Saturday, January 30, 2016

Who Am I?

By tomya peters
I never thought it would take me this long in life to decide who I was. The simple one word that describes me. 
I guess I just thought there would be more to it. Then again something you do every day all day long should stand out.  From the time I was little playing with stuffed animals, to being a big sister, my passions that have taken me in all different directions have all had one thing in common.
It’s not always our career or what we spent years studying to become. It’s more about what we do when no one is watching. It’s what you leave dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor for. It’s what you stay up late loosing needed sleep over, wake up thinking about and can’t wait to learn more about. It’s what you excel in and find avenues to reveal this gift through your whole being.
For me it’s a simple five letter word……..TEACH!
It’s who I am that defines and narrows down how I use this gift. I could teach a lot of things. I could teach how to, why nots or even what the best is about anything. It now becomes a decision. What do I choose my life to be about? This part is easy to define but difficult to refine into all segments and layers over the years.
I follow Christ, full stop!
 I made this decision many years ago. To be exact it was August 1971. This past summer 44 years ago. Before I made this decision I was holding church services in my playroom. My brother and all my stuffed animals lined up in front, as they sat listening to me preach from a sermon outline made from a cut open pillowcase. I had written my notes on it with graphics. We professionals call this the original PowerPoint.
As a teen I met and shared the gospel with my future soul mate in life. We have now been marries 35 years.
Soon after we had children, my gift became full-blown with several layers. From teaching them to crawl to tying shoes, from talking to reading, driving to leaving home I was teaching them. Let’s not kid ourselves, I’m still teaching them.
Intertwined throughout all those stages I was sharing Christ with them. From In the beginning to maps I shared all I could about God’s incredible plan to save us, love us and take us home. From those written examples I tried to live the example so vividly to begin the exposure of true relationship with our master and creator. An existence I wouldn’t have without Him.  
I’ve taught children’s bible classes, Ladies adult classes, teen girls and boys how to make Gods plan their plan. I’ve reached out to children, mothers and lonely souls needing God’s love. I have taught children math, English, history and even a little science. I am a teacher.
The last couple years I have been working in a school with children alongside paid, educated, real teachers. They tell me I’m a teacher at times, but I humbly respond, “Well, I try but you’re the REAL teacher.”
How could I be more real? I am a TEACHER! There I said it. I always have been and always will be. It’s not only defined by career, education and salary. It’s defined by what my life has been about.
When will we stop only labeling ourselves and others with the wrong standards? We must stop narrowing ability and worth by money and power.

We are talented and blessed people created by an amazing God who picked us to be created in His image. We are who we are. What word describes you? What do you have to be about no matter who, and what you do, where you live or what you’re told?

Do you always lead?
Do you give compassion?
Are you a follower?
Are you committed?
How about unconditional love?

I could go on all day creating a list, but you can figure it out. You probably already know what it is but just not taken the time to verbalize it. Believe in who God gifted you to be.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let not your heart....

