Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bold, Brave, and Free

They say that you are your truest self at the age of 5. And after this past year, I can say that that statement might indeed be true.

Last year I was in a leadership position of head teacher, and it challenged me in ways I didn't think I was capable of handling. (But God proved me otherwise).

Whereas this year, I took a more humble role as assistant teacher alongside two other girls. 

I went in blindfolded not knowing what to expect, and in the first week.... I cried my eyes out. (Let's be honest here, I start and end everything with crying my eyes out.)

The amount of work was emotionally and physically draining. Did I really go to school for THIS? I shouldn't be here. What am I doing? Constant negative thoughts shouted at me in my mind.

But I don't like to start things and quit midway. And so I promised myself I'd stay.

Our class recently graduated and it was a sweet and emotional celebration. As I adjusted their caps and zipped up their gowns backstage, I could see the nervousness behind their quiet smiles. 

And in that moment I realized how lucky I was to be the one to look at them and remind them they were going to be great. 

That all they had to do was look at us if they got nervous, sing their hearts out, and forget that they were in a crowded room. 

With only a few weeks left of the year, I'm thinking about all of the things that happened this year and how it grew me. 

And what I've learned is this:

If you open your eyes to the circumstances around you and allow God to show you another perspective... you'll realize that there is so much to learn from any situation you're in. 

That no matter what job you are currently in... God can use you for His purpose. 

That a job doesn't make you better or worse than anyone else. Even if you hold a degree, it's your amount of humility and character that will shine through. 

(If Jesus, the Son of God lowered Himself to be here on earth as a carpenter... it's the perfect example for all of us to humble down in any position as well.)

There is nothing more rewarding than being part of a team and realizing that there is someone there to laugh with when everything around you is out of control, encourage and celebrate the small victories with... (and eat unicorn cake with around a kiddie table) at the end of a long day. 

I truly cherish the friendships I made this year working alongside these girls and couldn't have made it through without our laughs and support. (Teamwork makes the dream work for sure!)

Sometimes you need to step into the field that you are avoiding. 

As much as I didn't want to admit it... teaching brought out the part of me that needed to come out. 

Being silly, outgoing, talkative, not afraid to laugh at yourself, and being comfortable in front of people. All of these traits that were present at one time, but covered up as the years went on.

And I realized that perhaps that spunky 5-year-old bold kid might still be in there if we just scratch off the surface a bit. Being a teacher gave me that push that I need to be bold in other areas of my life.

Teaching is not what I do... but rather part of who I am. And now I can finally admit that. 

Children this age truly taught me to see and love people in the way that Jesus does. I understand what Jesus meant when He said children are like the kingdom of God. 

// But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. // Matthew 19:14

I often think about how the world is such a scary place with terrible things happening, and people being lost day by day. 

Will it ever change?

Our class sang "You and Me" by the Disney movie Descendants 2, and as we led the moves in front of the stage I tried to cover up the tears streaming down my face of both being so proud and realizing how much meaning this song has for me too. 

In a world that seems like it's getting worse day by day... now is the time.

The time to be bold in our faith.

The time to be brave and not be scared to stand up for the Truth.

The time to be free and use our freedom to lead others to the Light.

And if we look deep inside we'll realize... it all starts with you and me.

// We gotta be bold
We gotta be brave
We gotta be free
We gotta get loud
Making that change
You gotta believe (whoa)
We'll look deep inside
And we'll rise up and shine
We can be bold
We can be brave
Let everyone see
It starts with you and me (whoa, whoa, hey)
It starts with you and me (whoa, whoa, hey)
It starts with you and me //

Monday, June 4, 2018

You're a Seed

It's been quiet around here for quite some time. It seems as if creativity and inspiration go hand in hand, and when those two aren't being fed the proper nutrients... well they decide to sit back and hold their magic until something happens.

I'm a bit theatrical, this I know. What I mean to say is, I've been feeling a little less than magical in terms of the creative department lately.

I've been busy at work running after children, reading stories, creating crayon monsters, and pretending I'm a big pirate as I swish across the wooden floor with a mop. 

And after a long day, I felt the amount of magic left inside of me to create something just wasn't worth trying.

When I have had a sliver of an idea, it just took one quick look at social media to realize my idea totally sucks. "So and so is so much better"... so I put out the spark before it even had the chance to become something. 

I read a story to our kids the other day called I'm a Seed by Jean Marzollo. And as simple as it was, it ignited something in me as I turned the pages and read it out loud.

It's about two tiny seeds who are planted in the ground, each different. One of them knows what it will become (marigold flowers), the other one doesn't.

And every time they sprout, the marigold seed seems way more ahead than the other seed. One grows up to the sky, the other one grows sideways.

The marigold is very confident in her growth process, whereas the other seed always looks at the marigold wondering why she isn't growing the same way. 

At one point, the marigold sprouts 20 flowers, and the other seed's petals die and become green and round.

Just then the other seed's green and round "petals" become orange. Finally the marigold shouts, "You are a pumpkin plant! You grew six pumpkins! You are beautiful!" 

In the end, both realize they each contain plenty of seeds within them to create even more beautiful marigold flowers and pumpkins.

What this sweet story helped me understand is that we as humans are the same way. 

In this story... I'm the pumpkin plant. I'm constantly looking at the people around me and their growth, wondering why aren't I growing the same way too?

What in the world will I become? Will I have flowers? Will they be pretty? What color will they be?

And then I thought about what God says about us.

// For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. // Ephesians 2:10

God created me with all things that I need inside of me. What He instilled there is unlike the seed next to me, but it's everything I will need to become who He made me to be. 

And once we grow... we'll have seeds to help others grow into what God has created them to be too.  

My job isn't to look at the growth of the person next to me. Because they have something else that they're called to be. 

My job is to love God, love people, and grow with what I was given inside of me... in the ground that I was placed in.  

I am a seed. 

You are a seed too. 

Grow where you are planted...  and with time you'll see the beauty flourish out of you too.