Sunday, August 8, 2010


I have not written on my blog since I moved into my house over 4 months ago! I'll be starting school in a little over a week, so I'm sure I'll have some funny stories to share at that time. Nothing too funny tonight, though. My mind is swirling with thoughts.

As with every summer that I don't teach, I am able to do a lot of introspection. During the school year, my thoughts are so scattered, and it's always nice to have a retreat during the summer to figure out at least a few of the many issues that plague me. This summer has thankfully been no different.

The first major theme that I have noticed in myself is how little I truly believe about God. For example, I was reading, "The one who comes to me I will by no means cast out," and "His compassions fail not. They are new every morning." As I read these beautiful words, I catch myself thinking, "How wonderful would that be if it were true..." That sounds quite sacrilegious, and it scares me that people will read it and judge me for even typing it out. But I must be honest. I live most days like the gospel is not true! I often live in so much fear that it cripples me and keeps me from loving and serving others (and worshipping God!) the way I am meant to.

I acknowledge that I believe in my inability to save myself, and the fact that only Jesus can reconcile me to God. Why, then, do I care so much more about how others view me than how my wonderful God has provided a way for me to actually know Him? My actions and entire life would look so different if I truly believed Scripture and applied it to my life daily.

My fears (which flesh themselves out in many facets of my life) would be helped so much if I simply believed that I will not be cast out! God has accepted me, because of Christ, and He will never leave me nor forsake me! His Spirit helps me in my weakness! His steadfast love never ceases! Nothing can separate me from Him! How freeing these truths are! God, help me to believe. Give me faith that cannot be shaken. What a God-honoring and fulfilling life I can lead, if these are the things I choose to dwell on, instead of my fears.

The second theme of the summer for me is that I don't really know how to read my Bible well. I recently realized that until I joined TCC a few years ago, most of the Bible studies I had been a part of in my life were topical, or randomly chosen sections of Scripture. I think this is why I have such a hard time knowing where to start reading, or how to diligently work through a particular book or section of Scripture on my own. I am thankful for understanding my need for this, because all the things I mentioned earlier will be greatly affected by my ability to read and understand God's word. Reading the Bible consistently instead of just randomly will enable me to see overarching themes of God's great plan, which I think will increase my faith.

My favorite hymn, How Firm a Foundation, keeps coming to mind. I put it on my blog a lot, but I think that's ok, because it's just that good :) Here it is again!

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you he hath said -
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

Fear not, I am with Thee, oh be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my gracious omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow.
For I will be with thee thy trouble to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress. ***Side note from me: No life situation is wasted!***

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace all-sufficient shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not harm thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

The soul that on Jesus doth lean for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes.
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake.

I'm quite thankful and encouraged right now :) Thank you God.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I bought my first home today. I am filled with crazy thoughts and emotions right now about the whole thing. A few years ago, all I knew was change - (2004) my parents divorced, my mom died, (2005) I graduated, I moved back home, (2006) I moved to Raleigh, I sold my mom's house, I went to Southeastern, I stopped going to Southeastern, I taught for a few months, I hated teaching, I worked as an assistant for a tree care company, I decided to teach again, (2007) - the year things slowed down.

For the past 3 years, I've lived with the same girls, in a house next to the same guys (for the most part). I've had the same job. I've grown accustomed to things being relatively the same as each year passes. Even my blog is named for the home I've known for the past 3 years. I guess I'll need to change the name of it?

This change is good. I am so thankful to have been able to buy a home. As I sit here tonight, though, I am sad. I think my biggest fear is being forgotten. That's easy to type when it's just me and my computer screen, but it takes a lot to think that others might read it. This fear is a deep seated fear at the root of most of my insecurities and sin. Let me say here that a huge part of my fear is not true. I have wonderful friends, and a dad who remember me often, who call me, email me, "facebook" me throughout each week. But at these major times of change, I start to question all of this. Sometimes I feel like certain friendships are only those of convenience, and if I was removed from their immediate world, it would be "out of sight, out of mind."

