All I want for Christmas is…a “prepared” Mary-like heart and attitude…
I’ve been substitute teaching quite a bit lately.
No worries, my homeschooled kiddos have a couple of amazing substitute teachers on the days I work so they’re well taken care of, academically speaking…Because I’m sure some people are reading this and like, “Gasp! What about your poor homeschooled kids when you sub?”…no worries I can assure (anyone who’s worried about it) they need a break from me, they’re fine! Don’t lose sleep over it. They’re doing great with their schoolwork with or without me at their side.
…Okay that whole paragraph above might very well be my holler of defense in regard to someone who recently hounded me about homeschooling and subbing because they’re anti-homeschooling…people are funny, even if you go to church with ‘em.
I feel better after stating that.
Moving on🙂…Every time I show up at the school it’s always the same procedure: arrive 20 minutes early, sign in at the office, head to my classroom for the day.
There’s always an organized folder with sub-notes sitting on the teacher’s desk, waiting for me to read through so I have an idea and schedule for how the day should run. And on every occasion there’s always papers tucked somewhere in the sub-folder which cover the proper procedures for handling emergency circumstances.
Can I just be honest for a moment?
I never, ever thoroughly read that part of the notes, just a little browse and that’s good enough for me. That’s part of my practical mindset. I get at least a general idea of where the emergency placards are located in the classroom, which the teacher would collect along with the students before hurriedly scuffling out of the room or school in the event of a crisis situation.
In fact, recently when I subbed, I quickly went over the emergency notes and glanced up and remember thinking, ‘K placards are near the door, good deal, it’s not like anything will happen anyway but if so I’d gather my students, emergency placards, and locate the nearest seasoned teacher in the hallway and follow her lead!’
I’ve discovered though that this limited-thinking is not okay, AT ALL, because last week there actually was an emergency situation at the school where I sub so often, where I had just subbed a few days prior. Thankfully everything was fine and as it turned out the “bomb threat” that was called into the school was in fact part of a nationwide hoax. Nevertheless teachers and students at the time didn’t know any different and followed the necessary protocol and evacuated the building.
I have to laugh in spite of my foolish finite mind—thinking it’s unnecessary to fine-tooth-read those emergency notes…
How dumb and humiliating would it have been had I subbed that day?
I can just imagine myself, ‘class hang on just a second, there’s an emergency but Mrs. Witt isn’t ready. Let me now read the “in-the-event-of-an-emergency” notes better so I have a good idea of what to do since I neglected to read the fine print earlier today.’
Surely I would have swiftly shuffled the kids and then myself out the door, but in a bewildered ‘I have no clue what I’m doing or where I’m going sort-of-fashion.’ I’m sure I would’ve observed and modeled the other teacher’s actions and followed suit, meanwhile freaking out on the inside and filling myself with guilt for not having thoroughly read the “emergency-event” notes that morning…After all I’m my own person, I need to be responsible for myself, not to mention the twenty plus students counting on me!
And the most ridiculous part is—I know better!! I know that we live in a sick world where ugly things happen every second of the day so we must always be prepared and equipped, taking precautions regardless of how “safe” we may feel. There’s really no such thing as a “safe place” in my opinion. People messed that up in the beginning, from Adam and Eve’s time when sin showed up on earth in the form of a snake, fruit, and poor choices. Read Genesis 3 if you’re not familiar. And places that were “maybe” once considered safe—schools, shopping centers, and even churches are now amping up with security. It’s sad really, but it just goes to show how we need to be on-guard and prepared. I’ve said it before—nothing ugly should take us by surprise, after all this is Satan’s world, where we often see the mess sin causes. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
The irony of this story I share with you is that I’m reminded of my younger years. I can actually remember considering myself a Christian, but in reality I had no clue what being a Christian meant. I just simply believed in Jesus and that He died in place of my sins. Although I must’ve had the slightest inclination that He desired more from me, because I starkly recall thinking, ‘I’m just gonna do my thing right now, I’m young and these are my years for fun. I’ll settle down later on and get more serious about this Christian thing when I feel like it. I’ll probably even read my Bible, but for now I’m believing in God and that’s better than not.’
