Although we are told by scripture to remain in an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude for our blessings, this upcoming week is traditionally the time when we try to remember to “count our blessings.” Family, friends, health, and God’s provision readily come to mind. We only have to look at those in North Carolina, Florida, and California to realize how truly blessed we are to not be affected by storms or fire. My prayers go out to those who have lost everything as they grapple with the ongoing challenges this year has brought them. I also pray for those agencies and volunteers who are taking time out of their schedules to travel to affected areas and help. They are truly doing the Lord’s work.
This week I will thank God for all the blessings in my life. I hope you join me.
What a troubling time it’s been lately as our U.S. Congress has been about their Constitutional duties of confirming a new Supreme Court judge. So many accusations and so much anger on display. How do I as a Christian handle two differing sides of a controversial issue? Should I even listen to the disturbing hearings, complete with multiple protest disruptions? Do I listen to the daily accounts on television or read the newspaper, knowing I will only be upset again? How do I know which side to believe?
My only consolation has been to pray and realize that God (not the Supreme Court’s Contemplation of Justice pictured above) is still on the Throne and He alone knows the truth. Since God knows and is in control, I can move on in confidence, trusting even in troubling times. Can you?
Sue – Voice II
This is part of the title to CH. II of our book, and as this school year begins, I want to share a memory with you.
Years ago I was a middle school secretary while studying for my BA degree in Education when something happened that really impressed on me the importance of being an encouraging, caring teacher. I answered one of the three phones in the school office and heard a young voice on the other end: “I want to report myself tardy,” he said. “Ok – who is this? What’s going on,” I replied. “I missed the bus,” was the answer.
I had trouble hearing the boy because of the noisy background. A female adult was screaming and cursing at him as he was trying to give me the message and get out of the house. I told him to come to the office when he made it to school by walking, and I would sign him in. But as I hung up the phone, I hurt for him. This was the environment he was leaving and would return to in the afternoon. No seeming support, and a truly bad atmosphere. When he arrived at school, would he be encouraged or disappointed again by the response of the adults in his life?
Teachers could add their students’ horror stories to this one because every year they encounter situations that are not good for children. They have the opportunity to counter the negative responses with positive ones and encourage their students instead of screaming at them. Self-esteem can be lifted instead of deadened, and smiles do a world of good to a hurting heart. I encourage you in the classroom to be the teacher that makes a difference, especially for those students who need it so desperately. You will never know how much it can change their lives. Teach curriculum, but show you care. It will make a big difference in how they view themselves.
I ran across this example several weeks ago and put it on my FB page. I thought I would share it again now because it illustrates what I’ve been trying to say. You will never know what some of your students face every.single.day.
God bless you as you make a difference.
Sue – Voice II
I Ain’t Got a Pencil,” by Joshua T. Dickerson
I woke myself up
Because we ain’t got an alarm clock
Dug in the dirty clothes basket,
Cause ain’t nobody washed my uniform
Brushed my hair and teeth in the dark,
Cause the lights ain’t on
Even got my baby sister ready,
Cause my mama wasn’t home.
Got us both to school on time,
To eat us a good breakfast.
Then when I got to class the teacher fussed
Cause I ain’t got no pencil!
Today in my county, a new school year begins. My FB feed is filled with pictures of students of all ages and grade levels setting off for school, new backpacks filled with pristine school supplies.
I remember telling my students on the first day of school that this was a new year and a new beginning. Regardless of what had happened last year, this was a brand new “do-over.” Giving them control over the outcome of their education was truly empowering for some.
The “Voices” wish the best to the students, teachers, and parents of the 2018-2019 school year. There will be challenges, but when you work together, success is much more likely to happen. Our Chapter III, “Teacher to Parent,” emphasizes the importance of each of the groups I listed above (students, teachers, and parents) contributing to the learning process and supporting one another. Students truly benefit when teachers and parents work together. May this be the best school year ever!
“The size of your ministry isn’t proof of the success of your ministry.” – Ann Voskamp
Do any of you out there have a need for this reminder? I sure did when I read it recently. Let me explain why.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you strive to grow what you believe is your calling . . . your ministry (our book), and the “No’s” outnumber the positive responses. You know you shouldn’t ask, but the “why’s” just keep popping into your head. So much effort, time, travel, and expense with less-than-anticipated results. I keep telling myself that “It’s all in God’s hands,” and then go back to working and wondering.
Then I read one of Ann Voskamp’s latest blogs, and that one sentence I shared above resonated immediately. I read it three times! I began to rethink my mindset and started focusing on the many enjoyable comments and discussions I’ve had with people at events I’ve attended over the last couple of years. I remember the many conventions Deidre and I have attended, spending valuable time together and speaking once again as a team. Probably the most unexpected blessing was an encouraging phone message from someone who read and enjoyed our book so much that she just had to reach out and call me. I still have that phone message saved on my cell. 🙂
Our book has made a difference. It has changed some people’s thinking, and encouraged others to keep doing things God’s way. We were obedient in writing and publishing what God laid on our hearts. The size of our book ministry has not reached our expectations – yet, but it has reached people, one reader at a time. I have to remember that is enough!
I can’t believe it’s been over a month since we’ve posted – the “Voices” have been busy!
My June consisted of two trips to Virginia to pick up and return grandchildren for our VBS, one book sale, and preparation for a 3-day Festival which I am just finishing today.
If you look carefully, you can see my table set-up for the Wild & Wonderful Festival in Cottageville, Wv. The organizers joked that I was the official “greeter” for the Steer (beef) Barn. I can’t tell you how much my husband enjoyed that!
This barn provided a lesson for me as another vendor and I found first one Barn Swallow egg fragment yesterday, and then another one today. We had noticed the birds flying in and out, and then located the nest. The discarded shells were so fragile; almost translucent. As I examined the shell, I wondered how in the world it had been strong enough to hold and protect the growing bird. I was reminded that God knows what He’s doing, and cares for His creation. The Bible says He knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, and even the number of hairs on our head. He loves each of us – you can trust Him.
It’s been a busy couple of weeks in my area. My Facebook feed has been flooded with pictures of prom couples, sports’ playoffs, and finally . . . high school and college graduations. Yet another group of young people are leaving home and being launched into the real world of higher education and career possibilities. We remember attending numerous high school graduation ceremonies, watching former eighth graders in cap and gown four years later – it was always a moving experience.
Nothing really prepares either side for these milestones. Parents are losing daily interactions with their child, and this grown child is moving out into perceived freedom, but a lot more daily responsibilities. Lives are changed forever, hopefully in a positive way. Regardless of the upcoming challenges, our prayers are offered for all.
Congratulations, Class of 2018! May God bless you and your families.
Sue and Deidre
Don’t forget to check out YouTube for our four radio broadcasts taped last November with Pure Radio 103.7 FM & 1320 AM in Jacksonville. Just search for One God Two Voices and find the radio listing. Please let us know what you think.