Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Looking for Him

So I've been at the high school for several days in a row. This is the same high school that I couldn't find Him in, until recently. I've worked here for years now and would have to told you that He wasn't very present here until this year. The truth is, He's probably actually been here the whole time, I just wasn't seeing Him.

This week, I've had the same class everyday. I know the kids are probably ready for their teacher to come back, I would be tired of me too by now. A few weeks ago, there was a child in here that was taking Creative Writing. She wrote a poem. It was about Jesus. When I asked her why she wrote a poem about Jesus she simply smiled and tugged at her pony tail and said, "Because I LOVE Jesus!!" I smiled and shared a poem with her I had also written. We had something in common.

On Monday morning, I prayed that I would see His presence at school. That day, a group came by and small red Bibles were distributed to the students. A few ended up in the trash where other students had pulled them back out. They gave me one. He WAS there, making His presence known. On Tuesday, I was looking everywhere for Him. Troubled teens walked in and out of my class all day. Some were sick, some were needing employment in the worst way and some upset by deaths in our area. Already, this holiday season has been hard for a lot of families facing various obstacles and hardships.

Towards the end of the day, I was walking around the room, making sure the kids were on their online classes and not researching tattoos or the latest fashions in boots. I paused to ask a couple of boys to pick up some paper off the floor when I noticed a book. This book was unusual. It was very tattered, but you could see the thin blue cover clinging for dear life to the hard binding that kept the pages together. I was almost afraid to pick it up it looked so fragile, but I did. I asked to whom it belonged. A nervous soft spoken teen smiled and said it was his. His voice cracked as he teeters between remaining a child and becoming a man. I smiled and asked why he carried such a book. He answered so quickly that confidence spewed into the air and his surrounding peers turned to see. "Because you never know when you're gonna need it!!"

In my hands I held his Bible. I told him I loved it. It looked worn not from mistreatment, but from dedicated use. I said to him, "This looks really special, did someone give it to you?" He told me yes, but he didn't tell me who so I didn't ask. But I felt like he'd shared so much with me, more than most kids his age do so I pulled up my blog on the computer. He read the last entry "With Silver Under His Eyes" with wide eyes and interest. He thanked me and said he really liked that. We had something in common.

Again, I was wrong. He is present in that school. There are more people with deep rooted religion that I thought. It's easy to spot the bad in people if that's all you look for. It takes patience, encouragement and contribution to see the good sometimes.

On my third and final morning in the classroom, I awake to more bad news for the locals. A family here lost everything in a fire. With two young boys at the elementary, I've already seen Him working hard this morning through the faithful friends of the desperate family. He sent a faculty member down to my room for a common morning chat, which was filled with heart and awareness of Him. Both of us teared up before we parted to do our jobs we were sent to do in the flesh. I am so glad He is here...He is everywhere you put Him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

With Silver Under His Eyes

I was disappointed I missed Sunday morning services. With a child ailing at home, we decided to stay in but I knew I would get to attend the night services, even if it meant I had to go alone.

We never know who will preach our Sunday night services. The preacher usually has one of several other preachers in the congregation give The Message and I took a deep breath in as he announced who it was. It was the man I'd watched last week feel the cross engraved in his pew.

He walked up to the front with his Bible in hand. He opened it slow and deliberately, revealing The Book's markers he'd placed throughout it. The golden edges shined and the soft ribbon extended with purpose. He looked out among us, and he too breathed in deeply. He began a message only he could deliver with such enthusiasm, such commitment and such certainty. He presented a message only a devout husband, daddy and child of God could deliver.

When he was confident it was time to close, many met at The Alter to pray. I prayed intently for the sick, the heart broken, the lost and the needy. I prayed for strength and vision and patience for myself. I realized my grip on the side of the pew had constricted and my knuckles were probably white but I couldn't look over to see. I heard voices soften as they closed their prayers with one voice growing stronger and more pronounced over all others. Soon we all joined in the one prayer led by the Pastor. His sincerity and conviction grew louder until we felt his words. With "Amens" we arose off bended knees and went back to our seats. Our Pastor stood before us and closed the service with silver under his eyes. The light was reflecting just right and metallic puddles had formed under his lashes.

