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little rooms

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It’s Christmas time! A time that I have always loved as a kid, and continue to enjoy to this day. Being an elementary school teacher only adds to that. I love the wonder. the excitement, and the joy the season brings.

As I was listening to “Joy to the World,” last week in church service, I was struck by the line, “Let every heart prepare Him room.”

I have heard this my whole life, I know it is the welcoming of Jesus into your heart during this time of Advent.

This time when I heard it, I thought to myself, “Man I have been in a lot of little rooms this year.”

I know, weird connection, but stay with me.

It started last May.

We had been in the house search for quite a while, and were in the waiting period before we closed on our house we now own. My heart was beating out of my chest as we met and drove to the office to finally close on our house. We sat in a little room. Expectant. Getting more nervous as we waited to sign the papers. All of the sudden, the paperwork was done, we owned a house, and a whole new responsibility came.

Three weeks later, I was sitting in our office, going through all of my dad’s memories and keepsakes as I tried to process his death. This was followed by another small room where we made arrangements. Those rooms still have a profound impact when I think of them.

From those little rooms, we left and went to a waiting room to check on Anthony’s brother that was in the hospital. We left that room in search for hope or at least a distraction.

We thought zoo, but instead drove straight home to Arkansas to an animal shelter. We walked along rows of little rooms and saw our Annie for the first time. We were instant best friends, and we happily processed her adoption in another tiny room. 24 hours later, we were new pet parents waiting for the vet with our new scared puppy. We had no clue what we were doing. Those rooms showed us that the best things in life can be so scary and exciting at the same time.

A few days later,  we were another small but comfortable room where my family was waiting to stay goodbye to my dad. Surrounded by our friends and family my husband preached to us and honored my dad greatly. Finally,  a last small room where we designed a headstone.  Those little rooms taught me there was beauty in the ending of life, although painful.

As we left the service that day, we received another call to go and see Anthony’s brother that had been sick in the hospital. We were up there most of the night between a waiting room, and the smallest room where I supported my husband as he tried to make end of life decision for his 27 year old brother. Something that I still can’t believe we got through, and I am thankful I have never experienced with my own brother. A week later, we were saying goodbye again. That set of rooms taught me how strong my husband, and the strength of our marriage.

While we were in the hospital, I had this urge to leave the waiting room and find the nursery. I know it’s a overused dramatic TV show thing. They always go look at the nursery in the hospital while someone is on a deathbed. It really helps though. You see that life is a beautiful miracle that has to have a beginning, as well as an end.

In my head, I thought, “Maybe it’s time we bring a baby into this family.” I quickly dismissed this idea because honestly, we JUST bought a house, my dad and brother-in-law JUST passed away, we JUST got a puppy, and I JUST started grad school. We talked a little and decided it was probably best for one of us to finish grad school first.

A few months on quiet went on after that . We settled in our house. We settled into our life as pet parents. I got used to grad school again. We went on vacation. We got back to us. Friends got married. Showers and parties were most of our weekend plans We got in the back to school groove. We thought maybe no more life changes in 2017.

Well, you know they say you make plans and God laughs.

Two months ago, I was not feeling the greatest, and could honestly not tell if I had pregnancy symptoms or was just really tired. It took me a week to get up the nerve to buy a test. I took that test, and it was in fact positive, plain as day.

Now in the movies, this is normally where people jump up and down and cry and scream, but honestly I didn’t know how to process it. I really couldn’t believe it!

Anthony and I were cautiously optimistic  as we waited for our first doctor’s appointment which was about 3 weeks after the test. We were happy to have a child, but at the same time, we have had so many friends go through struggles that we knew there was a possibility it may not happen.

I was even more anxious as I left work after a morning of parent teacher conferences. That afternoon, we found ourselves in a another little room giving blood, getting checked out, and getting the run down on prenatal care with our nurse. They made an ultrasound appointment for us, and we were on our way. I may have been lightheaded from the amount of blood they took, but I asked Anthony if they ever actually said if there was a baby.

