Teach Them

“In teaching, you will learn.” Google says that’s either a Latin proverb or Phil Collins. I’ll let you decide the source today.

This week, I had the opportunity to learn a lot through teaching. I coordinate our child life internship program, and I often get to supervise students as they learn to become child life specialists. It is really one of my favorite parts about my job. On Monday, a patient was having a procedure under sedation. It’s one I like my students to see because not every hospital performs this under anesthesia (Although they should. Another lesson for another day). This particular patient was also having an additional surgical procedure immediately prior, so in order to see the second part, we had to (got to!!) see both! I had never seen a surgery before, and even though it was pretty minor, I was so pumped! My student kept saying “This is just like Grey’s Anatomy!”And it really was. We even had to literally run down stairs and to the locker room to prepare for the OR in time to meet our patient as he rolled through the door. It was a day I won’t ever forget. But had I not had a student on Monday, I wouldn’t have seen it. I got to see in real life what I prepare patients for all the time, and now I feel better equipped to teach future patients. I feel like I become a better child life specialist when I have students. It forces me to explain why I make decisions or why I choose certain words. I practice procedural preparations and rehearse teaching sessions, and the next time I use these skills in real life, I am better because of it. I get to experience the excitement of internship all over again. My students remind me what it was like to see the hospital with fresh eyes.

When I wear my children’s ministry hat, I’m teaching my sweet church kids about Jesus. I get to teach a mini lesson every Sunday morning to equip these little souls with the Gospel. I tell them all the time that I learn so much from them, and I do. They ask questions to make me think. I have to know what I’m saying because I have a lot of little eyes (and the rest of the adult congregation) staring right back at me.  I learn the memory verses with them. I review the Bible stories I teach them. And again, I’m better for it.

In the Great Commission, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen” (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV) He commanded us to teach what we learn! God knows exactly how He created us, and here He is, asking us to put it into practice. He knows we will absorb the Bible more when we can teach it to others. Not to mention, it spreads the best news to ever hit the planet earth.

Obviously, we can’t all be teachers with an official title. But we can start small. A lot of you have children or nieces or nephews or friends with kids. Or even just a friend. Pick a verse to memorize together. Tell them about David and Goliath and how God prepared, provided, and protected. Tell them about Noah and what it means to have faith, even when others doubt you or make fun of you. Learn the 10 Commandments together. If you have a friend who is willing, read a book of the Bible together and talk about what you learned or struggled to understand. Bring that excitement of learning into your relationship with Christ. It will feel like VBS every day. Except without all the begging for volunteers and snacks. (Hey- have you registered for VBS yet?? Sign up here!)

I hope you’re enjoying your Saturday. Spend some time with God today and take in this beautiful day He’s made.

 

 

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How

It’s amazing how quickly a world can crumble. A trauma occurs. A lie is uncovered. Bad news is delivered. A job is no longer. Our sense of identity shaken, our security demolished, and our feelings in shambles, we break. 

But we learn through the heartache. 

Times of trouble teach us to lean solely on God. These times may also unveil idols or shed light on a false identity we have created for ourselves. Ultimately, our hope should be in Christ alone. 

“Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” ‭‭I Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This means when (not if) troubles come, don’t run to Ben and Jerry, don’t run to Rory and Lorelei. Get on your knees and cry out to God, first and foremost. (Then maybe take a trip to Stars Hollow with a spoon in hand.) But seriously, if we go to anything else before our Father, we are placing that person or thing before God. Venting about the situation to anyone but God can create undue stress for the listening ear, or cause us to gossip. When we vent to God, we are following His instructions to cast our burdens on Him. And who is better equipped, anyway? 

We want so badly to ask “why?” in these trials. We know the Bible says trials will come. James 1:2-3 says “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (‭NKJV, emphasis mine‬‬). I think the better thing to ask is “how?” “God, how are you using this for Your glory?” “God, how might this situation be protecting me or preparing me?” Only then can we truly see His will in action. 

Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (NKJV) We went through the book of Jonah in Bible study not too long ago, and we discussed how the whole story of Jonah and the great fish started long before Jonah was thrown from the boat. The fish that swallowed him was created by God. Jonah 1:17 even says the fish was “prepared” by God. Jonah had free will to disobey and avoid going to Ninevah, but God orchestrated events in his life to bring him back to obedience. God closes those proverbial doors to make way for better things. Bad things still happen all the time that are a result of our own sin and our sinful world, but ultimately, God is in charge. 

So when I reflect on recent struggles, I have to make myself ask “how?” and cling to the promises of God. He is a good, good Father. He loves us, and His glory will shine through any darkness I go through. Run to Him first, and the rest will fall into place. 

Decisions

Decisions Decisions Decisions. We make them all day, every day. I decide what to wear, what to eat, if or not to unload the dishwasher, read my Bible, fold a load of laundry. I teach my children the importance of big decisions and little decisions. What color tall socks to wear is a little decision- and one my five year old painstakingly makes every day. It doesn’t change how your day will go, nor does it affect anyone else. Making good decisions at school, like not hitting your friends, is an important decision, and it helps us practice self-control. (Come to think of it, this is a good decision to make at work too!) As an adult, our decisions get a little harder. Where to go to college, what to major in, who to marry, when and if you want to have children, do I get a dog?

A friend and mentor of mine from college once asked if I believed this statement: Jesus is smartest. Of course I said yes. So why am I not allowing Him to direct my paths? He is there to help with the big and small choices. Every. Single. Day. I am often stricken by the phrase “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?”. We run to our friends for help with decisions when God is right there waiting to offer guidance. It’s not wrong to seek counsel from others. Proverbs 1:5 says “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” (NKJV). But James 1:5 also says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (NKJV)

I had been praying about a situation recently. Praying for doors to open or for me to know which way I should go. I just felt silence. No guidance one way or the other. I was feeling so discouraged, and then I spent some time journaling my prayers. I admitted I couldn’t do it without Him. I wanted Him to take the reigns so I could stop looking for signs and running myself ragged. Almost as soon as my pen left the paper I heard God whisper reassurance and answers to my questions. He needed me to surrender. I was still trying to decide on my own, and it wasn’t working. It’s like I was pretending to dial God’s number and instead just talking to myself on the phone.

I mentioned a while back that I was reading Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford. In it she talks about how she could not heal from brokenness until she gave it to God. She had to visualize herself with God, see a wall fall down, and envision herself in a diamond cave with God, seeing all the riches He had waiting for her once her heart was restored and at one with Him again. I had a moment during worship yesterday when I was thinking about a mission trip to Greece I took in college. My friend and I were sitting on Mars Hill, listening to “How Marvelous”, and I just sat in awe at the fact that, at one time, Jesus was literally there. I looked out over the city of Athens, humbled by the beauty of the sunset, reminiscing on the teachings of Paul, and surrounded by the most gentle wind. I started praying to God, envisioning myself on that mountain, closer to God. Putting myself in a position to see God and visualize what our prayer conversations look like was a new experience for me. He no longer became this abstract Being. I will admit, when I read this chapter I thought “Yeah, that’s not for me. That’s a little out there.” Much like I did when I read about journaling prayers. Don’t knock it until you try it. This closeness is what I  was craving.

Last week, a guest pastor spoke at our church. He told us with God, we don’t have to make decisions, we can make discoveries about what He has put in our paths. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) He knows what our futures look like. He is smartest. He sees the big picture. I don’t know how else to put it. I do know that I don’t have to stress about my future (although I will still manage to). If I continually give it to Him-in all honesty, meet Him on my mountain, and  wait to discover what He’s laid out for me, I will be in His will, and I can’t think of a better place to be.