Hope was here.

On Wednesday a student in my class was severely embarrassed.  It was a really awkward situation that could only happen in middle school to the shyest girl in the whole class.  It was horrible.

I cried for her that evening and just felt so weighed down by the whole situation.  The worst part, what kept haunting me, was the reaction of her peers.  Giggles, points (really?  I was shocked at this.  I felt like we were being Punk’d.  Who points at an embarrassed student while they’re standing up front, mortified?).

My husband, then the ladies in our small group too, helped me to brainstorm how I would deal with this on Thursday.  I was embarrassed (and let’s be honest here, I’m pretty awkward) and I knew I hadn’t handled it as well as I could have when it happened.  Since they were all laughing and she was in the middle of her presentation, I told the class to be mature and respectful, and I told her to finish sharing.  Not the best way to deal with it, I know.

Anyway, Thursday morning, 3rd period rolled around.  I sat on my stool just watching them and I waited until they were all seated and the bell rang.

I don’t remember what I said, but I know that they were just as uncomfortable as I was.  They watched me with wide eyes, embarrassed that I was talking about internet safety and stranger danger and gossip.  I told them that I was disappointed in their reactions.  That I expected more from them.  They looked guilty and lowered their eyes from my gaze.

I finished.  Told them I hate lecturing.  Sorry.  But did they have any questions or comments?

And then the most beautiful thing happened.

Hands went up.  And 12 year olds redeemed their fellow peer.

“I’m sorry I gossiped about what happened to you.  If it had been me, I would have been so embarrassed.  If I hear anyone talking about it again, I’m going to tell them to stop.”

“I am embarrassed by how I acted.  I’m going to find everyone I told and tell them I take it back and was a jerk.”

The most amazing part, I think, was that when these students were apologizing, they weren’t looking at me at all.  They looked at her, the ashamed student, and they looked at each other.  Their apologies weren’t for me.  They were for her, and for each other.

The words flowed from sincere pre-teen hearts and I saw hope and redemption firsthand.

One voice

In October I got in a big fight with my best friend’s mom.  It was really strange because I’m not a fighter.  I’ve been haunted by our conversation since then.  I was shaken, so shocked by what happened, but more than that, I was horrified by the words she said.  It started out with politics, went to Prop 8, then the ugly words began.

(Please simply know that I’m telling what happened; my goal is not to pass judgement on her.)

I told her that I didn’t really know where I stood on gay marriage, but I thought that too many Christians’ actions have been discriminatory and hateful.  I didn’t think we, as Christians, should police what other people do.  She said that we need to hold people accountable to God’s law.  All I could think about was how sinful I am but that I don’t get crap for it because I’m a woman who is married to a man.  My sin isn’t open for all to see.

Anyway, at the end of it all, I was deemed a “bad Christian” who didn’t “believe in the same God” that she did.  And I was horrified.  Why can’t Christians just all get along and love each other?  More importantly, why can’t Christians just get along with other people and love others who don’t share their same beliefs?

 

I don’t have answers.  I want to throw my hands up in the air in defeat, disgust, fear, sadness.  While pondering this (it seems to be on my mind at least once a week), “One Voice” by The O.C. Supertones came on my iTunes shuffle.  I was struck with their words:

And can we sing with one voice,
if we all love the same God?
Can we agree to disagree?

I think my hope, my prayer, my desperate plea, is for Christians to love each other deeply and to love non-Christians deeper than deeply.  How do other feel Jesus’ love if not from us?

My, like, super deep thoughts

They don’t happen that often, let’s be honest.  The majority of my thoughts are about my sweet husband and my ridiculous thesis (due 24 days from now) and the 98 12 year olds with whom I spend my days.

My first and last thoughts each day are usually the same (ugh, I wish I could sleep more).  I once read about how your first and last thoughts are related to the most important thing(s) in your life.  Sleep, apparently, is my top priority.  I wish, instead, that they were thoughts about God and my love for him.  That’s something I’m trying to work on.  The first time I think about God each morning is usually when I am about halfway through my shower.  And often, it’s something like, “God, please help me be nice to kids today and please let me sleep really well tonight since I’m so freaking tired.”  Oh well, a girl can try.

So with that all said, my hope is to catalogue my thoughts here.  There are some relatively large life events coming up in the next few months and I want to have a forum to express my really important and deep thoughts.  Like, seriously.

Interesting historical fiction (Journey to Riverbend – Henry McLaughlin)

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I have to admit that I was a little skeptical about Henry McLaughlin’s Journey to Riverbend. My skepticism mostly came from the cheesy cover. I even got made fun of by my sweet cousin while on the plane to Hawaii.
“You are reading that book? From the cover, I thought that was a book that Grandma brought with her.”
I agreed with her that it was a dumb cover, and that I was a little hesitant to read it. The description on the back cover and the pictures on the front cover made me feel like I was being set up to read a cheesy Christian romance.
Oh, was I wrong! This book had everything I was (secretly) hoping for: adventure, intrigue, (some) romance, growth, mystery, suspense. Michael and Rachel are both portrayed as beautiful examples of redemption, and their story carries all of the subplots throughout this lengthy novel. I was sad when it ended.
While some of the bad guys seemed all bad, with no redeemable qualities, McLaughlin carefully wove humanity through all of his characters. It was an engaging and captivating read and I appreciated the redemption emphasized.
A great debut novel; I look forward to reading more of McLaughlin’s work as he continues his writing career.
I was given this book (thank you!) by Tyndale and have expressed my honest opinions in this review.