Fast forward 2 weeks later, the nurse did my vitals and we were waiting on the doctor. It was about 10 minutes, but it felt like FOOOOOREVEEEEER.( Sandlot emphasis implied.) I was certain something was wrong and that the doctor couldn’t figure out what to say. Well, she came in and 10 minutes later our ultrasound was underway. All of the sudden we both heard a heartbeat that wasn’t ours and we saw this little thing just swimming along. There was a very strong heartbeat and the baby even waved ( well, as much as little nubs can wave.)

All of the sudden, this idea of a baby we had since we took the test a month prior was a real thing. It hit us. In that little room, we found out we were having our own child in the first week of June. In that little room, we saw that in the past 6 months God had been orchestrating and preparing our hearts for what was to come.

Whoa! Wait a minute God. You mean to tell us that our child will be born the week that both of our fathers died(Anthony’s dad died 5 years prior to mine a day apart)?Born in the same month we adopted Annie? The same month my brother-in-law died?

2017 has been a year of little rooms for us. Now we are 14 weeks along and starting to wrap our heads around being parents. We are both pretty clueless. I spend most of my time with 9 year olds, but a baby? I am not sure how everything works. We are mostly excited, and a little scared, like I usually am with most things. We get caught up in details, plans, and all the responsibility.

When the weight of that gets to be too much, I do a few things. I try to remember just how far God has already carried us. He has proved Himself faithful in our lives time and time again. I also go look in what is now our office, and imagine what this little room will look like this time next year.

Those thoughts make that little room full of peace, thankfulness, and JOY.

With Joy,

Mrs. Kim

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For His Glory

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“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 108:5

For His Glory.

I have been a VBS volunteer since the summer after I first accepted Jesus at the age of  17. Long before I had aspirations of being a full time educator. I have often called it “my 2nd Christmas week.” Some of my earliest church memories are of eating grape sno cones and reciting my books of the Bible in the parking lot of Eastern Heights Baptist Church.

I believe in the power of VBS and the influence it can have on our children in the church. I know the solid foundations of Truth that they will be presented, and how those simple Truths of Jesus can carry on way into their adult life. I will always rearrange my schedule or have our vacations purposefully scheduled on non VBS weeks so that I can be a part of such a significant week.

Each VBS I have been a part of has a theme, usually provided by Lifeway. In additon to these themes about beaches, sports, travels, amusement parks, submarines, or galaxies, I have also had a theme that runs through my heart during the week. Each year a different truth revived in my own heart and relationship with Jesus.

I have served in many different capacities over the years. Missions teacher, Bible study teacher, rotational leader, teen helper, decision counselor, assistant director, and elementary director.

This  year the Truth my heart keeps going back to is “For His Glory.”

Can I be really honest with you?

Sometimes doing things only “For His Glory,” can be draining. There were days in this summer journey to get to VBS that were straight up hard. There were things said in and out of love that hurt. There were many nights of long work, and days of tasks. There were even times in my own human sinful nature I thought, “Why bother?” As in any role where you are serving others, there are moments that are thankless. There are things you and your AMAZING friends do, that others will probably never notice. There are times where people only seem to notice what you do wrong, and are quick to give credit to someone else, for what you did right.

That is when I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOO thankful for God’s grace and His gentle reminding of these Truths in my life.

  • “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
  • “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” Phil. 2:14-16
  • “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[a] of Christ.” Gal. 1:10
  • “The Lord is my strength and my shield;in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;

    my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”- Psalm 28:7

    Only by His grace, mercy, and strength in my life, am I able to to this for His glory.

    You see, all of those minor things, words, and situations I mentioned above, the only reason these things even start to bother me, is because I am focused on my own glory. Just like Peter, when my eyes aren’t on Jesus, I can start to sink.

    I am so thankful that I serve a God who cares enough to redirect my focus on Him, when I start to sink in the weight of doing things in my own strength, or for my own glory.

    If God did not keep reminding me of this, it would have been really easy to focus on the negative things or those previously mentioned moments.

    Instead, when I resign myself to the idea that it is all “For His Glory,” my eyes are opened to so many blessings and moments God has allowed me to experience in the past couple weeks.

    I have been able to see our church come together and serve unselfishly. I have witnessed children hear the truths of Jesus for the first time. I have watched people get out of their comfort zone to use their talents for God.  I have been able to counsel two precious girls who accepted Jesus. I marveled at beautiful ballerinas and awesome percussionists. I have been blessed by so many wonderful elementary crew leaders who loved and served our kids well. I have watched new families walk into our church and get connected because of a friend and their boldness. I have watched ideas fail miserably, and other things be an amazing success.

