Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Long time, no update

Sorry about that.

I've had the craziest two weeks ever. The car needed a new clutch, the hubby needed to go to a doctor (only good news there, as it turns out), we're thinking about buying a house and so have to fax every financial piece of information to total strangers, plus of course looking at houses, AND both of our teams at work have serious deadlines this week. In fact, I'm at work right now, but because of a server crash, I have a little break.

Through all this craziness, we've been praying and really taking care of each other, and that's good. I've been so exhausted these two weeks--I felt awful when we were visiting JC's family because I was much less of a help to his mom than I usually try to be...I just could hardly convince myself to do anything. I kept praying though, every minute, and I kept (almost literally) hearing the Holy Spirit within me, just saying, Keep moving. Look after the task that's in your hands now. Don't worry about what's coming down the pike. Take it one minute at a time. The primary instruction seemed to be, just don't sit down and cry and give up. Keep moving keep working keep trying keep praying. And you know...I did. And the clutch was fixed in time, the records all got from various previous doctors to the one we were going to see, the doctor was wonderful and helpful and thinks he knows what's going on, the paperwork is mostly taken care of, we maybe have picked out a house, and everyone at work is being super wonderful to each other, despite being insanely stressed. People are going out of their way to be kind because they know they're predisposed to being grouchy.

Does trusting God preclude being scared? Before dinner, on the night when we drove to Richmond for JC's early morning appointment, we sang together (we sing rather than praying before meals). I got to pick--it was just the Doxology. And we were standing there, singing, and looking into each other's eyes, and I couldn't get past the second line, I just started crying. I kept thinking about how God is the fountain of all blessings, but as Job says, He also taketh away. I was feeling very trust-y, very relying on God, very feeling the Holy Spirit right at my side, supporting me. I wasn't scared that we wouldn't get through what ever was coming our way. I was just scared of the thought of losing JC--not scared that I couldn't handle it, but scared of having to.

As I said, doctor visit went very well, and most of the truly frightening diagnoses have been ruled out with a pretty high degree of assurance. I know that even if they hadn't, we would keep moving, keep working, keep praying, because what else is there to do? That doesn't stop me from being a scared child sometimes though.

The Sunday before last, we did a pretty quick romp through most of 1 Samuel and the first little bit of 2 Samuel. It was mostly what we call a "story telling" session, not, I'm afraid, very interesting. We talked about forgiveness (all those times David lets Saul go when he could kill him and end it there).

One cool thing was that the division of the kingdom under David and Ishbosheth finally helped the kids understand the tribes of Israel. I don't think they got it before, but we told them about the divisions (Judah goes with David, everyone else doesn't) and we used the family tree in our classroom to explain it. I saw light bulbs go on, I really did!

On Wednesday night, I was showing JoEtta around our classroom, because she was going to take over for us on Sunday (we were going home to visit JC's parents & sisters). As I was showing her all the different things we do with the kids, and explaining how we decide (sometimes preplanned, based on material, sometimes spontaneous based on which kids are there), I realized that wow we really have a lot that we do with them. Jo was (and has been) incredibly encouraging, exclaiming over all the things that we've thought up. I felt great about our class after I showed her all that--so funny, I don't even realize what I'm doing until I sit down and try to explain it, step by step, to someone else.

So that was good, and when I called Jo yesterday, she said that she had a great time with my sweet little monsters! :) I really appreciated her doing that for us, and she complimented the notes I sent her. I had worried that they were unclear--I had tried to write down what we do in class, which is basically to play a game or something (not really a game, usually something like, Who can look up their Bible verse the fastest? or similar), and then get into the text and talk about it a few verses at a time...and then maybe do a map, diagram, chart, or something. "It's very simple," Jo said, "and I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to trust kids that age with those kinds of questions or expected them to carry on that kind of discussion. I was surprised at how well they did."
Jo had opened class (her idea, and a good one) with a game she called, "Good King/Bad King." She brought a little crown that the kids took turns wearing, and each kid had to be either a good king or a bad king. Another student got to choose what kind of good (generous, brave, loyal) or bad (grabby, cowardly, cruel) monarch a given student was, and then that student had to act out what a miserly king would do or a merciful queen. Because the story of David is basically all about being a good or bad king, this was a really great way to introduce the kids to the first serious "bad king" segment--the whole Bathsheba incident.

I had suggested that JoEtta ask Lachlan or Josh to read the racier bits of the story because they have children's Bibles, which tend to be very tasteful. She told me, laughing, that theirs were actually a good deal more graphic than the New King James! Oops.

Jo and I had had a long talk about what one can or cannot discuss with other people's children, how we talk about adultery and sex in Sunday school, etc. My number one rule, which she thinks is a good one, is to be entirely unafraid of the response, "That's a very good question. Why don't you ask your parents for more information about that?" Depending on the content, I might alternatively offer to talk about it after class, or to talk about it with the child and a parent. It's a touchy subject, though. JoEtta said that the kids were mostly unphased by that, although Josh was bothered by a drawing she brought to show them, of Bathsheba bathing on the roof. "I added a few lines so it looked like the towel was covering her more than it was originally, but Joshua didn't want to look at it. I just wanted them to see what the flat roof looked like! I didn't think it was racy at all." She said that, other than that, the kids really took this difficult material in stride. In Sunday school, we usually talk about sex as, "acting like she was his wife" which some of the kids take to mean kissing, and they can fill in about all they know or want to know in their own minds.

She ended by doing a Venn diagram of Jesus and David. "I wish we had had more time for that," she said. "The kids really got into it!" I was pleasantly surprised that they were able to come up with differences and similarities and understand what to do with such a diagram. Perhaps we'll do a few more of them, comparing various Bible characters with Jesus, and then at the end of the quarter ask them to do one comparing themselves to Jesus. It might be interesting, anyway. I'd like to see how they do at that. That's a hard self-evaluation. I might consider doing that with my teen girls too.

I forgot to ask Jo if David was there. He's been missing a lot lately, and I worry about him. He's a good kid. They all are.

JoEtta, thank you so much again for taking over! I'm sure the kids had a great time with you--I always love having you for a teacher (and a friend!). <3

Ok...time to post something on the kids' blog before this server comes back online. :)