I am going to stop right here and speak a little truth to myself. I heard someone say the other day that God doesn't give grace for hypothetical situations. I really appreciate that. Most of my fears that I have listed in the above paragraph are to some extent untrue and incredibly self centered. Not once did I mention (or even think about) the fact that I also have a responsibility to remember others. So, needless to say, I'm working on some things.

Above all of this self-focus, however, needs to be the reminder that God remembers. "It is He who made us, and we are his. We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." In Hebrews, it also says, "He will never leave you nor forsake you." That verse comes directly after the command to be content with what you have. So there must be a connection with contentment and understanding that God is for you and will not leave you. He is enough. That's my problem. I so often don't believe that he is enough. I think there must be some other thing I am missing. On any given day, I could believe that I am missing out on having a husband, attention from friends (or anyone), wanting to look like or be like someone else... I truly believe all of these things will satisfy me more than God. Why else would I be so plagued by discontentment?

I am chasing rabbits, but they are rabbits worth chasing. It's how my mind works, and somehow it always comes back around to the main point. Maybe I should co-write a book with Donald Miller :) I could offer random stories, if nothing else. My blog started with the fact that I bought a house today. Getting back to that... I am thankful that through a very common, normal thing like buying something, God works to reveal pockets of darkness in my heart, so that light may be shed on them, that I can be made more like Christ.

God remembers. I am the one who forgets.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top 10 Things I Love... about Jesus :)

1. He was on the side of the people who were not "good" (by God's standards, or the world's) -prostitutes, thieves, criminals. He told them truth and many of them loved him for it.

2. He stood up for those being oppressed.

3. He liked kids, and he was nice to them. He was also nice to women and saw them as actual people (unlike many in that time period).

4. He wasn't necessarily physically attractive, but people were drawn to him.

5. He perfectly modeled how to help people: balancing discussions and warnings about sin with helping them physically, having compassion on them, spending time with them, honoring them.

6. He touched lepers and other outcasts, when no one else would.

7. He did not take the easy way out when he was tempted in the desert. He endured through the most difficult of trials.

8. He used everyday stories to explain deep truths about God.

9. He cried when Lazarus died. Even though he knew what would happen, he still felt immense sadness for the people who were mourning Lazarus.

10. His teachings are completely opposite of how we think:
-blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
-love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
-beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them
-remove the log from your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck out of your brother's eye

I sing and talk to Jesus often. I believe that he who knew no sin became sin on my behalf so that I could have the righteousness of God, which is a very weighty thing. But I too often forget to think about how he actually lived while on this earth, and that I should be modeling my own life after his. It's nice to be reminded of the reasons why I love Jesus, and why he's worthy of my life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

17 vs. 27

I was recently reading through some old journals when I went home over Christmas break. They were completely ridiculous. But as I was reading, I was totally transported back to being 17 years old, reliving each moment that I wrote about. As I look back, sometimes I'm nostalgic for the past. As I read some of the prayers I wrote out to God as a teenager, I want to cringe. My requests were so selfish and ridiculous. But there was a naivety and trust about me that I almost long for now. Today, I am a realist. I filter everything through my experiences, instead of Scripture, many times. At 17, I hadn't yet been hardened by some of life's experiences. I took God at his word. I believed that God was good without doubt.

Even so, I don't want to go back, partly because no one should have to do middle school twice... and partly because I recognize how far God has brought me. He has been making me more like him each day since then. Even though I struggle so much more with doubts 10 years later, I know that he is developing in me a real faith. A faith that has been tested, and by his grace will come out as gold. A faith that doesn't always have the answers, but trusts through pain.