    So whether it was organizing MAX camp information, working with actors who sometimes forgot their lines, helping crew leaders manage difficult children, scraping paint, taping decorations, putting the stage together, managing leaders, getting attendance, giving band-aids, giving hi fives, making leader treats, making connections, counseling others about their salvation, listening, or running about, I have decided to do it “For His Glory.”

    My goal in life is to Love God, Love others, and make Him known in a World that desperately needs Him.  Each season of life, each job, and each day, the way I do that may look differently.

    As I have mentioned on the blog, June was rough for our family.  As July was approaching with commitments of Day Camp, MAX Camp, and VBS, a friend that cares about me asked, ” Do you think you should still do all of these things?”

    I told her that I had made a commitment a while ago, and God knew where my heart would be during this time. I also said I wanted to be supportive of my friends that had asked me to help.

    “Would they do the same for you, if they were in your shoes?” she asked.  I told her that I really thought they would, because I am part of an awesome church family. I also thought later on that even if they wouldn’t, it doesn’t matter.

    A long time ago, when I decided to follow Jesus, that meant that I decided to trust Him with my life. He takes care of me, even when circumstances can complicate my life. I know that I can depend on His Strength, and He will lead me through whatever comes.

    My husband and I have tried to model our life and family in a way that brings Glory to God. Our desire is to serve God and make Him known to others. In the 15 short days we have had in July so far, He has provided countless opportunities for us to practice this.

    Don’t get me wrong, we are tired and very excited to go on vacation tomorrow, but we are thankful.

    I am so glad that I am allowed to live my life, “For his Glory,”

    “And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”-Isaiah 6:3
    With Joy,

    Mrs. Kim

July Bucket List

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Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” -Psalm 90:12

We have had a lot of life changes recently, and it has made me look at my own life and take stock. Am I living each day to the fullest? Am I worrying about things beyond my control? Am I making time for things that matter? Am I loving people as well as I could? Am I doing all I can for the kingdom of God? Am I resting the way I should? What kind of legacy will I leave one day?

If you are like me, you could wonder about these things all day. Where does that leave me? No further than I was before.  Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say to worry and wonder.

He calls us to rest. – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

He calls us not to worry:Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6-7

He calls us to life live in the fullness of His glory: “May have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:18-19

These truths were great reminders to me in this current season of life. It also inspired me to bring back something I hadn’t done in a few years, the bucket list. I had a “maximizing your singleness bucket list.” This time, I am taking a few smaller chunks. I am starting a monthly bucket list.  My hope is to live each day more fully with these adventures, and share them.

July will be just as busy in the McCarty house. We have Day camp Mondays, MAX camp, VBS, and our family vacation.  This month’s list has a lot of self-care and things to help rest.

July Bucket list:

  1. Read at least 3 non school books
  2.  Hike at least 3 different places with Annie
  3. Attend Zumba and Pound class at least 1 time each
  4. Finish the Romans plan in She Reads Truth
  5. Organize the drawers and closets we haven’t finished
  6. Start our front yard landscaping
  7. Go to Ikea, 5 below, and the Magnolia market for house/school stuff.
  8. Have a pool day.
  9. Spend at least 2 hours a week for self-care( face masks, pedicures, reading, silence, whatever)
  10. Go to the drive in
  11. Watch a baseball game
  12.  Play disc golf at least once.
  13. Write at least once a week
  14. Try 2 new food places
  15.  Visit the Chihuly exhibit
  16.  Get sunrise pictures

Well, this list may not be as impressive as some earlier drafts, but I feel for this busy month it is a start.

What are some things you want  to accomplish in July? Any cool July thing I should add to the list?

Have a great July friends. Enjoy today and rest in the promises of God.

“You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11

 

With Joy,

Miss Kim

robbed

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Honestly, I really hoped my dive back in to writing, would be on happier circumstances.

Sometimes our greatest times of teaching and inspiration can come through those circumstances that aren’t so great.