As always I left revitalized, encouraged, and inspired. With Friends Day next Sunday, I have the responsibility to invite a family. I'm still praying about this one. I hope to find just the right family that can appreciate what happens inside those glass doors. Sadly, it's not something you see or even feel every common day. I came to that church on a visit. I know what a blessing it has been to me, so I'm not taking this too lightly.

Matthew 21:22

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."

Sunday, November 27, 2011

With the lights on bright

As service closed, I had no idea what time it was. I didn't even care. It had been such a good one, from start to finish. The rain had thickened as I ran to the car and I could feel the water splashing under my soles. I just hoped I'd make it to the car without falling down.

I turned the key and I suddenly became aware, that it was very dark and I had about a 20 minute ride home, some of that time would be driving down one of Alabama's most dangerous highways. I took a deep breath, and pulled out of the lot and was pleased when I saw another member directly behind me. As we pulled onto the road I could barely see through the rain. I wanted to digest the amazing message we'd been given tonight but all I could see was rain. I brightened my lights and quickly it became apparent that that's ALL I could see. The sharp needles of water threw themselves at my windshield like daggers. I was so focused on the rain, I wasn't even looking at the road.

I quickly became aware that if you focus only the rain, you can run off the road. I was relieved to know that the other member behind me had my back should I sway too far. I took comfort in the fellowship and camaraderie that is demonstrated within our church that if I began to merge into danger, someone would be there to direct me back on the road.

They soon turned off the road and I was alone (sorta). I smiled as I realized He has never let me down. Even in the pouring rain, you can still see the road, if you know it's there. There are times when I want to focus on the rain, but He's always there to show me my path. I love how I feel when I leave church. It's like driving with the lights on bright. Even if the rain falls, I see the road. Tonight, I'm thankful for the church that always seems to brighten the lights for me.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

He Knows

I sat today on our same pew, but I took my husband's seat since he was not present. I knew I'd see something different just by a change in seating, and I  prepared myself. The hair stood up on my arms as everyone began finding their own seat. I knew The Spirit was about to make His presence known, and we had sang not even verse yet.

Different people began standing and announcing some of the wonderful things they have to be thankful for and I listened. Person after person made their way to The Altar and bended their knees. I ended up there three times myself in this one service, and I needed to be no where else. It felt good being there, to be praying, which I had not done at all today before I got there. My third and final visit to The Altar today, I couldn't help but place my bare palms deep into the carpet. I thought about all the tears that had been shed down there as mine dripped from my chin to be soaked in as deep as all the others who have knelt before me. Today I felt voices from underneath my hands. I felt them all around me from every direction as everyone was deep in prayer. I could feel their prayers running up through my arms as my lips began to move. I felt sinners, I felt helplessness, I felt the unworthy, and for a brief moment, they were all just like me. I had been too busy to need prayer until I walked in the doors of the church this morning. For me, everything stops at those glass doors. I never wear a watch in church. I honestly don't care if we are there for three hours, it's my time with The matter who shows up, and who don't, no matter who is preaching or who is singing, He knows each of our voices as our preacher once said.

The preacher picked up the beautiful long piece of wood that has felt it's share of elbows placed upon it in prayer over the years. He showed us the tears that had collected on it this morning and he wiped it clean...and He knows whose eyes they poured from.

We had a great service and a great one again tonight as a different preacher stood before us. I listened intently as he explained the verses in perfect story. The lady behind me who is multi-talented herself, would speak words that were coming out of his mouth at the exact time he was saying them. It was as if He was sending her the same message only in a word here and there, to confirm the importance.

I watched the man on the front pew feel the engraved cross on the side of his pew. His right hand kept reaching down and with his fingers pressing against the wood, I wondered if he'd been touching that cross for so long that he didn't even realize it had become part of him. His "Amens" and excited chuckles are always a blessing when The Spirit feels the church, and He knows who's on that front pew.

