When the Brook Dries Up

In the Old Testament we are told of a prophet, Elijah, who told the wicked king Ahab that God was going to send a drought on the land because of the sinful leadership of Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. For three years Elijah said there would be no rain. Elijah then made camp at the brook Cherith where God told him the ravens would bring him food.

Day and night the ravens brought Elijah food and he drank from the brook. But then because of no rain, the brook died up.

Now what? Elijah had obeyed God and defied the king putting his own life in jeopardy and the provision that God had told him would be his at the brook was now gone.

The brook dried up.

Have you had those moments in your life? Times when you felt you were obeying God and trying to live in a way that was pleasing to him – but your brook dried up.

Maybe you had struggled to help someone in need – and they rejected your help or accepted your help and then rejected you.

Maybe you started a job or a project with great enthusiasm, but things did not go as you expected. You lost the job or the job became a burden instead of the joy you first had felt. The project was a big failure or someone else came along and took over and changed your ideas or took credit for your work.

Maybe you were losing weight and exercising and then you got very sick and could not continue with the exercise program and gained all your wieght back.

The list could go on and on about times when we lost hope, lost enthusiasm, lost joy in something we were doing that we felt was exactly what God wanted.

I think today of the teachers, the nurses, the retail workers, the truck drivers who have been subjected to such chaos that many have felt the brook has dried up for them.

What do we do when the brook dries up?

For Elijah God told him to go to another place. He sent him to a widow woman who was getting ready to fix a last meal for her and her son and then prepare to die as they had no more food left. Elijah told her to fix a meal for him first and then her and her son. As she acted in obedience to the man of God, God caused the meal and oil she had to not run out. She provided for both her son, herself and Elijah until the drought was over.

There is much we could pull from this, but the thing that stands out to me is that when the brook dried up, God still made a way of provision for Elijah.

If you read the rest of the story in the Bible you will see that as a result of Elijah’s journey not only were Elijah’s needs met, but he was an instrument to bring blessing to the woman and her son.

So what do we do when the brook dries up?

Like Elijah we continue to trust God seeking His guidance.

Like Elijah we continue to be open not only to our own needs but ask God to give us the insight, the compassion we need to be willing to help others in spite of our own state of discouragement.

Like Elijah we believe that God can bring good things from this time of a dried brook.

As I write these words I realize it is so easy to say these things, not so easy to actually do them when we are in that valley of discouragement.

For those who may find themselves there, I pray for God’s strength and peace will be yours as you wait for the rain.

This Day Changed Everything

Several years ago on this day (I will not say how many – that’s for my daughter to tell) I became a mother for the first time.

What an awesome moment – the moment I held her in my arms.

I whispered to her how we were going to be such good friends.  We had books to read, flowers to pick, songs to sing and so much more!  What dreams I had for her.

Today as I look at my “little” girl who is now herself not only a mother, but a grandmother, I still see the little girl in her eyes.

As we have walked through life together, we have experienced both joy and sorrow.  We have laughed and cried together and a few times even argued with each other.  But through it all one thing has remained strong – our love for one another.

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Growing old myself, looking back on my life I think how I have never been famous or accomplished any great achievement.

Then I look at this daughter – a school teacher, who really loves her students and I see how many lives she has touched.  How many children came to love learning because of her interest and love for them.  How many children experienced for the first time a sense of their own ability because of her encouragement to them.  How many parents she has helped understand how to help their own children.

I see the beautiful hats she knits for each student at Valentine’s Day, the fleece blankets she has given to many at Christmas.  The hats she knits for cancer survivors.  The homeless she has fed.

If I had even a small part in helping her to become the caring person she is – then I have achieved much!

Today, on her birthday, I share some quotes about mothers/daughters that I love.

  • “A daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be your best friend.” – Unknown
  • “Mother and daughter never truly part, maybe in distance but never in heart.” – Unknown
  • “Someday when the pages of my life end, I know that you will be one of the most beautiful chapters.” – Unknown
  • “A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future.” – Unknown
  • A daughter is God’s way of saying, ‘thought you could use a lifelong friend.’” – Unknown
  • A mother’s treasure is her daughter.” – Catherine Pulsifer

And just in case she reads this blog today – here’s one for you, Beka Boo

  • “What’s it like to have the greatest daughter in the world? I don’t know ask your grandmother.” – Unknown

More Than One Way to Share the Love!