This has certainly been one of those times

Thank God that my Joy(true joy) isn’t dependent on circumstances.

As most of you know, my dad passed away earlier this month. On the day of his memorial service, my brother-in-law took a turn for the worse with his asthma/lung problems and we were called to the hospital. A few mornings later, he passed away at 27.

I’ll be real honest. When June started, I had NO idea what would be in store for our family. I had just returned home from a conference where I was representing our district as a leader which was quite the honor, we had just moved into our beautiful new home, and we had high hopes of adopting a dog, as soon as our fence was fixed.

The night before my first day of my 10 days of freedom before Summer School, I made so many plans. Things to do, people to see, house projects to work on, and books to finally sit down and read.  I was excited for this break, as I had been going non-stop moving and traveling since school had been out.

I had one day of freedom. I slept in, went to a new exercise class at the gym, watched my shows, got some stuff accomplished. My husband and I went on a date, on a Monday, and I had edible cookie dough. Great Day!

At 10:30 that night, my world came to a halt, and from previous writing, you know the rest of the story. We planned dad’s service, got through that, went to the hospital to be with my brother in law, came home, everything was calm for a couple days, then my brother in law passed away.

I immediately threw myself into summer school, church, and trying to be “normal,” and my husband did the same because we honestly were tired of mourning. We invested our energy back in our house, and our beautiful new dog.

We have been doing good for the most part, with small storms of sadness, anger and disbelief.

Yesterday, as I heard a summer school student talk to me of a tragedy in their life, and how it related to mine, one word kept popping up,

Robbed.

Throughout the day, my internal conversation kept repeating this word.

Robbed.

Robbed of a chance to say Goodbye to my dad.

Robbed of seeing redemption in his life this side of Heaven.

Robbed of  my future children, nieces, or nephews having a Grandpa.

Robbed of the chance to let him know that we loved him, and had forgiven him of whatever he may have thought he may have still harbored.

Robbed of a chance to know my brother in law better.

Robbed of my brother in law and my husband getting to have a better relationship.

Robbed of pieces of my future.

Robbed of my free time.

Robbed of my June.

Honestly, if I had let myself, I could have stayed in that “robbed” place for a lot lot longer.  Instead, I was reminded of this truth.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (ESV)

In the midst of all this life robbery, I have been given an abundance.

Given a loving Christlike husband who shows grace to me even when I don’t deserve it. Who ministers to me, even through his sorrow.

Given a mother who listens, cares, provides, and brings moments of fun and laughter in the not so pleasant of times.

Given a brother whose adventuring spirit and love of life is inspiring in this time. He also gave me the cutest puppy nephew in the world and playmate for Annie.

Given many other family members who love and support us.

Given SO many friends that have prayed with me, talked with me, listened to me, sat with me, provided for me.

Given a church family both here and in Oklahoma who have given us wisdom, strength, and lots of encouragement.

Given a sweet, although crazy dog, who loves us unconditionally.

Given opportunities to further my education.

Given a wonderful new home to live in.

Given so much more than I could ever comprehend or imagine.

God is good to me. Even in the trials. Even when I feel selfishly robbed of things. Even when I whine, complain, argue, fight, or get angry, He still loves me.

When I look back on this month, June 2017, I will remember all the events that transpired. I will be sad and angry from time to time, but I will also remember this as a season of God’s faithfulness in my life. Even though I did nothing to deserve it, He has carried me through all of this.

“Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain othe salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for If we have died with him, we will also slive with him;if we endure, we will also reign with him,if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.”  2 Timothy 2:10-12

People have asked us how we are dealing with this. Honestly, in the moments when it’s just us and God, it hasn’t always been the prettiest. It’s been downright messy at times. What motivates, encourages, strengthens, and carries Anthony and I through is simple.

It’s all God. The God who gives and takes away. He God who saves, creates, restores, and made a way for us. This same God has comforted us, provided us with friends and family, an unfailing love, and an unwavering Hope.

May the same God, the one and only True God, make Himself known to you today as well, in whatever circumstance you may find yourself facing.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. “-Hebrews 10:23

I know their will  be days we feel robbed, but also days we see the abundant life we have been given in Jesus.

Prayers and blessings to all of you.

