Monday, August 10, 2009

painting pictures of egypt

Today I spent the day with my good friend, Tammy setting up and organizing her classroom. It wasn't as bad as she tried to prepare me for. She just didn't give herself and her own organization enough credit! We had a great time going from drawer to drawer and closet to closet making sure everything had a place and that it really worked for her.If it didn't, we tried to find a way that would serve the purpose better. I loved it! Seriously, I love to organize....especially other people's stuff! :) Of course it helped that Tammy is just the sweetest person to work with...and we have so much fun together...and we listened to good music...and we had some sweet, sweet, iced tea! We were in the groove people and it never really felt like we were working. I couldn't believe how fast the time was flying by and how much we were accomplishing! We got enough done that she can go in tomorrow with her mom and get all the decorations hung and then on Wednesday (her first official day back) feel confident that she can have everything ready for her kiddos! Thanks, Tammy for letting me help! I had so much fun! I also got to see my girl, Leslie, and that is always a treat! What a blessing that these ladies get to work together again. The three of us were part of the fab five back in the day.

I have to tell you, I was a little nervous about going to help out. In no way was I worried about being with Tammy...I guess I was just worried about the attack I knew might be coming. I hadn't stepped foot in a classroom in at least a year. I was worried that just being inside a classroom, my home and life for three years, would be hard. I tried to prepare myself in advance. It helped for sure, but the enemy still found ways to sneak in thoughts that wanted to cripple me, demean me, and leave me confused and unsure.

I love, love, love the beginning of school. I love the newness of it. I love the kids in their clean new fashions and the lunch boxes that don't look like they've been run over by a bus. I love the notepads and the funky borders. I love the posters that teachers hang on the wall with encouraging quotes in hopes that the kids will actually read them. I love the smell of the school building. I love watching a child light up in understanding or gain confidence in some area or another. I love the friendships formed with other teachers and having them so close. I love all of these things and so much more. I love them so much that today I felt that dull ache in my chest as I realized just how far removed I am from it all.

The enemy spoke many words over me today. Most of them were not very nice. But, instead of caving in to them, instead of listening and believing those lies I am refuting them.

I am not missing out. Hebrews 12:1

I am not worthless. Matthew 10: 29-31

I am not only a stay at home mom. Proverbs 31: 28

I am not stupid. Psalm 139:14

I am not out of the loop. Romans 12:2

I will return to teaching if that is the Lord's plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11

I am making a difference in Lauren's life. Deuteronomy 11:19

I am contributing to my family every day. 1 Timothy 6:17

I do not need teaching to be my identity. Galatians 3:29

I believe that the enemy wanted nothing more than to destroy me today. To send me into a tailspin of self-pity, self-loathing, confusion, and fear. I am so thankful for a God who is merciful and for the lessons I learned through the bible study, Me, Myself, and Lies.

Everything comes back to a song, right? Isn't that what it has seemed like on this 'ole blog for the past great while? Well, I have another one. This song has been a song of healing for me in the past year since I quit teaching. It's another Sara Groves favorite of mine. So many times I have listened to this song and felt the truth of it wash over me anew. When I look back at teaching, I paint it in a beautiful light. I forget the long nights of grading, the parents who were quick to hurt, and the pressure that was always, always there to be do better. As I face the future as a stay at home mom, the waters are unclear...the path is not the very linear and purposeful path I stayed on to become a teacher. I knew how to teach. I knew the steps. I knew what it took. Being a mom is a completely different territory. I am not so confident. I suppose that is a very good thing. When I was teaching, I didn't rely on God like I do now. I had principals to give me evaluations, kids to hug on me, and parents to tell me I was making a difference. My affirmation was abounding - always there. Now, instead of relying on others to fill me up, I am learning to turn to God. It is just us on this journey.

Lord, please do not let me hesitate to go where you lead me or to trust you with this path you have set out for me. Let me live it to the fullest - facing the future without reservation, knowing that you hold my future in your very capable hands.

Painting Pictures of Egypt

I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me either way
The places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling after me like a long lost friend

It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable
When you move so much
The place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
It wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacked
The future seems so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I've learned
And those roads closed off to me
While my back was turned

The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy to discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
Caught between the promise
And the things I know

If it comes too quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?
If it comes too quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?


  1. Jen, I'm so proud of you for not giving in to the enemy. I'm so proud of you for staying strong and focusing on the truth and not the lies he wants you to believe. In my opinion, you have the most valuable, honorable, important job there is, a job that I hope to one day acquire. I have no doubt that’s why the enemy is fighting you. Thank you so much for today and for sharing your talent. You spread so much energy, life, and love wherever you go! I’m so blessed to call you friend.

  2. Good for you! Don't give in!! I know what you mean though, this whole staying home thing is DIFFERENT. You know me...I never wanted to stay at home....EVER!! But I am loving every step. Every time she looks at me and smiles or laughs it puts it all back into perspective. I don't miss school this year, but maybe because I have only been out since April. When I am in your boat, I'm sure I will be going through the same thing. I'll have to remember your verses!!!
    By the way, did you see that Laura DeVries is preggo!!?

  3. Great post... I know you made the right choice, and I wish I could trade places with you right now. You have the best job ever... not the easiest, but you know what I mean. You did the right thing for your family and you are right where you should be. Love you...

  4. Jen - You are so smart and such a wonderful inspiration. Love you girl!

  5. I guess I should include that MissCottageApt is Meghan Glossip!

  6. Jen, you are amazing. =) When I look at all of your pictures from Lauren's birthday, I think about how wonderful it is that you have been able to be home and make her life so full. When she's 14 or 17 these will be the memories you cherish and moments you yearn for. Being a parent is the most important and inspirational role there is...and you are doing it with style and grace.

  7. Jen, I really needed this today.(back to school kick off day) Thank you, thank you! You are such an inspiration to me right now! I will pray for us both right now, for the strength to follow what we both seem to know... where we should be at this very moment in our lives..."for a time such as this!" =)