… crazy little rebel

7 by jen hatmaker

(the photo above is not mine…. Google is my source!)

This post will probably be one of my more candid, transparent posts that will leave me so vunerable but I am so excited and gripped (oh, how I love that word!) by where I feel the Holy Spirit is leading me and how He is challenging me.

(Sidebar: My church, Good Hope, has taken on a year long series “I Am…” and we have learned about distinct characteristics of the Father & Son… we’re learning about the Holy Spirit now, so I’m excited to be able to identify which part of the Trinity is doing exactly what. Nerd, Jesus freak, Freak out- call it what you may… I’m all of the above! lol!)

So, being the soon-to-be adoptive mama that I am, I am incredibly obssessed wtih other AMs, (IDk if that’s a real acronym, I may have made it up), their adoption stories, and how their lives change during and after the process. I tell you adoption is not easy and it changes you, there is a beauty and redeeming power that comes from adopting and joining with adoptive families that leave you changed forever for the better.

Thankfully, I have connected & fell in love with many mamas; I feel as if we’re our own little brigade! We so eagerly support each other through fundraisers and efforts to bring awareness and attention to our cause. I’ve also noticed that we are quite the creative bunch who thinks up these crazy ideas to grow our families spiritually and in number. We are avid seekers of our God. I know some other amazing mama’s who haven’t adopted, but who are also crazy over God with their own mad ideas that benefit the Body, their communities, & families. But, as you’ll see, I’m a bit biased.

One of these mamas who is a nut about Christ and adopting is Jen Hatmaker. I don’t know her, she doesn’t know me (YET!!!), but when I tell you she has a heart for Christ and an ability to draw you in with her openness and humor – I speak nothing but the truth.

I stumbled across her blog one night a couple of months ago and read about her rebellion against what I will call consumerism and American-ism. She revolted against excess in 7 areas monthly.

*Food           *Clothes               *Possessions                *Media
*Waste            *Spending                         *Stress

When I read about this experiment, the Holy Spirit whispered “Oh, yes.. do it!” and I was thinking, “Ugh…. I love my stuff. Can’t give it away.” then hurridly clicked over to the next post. I don’t like being convicted. But, this cleanse of sorts stayed on my mind… tucked away in a dark corner.

*******

Yesterday, I cured my boredom by creating this….
i am

(it’s only as big as it is, so that you the words can be seen. I PROMISE!)
Isn’t it the perfect description of a sweet, little Christian girl? Right?

ha.

Last night,  I found that a few of my AM friends took the 7 challenge and again, the Holy Spirit said, “Let’s go!” and I conceeded, then immediately became pumped. Another idea of mine that the Holy Spirit gave me a few days ago has grown a little face through my submitting. I’m looking forward to more distingushing features becoming more noticeable as this new little project of mine becomes more and more tangible.

I come into class today and turn on my Hillsong United or similar Pandora station as I do every morning, and watched my kids play Hangman on the board. I corrected their grammar and enjoyed them coming to my desk to check their homework, give hugs, and tell stories of whatever it is they want to talk about.
I thought about how I impact little people everyday and how I directly change their little thoughts about themselves and help them. I regularly pray that I would be impactful.

*** Still thinking of the rebellion ***

I start to write about how I desire to become even more of everything I mentioned above in the picture. How I am all of those things plus some but I wanted to do and be MORE like Jesus to be more impactful.

Well.

Holy Spirit REVEALED to me, as He does, that if I got rid  of my JUNK, that there would be more room for the good to be perfected with the right motives. There would be a lot less JUNK to compete with and battle for importance. Fewer distractions to pull me away from my God work. Fewer character issues would contradict my God.  So, I created this.
i am this too

*** Don’t I even look different? ****
Oh, God. I just realized that. Look at how our JUNK colors us.

Now, allow me defend myself (is this pride?)…. I am not all good at all times, nor am I all bad all day. I am a mixture of both. I know I can be a lot less of the yellow when my mind is focused on Christ…. And, a lot less pink when I’m living in a whirlwind. Oh, I know.. it’s everyone. But, it doesn’t have to be. Was it even meant to be?

Conviction.

Is this rebellion extreme? Maybe. Unncessary? Possibly. Depends on your perspective. But, oh how I need it. Plus, this type of extreme behavior is right up my alley. I am so black or white. All the way in, or all the way out.

I am expecting to be broken, shattered, embarassed, and moved to change. I don’t believe this reduction, as Jen calls it, was necessarily meant to become a lifestyle. I believe it’s meant to shock your system into understanding how dependant we are on stuff, how truly consumed we are with things of the world. It’s going to show us where are heart is truly teethered to.