With Joy,

Mrs. Kim

the beautiful redemption

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“It’s not the news that any of us hoped that we would hear
It’s not the road we would have chosen, no
The only thing that we can see is darkness up ahead
But You’re asking us to lay our worry down and sing a song instead.” – Ellie Holcomb, “Find you Here.”

When a parent leaves, the impact they left behind is significant.

My dad left when my parents divorced  when I was 9 years old. We continued to see him through the years, and made memories, both good and bad. I can remember events he missed, times he didn’t pick us up, or embarrass us with a stunt he pulled. I even recall when he came to ask to live with my husband and I, but we couldn’t take the risk because of his addictions.

All of those hurts, fears, and disappointments I placed deep inside my heart.

My whole life I have been the quintessential first born child. High strung, always wanting to be overly kind, appearing confident, joyful, and “together.” I tried not to let anyone see that under the surface life wasn’t perfect. I overcompensated for not having an involved father by depending on my own merit and strength.

Finding Jesus as a teenager, helped this greatly. I have a heavenly father, more complete than any on Earth.

Even as an adult with an amazing husband, career, great family, and wonderful friends, the impact of losing a father is significant.

“And I didn’t know I’d find You here
In the middle of my deepest fear, but
You are drawing near
You are overwhelming me, with peace.” Ellie Holcomb- “Find you Here,”

Now I am faced with a new reality. My earthly father is now gone. I am finding that in that revelation that all that remains is LOVE.

I now focus on being 3 years old and fishing. Eating out every night for a week in Kindergarten because my mom was gone  and my dad burned everything. I remember the good years of him showing up at my wedding, family holidays at my Poppy’s and camping. I remember him visiting us in our first married home, bringing smoked turkey, and fixing my car several times.

My dad was flawed, there is now doubt about that. Then again, aren’t we all? He owned his own company at a young age. He was married to my mom, who is probably the most awesome lady that ever lived. He let his addiction to pride become an addiction to alcohol and drugs. Several times he would recover, only to fail again

You see, my father had addictions. Addictions that threw away a marriage, a successful business, and years with his children. Addictions he could recover from, only to relapse again. As his family we had to toe the line between being supportive, and not getting caught up in the mess.

By the grace of God, we were blessed with amazing grandparents on both sides, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, and of course our amazing mother. My mother kept us strong our whole lives. She continued to support my father. She knew that as soon as she learned of my father’s addictions, she had to remove her children from the situation. She made a new life for us and continues to bless us more than we deserve.

As she explained to me what happened she said, ” We can only hope he is with God now. I prayed every night he would be that dad you needed him to be.”  She helped us greatly with the arrangements and has shown more grace to my father in this time than anyone could have imagined.

In my heart, I always hoped for the redemption story.

You know the one where he finally kicked his demons for good. I always hoped when Jordan or I had our own children, that they would get the BEST of him. I hoped he’d get another shot.

It’s not quite the ending we’d hoped for but, instead I have relief, thankfulness, and joy.

Relief that he passed away without suffering. Relief that the police were able to notify us quickly. Relief that he was in a better place, as he had made a profession of faith years earlier.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:17-18

Joy that he was no longer suffering. Joy that my family and friends were surrounding us. Joy that we only had to remember the good memories now. That the disappointment was over. The worry was over. All that remained was joy.

“Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” -James 1:2-4

Thankfulness. We are thankful that so many people care about us and want to come beside us and support us. Thankful that I have a heavenly Father that loves me best. Thankful for the best family in the world. Thankful for my amazing husband who has been my rock, my comfort, and my guide in processing all these emotions.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. “- Phil. 1:3-5

If you are struggling with loss, or with a family member that suffers from addiction, I know my story may not look like yours. Even so, I am here for you. I feel like God led me through this valley to help others and to bring comfort and joy to them. Please let me know how I can minister to you.

My desire is to use my pain for a purpose. I want to put God right smack dab in the spotlight of this story.  My prayer is that he is glorified in this time of my life.

“You say that You’ll turn my weeping into dancing
Remove my sadness & cover me with joy
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful.” – Ellie Holcomb, “The Broken Beautiful”

Read more: Ellie Holcomb – The Broken Beautiful Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Here are some verses/songs that have encouraged me this week.