I must remember that God is sovereign. I wrestle with that thought daily. I know that He is, it's just difficult for me to reconcile that with some of the events of the past. Events from my own life, and events around the world. I was reminded of this during a conversation last night. We were discussing doubts and how we deal with them, specifically when hard times come, such as death. One friend reminded us all that though God's hand is over all of these things, He is not without compassion or emotionally disconnected from His children. I needed to hear that. I can remember the graciousness of God to comfort me when my parents got divorced, and then again just months later when my mom died. He was so tender toward me that year. He still is, but I have overlooked it. I tend to get angry with God sometimes, and to doubt His goodness. I desperately needed to hear that although he wounds, he binds up. He shatters, but his hands heal.

Looking through an old journal from high school, 17 year old me can remind 27 year old me of something very important. Here is something I wrote after a time when my mom got very sick, nearly died, and then recovered.

"My mom's home now. I'm feeling excited and happy and scared at the same time. I love her so much. More than I could ever have imagined before all this happened. I love you, God, more than my parents! I have got to trust your decisions - they're always right and best. Please let me be accepting and content with what you choose to do or to let happen. Amen."

When suffering comes, God is not detached from our suffering. He understands it.
~Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
~Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!
~And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
~Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?

God has a plan. A big plan, that I am a part of, but certainly not at the center of. It's with that perspective that I want to pray, to ask God for my desires, and to accept His gifts as He chooses to give them, including suffering.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Contentment and Facebook

I have a thousand thoughts swirling around in my mind right now.  As I was reading and writing in my journal earlier, I was thinking about how I've changed.  Not in a good way, but how I used to have no problem with some things, and now they are a really big deal.  For example, I am finding it very hard to just be.  Be in my house, be in my room.  Sit and read or even watch tv. It's really weird, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it.  There were plenty of times in college that I didn't have anything to do on the weekends, and on those nights, I was perfectly content to sit in my apartment, watch a movie, call up a friend, etc.  But lately, when I find myself without something to do, I feel like I cannot sit and focus on a tv show or read a book, because I need interaction.  I have almost always been an extrovert, but I think I have become even more of one over the past 2 or 3 years.  That's still no excuse for being discontent and restless, though.

One idea that I'm throwing around in my mind right now is how Facebook may have changed my contentment.  That may sound dumb, but I really think it has something to do with it. About a year and a half ago, I didn't know what people were doing at every moment.  And I was ok.  As it turns out, I don't have to know every single thing they are thinking or doing.  I think that Facebook, while it is a great tool to keep up with people, has (for me, personally) made me addicted to knowing what other people are doing, or addicted to letting everyone else know what I am doing.  I'm trying to see the connection that it may have with my level of contentment spiraling downward so quickly. It connects so many people, in so many ways, which can be a great thing.  However, for me, it has cheapened communication.  Nothing is a mystery anymore.  I love writing random statuses and having people comment on them.  I just don't know if that has brought any benefit to my character... it's only helped me to become more needy of attention than I already am.  

After typing all of this, I think I am going to take a week away from the FB... doesn't sound like much, but I want to start small... my prayer is that each night I spend away from the computer, I will find it easier to rest, to not have to know what others are doing, and to know that I will be ok if I don't tell the entire internet world what I am thinking every moment of the day.  I really don't want this to be a legalistic move on my part, and I especially don't want to push my struggle/solution onto anyone else... I just want to get to the bottom of why I am having such a hard time being still and content, and I think this week of being without it may be helpful for me to figure it out.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

BJ's - The Happiest Place on Earth

My students recently won a class field trip to BJ's (the store, similar to CostCo and Sams Club). They are partnering with our school, so they made our hallway behavior a competition, and my class won the field trip.  I was very proud of them, and they really enjoyed themselves.  They got to see some of the behind the scenes stuff, meet the employees (one of which was the mom of one of my students), and then decorate bags of food for a food bank.  It was nice to see them helping someone else.  I'm really glad that was a part of the trip.