I contrast my current Christian lifestyle to efforts to living a healthy lifestyle.

I eat decently, I enjoy working out and do so reguarly (reguarly is dependent upon the craziness of the week! Which is my case in point). But, how much healhier and fit could I be if I was a bit more structured with my meals or pushed my workouts a bit harder? Instead of being satisfied with good enough. Likewise, how much more could I become more like Christ if I, for even just a little bit, shocked my system? What if I removed all of my distractions so that I could become more focused on Him? How different could my post-revolt life be?
the admirer4I am excited. I’m ready to be challenged. To become even more of a follower and less of a sideline admirer.

I’m also terrified. I love my stuff. All of it.

My life goal is at the bottom of the “good Alaina” picture.
Do good. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Serve gladly.
I should probably add Love all. somewhere in there, too.

…. here’s to radical change. to depleting your person of all the junk that prohibits the shift from admirer to full fledged, unashamed follower of our Savior, our Redeemer, our Christ.

 

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… pass it on

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We’re about halfway into the second week of school and so far, so good.
This year, I took special effort in teaching my students a little bit of our school’s history. I thought it would be fun for them to connect what they knew of the school and it’s owners with what they didn’t know. Kinda like filling in the blanks! I told (and, WE wrote) a very short story on how our school began.

I told them how my mother and late father in law began a school in 1966. The school is now called Beatrice Mayes Institute Charter School (BMI) though it began as Wonderland & is now the oldest consistently running private school in Houston. Wonderland began as a private school but in 2001 became a charter. I told my kids that my in-laws were very proud of their school and every child who attended was quite proud, too. It’s always CRAZY funny to me to see the reactions of people I meet or know people who find out I work at the school; their eyes light up and they literally almost start jumping up and down asking about random things that went on at the school when they were there. They’ll start talking about certain teachers (who are STILL at the school) and how they did devotion in the mornings (yes, the kids still stand in the hallway) and how they had to wear white dresses to Coronation Ball (yup… We still do that, too). Their stories are hilarious and it’s really neat to see how many people attended this school. To see how they are apart of my family’s legacy. How proud they are of their educational foundation.

I explained how much of our family work at the school- a teacher, a CFO, an admin assistant. My brother in law is Superintendent, my husband the Chief of Staff. I think it’s neat that after attending BMI, they’ve come back to sow into our kids’ lives. My sister in law joined the Mayes family & became the school’s nurse…. I came along and now I teach….. Before my brother left to coach college football in Colorado, he taught.
After I broke down how everyone is related and connected, I took them on a little mini field trip around the school to “meet” the nurse, Thomas, and Mrs. Mayes! Even though most of the students knew who everyone was, it was different in that they understood how everyone was related to each other and the history of the school. It was funny to hear them tell them about their history. For more reason than one! They enjoyed it!

My family is a family. The best part – we actually like each other. To be apart of a family that works together during the week and still doesn’t mind seeing each other on the weekend is pretty amazing to me. And, to see their children running around and being brought up in such an environment is quite nice, too. Not to mention the fact that they’re incredibly well behaved, polite, and quite sharp!! Lol

As promised, a little info on this….

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I was interviewed, along with another coworker and one of my cheerleaders, for our a piece in our Convocation event. We basically gave our different perspectives on our role at the school and how we push our mission – Expanding minds, building character, and inspiring community action. Convocation went incredibly well – our friends Benjamin and Tamara Floyd of Be Socially Savvy and James and Alysia Roberson of Greater Houston Media Group really helped us present our goals and standards for the new year in an exciting way! We were able to have Seven recite poems that spoke to each of the 3 parts of our mission and an amazing dancer from Urban Souls preformed 3 pieces, as well. After working on the project most of the summer and witnessing it evolve from ideas to paper to real life was incredible. Especially since everything went so well!!!

I am really looking forward to a great year… Excited about having a part in preparing and building children who are well rounded and productive….
Looking forward to continuing to build on this pretty steadfast foundation…

BMI is ranked as top 7% in Texas, we’ve been exemplary, and have such an incredible passing rate for all standardized tests. Proud of the legacy. Proud of my family.

Though we may not always agree on how things should function at the school, we are on always on one accord about prioritizing and serving our children and families.

… Here’s to all of us leaving legacies and making our mark in our little section of the world… To making a difference in the lives of our co-workers, families, and friends.
…. To mattering and making a difference in someone’s life beside our own.

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