  1. “The Broken Beautiful,” Ellie Holcomb
  2. “Be Still,” Hillary Scott
  3. “Find you Here,” Ellie Holcomb
  4. Psalm 62:2
  5. Psalm 18:30
  6. James 1:2-4

Now all that remain is LOVE. Love for a father that did the best he could. Love for a family that has shown more kindness and grace than one can imagine. Love for a risen Savior that sustains me, draws me near, helps me be still, and Loves me the best.

With joy,

Mrs. Kim

 

the BIG test..

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Happy Saturday Friends!

I am currently in the process of cleaning my house, enjoying breakfast Bagel Bites(yes, they exist!) and debriefing from State testing week in 3rd grade.

I know. State Testing. two words that invoke fear in anyone’s head. Whether student, administrator, or teacher. We have all been there. All our effort, all our tears, joys, struggles, triumphs. All boiled down to one label. one score. In fact, people thought I was crazy when I agreed to move from a primary grade to testing grade. I guess I just need a little crazy in my life.

As I walked into my classroom the 1st day of testing. I was feeling the fear. We had worked with the kids, they were ready.

Before I got to school,I had a good breakfast, I fixed my hair, I listened to a Beth Moore message as I was getting ready.

Then, in the middle of prayers with my husband( I know, I know, he’s the BEST), I freaked out and started wondering about all the unknowns in our life. Like big stuff. Like when we should buy a house, when we should have a baby, should we adopt, where would be be residents for his church planting program, where we should spend our time, when was I ever going to get a cat.

This is crazy. I’m about to go administer a STATE test.

That’s when I realized it. I was letting my fear about that test take control of my brain. I wasn’t fixing my eyes on Jesus. I was focusing on my fear. We’ll get back to this.

Back to my classroom. Kids were coming in 5 minutes. The little notes and gifts were on the desks. My mind was swirling with all these thoughts from the morning.

Then, I remembered a little personification from a figurative language Will Ferrell video.

“You gotta make friends with your fear.” Reese Bobby-Talledaga Nights.

Then, thankfully spiritual truth also entered my heart. I am using two version because I liked them both too much!

Count it all joy, my brothers,[a] when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

 

” Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:2-4(MSG)

What Jesus?? Testing my mosiac of students with one standard test is JOY??? Watching kids my 4 IEP students, 11 ELL, take the same test as my students that read at a 5th grade level.  Knowing that they will be labeled as below basic, basic, proficient, or advanced based on ONE TEST? Does the test care that his mom leaves for days on end, or that they have to share their Friday snack bag with a family of 6, or that she read at a KG level and after two years of investment is finally at 2.6, or that she is giving a ten dollar gift card she won in testing PLINKO to her mom so she will have something too?

Does it measure the other things I have taught this group? Does it care that they have more heart, more character, or more perseverance than any group I have seen? Jesus, you really want me to count this test as Joy?

No, Jesus, I know JOY.

Joy is waking up on a sunny day, running through my neighboorhood, blasting NeedtoBreathe, going to ZUMBA, coming home to a clean house, and eating pancakes.

Joy is a day spent with my family, my best friends, or my man, playing games,riding rollercoasters,watching Broadway musicals, laughing, and eating.

Joy is laughing with my 18 precious students over the figurative language Will Ferrell video, playing kickball, eating popsicles, reading Love that Dog, and hearing them say “Best day ever!”

As I prayed, it hit me. This test is testing me too. Yes, my name will be attached to it and I will be labeled along with the students. I have a hope, however, GREATER than this test.

My hope is in Jesus. He is my savior and redeemer. He is the ONLY person who can tell me what I am worth. He knows that I am worth more than a test. He died for me, my students, and the world.

My students, whether they are believers yet or not, are WORTH so much to Jesus.

I was faced with two options. I could either be stressed, worried, and show that on my face, or I could show those kids who are SO WORTHY that they could conquer this test, and it could bring them Joy.

You see, in James, the joy doesn’t come from the actual test. It comes from the endurance. The perseverance and the stretching of our Faith.

So for our 3 days of testing, we treated as JOY. We ran through banners. We took dance breaks. We ate snacks( THE BEST PART). We ate outside and enjoyed each other. We worked hard during testing time, repeating our motto. “Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard.” We endured the test all a little bit stronger and braver, myself included.

