Sundays With Rae

a blog for women by a woman who is trying to get her life together while still loving Jesus

Stay There

As a special education teacher, many of my students have a clinical diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which basically means they can’t sit still for very long and have difficulty focusing on one task. I know experts say “they’re” over-diagnosing kids and putting them on medicine unnecessarily, but I am a witness that there are some children who do in fact have this condition. No matter how many times I say, stay, they go. No matter how many times they ask me the directions and I repeat myself, they still do the opposite. As adults, many of us display these same symptoms when God tells us to stay in a particular situation.

Stay at that job. Stay at that school. Stay in that class. Stay in that church. Stay in that marriage. Stay there. No matter how many distractions come your way, stay where God placed you. I repeat, stay where GOD placed you. We’re always ready to chase a dream, chase a purpose, chase a career, chase a man, we just chase whatever, but sometimes God is telling us to run in place. He’s preparing us for where we’re going. If you’re like me, sometimes you seek God for guidance, AFTER you’ve made up in your mind what you’re going to do. This is nothing new for God. The remnant of Judah had already decided to go to Egypt where they thought it was safe, consulted God on the back end, only for Him to tell them to stay put (Jeremiah 42). Just like us sometimes, they didn’t listen and destruction met them in Egypt just like God said it would.

We think better is somewhere else, when instead it’s right where we are. I believe God has big plans for my life and He is taking me places and I also believe He has plans for where I am right now. Don’t take for granted what God has already given you because your eyes are fixed somewhere else. My students notice every sound and movement outside of themselves. They often have a hard time simply being who they are, where they are, missing out on important details and moments. These same students with medicine, in some cases, a lot of redirection, and a lot of opportunities to get it right, find a way to be where they belong. Trust God with where He has you, and stay there, come what may. It may not be comfortable, it may be contradictory to YOUR plan, it may take too long in your opinion, but we can never go wrong being obedient to what God is telling us to do. So if He’s telling you to stay there, stay there.

Jeremiah 42:10 If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.

July 2019

To Teach at My School

If you’re a teacher at my school, you learn quickly that nearly half the students in your class are not wearing clean clothes. You’re no beautician but you’ve learned to twist hair and make ponytails. You know 1st graders cuss better than sailors. You know some students will tear up your classroom in the morning then ask you for a hug in the afternoon. You know there is a child who shows up to school like it’s a part time job, only coming a few days a week. If you thought children didn’t suffer with mental health issues, some of your students have proven you wrong. Even if you didn’t grow up below the poverty line, if you teach at my school you have intimate details of what it looks like. It’s not surprising to you that some parents take your call and others don’t have a working number on file. You don’t use standardized test to measure your effectiveness in the classroom, because you know most of the 4th graders in your class are reading at a 2nd grade level and you’re just happy they started writing their name with a capital letter. You want to forgive and forget the actions of these students who are often times just a product of their environment, but truth be told, there are some students you simply wish to forget. 

You question if you’ve made a mistake by going into this profession. Every other week you contemplate turning in a resignation later, but for whatever reason, you don’t. You pray today will be better than yesterday, and sometimes it is, while other times better is far away. People tell you that just because you can’t see the difference doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference. It sounds good, but it wasn’t quite what you had in mind when you signed up for this job. And as the years go on, it is painstakingly clear this is the job if you teach at this school. You could work somewhere else, but you choose here. Every day you show up, you choose this job, you choose this school, you choose this community, you choose these students. If you’re a teacher at my school and you’re not up for the job, you may in fact want to choose something else.

I went to a retirement party at the school I previously taught at and I was inspired to keep choosing teaching. It is not for the faint of heart at any school and when you choose a school in a particular area, you better be sure it’s what you want to do. I’m still figuring out the how of teaching, like how do I show love and discipline, and how do I set my expectations high while still placing them within reach. The two teachers who were celebrated at the retirement party reminded me to keep remembering “my why,” and the how will follow. I’m grateful to be in a position where I can choose my career and I choose to teach where I teach because I believe God has given me a unique ability to foster light in children no matter what kind of darkness they face. I am the light of the world and God has graced me to share that light with His children.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Light. (March 2019)

Tip Tuesday: Figuring Out Life

Freshmen year of college I was trying to figure out life and how to be a figure skater (December 2008)

Freshmen year of college I was trying to figure out life and how to be a figure skater (December 2008)

I recently attended a friend’s art show and it was amazing to see him pursuing his dream. It made me reflect on this past month or so, as I struggled with trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, why God put me here. I had considered not only switching jobs, but a complete career change. I even contemplated going back to school! Whether you’re in your senior year of college and unsure about your major or you’ve been at the same job for ten years and want to do something else, here are three tips to help you while you’re figuring out life:

Let Go

Often times, it’s difficult to take a leap of faith, to leave your comfort zone. I recall clearly praying one afternoon, and God telling me to “let it go.” I knew exactly what He was talking about and I said, “okay.” It hasn’t always been that easy for me. I usually don’t let go unless I have clearly outlined where my letting go would take me. But I got tired of trying to figure things out on my own. I got tired of obsessing over every little detail of my life, feeling as though I would miss something if things did not go according to MY plan (not God’s plan). So I let go. I let go of my plan. I let go of how crazy people might think I am. I let go of what was familiar. I thought about the story of Paul and how he was this man who was persecuting Christians, then all of a sudden became a disciple of Christ. He had to let go of who he was before the road to Damascus, to become the man we know him as today. Paul had been known all over for what he had done to Christians, just as we may be known as the therapist or the basketball player or the homemaker, but sometimes we have to let go of those identities to focus on who God called us to be.

Acts 9:18, 20 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized… And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Trust the Process

Embrace the journey. Stop to smell the roses. People have different ways of saying it but the message remains the same: live life. We spend so much time planning life that we forget to live it. We think if we miss a deadline for an application or we haven’t moved up the corporate ladder as fast as we thought we would, that our lives are over. Once you let go of “the plan,” don’t allow yourself to be consumed with what’s next, enjoy right now. You are doing what you are supposed to be doing. This is not to say we shouldn’t plan for our futures, but we also shouldn’t let the present escape us. You’ve consulted with God and decided you need to find a new job, great! Continue to pray, put out a few applications, look into other careers. Allow this to be part of your day, not all of your day. Take the time to enjoy the parts (or the people) at your current job you do like. If you’re having a hard time getting your mind off of what’s next, pick up that book you bought a year ago, go to that dance class you keep saying you’re going to, take that vacation you’ve been talking about. Keep living. As long as we’re keeping God in the loop, every place we are in life is a step towards where he wants us to be. What we think we want right now, we probably can’t handle right now. Trust the timing, trust the process.

Habakkuk 2:3  For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Believe God

You know what God told you, but it’s been weeks since you heard it and fear and doubt (the devil), has crept in. You start questioning if putting in your two weeks notice was the right decision or worry if you wasted your time getting those recommendations for your grad school application. Even with these concerns, you know what God told you. A friend of mine posted a quote the other day which read: “Faith and fear both require you to believe in something you cannot see… You choose.” There have been so many times when I have felt fear, and I allowed myself to think I had to believe that fear, but I have gotten to a place where I believe God. God is bigger than fear. He is bigger than my worries. He is bigger than my dreams. And because I know what he told me, I believe God.

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?