One student stuck by my side the whole time, telling me which pictures to take.  "Action shot, Ms. Christie!  Get that one!"  When I was too late or didn't take the picture, he was truly annoyed with me, as though I was the most incompetent teacher he had ever had.  At one point, they got to walk inside one of the giant freezers in the receiving area of the store, and he said, "Get a picture of that!  You never know.  You may not get another chance to come to BJ's."  He's right, we do not know what tomorrow brings :-)  

A bit later, we walked near another freezer, and the kids got to go in again - the same student said to me, "It's so cold, Ms. Christie!  Go over there and feel it!"  I responded by saying that I could feel it from where I was (it was really crowded, and I didn't feel like busting through the kids to go feel the air).  He said, "No, I want you to walk in!"  So I started walking over and the employee shut the door before I could go in.  My student looked at me, disappointedly, and said, "You walked over there really slow so that she would close it before you got there.  I could tell."  He's pretty perceptive!  :-)  He got over it pretty quickly.

After we returned from our trip, I had the students write Thank You letters to Mr. Frank and Ms. Megan, the people who hosted our tour of the store.  Here are some of the funny and precious things they wrote:

BJ's is better than Sam's Club.

Thank you for choosing our class to do the decoration.  I blow kisses to you all "mpau" (she then drew a pair of lips beside that sentence).  

Thank you for haveing us at Bj's that's was one of my best's feld tips thank for the cook (cookie) and for the cony chanch (candy crunch?).  I am telling my mom that to come and by stuff at BJ's.

I will come back and be a member.

BJ's definitely made some kids want to shop there and get their parents to become members there!  :-)  One of my boys kept saying, "I can't wait until I turn 16 and I can go work at BJ's..."  Who knew they would love this field trip so much?  

Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Third Year

At the beginning of the year, I give my students a survey to fill out so I can get to know them better.  Here are some of their answers.  For the integrity of their answers, I did not correct any of the spelling or grammar issues.  I did add some notes of my own after a few of them :-)

If I could rule the world, I'd: 
-change to econmie 
-no murders will be availible

The best thing that happened to me last year:
-I got chicken as a treat

If I lived in another country, I'd like it to be:
-a cowgirl  
-a doctor (you're reading these correctly... still no country named yet)
-San Frasisco (still no countries yet...)
-Asia (still not there yet... but getting closer!)
-the owner of WalMart
-Hawaii (hey! even if it's not a country, at least it's spelled right!)
-with a lot of fun
(so, this is almost half my class... about 1/4 of them just didn't write a country.  i'd say it's time for a geography lesson)  :-)

My favorite place is 
-In the dessert on a camel
-Golden Coral

If I could change my name, I'd call myself:
-I would not have a name (we may have an "artist formerly known as" on our hands)

If I had $100 I'd:
-send my brother away
-give it to my parents
-give it to my mom 

Describe your classroom:
-organized, good learning environment
-big, organized
-it is very organized
-my classroom is very neat and clean 
-a neat, clean, and calm classroom
(I included this to show off God's goodness and to motivate me to keep it clean!  Those of you who know me, know that keeping a room clean is not one of my strong points...)

Describe your teacher:
-nice, fun, techful
-a nice, neat, and gentle

What was your biggest worry?
-of puting my backpack on the hucker. (i think he meant hook)

Name one interesting thing about your teacher:
-she likes to teach
-that she likes giveing people a chance
-her pet peev is when you spell a word wrong whent it shows the word
-she has terrific recess games
-he hated science growing up (apparently, i am a "he" now)
-she is really nice and funny too (sometimes I do a stand up routine for the kids.  not really.  but I have heard some of the students imitating the way I say, "Seriously?" when a kid does something they know they shouldn't do)

a few more random funny things that have happened:
-a student told me her favorite TV show is Dog the Bounty Hunter
-2 kids asked me if I wore a bump-it in my hair
-when asked how a math problem was solved, a student wrote, "useing my math skills."
-at recess, with a sigh, one student exclaimed... "i think i'm just gonna be single this year..."