Friday, September 05, 2014

For When You are Battle Weary

Last week was our first full week of school.  On Tuesday, I would have said it had been a good week.  On Wednesday (our Friday) at the end of the day, I was almost in tears.  I was tired.  I was missing my husband.  (I know that has nothing to do with school but it was contributing to my drama.) Lastly,  my day was full of  students who needed lots of disciplining and redirection which resulted in at least five students having extra writing for the weekend and  emails sent home to parents.  I was feeling battle weary and slightly defeated.

Do you ever feel battle weary?  Maybe you have toddler or preschoolers who are full of energy and don't always get along.  Maybe your work environments is draining or you have some relationships that are really hard right now.  Maybe you are a teacher like me or a homeschooling mom trying to balance many hats.  Sometimes the days get long, and we become battle weary.

So this weekend, I have been recharging and regrouping.  My time has been spent piddling around my house, reading, exercising, and spending time with my kids.  I have been thinking about the upcoming week, and ways I can either help with or deal with becoming battle weary.   Here is what I have come up with.

1.  My battle is not against flesh and blood. Eph 6:12

Most battle weary days involve people whether it be family members, students, or coworkers.  I often take things personal which makes things worse.  So when children or students misbehave or someone says something that hurts my feelings, I need to remember who the real enemy is.  To be successful in battle, I need to keep things in perspective with God at the focal point.

2.  I am not to grow weary in doing good.  Gal 6:9

Some days I want to just give up.  Why keep trying if it doesn't seem to make a difference?  Maybe I should just give in.  Paul in Galatians advises me differently. I reap what I sow.  Don't give up. Being consistent with discipline whether with students or children can get tiring.  Working on relationships that seem to not be making any progress can make you feel defeated.   It is easy to want to give up but with God's strength I can keep at the work He has for me.

3. Be anxious for nothing but .... everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-8.   The other night I couldn't sleep thinking through my day, analysing and reanalysing.   It was like a quiet voice said pray.  After a time of prayer and listening to some praise music, my mind was a peace, and I had a new perspective.  I lost a little sleep but much less than I would have if I would have kept worrying.   

My afternoons are harder than my mornings.  This week I am hoping to find a few quiet minutes around lunchtime to refocus and spend time with the One who can give peace and understanding.  My students may not be better behaved, but my perspective and attitude will be.

4. My identity is not in how my students behave, etc.

When I have a good day, I feel good about myself.  When I have a bad day, I feel like a failure.  Too often my identity is wrapped up in my circumstances instead of being based on who I am in Christ.  This is definitely a work in progress.  I would encourage wisdom from those who are farther along on the journey than I am.  

5. Connecting with others around me makes life better.

Often when I am battle weary, all I want to do is retreat.  Sometimes that is what I need.  Other times I need to be with others who will encourage me and help me find a new perspective.  When I isolate myself, my vision can be limited.   Interacting with others brings laughter and realness to life.  I also find out I am not alone.  I might even just get a few pointers for my next battle.  This weekend I was renewed by conversations with my mom and a close friend.  

6. Staying healthy requires discipline but is worth it.

Wednesday afternoon I came home from school and just wanted to crash.  Instead I exercised.  Somehow it gave me energy to finish my tasks for the day, and life didn't seem quite so daunting.  Life always feels better when I take time with God, exercise, eat right, and get a full night's sleep.  This is challenging for me being at school all day. Others may have little one underfoot or are restricted in what they can do.  There are days were I feel like I am going one step forward and two steps back.   Right now my hardest thing is getting a full night's sleep.  I am looking forward to cooler nights soon which usually help my sleep cycle.  

Now these points will not make my students better or the battle disappear.  They will change my perspective and make me better able to handle the battle at hand. Of course, it would be nice if they were all little angels next week.  With God, all things are possible.  

What makes you battle weary?  How do you deal with battle weariness?  I would love to hear what helps you or even how I can pray for you in your struggles.  

Monday, September 01, 2014

What I Learned in August 2014

This month has been long and tiring, but it is so good to be home here in Central Asia.  We are settled back into our home but still getting use to the routine of going to school everyday.  It has been a lot of hard work getting back into the swing of things, but we have also had some fun.  See above, my DH is making pizzas for all the teachers at the school where I teach.  It was a fun evening of being outdoors, ignoring the school prep that still needed to be done, and eating lots of pizza.  So here is what I learned this month and in some cases relearned this month.  

