little one.  I haven’t been allowed to pray during mealtimes with them, read bible stories to them, or, in most cases, even say “Jesus loves you.”  
But…I can for myself.  
I can bow my head and pray for my food quietly.  
I can bring my bible and read during quiet time or lunch break.  
I don’t have to push my beliefs on anyone.  
I simply have to be myself and they will see Him in me.   
Even still, I can show them His love for them through my love for them.  I can pray for them as I go through my day with each one.  I can look for those special moments as I sit and play or dine or even through toilet training, that I can smile, laugh, talk and just be completely devoted to them even if… “For a moment.”  A brief moment in time, that hopefully will plant a seed and they will remember me and see Him.  
Because I wasn’t called to see through my eyes or hear through my ears, I’m called to see children through His eyes and through His ears.  
And so here, I confess, I have blown it.  I’ve blown it big time, both personally and professionally.  
I’ve had bad days.  I’ve said things under my breath and out loud in the confines of my own home.  
I’ve “ceased to exist” around those who I love, who love me, and with the children God has entrusted to me.  
Such a contradiction, isn’t it?  Here I say it’s unacceptable, yet I’ve done it on many occasions and even willingly in the heat of the moment.   
But, I’m not perfect.  I’ve never claimed to be.   I’m a sinner, like anyone else.  So, how do I reconcile that?  
Simple.  I understand and allow the children to see that part of me too. It’s not something I’m proud of or that I like about myself, but it is part of my nature and part of theirs, as well.   Because I do blow it, and so will they.  I do yell at times, and so will they.  I don’t want to share, or obey or honor my father and mother always, and neither will they.  
I teach them by my imperfection, that to be human, is to be imperfect.  But, I’m also able to show them that adults act like fools sometimes, and that adults, too, need to be sorry and ask forgiveness… even by the little children.  
 “For it is by Grace we are saved, through faith, and this is not of ourselves- but a gift from God” and it is by Grace that I intend to lead them. 
It is by Grace I’ve been saved and it is by Grace that I lead them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Definition of You (and Me)

What is it that defines you?

Think about it.

What do the lines that draw the box of your life say about you?

We all have them.

These boxes.

Our 'safe' zones.

Imaginary lines that surround us in the comfort of our personal definitions.

Because that's what they are - personal, imaginary, comforting............limiting.

Are you defined by your pants size?

Your hair color?

Your acne scars?

Your waistline?

Your height, weight, shoe size, curvy, short, tall, skinny, big nose, small ears, round belly, ripped abs?

Or maybe you are self-defined by your college degree, or lack thereof.

Your salary?

Your job title?

Your office size, cubicle space, locker or desk drawers?

Your bank balance, unpaid bills, new car, old clunker, 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedroom house with a 2 car garage and a white picket fence or your cardboard home under the bridge?

How about your kids?

Your husband? Wife?

Do their accomplishments or failures define you?

Does their status or grades describe what makes you unique?

The truth is that none of these things, or any other labels we apply, define who we are.

We like to think they do and we've become very skilled at wrapping ourselves up in the pretty patterned paper or plain brown wrapper of perception.

The truth is that sometimes we cling to the comfort of our self-definition - even when it hurts - because it's easier and more familiar to us than the beauty and freedom offered by the definition of our Maker.

Our Creator.

The one who spoke us into existence.

God Almighty.

This is how He defines you (and me):

we are "...fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:14

we are " his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

we are "...God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved...." Colossians 3:12

don't miss this "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..." 1 John 3:1

When I see how we are defined by God, when I read the love He has for us in the words He's spoken to us, I have to ask myself how much longer can I thumb my nose at Him and say:

"I don't believe you."

"You're wrong."

"I'm not good enough."

"I'm not smart, pretty, funny, thin.......worthy."

I really don't want to be defined by the perceptions of the world around me anymore, I want to be defined by who God says I am -

"fearfully and wonderfully made"

" His own image"

"dearly loved"

"child of God".

It's time to re-draw the lines of my box.

Time to break out of the limits and barriers I've placed around myself and allow the story that God has written about me to be the truth that defines me.

Psalm 45:11 says:

"Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord."

Define myself, or honor my Lord.

What will be your choice?

With a Courageous Heart,