Monthly Archives: May 2011

Time for God

Sometimes, most times, as I sit in church listening to a special song or a sermon, or even sometimes when I am taking part in a congregational song, I become so struck with the message that I fear that I will burst into tears. Over the years, I have learned that it is much less distracting to everyone else if I allow the tears to stream down my face, wiping them away once I am finished or allowing them to dry completely on their own. (This is one advantage to rarely wearing make-up!) Anyway, lately, I’ve been unsure whether I can even hold back audible sobs. Sometimes I am really tempted to get up, leave the sanctuary, and find a place to be alone and pray. I often feel that I need time to reflect on the message in order to assimilate it into my life. I think that my body is telling me that I need more times of praying, worshipping, and listening to God. I’m confused by one thing though: I am almost always in public when I feel so emotional; why do I rarely feel overwhelmed this way daily when I am alone with God? Am I trying to get my Bible reading out of the way in the mornings so that I can get on with the rest of my day? I try very hard to pay attention to everything that I read. If I feel like I have glossed over something, I try to go back and reread. At night, when I pray, sometimes I am tired and fall asleep before I really feel like I’ve covered everything essential, and before moving on to really “talking” to God and worshipping Him. Throughout the day as I talk to God, I am usually in the middle of something else as well, so I rarely drop everything I am doing to get away. I think my schedule needs revamped to make quality time for the most important Person in my life. I wonder then if I will be less emotional in public? Any ideas? How do you all make time for really communing with God? When you do feel overwhelmed in public, how do you handle it? Do you write down the passage or the message and address it later when you are alone?

Math in Action

I’m going somewhere with this; just hear me out.

Ian has been playing Little Big Planet for months now. After completing each level, the video game tells you what percent of the prizes you have collected from that particular level. He learned pretty quickly that we always aimed for 100%. If we didn’t get 100%, that means we missed something, and we would usually go back and try the level again to see if we could find what we missed. Sometimes there were twenty or thirty things in a level, but never 100 things. Ian figured out that 100% meant “all.” Yesterday, he was playing again. He found a level that he wanted to play and said, “Wow! I don’t even have half of the stuff for this level!” It kind of surprised me that he said that because we’ve never gone into percentages in detail (he’s only six). So, just to find out how much he knew, I said, “So what percent would it be if you had half of the stuff?” “50%,” he says. Hmmm. So I said, “If there were 8 things to get in a level, and you had 50% of them, how many would you have?” He thought for ten or fifteen seconds and said, “4.” Hmmmmmm! I was so impressed, I had to send an email to Jesse at work. Impressed, because I never taught him. He figured out how percentages work on his own, the same way babies learn to use language – by seeing it in action. When Jesse came home from work last night, we were all sitting in the same room, and I thought I’d dig a little deeper into Ian’s well of knowledge. So I said, “Ian do you know how many 25’s there are in 100?” He didn’t. “Remember talking about money? How many quarters are in a dollar?” “Oh, yeah,” he says, “4!” “Okay, so if there were 4 things to get, and you had 25%, how many would you have?” Brief pause. “1!” Explosion of amazement and pride from me and Jesse. “What if there were 8 things to get? How many would you have if you had 25%?” Slightly longer pause. “2!” Yay! I’m so proud of him! Can you tell? So, thanks to Little Big Planet, and a little scaffolding from me (by using Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development), Ian understands percentages. We have another video game called Boom Blox that has made him an expert when it comes to negative numbers. It doesn’t set out to teach you the concept; that’s not the purpose of the game. However, if you lose enough points, your score drops below zero, and since it took Ian a while to get good at the game, he has LOTS of experience with negative numbers 🙂

I said all of that to say this: when teaching math, take time to make sure your child understands each concept. Start with the why, see if they can understand it and figure a few easy problems based on what they know, and then teach them how to work the problem. You’ll be amazed at what they can do.

A Godly Example

Anyone dropping by the house an hour ago would have been surprised to find me sitting on the couch, surrounded by books and notes, and crying like a baby. This morning, I just finished a book by Brenda Haugen about the life of Martha Washington. The entire read was convicting for me. This woman was truly a Proverbs 31 woman. When her husband was away, she managed the estate. When his duty called him to serve in the Army, she gave up her comfortable living conditions to stay with him and his men in the camp. When her husband was elected President, she gave up her private life for eight years and served alongside him. When I read the last two paragraphs depicting Mrs. Washington’s death and legacy, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had lost a close personal friend.  I couldn’t tell from reading the book whether it was written from a Christian perspective, but I could certainly tell that the heroine of the story was a Christian. I look forward to meeting her one day, and getting to know her better. In the meantime, I am going to double my efforts in supporting my husband in all of his endeavors and activities.

Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book, from a letter written by Martha Washington:

“I cannot blame him for having acted according to his ideas of duty in obeying the voice of his country. I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”

Can God be wrong?

A few minutes ago, I read a Facebook post that really bothered me. One of my Christian friends from college posted a question asking whether it is wrong to mess up people’s lives just to see if they were loyal to you. He implied that he was going to wait to gather several “yes” answers, and then prove a point. The point being, that God is wrong to test people like Job and Abraham.

I’m always amazed that Christians can believe that God can ever be “wrong.” After all, what are our options? There’s God, and there’s Satan. Could you possibly get angry enough with God to choose Satan over Him just to hurt His feelings? I think people are forgetting the supremacy of God in these situations.

First of all, God made us. Everything we know comes from Him. He gave us reasoning skills –  you know, the ones we use when we try to prove He is wrong. He also instilled in us the very idea of what is good and right. I always find it amazing that people think they have a higher understanding of right and wrong than God does. Some people become angry because there is pain and suffering in the world. Some blame Him when a loved one passes away. Sure, I don’t understand everything, but I don’t allow myself to entertain the idea that perhaps I know more than God. Or that perhaps I love people more than He does. The love and knowledge that I do have are just itty-bitty pieces of God’s love and knowledge.

Secondly, we can only glimpse an infinitesimally small piece of reality. God is the only one who can see the whole picture. He is winding things down, wrapping them up for the last inning. He’s been working on the future since He set the world in motion, and everything that happens, happens for a reason. He is working on our behalf even when we can’t see Him. If you’re going to believe in God, don’t believe that you’re better than Him. And if you’re not a believer, I suggest looking into the creation/evolution debate with an open mind.

Thirdly, once you develop a relationship with God, you begin to trust Him with everything – your pain, your life, your death, your eternity – everything. You begin to realize that maybe your life is a tool in God’s hands that He is using to bring others to Him. Whether He does that by making me famous or by allowing me to be tortured and martyred, whether I become a millionaire or whether I lose everything that’s dear to me, I want Him to accomplish His will in my life. My goal should be bringing others to Christ and encouraging other Christians to be strong enough to lead others to Christ. He created us for His own glory, and we are to lift Him up so that others may see and glorify Him.

As I type this, I’m not afraid that God will prove me just to see if I really believe what I’m saying. If He does, that’s His business. I trust Him. This life will soon be over anyway, so what happens to me between now and death doesn’t matter much. It’s my eternal destination that counts, and He’s already taken care of that!

Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.

I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me.

Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

Job 23:3-14