Oh Lord, thank you so much for pouring down your blessings on me.
This has been one crazy exhausting week - to say the least, the VERY least (and it's only Wednesday) but tonight as I started to post a simple status update on Facebook I thought - I really need to blog about that. The thought just kept growing and there would be no way to explain it and share it in a status update - not one that would do it justice anyways.
So I've learned (sometime in my 31 years) that sometimes the things we dread the most can turn into the most incredible moments. I've had some of those times over the past few weeks. A couple of weeks, for example, I had an appointment. It was about an hour drive away and I really went into it thinking it was kind of pointless. I dreaded it. I wasn't looking forward to it at all. But when it was all over with I couldn't stop smiling. I ENJOYED it, thoroughly. I literally laughed the whole way home thinking about it. My entire opinion of the situation has changed now and I'm actually excited about the experience.
I know that we choose our attitudes and I think for the most part I generally have a great attitude, but sometimes I pout and groan about HAVING to do certain things that I dread doing and in the end I realize that if I had spent half the energy I spent pouting and moping I would have finished the task earlier and saved myself some grief. I know that I'm not alone in this right?
Wait, I got ahead of myself - do you ever feel like your brain is a pinball machine? I mean first I think one thought then like a ball on the paddleboards the thought takes off in a different direction, gains momentum and then in a flash I'm thinking something else totally. That's what happened tonight.
I was going to post a simple thought I had. "If you ever want to feel God's love for you spend some quality time with a child." But then I though I had to clarify or quantify the statement. First kids are honest and they're thought process is like that pinball game - ON CRACK. Just the other day I was talking with a little girl looking for some sidewalk chalk and out of nowhere she says to me, "Do you think Owen's being good up in heaven?" Her comment surprised me and blessed me all at once. I know that this child LOVED Owen and her parents talked to her and her brother a lot about Owen. They prayed for him all of the time. And it blessed me to know that there are some children who will never forget him and will think of him out of the blue and remember they love him. I wasn't planning on her asking me that question so I did what most adults do when they don't have an immediate answer - I answered her with a question. I mean I've honestly never wondered if he was being good - I just think he's happy and safe - and I assume everyone would behave in heaven? So I asked her "What do you think?" She said, "I think he's being good because he loves you and he wants to be good for you and God." Wow. She's four years old and she has the biggest heart. I'm so thankful that God has called me into the education field. It's my job to spend quality time with children. I get paid to love them and talk to them and listen to them and teach them. But I get blessed when I take time to see things from their point of view and allow them to truly teach me.
So, I was thinking about how taking time with children can really bless you and I thought about Blue Springs today. If you're not from here let me just tell you Blue Springs is burr-cold. Imagine swimming in a wading pool of ice - well its about 15 degrees colder than that. Plus, I haven't really pranced around in public in a bathing suit in years (didn't really think about that job requirement when I signed up). And not to mention it's 800 degrees outside - there's little shade and you basically have no choice but to get into the water. It's a weird mix of emotions for me - I really looked forward to Blue Springs Days because I knew the kids were going to LOVE it but I was really dreading them for myself. Turns out Blue Spring Days have been an incredible blessing.
Last week, I found myself surrounded by familiar loving faces of students I've had the privilege of teaching. Kids are funny (in case you didn't know). I prefer being neck deep in the freezing water so I don't mind hanging out with them in the water and talking with them. In fact, I've had several good conversations with kids out there the past few weeks. But today at Blue Springs there was a child I recognized but didn't know and had never taught before. I had only seen him from a distance at church and I knew his name but I know he didn't know me. He had a minor meltdown because he fell off a float and was very upset and I was the closest adult so I helped him. I was able to calm him down and he went on about playing but a few minutes later he came up to me with a big smile and threw open his arms and said I just want to give you a hug.
I'm reminded of something a wise woman once told me. She was sharing an experience she had and she explained to me that sometimes we dread something so much (or maybe even fear something so much) that we allow ourselves to get in God's way. We let our fear, our doubt, our insecurities, even our own dread, get in the way of God using us to bless someone or maybe even get in the way of God blessing us.
I guess I just think it's funny that the things I've dreaded so much in the past few weeks have ended up bringing me such joy and real blessings. I keep telling a friend who I think worries too much that worry is interest paid on a debt we may never owe, but I am beginning to think that worry and dread are partners in crime - they both keep us from going into experiences with our best attitudes.
Part of me thinks maybe I should start dreading everything just so I can really see the good that comes from it but the rational part of me says maybe I should realize that there's no place for dread and worry in my life - God will see me through anything.
If you were able to muddle through this blog then you can probably manage out at Blue Springs. Sorry it was a bit of a mess but the moral in case you missed it was A) love a child, spend quality time with them and be blessed and B) the dreading part is usually worse than whatever it is you're dreading - so don't waste that energy.