Saturday, November 15, 2008

Still Learning

Well, the last few weeks have been busy, busy, busy! I can always tell that the holidays are approaching when our schedules get busier and when it seems like we have activities every night of the week. Although the pace of life has picked up dramatically, things have been really good and God has blessed us immensely! I feel like God is teaching us new things everyday, and we are trying so hard to pick up on what it is that we are suppose to be doing.

We have gotten our house in enough order to have people over for dinner the last two Fridays. Wahoo! It always feels rewarding to work so hard and feel like a project it finally done. . . or getting that way. We have a few more pictures to hang, but otherwise, our house looks great. It is beginning to feel like our home!

I also started substitute teaching this last week, so my schedule has been pretty crazy. The biggest transition I have had to make has been with my sleep. I am kind of weak when it comes to sleep and need AT LEAST 7 hours in order to function at a decent level. Since I hadn't really been working before this week, I got use to staying up late with Reed till midnight or later, most nights and didn't wake up until around 8:30 a.m. But with teaching, I just can't do that. My first job was on Wednesday where I had to be at the school in downtown Columbus by 7:15 a.m. I had to get up at 5:00 a.m., which was brutal. I also didn't get a real lunch break, which made for a LONG day, with low energy!

I am hoping that my first day of subbing, will go down in my history book as being the worst subbing experience I will ever have! The day really was horrible and didn't seem to go by fast enough. I was teaching high school math at a downtown high school, where I was definitely at a HUGE disadvantage. This was a school where students only make it to class 2 to 3 days a week, if the teacher is lucky. I witnessed a fight right outside my classroom before the day had even started. During first period, a student came into my class a half hour into things with blood all over his right hand and arm, and with his face all scratched up and bleeding. He had just been in a fight and proceeded to interrupt the class by explaining to the class what he had just done. Because he had a tardy slip from the office, I wasn't sure if the office already knew about the fight, or if it happened on his way to class. And I also didn't know the protocol, since I was just the sub. It was crazy! The kids were so disrespectful the whole entire day. I didn't have control of a single class. I was SO out of my comfort zone and felt like I couldn't make a difference being there. All I did was play refferie with kids fighting in the classroom and asked students to stop cussing, be disrespectful, get off the computers, sit down and do class work. It was CRAZY! I had great support from the other teachers around me and the administration, but it was definitely not where I should be teaching. I am just not equipped to handle these students. The whole experience made me SO sad. My heart was broken for these kids! They need Jesus so badly and just need role models in their lives to show them how to treat adults, women, and each other! They need godly men to raise them and show them how to be real men and godly women to show them how to be respectful to men and be captivating. I went home and just couldn't help but cry and be sad for them and felt like a complete failure!

The one thing that I have struggled with in my life, more often than anything else, has been control. And Satan knows this and always tries to make me aware of how out of control I truly am. The fact that I had no control in this classroom just devastated me! I kept thinking about how teaching just may not be the thing for me and how horrible of a person I was for even thinking that I could handle it. I was dwelling on these lies all day long, which produced so much anxiety in my head and in my heart! And anxiety is something I struggle with anyway, so it was pretty bad. I realize now that the inner battle I was having, was definitely spiritual.

The whole experience made me realize how important memorizing scripture really is. And though I would love to tell you that every time I had a negative thought run through my brain, I thought of a verse from God's Word that encouraged me, this just did not happen. It wasn't until I was at home, in my own tears, that I realized the real battle that was going on that day. Satan wanted to make sure I knew how real he was in this world, and it truly broke my heart.

After spending some time in my own sorrow, I put myself back together and headed off to church, to work with the elementary kids for our Wednesday night program.
Suddenly the kids that usually "act up" and drive me crazy, didn't seem so bad and actually looked like little angels. This is when God opened my eyes to see how there is still good and hope in this world! I suddenly loved the most troublesome kid in that room, and it made me excited. It made me excited to know that I actually do have a chance to try to change things for some kids, and I had hope for this world. The kids at our church are trying SO hard to follow Christ, and it is refreshing!

I suddenly was excited to teach again. Although it is hard to explain the transformation I had on Wednesday, I know that I am forever changed. Isn't it amazing how many times, God uses kids to redirect you and open your eyes to His love and goodness?

On Thursday, I had the opportunity to teach middle schoolers. I absolutely had an AMAZING day! I love these kids! Especially the 6th graders! This is such a transition time for these kids! This is where I want to focus and try to get to them before they become like the high schoolers I encountered Wednesday. These kids have not yet given up hope in this world and haven't given in to the "survival of the fittest" mentality. The window of opportunity is SO small at this time for these kids. They learn so quickly how evil this world really is and sadly give in, so easily, because it is the easy way out and Satan makes things appear to be safe and so appealing.

This is where I want to invest my time and energy! I want to make a difference in these kids' lives! I remember the transition I made during this time of my life, as well. Although I tried to stay the course of the Christian life, I did struggle and had so many friends that went astray. I wanted, so badly, to be popular and have kids like me. What happened each day at school consumed all of my thoughts. I wanted to have the fun and pretty girls want to be my friends and I wanted the most popular boys to be my boyfriends and want to hang out with me. And that was what consumed my thoughts. Looking back, it seems so ridiculous, but I know that some of the events that happened those years made huge impressions on my life.

So with all of that said. . . I want to teach and I am so excited about this new adventure I am on! I am teaching at a middle school again on Monday, which I am really excited about!

But God is not just teaching me! I am encouraged, everyday, when Reed comes home and tells me of the things God has been teaching him, as well. He is growing SO MUCH and I just LOVE watching him become the man that God designed him to be! I can't think of another person who tries so hard to do it right. I am so proud of him! I still don't understand how I got to be so lucky. I love being his partner in ministry! I feel so blessed to have such a great man by my side!

God is GOOD!


Sasha said...

wow! it sounds like you had quite a struggle, what a blessing - though - that you're able to recognize the root of that struggle! and how encouraging to have a great experience and new insight so quickly! I've heard it said a thousand times and I believe it's true ... when the devil knows we're getting on the right track, he'll do anything to get us off! be encouraged and may God be with you and continue to truly bless you!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Audrey. What a week you have had. I am so happy for you that you are where you want to be now, that sounds just perfect for you to be teaching those kids, leading them. Wishing you a great next week. Thanks for being you, and staying strong always through everything this world puts at you, luv ya for that. I will be prayin'

Brandy said...

Isn't is amazing how God uses the bad experience to open your eyes to other opportunities? I probably would of quit after the first day.

Ethel said...

I'm so proud of you for not quitting and for being faithful to God. Sometimes extraordinary people have to go through trouble to gain strength for their future. It happened to Joseph and would happen to us. God is teaching you so much and I praise him for it.
Thanks for sharing with us, your experience is uplifting =)