In Honor of a childhood friend:
The scene was more beautiful than any I had ever seen. One I will never forget, its majesty, spender and breathtaking view. As I sat there in the middle of the vast beauty it didn’t feel real.  The smell was a delicious masterpiece and made your eyes desire to devour it. How could it be real? I could have set there every day and never grow tired of looking at it and absorbing it in.
With five children we found ourselves at sporting events around the clock most days of the week. Our youngest son was playing football and had practice two to three days a week and a game every Saturday. This beautiful place we lived was Seattle, Washington. I’ll let you in on a little secret about this city. We locals don’t share this with just anyone, but now that I’ve moved away, I can’t get in too much trouble. Seattle gets so much rain throughout nine months of the year and has a bad reputation. My secret we don’t tell people is that from the middle of July to the end of October the sun shines from early morning until late in the evening with zero humidity. Having lived several years in the hot muggy south the northwest is quite refreshing. The weather is so mild.
During football season we grab a big blanket, spread it out on the lawn and relax as if we were on a picnic. I still remember the feeling like it was yesterday. The cool air, the sound of happy children and a view that is so incredible you could reach out and touch it. Imagine green grass stretching out all the way to the deepest color of evergreen trees. Trees that climb the mountain side till it is stopped by a thick blanket of snow that ends at the most crystal blue sky that goes on up and around until it encompasses you in its shelter.
Every day I would sit there and pinch myself with unbelief of its view. It just couldn’t be real. There were days we took drives up into these mountains. The complexity of every twist and turn assured me of the reality that was before me.
Today a friend from my youth passed on to her eternal home. We are promised its beauty to be beyond what we can fathom.  This friend has no idea how many times over the years she was on my heart. I hope she knows now as she is welcomed into her new home. She, her sister and another girl were all a year older than me. I, looked up to them because they were cool, smart and had the longest hair. Mine never seemed to get past my shoulders. We were all in bible class together on Wednesday night. I don’t even remember who taught our class, only the assignment that was given one specific night. We were given a challenge to memorize John 14:1-14. I still have the bible where I marked and underlined the text as I accomplished the task. I was proud of my work as I accomplished the first four verses. It started getting a little harder as I studied on. I topped out memorizing only seven verses. We went to church the following week I was excited to share that I had memorized half of it already. Then my friend stood up across the table from my and quoted the whole thing. WOW! I was speechless and suddenly disappointed with my effort.
John 14:1-14
14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Let not your heart be troubled, let not your heart be troubled.....I could quote it every day and not hear those words enough. These words and believing their power has grown deep within my heart for many years. I know without a doubt he has a place prepared just for me. There is no trouble too big to change this truth I live by. He is the way the truth and the life. We go to the father through the son and we know the father as we know the son because they are in one another. He left so we could do greater things while waiting for his return to take us home. I imagine the beauty of heaven more glorious they the view I remember from Seattle, more grand than my wildest thoughts and more perfect than even any description words could spell out. All that matters is His promise. Let not your heart be troubled. Yes I believe!
Gina thank you for this memory I have of your heart to learn his word.
You helped me strive to know His word more every day.
by Tomya Peters
Gina Cavins
May 14, 1960 - January 20, 2016

Monday, January 18, 2016

Un-tuck that Shirt!


            He jumped out of the car with a skip in his step and a tight grip on his lunch kit. He flung his backpack over his shoulder as his mother yelled, “Untuck that shirt!” She looked at me with a smile, as he ignored her catching up to his friends, as they headed towards the school doors.
            Strange it is, the things we say to our children. My husband and I have caught ourselves saying or asking some of the strangest things of our children. Things like:
·        Are you sure you don’t want meat on that ketchup and mustard sandwich?
·        To your three year old son you ask, why is your sister hanging upside down out of her baby swing?
·        Maybe you hear the most awful sound coming from your daughter’s bedroom, you run in fear of finding your daughter clawed to death only to see she has dressed the cat in the baby’s dress and bloomers. You quickly ask, can’t you tell she isn’t happy letting you dress her?
They amaze me.
            These days with children all grown, I work at an intermediate school. Every morning I have drop-off duty. I watch two to three hundred children get out of cars every day, exchanging salutations with their parents. I have seen laughing, anger and half asleep children as they emerge from the cars. Today after the “untucked your shirt” comment, I started listening closer. Watching faces with insightful through. I asked this question, “what if those words were the last thing you ever said to your child?
            I started thinking of all the last conversations I’d had with people over the years. Some I don’t even remember others I was left speechless to mutter even a word. I remember the last conversation I had with a dear friend. We would chat long distance over the phone every few weeks. I knew her health was bad and the end was eminent, but I never thought this was the last time I would talk to her. Part of me wished I would have known, but then again, what would I have said?
            I want to speak with the importance of God in my words, as if they were the last words they will ever hear, with the power of gospel to change lives, share my heart and leave no doubt they know how much they are loved by God every time I open my mouth.  

            Car after car dropped off their children that day and I just watched with concern on my heart. Granted it is very early in the morning, but I think I saw more than remains of the sand-man in the faces of some of those children. Some of the parents drove off with the look of pain in their faces. Is there more month than money on their thoughts? Relationships on the brink? We have the power to change a person’s day for the better or worse with our words.
            What would you say, if today’s good-byes were the last to be spoken to your loved ones?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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