I should begin by saying that we continue to have really great days in school, and that always tempers whatever I write. There’s nothing like a kid’s smile or laughter over the table, finishing early, and learning to kick off a great weekend. If I had a complaint, it would be that our days feel choppy to me, but I’ll save that for the weekly homeschool wrap-up. At any rate, there is something gnawing at me.
I am convinced that the Lord gives us imperfect lives—from our perspective, at least—in order to keep us on our knees. At least that’s been my experience. When one aspect of our lives is on a high, something else is on a low. With school going so swimmingly, what could be wrong? Well, considering that I posted such wonderful results from our meeting with the Sunday School/ drama teacher, a lot looks different today from what I saw two weeks ago. As I previously posted, I left what I anticipated to be a 15-round smackdown, or as they say in my neck of the woods, a “come to Jesus,” feeling as if we were on the same page—almost—with no hurt feelings, no resentment, and with each party feeling the freedom to do what we felt was in the best interest of the kids.
This past Sunday was our Sunday to teach. I’ll make a long story short. She was obnoxiously intrusive, and even had the audacity to critique our lesson after the class left. I may sound overly sensitive, but keep in mind that this criticism came from someone whose idea of a Bible lesson was to tell the kids to go home and read the book of Esther, then proceeded to solicit ideas on how to design the class logo. I occupied myself with cleaning/ straightening the room so that I wouldn’t lose my cool, while the superhero listened patiently. I could tell by the look on his face that he was fuming, too, but he held it for the car ride home.
I know that the Lord is able to perfect all things concerning us. I know that much prayer and fasting is called for in this situation. I know the Lord knows our hearts. On the other side, here’s my true confession: I am at a loss, somewhere between angered, frustrated, and confused. We don’t have any recourse here; our children’s ministry director, a very sweet spirit, avoids conflict like the swine flu. I mean, she simply will not engage. We lost a teacher who voiced our same
complaints concerns and then gave up because, after speaking with the ministry director, she felt as if she was fighting a losing battle. Though we’ve not felt led to quit (in part because we refuse to watch this woman give an Oscar-winning performance, complete with the “I was the only one left to help all those poor children” [say it slowly]), I can feel the other teacher’s pain. And I can see the heart of the new teacher, who truly feels that she’s doing what is in the best interest of the kids, just as we do. But the part in me that hasn’t yet embraced thinking the best of people rather than the worst senses both insecurity and arrogance; often one is present to mask the other. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my own humility (at the risk of not sounding very humble), and the way that it throws people off when they interact with me. I’ve never been one to seek out attention or draw interest in my skills or talents at church; I’ve served in the least of places, and most of the “points of influence” at our church don’t even know our names. For this and a couple of other reasons, I don’t think that she expected much from us. It was when I wrote this woman an e-mail with my professional signature, including the title MBA and the college I work for, that she seemed to point out her years in education, her job, what she does, etc. I don’t know how many times she must have mentioned that on this past Sunday. Nauseating, it was, to listen to her.
There are some other factors that complicate this whole puzzle. This woman is one of the “old heads” of the church, and as such, feels quite justified in her position. And in truth, she’s not at odds with us for the sake of being evil (or at least, I don’t want to believe that). Our pastor has spoken before about the reality of churches and the passion for Christ. Often, it’s not the unsaved that will rise up in church and cause contention; it’s the other saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost saint whose passion is just as dogged as your own. Also, our oldest is in the class, so each week we try to walk the fine line of representing Christ so that she’ll be encouraged as she grows spiritually, yet feeling totally put out and disgruntled over a situation that’s becoming increasingly unbearable.
It’s a lot to pray about. I want so much to be in Christ’s will. I don’t want any sinful attitude on my part to keep me away from what is God’s plan for me. I want to hear and see “yes” in the fruit of our labor. But I’ve walked long enough with the Lord to also be very aware of that dreadful, but oh, so purposeful, pruning process that moves us away from some things so that we can blossom in others. So, I continue to lift up all the rambling I’ve posted here to the One who can make sense of it all.
This coming Sunday is, at least for now, our only Sunday in the month to attend a service with no other responsibilities. The other teacher would change that, too, if she could, claiming that her heart is for all three of us (she, the superhero, and I) to be in the Sunday School class every week, regardless of who is teaching. Forget that. I’m excited about lifting up my hands in praise, enjoying worship time, and sitting at the feet of the Lord and His Word. Perhaps I’ll even get a “now word” that will guide me through the other Sundays. I sure need it.