The lady behind me was surrounded with several of her grand babies and her husband was on the end. They don't normally sit behind me but I was so glad that they did. His voice was so strong and loud. I wondered why I hadn't heard it before. Together they both sang with babies in their laps and it was captivating. I found my own voice getting louder at times because I felt their mighty song enclose around me. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be...not two seats down, not one pew up, right there. We think we all just go in and sit down, but He knows who is willing to feel. Many people say they believe, but they don't know how to feel. I'm so glad I'm in a place that has showed me how to feel.

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

She Colors Me Home

There are several children in our church that do things...differently. My children are in fact deaf...completely deaf...the hear absolutely nothing without their devices on kinda deaf...which means we do things differently. At home, when devices are off, we flick lights, stomp floors, knock on walls, etc. to get their attention...whatever is the most convenient method through sight or vibrations.
I got a call to teach a second grade class, which happens to hold one of my most favorite eight year olds who usually sits next to us at church. When we finished our tests, finished our reading, finished all the "real work", we had time to color a turkey. This child took out every single color she had and began to color. I walked around and all the children had really nice looking turkeys. They all looked like average turkeys with brightly colored feathers, brown bodies, green grass around , just what you would expect from a second grader.

I made my way over to my little friend. I was astonished at what I saw. She was crouched down really low so she could see the lines of the turkey, the grass, and remarkably she stayed in the lines. You see, she does things differently too. She felt of each crayon she had maticulously placed all in a row and she used every single one. She carefully poured as much color into every blade of grass, every feather, every single thing on that paper was full of oranges, reds, greens and golds. I was so glad she did her's differently, it was anything but average.

It made me realize that I have been forgetting to do things differently too. I learned when my children were very young, before they received these powerful hearing devices, how to see, how to feel, how to soak in what God has given us, in ways I never imaged before having my kids. I pray lots of times, for the vision...I pray that my eyes won't be clouded and I'll see everything HE needs me to see. I was thankful, He'd shown me her, and her colors.

My world got brighter after that day. I noticed more colors than I've ever seen in the Fall trees. I look at these trees every year and this year, some are so bright they're almost blinding.
I usually get closer to God when I do things differently. Yesterday, I remembered my blinders, no clouds, I wanted to soak in any and everything He'd allow me to.

As soon as I dropped the kids off for school, I went home and walked around the yard. I first came to a tree house my kids have climbed a hundred times. I'm horrified of heights but on this day, I wasn't scared at all. For the first time, I climbed. My hands touched the rough bark where lichen had gently nestled in between the grooves. I can't remember the last time I touched the truck of a tree. I pulled myself up to the very top and I sat about 15 feet off the ground. The wind blew and I breathed in deep. The orange 8 a.m. sun reflected from the rooftop of the barn. Birds were singing so close to me I could feel their song move through my ears. It was all because the little girl took time to fill everything with color...and I knew I should do something differently...

I climbed down and continued walking but the sun was so bright I could barely see, and my sunglasses were way back at the house. Instead of walking with my head down, I turned around backwards...and kept walking. I saw a tree, I've never noticed before. It's in plain view but had always been overshadowed by a much prettier tree. I began to walk towards the half-naked tree. I was curious what it had to offer, as it stood almost bare. I had anticipated seeing a blanket of color on the ground below, since it had already donated most of itself to the earth beneath it, but I saw nothing. They had likely already blown away, and I was too late. I stood there and wondered if there was something else He wanted to show me. The breeze picked up gently and I heard the symphony of leaves dancing in the warm morning sun. I looked up and the leaves looked like pure silver, and they were giving me everything they had left to give. The only reason I saw this beauty in an unnoticed tree, was because she reminded me that it's okay to do things differently...even if it means walking backwards.

Sometimes, I sit in church and I close my eyes. I pretend I can't see so I can FEEL. Sometimes, I pretend I can't hear too and I look down, tune out the hymns that rolls over the pews so I can really FEEL. Voices are so strong, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, chills fill my arms. The man in front of me starts tapping on the back of the pew and I feel the floor vibrate as the piano pounds and the feet tap. I'm most happy when I do things differently. I have visions I've never before seen with my common eyes. I hear things my average ears have yet to hear and I feel HIM...and that's how she colors me Home.