The last few weeks have been pretty crazy and hectic! I took seven days off from teaching in order to be a student - if you've never tried to transition from being a teacher to being a student, I don't recommend it. It's difficult. Actually, I've heard a saying that teachers are the worst students, and in my experience, that is totally true. Not that it makes being a student any less enjoyable; I quite enjoyed doing something different for a couple of weeks and interacting with different people than I normally interact with. The group of teachers taking these classes with me is pretty diverse, making all of the discussions much more interesting because of the varied ethnicity, backgrounds, and types of experiences that everyone has. Here's a picture of our group from the July courses:
I'm now finished with four of the nine classes I need for an M.Ed degree!
So, since those classes ended a week ago, I've been working on catch-up work at school. The person who subbed for me was spectacular and graded quite a few assignments, so even though I feel like I've had a lot of work to do since coming back, in reality it's minimal compared to what I could have had to do upon my return.
In the meantime, Michael's been doing great. He made lunches for me when I was taking classes, and I made sure to brag just enough about these delicious lunches to make several of my classmates jealous! He's been working ahead on some things for the classes he teaches, and seems to be changing some of his teaching strategies and approaches.
All in all, we've both been great - just busy!
We had a really great sermon in church this morning. I was reminded of the importance of lifting up others around us in prayer. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life that I forget the basics of my faith: that I am not condemned, because the law of the Spirit takes the place of the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2); that although I am set free, I am not alone; that the way in which I live ought to always point those around me to the Creator, never to myself.
The Christian life, in all aspects, is about community. Community with God and community with one another. Our community is not about showing off, nor is it about blindly following those around us. It is about encouraging one another and walking with one another in whatever time of life is happening. This includes lifting one another up in prayer. We sang a song this morning about holding on to God, his promises, and his mercy. A comment was made, though, that sometimes we need to hold on for the people around us. To do that, we need to be sensitive to the needs of those around us and we need to be willing to meet them where they are and lift them up in prayer. This is tough, of course - I for one, never feel like I have enough time for my own life, let alone the lives of others. But maintaining community requires sacrifices of various sorts, and taking time to encourage one another and pray for each other is so important!
Take some time and "hold on" for those around you. Pray for their lives and the needs that they have. Encourage one another, and enjoy the community that you've got!
Having said all of that (and now that I've stepped off my soapbox for a moment), there are a few things that we would appreciate prayers for:
- The father of one of our students passed away very suddenly this past week. We went to the funeral this week, and it was really difficult to be there in that situation, but to not be able to offer any comfort or hope.
- A big yearly event at our school is Overnight Camp. This is coming up at the beginning of September - pray that the planning stages go well and that our 3 days/2 nights with our students are beneficial for building relationships.
- In general, I feel like I'm struggling with some aspects of teaching this year. Pray for peace, patience, an open heart, and a willingness to be stretched.
Thanks, everyone! As always - keep in contact and send us an email if you get a moment!