There’s christmas lights up, the air is cold, the stores are beginning to supply their holiday sales; the Christmas season is almost here. Now that Thanksgiving is officially over the winter spirit is beginning to kick in, don’t you think? There’s talk of presents and family gatherings; there’s Christmas music filling all of the department stores and mall outlets; you can almost feel the excitement. What is it that makes Christmas stand out so much in the hearts of humans around America? Is it Saint Nicholas and his little elves? Is it the decorated pine trees or the vibrant wreaths? Or is there something more to this time of the year?
As you know, it is called CHRISTmas for a reason. This is the time of the year that we celebrate the birth of Christ the messiah, our savior, our father, our friend: Jesus. But yet those of us who do not accept Him into their lives still feel the joy of this time of the year. Why is that? Why is it that almost nobody can escape feeling of the holiday spirit whether they like it or not? The answer is simple: there is no one on this earth that can escape the love of other people when it is as strong as it is this time of the year. The love humans share for one another is inescapable, and all things good and loving can be traced back to God. Everything good comes from the father. So thinking in that sense it is safe to say that that’s why Christmas is so special to people: it’s the one time of the year when we can all feel Christ’s love through one another. But why can’t we, as Christians, do this all year ‘round? How come we can’t share this spirit every day?
That’s our job: to show the love of Christ inside and outside of CHRISTmas. This is the time of year when we get a glimpse of real happiness and real love. So I urge you to make that happiness about something other than just getting, and even giving, material things. Don’t focus on this that will fade in time, but store your treasure in heaven, as stated in Matthew 6. Jesus is your best friend, and He loves you so much that he died for you. Yeah, yeah, I know hearing that Jesus died for you can be cliche at times, but it never loses its truth no matter how much it loses its sting. No matter how many times we hear it, we need to resist hardening our hearts to it. This is the time of year we live, laugh, and love. But what will you live for, laugh at, and what will you love? I pray for everyone reading this to just keep Christ the focus of their lives, to live for Him, laugh with Him, and just simply love Him. And if He isn’t the focus yet that He would become the absolute center of your lives. Just remember these few things: There are many people in this world that love you; God loves you, your friends and family love you, and even I love you. It’s so easily to lose site of the most important things in a time of consumerism like Christmas. So go and live like you are loved, because that my friends is the most important thing in the world. Not getting presents
Have you ever worked with children? Do you have little brothers or sisters, have you babysat, or are you employed where you work with children? If any of those are true than you know how rough kids can be. All three of those are true for me. I have three little sisters, I’ve babysat many times before, and I have worked at a daycare/preschool for almost two years now. After working with children so much, I’ve gained a few life lessons that will probably stick with me forever.
I’ve learned that children, sometimes, just need to be alone. I’ve seen countless times when a child has gotten into trouble and all they needed to do was just go and be by themselves but a teacher would try to continually confront the child about the situation. All they need sometime is just to be by themselves. I feel like that is the same for us. We have all of these problems in our lives and we can’t just let go. We have to confront it and make sure its all better but we sometimes we need to step back, relax, and let things go. Or sometimes we are in a situation we can’t really handle and we need to just go be alone ourselves. We need that alone time to let things go, relax, and just ask God to help us out.
Another thing I’ve learned is that working at a preschool is tiring. Kids don’t listen 99.9% of the time, they always want to do there own thing, they think they know whats best for themselves, and they constantly hurt one another in striving to get what they want for themselves. Now what if I took the word “kids” out of the beginning of that last sentence and replaced it with “people”? It makes just as much sense half of the time doesn’t it? There is not a huge difference between adults and children. We think we can do everything ourselves, that we know whats best, but then God looks at us and tells us otherwise and we still don’t listen. How can we possibly know whats best for us? A lot of Christians know that we don’t know what’s best for us, yet we continually to neglect living like that. We need to learn to let go and trust in God.
The most important thing I would say that I learned after working with kids is that sometimes, it can feel hard to love them. I KNOW that sounds terrible but sometimes children can be really mean, they don’t listen, and they don’t want a thing to do with you. I do love every one of the children I work with, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes the just get into so much trouble it’s crazy! Then we have to discipline them, and then we have to tell their parents, and then we have to keep them from doing it again and it’s a never ending cycle of endless effort. This is the SAME thing we do with God. We are childish sometimes. We continually turn away from God and continually fall short. Do you think God thinks that’s very fun? Do you think He has fun constantly calling out to us and constantly seeing us get hurt or hurting one another? It’s not, and yet He loves us with all of His heart. There is no end to God’s love. Working as a teacher has really opened my eyes to that. God really does love us ALL!! And that’s really been on my heart lately.
Working with children has definitely pulled me closer to God. I can now see a SLIGHT glimpse of how God sees us sometimes (but of course I still can’t comprehend His thoughts or His love). Even though I go home exhausted most every day, in the end it is worth it. I get to see innocence at it’s finest, and it get to love that and allow it to be a part of my own life.