I recently wrote about one of my daughters who has grown up to be a minister and just happens to also be my pastor.

What she does every day is great – studying God’s Word to share with her congregation, counseling, advising those struggling with problems, sharing in the lives of the people in both good times and bad.  Is is bragging to say I am proud of her?

But my second daughter also shares the love of God every day – in a different way.  While she never stands in a pulpit or formally counsels people, she has a ministry too.

She is a grade school teacher.  Every week Monday through Friday she not only teaches children how to read, write, do math, but she also has to be a therapist, a nurse, a disciplinarian, a comforter, and often serves as a safety net for those children who come to school without breakfast, or who have seen and even experienced violence in the home.

She is one of those teachers who goes above and beyond.  Every year at Valentine’s day she knits caps for every one of her students.  She spends a lot of her own money buying supplies for the students and special additions to her classroom.

Along with the day in the classroom, she spends hours planning lessons, grading tests, and sadly has to spend too many hours dealing with all the red tape the government now demands of our teachers.

I found some information from Corey Murray, a veteran education editor, writer and content producer that shares some of the reasons I so admire my daughter – and all those who teach our children.

If you were offered a job that paid an average annual salary of $49,000 and required you to work 12- to 16-hour days, would you take it?

Sounds like a lot of work for not much pay.  But, as a new infographic shows, that’s about what the average U.S. teacher can expcet when walking into a classroom.

Despite the conventional wisdom that K–12 teachers work shorter days (the average U.S. school day is 6.7 hours, according to the National Center for Education Statistics), the graphic, from BusyTeacher.org, shows that the average teacher workday is much longer than that. In addition to a full day in front of the classroom (the graphic pegs the average school day at eight hours), teachers are expected to arrive at school at least an hour before school begins, and many stay an average of three to five hours beyond the traditional school day for meetings, grading, and other administrative or volunteer activities. That doesn’t even include the amount of time they spend counseling students, serving as role models and doing work that goes above and beyond the traditional job description.

OK. But it all balances out, right? Teachers still only work nine months of the year. They still get summers off.

If you believe that then you probably don’t know many teachers. As the infographic shows, most teachers devote a good portion of their summer “break” to preparing for the upcoming school year. That includes two to four weeks for continuing education, three weeks for curriculum planning, and another four weeks for training, classroom setup and preparation. These hours further increase when you factor in the time teachers spend learning how to use and integrate technologies.

Next time someone tells you the nation’s teachers have it easy, or suggests cutting salaries to save a little cash, share some of the statistics below.

Who can say the long-term influence my daughter has on all the lives she has reached over the years?  Her ministry is so important – and I’m proud of her.

 

Prayers for Our Children Returning to School

It’s that time again!  Off our children and grandchildren go to school.

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School used to be a pretty safe place to be.  In my generation many of us walked to school and back and no one worried about us being harmed in our walk.  School was one of the safest places children could be.

Sadly, that is not true today.  Not only do we have shootings in school but there we now worry about bullies and even about some of the teaching our older kids may receive.

Truly, school time is a time for us to pray for our children.

Along with prayers for safety, may I suggest the following:

  1. I pray you will be near them when I can’t be.
  2. I pray if they don’t feel your presence, they will seek you and discover you’re right there with them.
  3. I pray you will surround them with peace and comfort in every new situation.
  4. I pray when they are pressured, you will help them stand.
  5. I pray they find one good friend, a brother or sister in Christ because it’s hard to stand alone.
  6. I pray when they fail, they will forgive themselves and try again.
  7. I pray my kids will befriend those that are new, lonely or both.
  8. I pray they will be a blessing to their teacher and not a curse.
  9. I pray you will bless them with Godly teachers.
  10. I pray they will let their light shine, quietly or loudly, but in their own way.
  11. I pray above all, God, that you would use their challenges, disappointments and victories to draw them closer to you this school year.

And while you are praying for the children, don’t forget the teachers.