I look back now and think ‘wow, how naive and irresponsible’ —similar to my meek attitude with reading those emergency crisis papers when I substitute teach. If I’m failing to read those papers then I’m not fully fulfilling my duties as a substitute teacher. Likewise, in my definition of “Christianity” as a teenager, I wasn’t following the complete desire of relationship that Jesus wanted from me at the time. In both of these situations I could’ve been caught by surprise and unprepared all because I was avoiding the full essentials of each.
Emergencies don’t give you a heads up hours or even minutes before they occur and in relation to Christ, we’re unaware of when His return (to rescue the believers) may come. (Matthew 24:36) Will we be ready?
Given the Christmas season let’s take a quick glimpse into the story of Jesus’ birth. In Luke chapter 1 it’s written that the angel Gabriel visited Mary and explained to her that she (a virgin) would become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. She would give birth to the Son of God—Immanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1:23)
What seemed impossible and quite definitely a surprise was about to take place and a humble Mary bravely responded with this: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (Luke 1:38)
As I’ve read over the story of Jesus’ birth these past few weeks in light of the Christmas celebration I find myself in awe over Mary’s submissive words. One of the most well-known stories in history played out through the modeling of a young woman’s soft and willing heart.
No doubt she was caught completely by surprise at the angel’s message, yet Mary’s gentle reply tells us she was willing to comply and carry out her calling, signifying submission and preparation of a soon-to be-mama. She must have already had a strong devotion to God, set deep within her, given the fact she committed to this honoring task without hesitation.
The surprise of the angel’s appearance came, but Mary was prepared with a tender and able heart.
Surprises will happen but we have the opportunity to equip ourselves, to educate one another, to prepare and brace ourselves for the unexpected by following a humble “Mary-like” attitude. And by digging into God’s word we can know Jesus’ expectations and His desire for us to be sold-out for Him in a world full of surprises, some good and some not. By doing so we are more likely to have a right heart, attitude, and response that carries us through in a way that glorifies God.
In fact when we’ve covered ourselves in the truth of the best Instructional Manual ever written (the Bible) that’s when we become truly safe, prepared, and ready to take on any surprise. I’m not saying it’ll be easy every time but He makes it possible. (Philippians 4:13)
There’s an acronym my mom picked up somewhere along the years: B.I.B.L.E.—Basic instructions before leaving earth. This is where we learn humility, humbleness, love, patience, faith, mercy and so much more. The answer to a peaceful heart, for dealing with tough surprise-situations, is found within the pages of scripture.
Today, before even stepping foot out of bed, I exposed myself to God’s word and I try to do this every day. I’m always a work in progress but His truth helps to better prepare my heart and mind. It helps inspire and equip me for the day so I can strive to have a “Mary-like” heart and attitude for whatever may come my way.
…When I showed up at the school to sub the next time (after the bomb incident occurred) you can bet I read my sub notes as usual…but I also took notice to thoroughly read over those emergency drill papers too…just in case.😉
What about you, how prepared are you when surprises come about? How prepared are you for Jesus’ anticipated return?
Have you gotten serious about your faith? Are you prepared if Jesus’ surprise return would come today?
Do you carry within you a brave and prepared Mary-like attitude when faced with surprises?
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
A few December highlights:
Nate and I were supposed to take a picture for the church for something Nate has going on. I bet we took two dozen photos and never got a decent one, we just couldn’t stop laughing. We were supposed to be going for the “professional” look and if you know my husband that’s not gonna happen!!
Our candy apple-eating cuties!
Hayrack ride Christmas caroling..Brrr!!!
Sledding in our canyon..zoom in on Paige’s dog (cracks me up!!)
I’m trying to figure out what this was all about still.
Paige’s Christmas concert, she’s growing up entirely too quick!