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Life as a Metro System

9 May

Sometimes my life and interests seem so fragmented and even random.  I did the diagram below to try to make some sense out of my life and see where strands come together.

One thing leads to another, for example I’m doing a deep study on the book of Isaiah, which leads me to a course on Bible Arcing where you connect the propositions in the verses with one of 18 Logical Relationships to help with the understanding of Scripture.  I’M TERRIBLE AT IT! I mean it’s kind of frightening how bad I am at it.

This led me to apply what I know about Growth Mindset to my work.  I remind myself that I’m not good at this, YET!

Knowing what I know about scaffolding, or supporting, learners, I decided to do sentence diagramming as it too depends upon logical relationships, but is easier than Bible Arcing. I also felt like I had to learn more about learning, so I am taking two courses from Coursera: Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects and Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential. (These courses are free and from well-known universities. If you haven’t taken advantage of free courses called MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by many of the best universities in the world, you should check it out.)

One powerful tool that has come out of this is that I am now learning the Pomodoro Method, which is a simple, but effective method of keeping you focused and on track in your learning.

All of this came out of the diagram I made–My Life as a Metro System–to help me to perhaps see and understand God’s purpose for my life and my desire to study Scripture well. I’m not saying that I understand His purpose, but I am loving digging deeper into the Scriptures.

Going Away

2 Jan

20161224_152050Sometimes I find statements that make me reflect upon life in the oddest places, like this quote from a Maisie Dobbs mystery:

“I’ll tell you this.  Leaving that which you love breaks your heart open.  But you will find a jewel inside, and this precious jewel is the opening of your heart to all that is new and all that is different, and it will be the making of you–if you allow it to be.”

Seventeen and a half years ago, I left that which I loved much–my family–to go on the mission field in Ecuador with my husband.  He did not have to drag me along–I was a more than willing participant, but my family–especially our sons, their wives, and our grandchildren will never know how difficult it was to say goodbye and continue to say goodbye for the next 17+ years.  My heart has been broken wide open many times–like the first Christmas when we went out for dinner and I could not stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks.  Like when trying to decide whether to get on a plane or not during times of family tragedy. Like saying “no” when our sons wanted us to return home.  Heart-rendingly difficult.

I’ve brought so many jewels back with me as we’ve transitioned back to the states:

  • A new appreciation for the United States of America as well as an understanding of what the United States could learn from other cultures.
  • Gratitude for the husband God has gifted me with.  He is a man that I can count on to have God’s will in the center and who gives great grace.  He makes me laugh, and puts the daily difficulties of life into an eternal perspective. His quirks make me love him all the more.
  • A flexibility that I know I would never have learned in the United States as it is a flexibility learned from grappling with cultural differences.
  • A passionate love for the Word of God which sustains me.
  • A deeper, calmer faith forged during the challenges on the mission field.
  • An ever quickening love for my Lord and Savior.

Please, don’t think I’m trying to make myself sound like some sort of spiritual giant–I’m far from it. For proof of that, read my blog post Woe is Me from last week. I’m sifting through the jewels that God has given me.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

 

Good Thought/Bad Thought

10 May

Lord, your thoughts toward me are more plentiful than the flowers you've sown.

As I’ve worked my way through the first chapter of Jennifer Rothschild’s Bible Study Self Talk Soul Talk, I’ve come to identify with the following verse (in a negative way).

I spread out My hands all day long
to a rebellious people
who walk in the wrong path,
following their own thoughts. Isaiah 65:2 HCSB

Now, I love being convicted by the Holy Spirit.  I look on it as God’s loving hand guiding me along the path.  I often walk in the wrong path following my own thoughts because I am (drum roll please) a master at compartmentalizing.  When I’m at school I think about school.  When I’m at home I think about home.  When I’m at church (well, you get the idea).  It is easy for me to compartmentalize God out of my day.  During my morning quiet time He’s very present in my thought life.  I want Him to be in my thought-life ALL day long.  So I’m continuing to write “precious” on my hand when I leave the house so that I will remember that:

And to me how precious have been Thy thoughts, O God, how great hath been their sum! Psalm 139:17 Young’s Literal Translation

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful!
God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them—
any more than I could count the sand of the sea.  Psalm 139:17  The Message