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Posts Tagged ‘Promises’

It’s true!images-3

I shot my students!

(even a few who are not my students)

And they LOVED it!

And they even shot me back!

Of course we were playing Lazer Tag, so the shooting was all on the up and up 😉 .

It was an event birthed in the repeated conversations between a pair of students (could there be a better place to birth an event for students?). Then one day, I heard one of the students mention it to their mom …

and I saw the ‘look’ …

the look that wordlessly said,

“I have put this off too long, but I have so much on my plate …”

When my children have friends over, my life becomes easier, for many with children with special needs, having a friend over can be more planning, more work, more exhaustive.

Months ago I had written a previous post of these “Moms That I Admire“, and in that mom’s facial expression of ‘momma guilt’ I was reminded again of how very heavy the burden of raising a child with special needs can be.

I was also reminded of a line from the child dedication ceremony that my hubby has led many a congregation in:

“Will you, upon hearing the commitments made by these parents, do your utmost as God gives you opportunity, to ensure the fulfillment of these promises and seek to encourage, support and be faithful to these parents and this family?”

The correct response is “we do” or “we will”

Back to these “Moms That I Admire” …

As the momma-guilt look showed all over this lovely but weighted down parent, the commitment from these child dedication ceremonies reminded me that part of our task … as Christ-followers … as friends … as schools, is to come alongside of these families. These families raising a child with special needs, need the support of His people, His churches and schools named for His Son to do the job well.

And I thought, “wouldn’t it be great to support these two families in a practical way.” So, the dreaming began. Then the dreaming was shared with a co-worker, and we began to run with it!

In the end, my co-worker and I, along with twelve students (half deemed ‘special ed.’ and half not or ), and a school alumni, left school at noon on a Friday , leaving their classmates to snooze through their afternoon classes. We donned the vests of the battle, issued mortal threats, complete with evil laughs, chose code names, then we marched off to battle.

An hour and a half later, sweaty and sticky (and stinky) … and laughing with great memories made, we headed for Slurpies, then a slow drive back to school … we didn’t want to get back too early … that would have meant having to return to classes!

You might be asking, “so, Carole, what academic benefit was there from this event?”

To which I would reply, “none.”

But the goal was NOT academic, it was purely social skills.

About half of the students are designated ‘special education’ students, and learning the skills to be socially acceptable in the larger society is a main factor in their learning (of course if anyone walks the halls of any high school, the majority of students might seem to need social skills learning … heck, if anyone were to walk into the staff room … but, I digress 😉 ). The best place to teach and reinforce these skills is in a true social setting, not in a classroom.

These students got to talk, interact, laugh and observe their more ‘typical’ peers in a social setting. There was no ‘us’ and ‘them’ that day, only ‘we’. The ‘typical’ students got to be noticed for the intrinsic way that they already care for their peers … a ‘thank-you’ that most probably did not feel necessary, as they are who they are because that is how they have responded to God’s call to “love their neighbor, classmate, as themselves” (Mark 12:31). These ‘typical’ students were chosen by their ‘not so typical’ peers … no higher praise could be earned!

I cannot wait to see and hear the interactions, and rehashing of memories next week in the halls and classrooms of school.

My favorite part was when my co-worker recounted the words of one of the boys, who said something to the effect of, “I think I will remember this for an exceptionally long time.”

I hope he does, I know I will too.

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Twenty-three years! How can it be?

What were we thinking twenty-three years ago, as we stood in front of friends, and family, and God promising to love and honor and obey (yes, obey) “until death do us part”?

I know what I was thinking, “this is going to be easy, because we are so much alike.”

Ya, right! Of course we had only met about one year earlier, so, what we knew of each other was alike, and what wasn’t was shaded by rose-colored glasses.

We were young, too young (I say that as a now older woman who can see what each of us may have missed out on … the gift of knowing God’s calling for us as individuals before we were to become one couple … but that is topic for another post). Hubby was fresh out of university, only twenty-three. I was fresh out of my drafting program, just twenty. And we embarked on a lifelong, covenant relationship.

After twenty-three years, I now know that we are more opposite than alike, and easy could never describe marriage.

I also know that what we share, similarities and differences alike, is held together by the covenant that we both hold dearly. The marriage covenant is more commonly known my the word promise, but a covenant is more than a promise, more than something you say, more than something you do. It is a vow that includes us two, and the originator of covenants.

Really the marriage covenant is a metaphor for the covenant that God made with Israel (Genesis 17:7):

“I will establish my covenant, an everlasting covenant
between me and you and your descendants after you

for the generations to come,
to be your God
and the God of your descendants after you.”

God’s covenant was that He would be the God of Israel, from before the beginning of time (everlasting) to everlasting. A marriage covenant is like this in that it is a promise between a woman and a man that nothing will separate them, like God from His people.

But, like the Israelite people, we who make a covenant with another in marriage, fail to live up to our end of the agreement. And that sometimes means we are wandering through the desert, tired, frustrated, disappointed and there is no Promise Land in sight.

Like God’s chosen people, who were probably heard muttering under their breath, “well God, where is the land flowing with milk and honey?” we wives and husbands can dwell on the (yet) unfulfilled promises of our wedding day. Promises get broken, expectations do not get met, dreams fade, and the wandering in No Man’s Land is endless. It can begin to feel that marriage is more like a life sentence.

But, it is a covenant, and God is not dismayed by the unfaithfulness, broken promises and apathy from His people. In Jeremiah (31:31-34) God provides yet another opportunity to meet at the alter:

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.
“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Let me re-write that as a wife (who has lost the rose-colored glasses from the alter):

Soon, we will simply need to start over,
you and I.
We cannot still make the vows we made back in the stone ages,
before wrinkles and cellulite
before broken promises, and disappointments,
even though we both made promises many years ago.
We need a fresh promise, a brand new covenant.
God would agree with that, and He will be faithful,
and others will see Him through this covenant He has for us
 not just because He has been faithful in the past,
but because of what He will do in the days to come.
We, you and I,
we’ve got baggage.
But, a new start, a new covenant,
That could give us the chance to forgive each others broken promises,
and remember each others sins no more.

Happy Anniversary,
From everlasting to everlasting,

Your Bride

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Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye …

Liar, liar pants on fire …

Little ditties from how legal contracts were written in our childhoods, reminds us how very important promises were to us in childhood. I wonder if we made contracts now (as adults) as we did as children, would we fulfill our promises better than we do now?

There are so many promises for us to keep to so many : our spouses, out kids, our workplace, our banks, our loan companies, our parents, our friends, and even our resolutions (it’s the middle of January, so those promises may have been broken already). It would be unreasonable to think that we can keep all of our promises, all of the time. After all, life throws us curve balls, and good intentions get hindered by important happenings.

It can be disappointing and even hurtful when people break promises to us. When that product we order online fails to live up to what it promised. When that restaurant fails to live up to the coupon you have, because the ownership has changed. When your child fails to clean their room, as they had promised, before heading out to play. When your spouse promises to love and cherish you before your family and friends, and then trades you in for a new model.

In the broken world we live in, promises get broken.

The heartache, disillusionment, and disappointment that these broken promises cause can make our lives heavy, sad and lifeless. We are looking for, hoping for, heaven on earth. But there is only one heaven, and it is only in looking heavenward that we can know what it is to live with promises that are kept.

The other day I heard this song, and felt like it was God’s message to ME! Then I heard it the next day on the way TO work, on the way TO basketball, and then on the way TO home … tell me that message was not for me!

God keeps His promises, always. He is no fair weather friend. He is no deceiver. He is no liar. He keeps all of the promises that He makes … all the time … stick a needle in my eye.

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