Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not.
At St. Mary’s school, the first of each month means a project. All twelve big hallway bulletin boards are prepared with a focus on one central faith based theme which changes each time we flip the calendar. You might find it funny to know that when I was a freshman at Emporia State University, I specifically remember choosing to teach High School because I didn’t want to mess with all those bulletin boards you find in an elementary classroom! Now I teach 1st grade and have 8 bulletin boards inside my room and the giant one in the hall…God is hilarious isn’t He! Last February our theme was God’s Love…not too tough right…well I had this great idea that I thought the kids would get in a snap! I was feeling pretty smart about the whole thing until I explained it to the kids and I got nothin’ but that “deer in the headlights” look from every single one of them! I’ve been teaching long enough to know when the ship is sinking and I need to bail before I drown...I was there! In a flash I said, “Ok God, I wasn’t so smart here…send me something quick that will honor You and teach all who see this project about Your love, show me what to do, send Your Holy Spirit quickly with a good idea!” Bing…just like that the idea came. I looked at the kids and said, “You know what kids, the Holy Spirit just sent me a great idea, let’s try it again.” I explained the new idea and the little boy in the back corner smiled and said,”Mrs. Wohlfert, next time why don’t you just ask God first instead of wasting time trying to think things up on your own.” Brilliant boy!
My mission with these bulletin boards is always to reveal something new and amazing about God to my students, they are truly a teaching tool and I take these projects seriously because they are a priceless opportunity.
With that in mind, we got started. I explained how I would draw a giant heart for the center of the board which would contain the words “I see God’s love…” Each child would get their picture taken holding that giant heart and then in a small heart, they would have to write the words that completed the idea. After I had carefully explained the instructions, I asked if anyone knew how they were going to finish the sentence. I was prepared to help them stretch their ideas and invite them to dig deeper. I was quite sure I’d have to assist them in their thinking. Once again God must have been just laughing at me because the first child I called on blew me out of the water with his answer! I should have seen it coming because he was an amazing little boy whose faith was so enormous that sometimes it would swallow me up! He raised his hand and said, “Mrs. Wohlfert, this is the easiest question you’ve asked us all year, I see God’s love…(pause and grin from him)…when I see Jesus on the cross. I couldn’t stop the tears that rolled down my cheeks! But wait…it gets better…the little girl next to him put her arm around his shoulder and said, “That’s the best answer ever in the world!”
As I sat and listened to my class one by one announce their thoughts I was astounded! Each answer revealed another great nugget of God’s grace and love. As I dismissed them to their seats to begin, I sat in my chair a minute and wondered….ok…so who’s the teacher here…who is the smart one? It all became clear, that two second prayer of trust, even if it was offered as a plea out of desperation, gave me the truth spoken in this verse from Proverbs. I look back on that day and realize that if God can be trusted to help with little bitty things like a first grade bulletin board, He is certainly equipped to tackle the big things like finances, relationships and whatever else we think we're smart enough to handle on our own!
A seed to plant: At some point before this long holiday weekend is over, find one situation you struggle with and stop in your tracks and say the words “Father I trust you, Father I love you, please send your Holy Spirit and take charge of this.” Put Proverbs 3:5 in action!
Blessings on your day!
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost. Luke 19:10
When I was in college, I had my life all mapped out! I was very careful to organize each and every detail. I had everything written out in a notebook including how many children I wanted, what color my house would be and what kind of job I would have. According to my plan, I was to be married by 23 and be finished having babies by 30. I even had their names picked out, of course with alternates in case my future husband didn’t like my first choice. It was fool proof ... my happily ever after was all right there written in the notebook! I was so organized…what could possibly go wrong. Before I knew it I was 25 and absolutely nothing written in my notebook was happening, in fact, there were quite a few things that had happened that I would have never considered putting in the notebook…things like the death of my brother, and losing my Mom to cancer…those were not in my plan! I was melting inside and I remember feeling a little lost!
During this “lost season”, I went to visit my Grandma. A visit with Grandma Thelma always made things better! As we were sitting on her porch swing and she was trying once again to teach me how to crochet, tears started to fall down my cheeks into the yarn on my lap and Grandma gently took the things from my hands, knowing completely well that the tears were not due to my miserable attempt at crocheting. A couple questions later, there I sat blubbering like a baby spilling the whole tale of the stupid notebook and all my foolish plans. I distinctly remember telling her in the middle of my hissy fit that according to my plan, I was supposed to be half way done having babies by now but instead I was sitting on the front porch with her on a Friday night. I also told her that in the meantime I was quite sure all my eggs were rotting! I told her I’d been so careful in my planning, I just didn’t understand what had gone so terribly wrong!
