Rejoice!

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight a boxer beating the air.” 

1 Corinthians 9:26

It’s easy to slip into that state of running aimlessly when I am buried under lesson planning, grading and deadlines. It’s easy to fight the boxer that punches air when I am tired and sleep deprived. It’s easy to forget who I am ultimately working for, the reason I am here in Accra, and only focus on trying to purely survive teaching. It’s frustrating when I find myself living in the school bubble and feeling like I don’t have the time to enjoy living in Ghana. I always feel 10 steps behind in my classroom, trying to keep my head above the waters (which I am assuming/hoping most 1st year teachers feel) I start to feel sick when I realize the relationships back home in Colorado are slowly slipping away because of distance. I am in love with discussing the love and grace of Jesus Christ with my twelve 3rd graders, but often spend more time planning for their lesson and spiritual growth, than my own.

But then God wakes me up.

He uses my students to humble me. They are the ones who remind me who I am serving and why I am here in Ghana. Recently one of my students reminded me of an acronym that I learned in college that helped deepen my prayer life;

P-raise

R-epent

A-sk

Y-eild

We have been talking about the Power of Prayer (P. O. P.) in class and I have been overwhelmed by my students understanding of God’s goodness and power. Often students make connections to Christ throughout the day during our science, math, social studies, and language arts lessons. Over the past month my students have memorized 5 bible verses, and like to shout them as loud as possible in the mornings. One morning (same morning the printer broke down, sending me into panic and stress for the day) they had this great idea to hide in the 4th grade classroom, just before they came in for snack, and pop out shouting our bible verses from the past two weeks. I got goosebumps when watching the joy pouring out of my 3rd grade students and the 4th graders as my students yelled Philippians 4:4-7 at the top of their lungs.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; I’ll say it again, Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious in any situation, but in prayer and petition, and thanksgiving in your heart, present your prayers and requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” 

As we work as a family to integrate God’s word into every part of our classroom, I have started to see God’s word integrated into every part of my life, now and in the past. It’s in these moments of realization that I begin to gain aim in my running and face the real boxer. There is a reason Jesus tells us to have faith like a child!

This past weekend I was able to get away and see more of Accra! A group of teachers from the school were able to spend our weekend at a beach resort about an hour away from the school. I don’t think I have ever been more relaxed in my life! We spent the weekend lying on the beach, swimming in the waves, sketching and painting (with some help from local kids who decided to join us), eating delicious food, and dancing to live reggae music under the palm trees. Now I understand why all reggae musicians always look so happy (well besides the other reason…). Throughout the weekend I kept picturing my students shouting “Rejoice; I’ll say it again, Rejoice!” I am filled with joy and thanksgiving for God’s blessings in my life: the places I have seen, the people I have met, the prayers He has answered, and His grace that pours over all His children. I am filled with joy, shouting “Rejoice” to the Lord our God!

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6 thoughts on “Rejoice!

  1. emeece1 says:

    Oh, Aubrey! What an eye opening post! Thank you for writing from your heart and not just “reporting”!

    And the photos are so powerful and from the heart as well.

    Love and prayers, Ellene

    On Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 3:09 PM, teachinginaccra wrote:

    > teachinginaccra posted: “”Therefore I do not run like someone running > aimlessly; I do not fight a boxer beating the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:26 > It’s easy to slip into that state of running aimlessly when I am buried > under lesson planning, grading and deadlines. It’s easy to fight t” >

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  2. Blaine Scott says:

    I agree with Ellene, “thank you for writing from your heart!…”
    I saw your blog because I still receive the Meeker UMC E-newsletter. I’m so grateful to have met you in June. You epitomize vulnerable strength – just like your Savior: tender with kids yet tough enough to handle the heat; working within the system to bring the good news of God through authentic compassion and love – just like your Savior.
    Here are my 4 favorite poems of resilience that inspire me, and I hope they’ll encourage you during difficult times.
    Remember to Trust Fall into the strong loving arms of your risen Lord. I can just hear him saying to you, “Trust me. I got this!”
    God’s greatest blessings Aubrey,
    Rev. Blaine
    Email: Blaine2461@gmail.com

    “The Man In The Arena” OR as my wife would say, “The valiant woman in the arena”
    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ President Theodore Roosevelt, 1906

    This next widely acclaimed poem is actually not a poem at all, but an excerpt from A Return To Love, a book by motivational speaker and author Marianne Williamson. The passage has such inspirational power that it is now a stand-alone mantra for a generation of exceptional individuals who wish to motivate themselves and others to live up to their fullest potential.

    Our Deepest Fear
    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
    Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

    It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
    We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
    gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

    Actually, who are you not to be?
    You are a child of God.

    Your playing small does not serve the world.
    There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
    so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
    We are all meant to shine, as children do.

    We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
    It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

    And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
    other people permission to do the same.
    As we are liberated from our fear,
    our presence automatically liberates others.
    ~ Marianne Williamson

    And Nature, the old nurse, took
    The child upon her knee,
    Saying: “Here is a story-book
    Thy Father has written for thee.”

    “Come, wander with me,” she said,
    “Into regions yet untrod;
    And read what is still unread
    In the manuscripts of God.”

    And he wandered away and away
    With Nature, the dear old nurse,
    Who sang to him night and day
    The rhymes of the universe.

    And whenever the way seemed long,
    Or his heart began to fail,
    She would sing a more wonderful song,
    Or tell a more marvelous tale.

    By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    And finally,
    Monument Mountain by William C. Bryant
    Thou who wouldst see the lovely and the wild
    Mingled in harmony on Nature’s face,
    Ascend our rocky mountains. Let thy foot
    Fail not with weariness, for on their tops
    The beauty and the majesty of earth,
    Spread wide beneath, shall make thee to forget
    The steep and toilsome way…

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    • teachinginaccra says:

      Thank you so much for sharing these poems with me. I needed some encouragement in the middle of the week to keep pushing forward! I am glad I was able to meet you this summer as well. I’m so thankful God called you to MUMC, you were such a blessing for our church and for my family in my move to Ghana. Thank you for taking time to read my blog, I have been so overwhelmed by the love and support from friends and family! You and your family are in my prayers!

      Like

  3. Bernie G says:

    What a wonderful story young lady! You should be very proud of your accomplishments and the work you do. The pictures are great and it looks like a beautiful corner of the world. I have seen many of those corners, but it has usually been the ugly ones. Thank you so much for this and your other updates! I look forward to them now.

    It has taken me a while to get to open this email and actually read it. I was at the Meeker Classic for a week and then the National Finals in Carbondale for 8 days. I finally got some time to sit and relax and enjoy your email.

    Thank you!

    Bernie Gantt

    Sent from Windows Mail

    Like

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