Sunday, July 24, 2011

Peace in the chaos of life

Seeing as it's been a few weeks, at least a few of you are probably looking for an update - so here it is! Our lives have been crazy and busy in the last weeks (of course, then the question arises: when aren't our lives crazy and busy?) and Michael and I are both looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine, starting tomorrow.

So, what's been going on? We've had three (or is it four?) shortened weeks of school, due to holidays, work days, and other events. This past weekend we had overnight camp, which always promises to be a fun, though exhausting, few days. Grades 6-12 left on Thursday morning for a camp/resort area, and we spent a few days hanging out in the grand outdoors at Pine Tree Resort. The name always makes me laugh - the pine trees at this resort are pretty wimpy. :)

Anyway, our two days at camp were fun. We had many of the same activities as last year, but both Michael and I got to spend some quality time with our homeroom classes. Last year, I remember that overnight camp was the time where I really got to know who the kids in my homeroom class were...and hopefully it's the same for Michael this year.

Prior to Overnight Camp, my mom and dad came out for a visit! We had a great time showing them around and letting them experience what our lives are like - I think they've gone home with a much better perception of the things that we do and the place that we live. If you get a chance, ask them about their trip. They've got plenty of good cultural stories to share!

Outside of those, nothing out of the ordinary has been going on. I've discovered in recent weeks how tough of a job teaching can be - not from a teaching standpoint, but from a "dealing with high school students" standpoint. At Overnight Camp, I spent a few short minutes talking with my class about a movie that we'd watched the day before, and what it meant to have relationships with people, what kinds of things get in the way of relationships, and whether or not relationships should be first in our lives. As exhausting as it can be to form good relationships with my students, I was reminded through that conversation of the sheer importance of each relationship I have. I am someone they look up to. I am someone who can influence them for better (or worse?). They will probably look back in their lives somewhere down the road and remember something that I did while they were in high school. The question is whether they will remember something good, or something bad.

Over the last two weeks or so, I've been meditating on a few verses from Psalm 62. I'd like to share them with you, because they've provided so much comfort and peace in my life:

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge

When I feel myself becoming burdened with cares - about my family at home, about the things my students are dealing with, about the work I need to do, and many other things - I bring myself back to these verses. Yes, I get stressed. Yes, my life is sometimes out of control and crazy. Yes, I get tired. Yes, I feel the burden of being a positive influence to my students. Ultimately, though, I cannot do things on my own. I need God, and I need his refuge in my life. I need peace.

So - there it is. If you're burdened about something, repeat the above verses to yourself. Maybe they'll help you like they have me.

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