When I had finished, Grandma sweetly said, “I know the problem!" She always did, but her explanation wasn’t what I expected. She didn’t mess around with her words…she cut right to the heart of the problem. She said, “You need to throw that darn notebook of yours in the trash.” I looked at her in shock and she went on to say, “The problem with your notebook is that it’s your plan and that’s never going to work.” She went on to lovingly remind me that everything happens for a reason, both the good and the bad, it’s all part of God’s plan whether we like it or not. She told me to ask God to write the plan for me, she also assured me that He was a better planner than me and that I would indeed have a few good eggs left when I needed them! Thank you Grandma!
That visit on the porch was like Jesus rounding up a lost lamb! I had gotten so tangled up in trying to take care of myself I had forgotten that really was Gods job. I still keep a notebook, but it’s a prayer journal. I still write my lists and organize my plans in the notebook, but the big difference between the first notebook and the ones I write in now…these are the plans I ask God to bless if they are according to His will and strike down if they are not. I often remind Him I’m pretty thick-headed so please be very clear with the directions because I don’t have Grandma to clear it up for me anymore.
How could we possibly think that a God who loved us so much He would send His only Son to save us wouldn’t know better the plans for our life!
Let Him take over your plans…you won’t be disappointed!
A seed to plant: Grab a piece of paper right now, and write down your plans for the week…then ask God to bless the list…invite Him to take charge of the list… and then stand back and see what He does with your week!
Blessings on your day!
…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Earlier this summer my good friends from Kansas came for a visit and they brought a beautiful plaque for my mantle with this verse from Joshua on it. I love this verse! Last night as I was peeling through the living room like my hair was on fire, the plaque caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks. Ya see, I was zooming around trying to get supper ready, paperwork for meet the coaches night finished, laundry off the line, the kitchen floor swept and a dozen other odds and ends tied up before we had to leave the house. In all my rushing and cramming…I don’t think I was doing so hot in the “servin the Lord” department. Truth be told, I was muttering under my breath and spittin and sputterin about the amount of dirty socks my family could produce, the proper identification of the petrified food on the inside of the microwave and about how much less sweeping I would have to do if we could just blacktop the lawn! It was probably not a scene endoursed by the Heavenly Father!
In this passage from Joshua, he made a strong declaration about who his people would serve. That statement should be the same one we are willing to make today, but let me tell ya…there’s more to it than plopping a plaque on your mantle. Being a house that serves the Lord is easy when things are calm, everyone is cooperating and things are going according to schedule. Ok, stop laughing…that COULD happen! God tests us with challenges and trials every day, He wants to see how much we’ll talk to Him, trust Him and ask for His guidance. I think we could all agree that the tests and challenges we face are far easier to deal with than wandering in the desert, facing a seven year famine or being plagued by frogs and gnats. If some of God’s early children could survive those hardships and make a declaration about who they would serve, surely my house can do a little better job serving as we fumble through car pools, barn chores, ball games and a small mountain of laundry!
When I crawled into bed last night feeling like a big ‘ole heap of wilted lettuce, I thought about my house and what our “serving the Lord” looked like. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just about what happened inside our house, but it also included what we took with us when we walked out the
front door. Phew, I was comforted by that thought because I don’t often mutter to people other than my own husband and children about tracking in mud and barn straw or leaving cabinet doors open. The bottom line is, we teach each other how to serve the Lord by the example we set in our own home. Each new day gives us a chance to ask God to help us become better servants. Our constant effort toward this end does two great things. First, it tightens up our relationship with Him and second, it sets an example for those we share our home with. The best way I can think of to create a society that serves the Lord is to start with some houses that do!
I got a picture this week from a college freshman showing her beautifully decorated dorm room. The caption read “My new home”. On the wall I saw a crucifix hanging and I was impressed that in her “new house” she was already preparing to serve the Lord. I smiled and thought of her parents and realized they were definitely a family that lived this verse. I was inspired!
A seed to plant: Find a plaque or make a card with this verse from Joshua to share with three people. Together we can remind each other of this important commitment and flood the neighborhoods with houses that “serve the Lord”.
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.