I've never celebrated Lent. In fact, I don't even know if that's what you call it - celebrate? observe? participate in?
I haven't ever really known the purpose of Lent. For as long as I can remember, it's been my understanding that it's a time before Easter in which you give something up, sacrifice something, as a symbol of the sacrifice God made in sending His Son to earth and the sacrifice Jesus made in giving His life for us. The things that I'd seen people give up were things that they didn't really need, wouldn't really miss, & wouldn't know they were missing anything had they never had that thing in the first place.
I'm still not sure if I fully understand Lent, but this week, I've seen the purpose of Lent in a new light - a time in which you give something up for the purpose of drawing closer to God. This (drawing closer to God) has been weighing heavily on me lately. In fact, for the past five mornings, I've woken up with this song playing in my mind:
These past four months in Thailand, I've gotten better at managing my time to include time daily to spend in God's Word. However, this time has evolved into exclusively Bible study time. I think for lack of know-how & maybe a little fear at what He might reveal in me, I've turned the time I set aside to just be with God into a time where I'm studying & reading the words of other people about His Word. I'm not at all saying that studying the Bible is a bad thing - I need that just as much, but I've let it overtake my time with Him.
I think this heaviness that I've had lately is God wanting to draw me back to Him - just to Him - not to spend all of my time studying & reading the words of other people. To just be still in His Word & listen to Him. To pour myself out each day so that He can fill me. To ask Him to reveal to me where I need to change, what I need to let go of. To just be with Him.
I don't think it's a coincidence - the timing of what God has put on my heart and the beginning of Lent. So, I've decided to give something up for the purpose of drawing closer to Him.
That something is facebook.
I know to some this may be a trivial thing to give up, but for me, this is about the only way I have to stay connected with everyone at home. But, right now and always, I need God more.
(This isn't to say I don't want to stay in contact with everyone at home - I do! You'll just have to reach me through e-mail or my blog. :) )
So, how am I feeling about this?
Excited? Yes! I'm excited to see where God will take me during this time.
Anxious? Yes! I'm anxious to see what He will reveal in me - areas where I need to change & let go of things.
But mostly, I'm fully anticipating the joy, the peace, & the contentment that will come from just being with Him.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
I want to start teaching the kids in English class about sentences. We've learned quite a bit of vocabulary words that I think they should have a good base to start learning how to make sentences. In preparation for this, I thought a week of review would be good...and what better way to review than with games! We played hangman and pictionary. The kids hadn't heard of either game, so explaining it so that they understood was a challenge in itself. They had it figured out, though, after the first "example" game. I think I finally found something that will hold the attention of the older kids & younger kids & that both age groups can learn from!
They were really concentrating during the first real game...
They were looking through all of their notes from class trying to figure out which word they were supposed to be guessing!
Even the little kids got in on the action & loved it!
By the end of class, they were REALLY getting into it...standing, running around, & yelling! :)
It was such a gift to just stand back and watch them use what they had learned and have SO much fun at the same time.
Another gift was that they are finally opening up to me. Rarely have they asked me directly a question & if they did, they were very shy about it. Today, they were very open!
After class, we were sitting around the table having snack, when Mary came in with a Lisu picture book of many Bible stories. Up until now, I've been trying to figure out when & how to introduce & incorporate Bible stories & lessons in class in a way that the kids will understand & in a way that, when their parents find out, they won't keep their kids from coming back to class.
After today, I no longer need to worry about that.
As we were sitting around the table, Mary began sharing Bible stories with the kids using a Lisu picture book.
My first thought, as the sinful human that I am, was "This is what I'm supposed to be doing." I wanted to be the person to share the Gospel with them...that is, afterall, why I'm here. In the next moment, I realized, it doesn't matter who shares the Gospel with them, but that they hear it at all.
And, Oh!, the looks on their faces as they heard of His love for the first time...
I feel like God was giving me a gift in not being the one who told them these stories first because I could watch their faces as they heard of Him for the first time!
(It still takes my breath away as I'm writing to you now...)
And this little boy...
It was his first time attending class. He was so enthralled in the stories & asked so many questions. Truly amazing!
Yes, today was a day full of gifts for us all from Him.