Monday, September 26, 2016

By Faith

I stayed home from school today because I have literally and completely lost my voice. This has never happened to me. Whispering all day or playing Charades teacher-style didn't really sound like good options, so I took the day off, got some extra sleep, went to the doctor and got some antibiotics, and am hoping that I'll have more energy and be good to go tomorrow. I'm not sure if my voice box is on that same timetable, though. Prayers are appreciated, though - this bug is a nasty one that had me alternating between my bed and the couch all weekend (today's the first day I feel human since Friday morning), and it seems that Gerrit has come down with a couple of symptoms today. We took him to the pediatrician today and got some medicine for him, too, so hopefully he can kick this thing before it gets too bad for him.

Anyway, all that to say, I fortunately don't need my voice to write a blog post! Hooray! So I will sit here with my mug of hot peppermint tea and press on.

The end of last week was a big event for the 6-12th graders and their teachers at GES: Overnight Camp! This is one of the biggest and most exhausting events of the school year - we take the students, bring them to a resort for 3 days and 2 nights, and play games, do activities, stay up late, and chat about a whole lot of things!

This year was a little different than former years because the location where we went did not have built-in activities for us to do. This meant that the teachers had to plan everything for the whole time we were there...which was definitely as much work as it sounds like. BUT - it worked out well. Even though we forgot some materials and it rained a lot at night, we were able to come up with alternate activities to fill up the time, and the students really enjoyed it. One of my favorite parts was that I got to be a team leader; all the teams had kids from all grade levels, so I got to know a lot of new kids. My team was called the "Red Hooks" (we had to have a pirate-y name with our assigned color), and our cheer was, in my humble opinion, probably the most creative one:
"We're the Red Hooks!
We like to read some books!
We really aren't pirates,
We'd rather ride tuk-tuks!"

Haha. Yep. I had a weird bunch. We had fun.

One of the biggest take-aways for me from this camp, though, was the theme. It came from Matthew 6:21, which says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I was very challenged by the testimonies that were told by some of my coworkers and by some of the questions I discussed in a small group with some of my students. We spend so much of our lives searching for things that will fill us, but ultimately there is only One who can do just that. Yet we continue to run after other things: the next stage of life, the ideal relationship or family status, or other what-have-yous.

I left that conversation with the challenge to reconsider my own life and my own treasures. Where, ultimately, am I putting my hope? Am I really living my life in faith, or just going through the motions, hoping that other people think I'm more of a Christian than I really am?

Another recent event challenged me similarly. It was something that left me with a whole whackload of emotions (yes, that is a measurable unit, by the way). I came home one day and simply wept over what had happened. I felt helpless, weak, angry, and completely unable to wrap my mind around how humans have the capability to harm each other with just a single action, a single word.

After this event, I came across a song that I hadn't listened to in a very long time. It's called "By Faith" and is by Keith and Kristyn Getty (Listen to the song here, if you want). This song poured a sweet balm of relief on my weary soul just when I needed it. After listening multiple times, the following lyrics were the ones that caught my attention:

By faith the church was called to go 
In the power of the Spirit to the lost 
To deliver captives and to preach good news 
In every corner of the earth 

We will stand as children of the promise 
We will fix our eyes on Him our soul's reward 
Till the race is finished and the work is done 
We'll walk by faith and not by sight 

Delivering captives and preaching good news? Isn't this what my whole life is supposedly focused on? I've witnessed so much captivity lately - people captive by their own desires, their own goals, their own emotions. Some just don't seem to care about others around them, but push their own agendas above the needs of other people. And who needs the good news preached more than those who are already hurt, not to mention those who are the ones tearing others down with their actions and words?

"We will fix our eyes on him our soul's reward till the race is finished and the work is done" - The work is nowhere near done yet. Some days I am weary. Some days I think the work is pointless, that no one I teach will ever understand the Truth or be changed by it. Some days I feel hopeless, helpless, and lost.

But - we walk by faith and not by sight. We keep going. We know the One who goes before us, we have the Spirit within us, urging us on, giving us courage in the face of all kinds of trials. If my treasure is in this, in Christ, in the Creator, then no matter what happens, that treasure cannot be taken away. No matter how frustrated I am at any given moment. No matter how hopeless I feel, no matter how sick I am or whether or not I have working vocal cords - my treasure remains true, faithful, HERE.

There is some good news. There is some hope. There is something worth sharing.

Walk by faith, friends.

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