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Saturday, February 16, 2013

What I Had In Mind

     In every class I teach there is something for me to learn. It may come through my interaction with students, or through new materials, through other teachers, or even parents. This week’s lesson began when the mother of God’s problem student of the semester finally responded, on day 17, to my email of day 1 wanting to schedule a conference at my earliest convenience.
     My earliest convenience was the following week, when the busy schedules of the principal, district literacy coach, and me all aligned. But that wasn’t the earliest convenience the mother had in mind. Maybe she would have preferred a more direct, “Your daughter is rude, disrespectful and disruptive,” to my more professionally euphemistic email: “Susie is being sent out of class because she chooses to not follow the classroom expectations.”
     But one phone call from Mother Bear to the guidance counselor laid waste my carefully chosen words and synchronized earliest convenience schedule as I was informed that we would be meeting at her earliest inconvenience, which was the next day. I guess the best way to express my feelings is “stirred up.” I was distracted, but attempting to stay at peace.
     Finding most of my support network unavailable, I chatted to myself, rehearsing what I would say, knowing all the while I wouldn’t say any of it. I told the Lord flat out, “I really would rather not meet with her tomorrow. It isn’t the way I believe it should be done and I really don’t know what to say to the woman.” Still, many things came to mind. Several times, I’d stop myself and say, “Lord, you know I really don’t want to keep thinking about this. I know you are going to have me say what you want. I just want to stay at peace and focus on something else.”
     Finally, at bedtime, I asked the Lord, “Why am I so obsessed with this? Why can’t I just get beyond it? I’m tired of thinking about it but I can’t move on. Please help me.” And as the next few thoughts begged for entertainment I was able to refuse them and to fall asleep.
     During my breakfast with the Lord the following morning, I read as I was led, journaling my thoughts and acknowledging what His Spirit was revealing. “It is not circumstances but yourself that needs changing,” I read in one place. Thank you for using this to remind me that I can defend myself, but if I do, You can’t, I wrote.
     Then He led me to the following passage by Andrew Murray:
A vessel into which anything precious is to be poured must first be cleansed. So, if the Lord is to give you a new and full blessing, cleansing must also take place… resolve to undergo a complete transformation.
     “Be filled with the Spirit,” He said.
    Some might call it an epiphany, or an aha moment. I call it revelation... His mind is revealed, His plan is revealed, and you KNOW that you know: To make room for His Spirit to fill me, all the other stuff has to come out. We must be continually emptied of ourselves in order to be continually filled with His Spirit. Being filled with His Spirit can only happen when we are empty vessels. All of my efforts to suppress it and take authority over it were futile – my feelings and frustrations had to bubble to the surface and be skimmed away by the Master’s Hand. This answers a prayer (Jabez) I’ve returned to for the ministry He has called me to: “…That Your hand would be with me…” Amen!
     The continual cleansing and sanctification brings us to the emptiness which He can then continually fill and use for His Divine Will and Purpose.
     What happened with Mother Bear? She never received the message to come at her earliest convenience. The meeting will be next week after all. I won’t be surprised if it’s pushed another day to my earliest convenience due to some circumstance beyond our control.

Post Script
The following morning, in my restfully unstructured Saturday quiet time, I read this from Every Day With Jesus, by Selwyn Hughes: 
 ‘Repressed instincts are like bad boys (or girls?) who, when put out of class, retaliate by throwing stones at the windows’ (Hadfield). It is better to keep the bad boys (or girls) in class, and teach them to direct their energies toward better ends. We must allow the Holy Spirit to take them over.
…and I smile at what God had in mind.