Lessons from the Soup Line

Men Waiting Outside Al Capone Soup Kitchen

Four weeks ago yesterday, I lost my job.

Happy unemployment-versary to me.

So, while I sit here fielding rejection emails and eating chocolate chips out of the bag, I thought I would share with you some things I’ve learned:

October is a terrible time to look for a teaching job.
No one is hiring teachers in October. Seriously.
I’ve gotten on a few substitute lists for schools in the area, but do you know what also doesn’t happen in October? Sickness. No one is missing class!
Is it terrible to pray for the flu to hit a faculty? That’s bad, isn’t it…

It takes about a week and a half to watch all six seasons of The Good Wife.
Trust me. I know.

Forgiveness is a choice.
Leaving the school was not entirely my decision. Some people said (and are still saying) some ugly and hurtful things. And I’ll be honest, for a little while I was rather defensive and indignant about the entire thing. For a few fuming days, I wondered what I could do to plot their destruction and my revenge. But eventually, I realized that I wasn’t responsible for their actions, just my own.
Every moment I allowed anger and resentment to cloud my judgment was a moment I gave up control of my own choices. I was allowing their actions to dictate my attitude.
Instead, I chose to forgive – to free myself from the bondage of their decisions and allow God to use this situation for my good and His glory.

And sometimes it’s a hard one.
Giving up on resentment and revenge is only the first step of forgiveness. And it’s a relatively easy step. Moving from bondage to blessing is the really hard part.
David’s imprecatory prayers for his enemies are much easier to pray than Jesus’ prayers of blessing on His enemies.
Holding my tongue when I want to be unkind about those who wronged me is easy. It’s passive. I don’t have to struggle…much. But speaking words of kindness and blessing instead – that’s the hard part.

You can do without a lot of things.
I’ve lived on a budget pretty much my entire life. But I’ve always had income to budget. When there is no income, only outgo, you learn rather quickly what can be trimmed from an already slim plan. If possible, I’ve become even more frugal than I was before.

Toilet Paper isn’t one of them.
I may be able to do with out pedicures, haircuts, meat, and food that is within its expiration date, but there are some things you just have to break down and buy.

My family is pretty amazing.
Actually, I already knew that. My family is super cool. And the way we all step up when one of us is need doesn’t really surprise me. We’re just awesome like that.

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How to Fix a Bad Day

One of my favorite children’s books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst.

The little boy goes to sleep with gum in his mouth, and wakes up with gum in his hair…and the day only gets worse from there. It is definitely a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Sometimes my day is like that.

Sometimes my life is like that.

Sometimes, I feel like singing, “It hasn’t been my day, my week, my month, or even my year.”

Some days are just a…

Bad DayWe’re tempted to whine and complain like the little boy in the book. We’re tempted to wallow in our misery and tell everyone within earshot how horrible our life is. We’re tempted to lie on the floor and kick and scream for all we’re worth.

…or at least burn a scathing swath across Facebook.

Unfortunately, that’s not in the job description of Being a Grown Up.

So, what do you do when life hands you a heapin’ plate of trouble? Continue reading

When We Come to the End

Note: It’s been a while since TIC was updated. (My students remind me of this quite often.) It’s not that nothing has been happening. In fact…quite the opposite…

“Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” ~Jim Elliot

Two months ago, I submitted my resignation to the school at which I currently teach. Many circumstances and a plethora of prayer led to this decision, and I knew it was the right thing to do. Continue reading

Of Coffee and Choir Risers

I sat in the pew during the testimony time of our Wednesday night service. Discouragement and discontent pooled at my feet. One by one, members of my church family gave testimonies of healing and victory. It had apparently been an amazing week of God’s working. But each new revelation of God’s power, instead of encouraging me, sent me farther and farther into my puddle of pity.
I grumbled in my soul. Why isn’t God meeting MY need?! Are my needs not important, too? And it’s not just for me. It’s for my students. It’s for my ministry! Shouldn’t that get some sort of priority??

Continue reading

Fiery Darts and the Shield of Faith

Last Thursday, I spoke to our Ladies’ Group at church. It was a nerve-wracking experience. …Not because I’m afraid of public speaking – on the contrary – I revel in it. (I don’t know if it’s because my life is fueled by high-strung stress, or if it’s because I just truly enjoy being the center of attention, imparting my well-researched, methodically organized, logically outlined and alliterated knowledge to the world.) But this…speaking before a group of ladies…occupying a lectern that so many Godly women – far more worthy than I – had occupied…sharing a burden, a calling, that God had so deeply impressed on my heart…this was terrifying.
I had prepared the lesson that I felt was what God would have me give – or at least I tried to. Continue reading