Will all the kids do as well as we hope? I’m not sure? Will they still be labeled? Will teachers still be labeled? Sure.

My hope is though that my students can be begin to see they are worth so much more than one test.  I pray they take that with them.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The thing I was going to get back to. You see when I started giving into my own fears, I started spiraling into fearful thoughts of all these things in my life.

The house, cat, baby, ministry, test scores were all wrapped into one fear.

How would people see me?  If we go off and join a church plant for experience, what will people think? If we rent a house for another year, instead of buying, will people think we are successful? If we don’t ever have a family the biological way, does that make me less of a wife? If we want to get our lives together before having a family, are we selfish? If my students score badly, am I a bad teacher?

Approval. I was fearful of others approval.

At the moment I realized that, Jesus spoke life into me again. He reminded me that some of these things will happen, some may not. Whatever happens though, I am worthy because he died for me.

He reminded me that I can walk BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY into whatever he has for me. My hope is not in this world. My hope in Jesus.

Thank you Jesus.

Dear Jesus,

I pray that whatever comes our way today that we will remember that our value is not in the world. Our value is in you. Help us to have JOY through it all. We love you and thank you.

Amen.

With joy,

Kim

appreciate them…

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Happy Monday blog friends!

For those of you who don’t know,it is teacher appreciation week. Seeing posts,pictures,and whatnot had me thinking about my own journey into education. I have been blessed with great role models and educators.

In Pre-K there was Mrs. Hudson, she helped a scared little girl learn to love school. She taught us to imagine. In Kindergarten, there was Mrs. Middleton (Price now), who I thought was the most glamorous lady ever. She encouraged my reading skills and let me read to our class. I wanted to be just like her!
1st and 2nd grade, Mrs. Burnes and Mrs. Fargo. I loved both of them! They made learning so fun. They helped me to learn to serve others. They are great role models.
4th grade there was Mrs. Rhyne and the Purple Cows, ( I use it in my class now!). She was caring and inventive.
Mr. Kinsman in 5th grade. When I think about what I aspire to be as an educator, he is it. He was kind, enaging,and relevant. He made science interactive, reading novels more fun than movies,and the writing. He instilled a love of writing in me that’s still there. He was the best.
Middle school had Mrs. Arnett and Mr. Wicks. You all made History come alive and Algebra make sense. You all encouraged and believed in me.
There are so many other teachers, I could include in this, but the post would last forever!
I appreciate your investment in my life.
Reminding myself of these great educators, has reminded me of the great responsibility we carry.

Our words,helpful or hurtful, can stay with these students.

The way we feel about Math,Science,or Reading, will influence them.

We see them more than their parents some days.

In the span of 5 minutes we can be judge,banker, nurse, secretary, law enforcement,counselor,mom, and fixer.

Our job is not an 8 to 3,summers off kind of deal. It is a day in day out commitment to improving the life of a child. We don’t just teach then to multiply, read, or conduct an experiment. We teach them to respect others, to have courage, and be responsible.
We cry with them. We celebrate with them. We sometimes want it more for them than they do.
Our husbands and wives see our bank accounts, hearts, and brains emptied because they know we may be the only ones who cares.

It is my firm belief that teaching is a calling in my life. Without the grace of God, I don’t know how I’d make it.

It’s joy. It’s rewarding. It’s draining. It’s frustrating.
It’s worth it.

Though states may cut budgets, kids may fail tests, and students may never change, it’s worth it.

It’s an investment in the future. It is influence that can stretch generations.

So for this teacher appreciation week, I charge you to find those teachers in your life. Encourage them. Buy them a sonic drink.

I am grateful for those names I mentioned earlier! They have impacted my life the most wonderful way.

Fellow teachers, this is my prayer for you.
“When she (or he) speaks, they speak with wisdom and the teaching of kindness is on her tounge.” Proverbs 31:26.
I pray God will encourage you and work through you. That He will be you comfort,strength,and joy. I pray He will use you to impact your students. I pray He will remind you even in the most tiring times who you are in Him and who you are to your students.

I appreciate you.

With Joy,

Mrs. Kim