1. God Gives as Well as Takes Away
Due to where we live, we are pretty restricted on what we can do.  For example, I can't just go walking down the street.  So basically I spend most of my time at home or at school.  When we came back in August, I was so blessed to see the refuge of my backyard.  It is truly a gift from a God.  It is a space not only for our family to find rest and refreshment but for others to come and enjoy as well.  

2. I am not ready to let go...
I work with a great staff of teachers at my school.  Since I was in the states for most of last year, I am just now getting to know most of them.  The trouble is that I am not ready to let them in.  I am half in denial/half grieving for friends that are not coming back.  Right now I don't have the energy to invest in new relationships but hopefully this month I will make more progress.  PS: Denying goodbyes does not make them easier.  It just delays the inevitable.

3. God knows what I can handle
For the past few years, I have taught four classes instead of the full time load of five.  It has been a good fit for me and my family.  Right before school started, I ended up with 5 classes.  I was okay with this development but knew it would be a lot of work.  By God's grace, one of the classes didn't make.  So now I only have 4.  They are Consumer Math, AP Calculus, Algebra II and Algebra I.  After only three days of school, I was exhausted and still am on my second day of the weekend. Hopefully I will get my energy level up to where it needs to be to go strong all week.

4. m is monter in french which means slope or incline.
In math, we have a formula y=mx+b where m stands for the slope of the line.  I always wondered why they used m.  I understood that using an s could make it look like a 5 but why m?  This summer, I learned this fun tidbit of information.  So now, even if you can't help your high school student with their math, you can at least tell them you know what m stand for.  

5. Sometimes a series bets Better.
I have been reading a series called Maggie Hope Mysteries by Susan Elia MacNeal. I didn't care for the third book but decided to read the fourth book anyways especially  since my library had it.  The fourth book was much better.  I also learned some fun history facts about WWII.

6. I like Bishop.
Our family just finished watching last year's season of NCIS.  I really enjoyed the addition of Ellie Bishop who is an analyst on loan from another agency.  It was a smart move to not make her anything like Ziva who left the show.  I like Ellie's fashion, quirkiness, and ability to eat a lot.   We are looking forward to this being one of the shows we will watch this year.  

7. It is important to find ways to refresh so you don't burn out.
As I said before, this month has been long, hard, and tiring.  Our family is finding ways to take time out from everything.  Sometimes that means being total bums on a weekend morning with a nice breakfast.  Other times it is going to bed early and reading a good book.  Worship music, swinging on our swing, and having others over are also ways that have helped relieve stress and restore us for another day.  Blogging also helps me refresh since it gives me an outlet to share and process.  Feel free to share in the comments ways you deal with stress and not getting burned out. 

8. I have two high schoolers!!
Big D is in 9th grade this year and looks so grown up.  I am thankful for God's provision in his schedule.  He has classes he enjoys and not many classes with some of the boys who have picked on him in the past.  I am thinking Mythology or World History will be his favourite.  W is a Senior.  She has a schedule that will keep her busy.  Even though she has AP Calculus with her mom, I think her favourite class will be Anatomy and Physiology.  I don't mind since that was one of my favourites in high school and college.  

Once again, I am linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky and others in what they learned in August.  What did you learn this month?  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Revisiting My Calling

A few years ago, my school went through major changes in staff.    The leadership changed.  Good friends left.  New people came in.  I found myself asking, "Should I stay or go?"   During that time, I wrote these two posts:


Today I am still living out this call.  On Monday, God willing, we will start our new school year.  I will have five math classes that I am excited to teach.    I will already know some of my students,  and others will be new to me.  I am ready.  Maybe someday God will point me in a new direction but for now this is where I am suppose to be.  

Even though the last few years have been hard, I am glad that I stayed with the calling God had for me.  I have grown spiritually, wept a few tears, and made a few mistakes but have also been a part of something amazing.  

As our team goes through many changes this fall, I was reminded of the above posts and how they relate to our current season here in Central Asia.  Dear friends are moving in a new direction.  It is hard.  Things are uncertain.  It would be so easy to question if I should be here or what will happen.  But this one thing I know, God is not finished with what He wants to do with me here in this place.  It may not make sense.  It may not be easy but this is where I need to be.