(sorry there’s no pictures, it’s illegal for me to have pictures of children from any public daycare/preschool service for anything outside of the daycare/preschool)
The craziness of the semester has come to a hilt for me. This week has been the very essence of scrambling around trying to get everything done, turned in, and checked off my list. However, despite the stress, God has been making his blessings yet again evident to me and is continuing to give me his peace. So thankful for what he allowed me to experience and be a part of this week.
This last weekend there was a Nazarene youth conference called Breakaway here on campus. Nazarene youth groups from the Kansas City area joined together in College Church for a night of worship, speaking, and fellowship, as well as activities that lasted on throughout the night. My roommate Kai was a part of a MNU worship band a couple years ago called Sounds and Silences. Kai, her twin Marshall, and five other MNU students traveled to different Nazarene camps throughout the summer leading worship and participating as camp counselors and also lead worship for our chapels every week throughout the school year. Sounds and Silences was reunited to lead worship for Breakaway and asked me to join and sing with them. It was so refreshing getting to make music with these amazing people. Needless to say, we had a blast and this night was such an encouragement.
Don’t know if you’ve heard the buzz about this wonderful lady, but Miss Kylee Pearson is the newest addition to the Residential Life family, being the new Residential Educator in Spindle as of this semester. It has been so very good getting to know her heart because this gal is absolutely amazing. She brings a good conversation with her wherever she goes and always has a bright smile on her face, possessing the vibrant personality that makes every interaction with her most definitely worth-while. I have loved her genuineness and transparency, which is so refreshing, and her eagerness to hear others’ stories. What a blessing this woman has been and will continue to be to this community.
Yet another encouragement that God provided this week was getting to skype with a dear dear friend who lives in New York City. It was so crazy hearing about the chaos and havoc that has been so present in the city since Hurricane Sandy and all the damage that was caused. Yet, even though she has been immersed in parts of the city that have been completely devastated, helping clean out houses that are no more, she told me of the immense trust that she has in her Father. She explained that she has been experiencing such peace in him and is so rooted in the fact that he is in control. How intriguing and peace-giving it was for me to hear her heart and her deep trust in what God was doing in response to what was going on around her.
This all brings to mind a quote by C.S. Lewis that I’ll close out with.
“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”
I know life is crazy for me! Ups, downs, and every other possible direction! Sometimes, you just have to sit back and take in what God has to offer. When life gets busy and school gets psychotic, and everything becomes a blur, just remember to BREATHE. I mean look at the top picture, how does that not create awe? Everything is perfectly designed by God, in this picture and within us. Make time for Him and find Him in every facet of life! You just have to empty your hands so He can fill them. Even when you do this, Satan tries to make you worry and forget why you’ve trusted God for so long. When that happens just be like
After all, the dude has to FLEE at the sound of His GREAT name Don’t forget how you go this far!
A loss of confidence or enthusiasm; despiritedness
An attempt to prevent something by showing disapproval or creating difficulties; deterrent
Why do we deal with discouragement so much? Why does there always have to be something in the way? Why does life have to be so hard? These are questions I hear people ask every day. There’s so many things in life that discourage us, as humans, that we can’t seem to avoid: death, failure, loss of friends, an abrupt change in plans. Why does it seem that after we just get out of a bad time, and we finally experience peace, something has to throw us out of our happiness and into another trial?
I have noticed that in college, every day has a new trial. Whether a paper is do, or you have a million things that need to get done, or you have to meet with your advisor, or work, or all of the above and a million more things. My point is that there are a million things in this world that constantly bring us down. Yet we still have to have faith as Christians that we can get through this.
In my Old Testament class we are going over the book of Job. If anyone in history had an excuse to be discouraged it was Job. In just the first few chapters of the book, Job loses everything: his family, his possessions, his health, he even loses his sense of connection with God. Yet no matter what happened, he NEVER once curses God. Even after his wife tries convincing him to curse God Job resists. In chapter 2 verse 10 Job says “shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job is accepting God, no matter what happens. That’s so amazing to thing that even through his darkest times, Job was in love with the one and only God of the universe. And in the New Testament, James says to “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). Not only are we to loved God in trials and discouragement, but we are to be joyful in them. Why? Because that is when we show God we love Him the most!
No matter what you’re going through, no matter how much you lose your confidence or enthusiasm, God is definitely something to be enthusiastic about. So whether you have a series assignment due, you have to organize an event, your job is keeping you on your toes and you just don’t have the time to relax, or you just have your own personal trials to face, just remember it will be ok! Jesus says that “..in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome this world!” (John 16:33). Jesus is more than this world, and He loves you with all of His heart. No it is up to you to trust Him, even when you find trusting Him to be the hardest thing to do.