Faith

Five Minute Friday: Doubt

This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is doubt. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over toKate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:

unnamed

Do you ever struggle with doubting God? I will assume your answer is yes, because it is human nature to doubt God at times. Some of us may find ourselves doubting God in the big stuff like salvation or His ability to bring healing. Others of us may doubt God when it comes to the day-to-day issues in our lives. My latest doubts would include the doubting of my calling. Why do I always begin to question the things that I know God has clearly called me to do?  I’ve been in a place over the past couple of days where I’ve truly struggled with the question, “Am I truly called to lead and advise the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the high school where I am employed?” despite the fact that God has proven faithful to me time and time again in this ministry.

I had found myself in a place of exhaustion and dealing with a lot of planning for an upcoming FCA retreat (the most stressful event of the school year for me.) I know that event planning is not my strength. I learned that in college while working for the Office of Advancement and planning so many fund raisers. It was a lot of fun, but definitely not something I feel called to do.

As I questioned my position with the FCA and whether or not God had really called me to fulfill the responsibilities of advising a group of seventy high school Christians God reminded me why He has placed me in this position. When I was exhausted from all the time that goes into planning and executing weekly meetings as well as the upcoming retreat God gave me a message to renew my purpose. This message came in the form of an encouraging letter from a parent.

This week when I was in need of reassurance I walked out to my mailbox and found a letter from a parent of a student involved in the ministry. In this letter the parent expressed their gratitude for my role and explained the impact that this group is having on their son. This was a parent who also is an administrator in the district and whose opinion and wisdom I truly respect.

The letter brought me to tears as I received it exactly when I needed it.

I hate that in this scenario I had become a doubting Thomas. I had forgotten my purpose and focused on myself and my weakness. Alone I could never balance the role of advising a large club with all of the other demands of life, but over the past five years God has truly given me strength and worked through this club. Sometimes I surprise myself with how short-sighted my memory can be. It just takes a look back at the many ways that God has provided for and worked through this organization to remember that He ordained me for such a time as this.

From what I’ve heard doubting your calling when you are in a place of ministry is pretty normal. We pour ourselves into our ministries and when we don’t see the results we pray for it can easily become discouraging. I’m learning even after five years that God’s plans don’t always align with mine, but His plans are always so much better than my own. Doubt is a natural step in the believing process. Doubt helps bring us to a point of faith. Doubt calls into question ourselves and can actually be beneficial for getting our eyes off of ourselves and back on God. We were not created to fulfill our purposes in our own strength. God is almost always the missing piece when we find ourselves in doubt.

Faith

Putting the Hat Back On

11866338_1090156931014109_3038063284364923542_n

A while ago I posted an article about one of the many hats that I wear on a daily basis. This article was about my journey as the adviser for the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) at the high school where I work. If you haven’t read it yet check out the post One of My Many Hats.

Last night we kicked off our first meeting of my fifth year leading the group. Every year we meet at the home of one of the upperclassmen leaders. This has always been a positive experience. Having these meetings in a home helps to facilitate a family-feel. The students feel safe to open up to one another and there is opportunity for them to also experience what it is like to be a part of a Christian home if that is something they are not privileged enough to have themselves.

Our first meeting went off without a problem. Over fifty students showed up. There was a healthy mix of students who had attended in previous years and those who were new to the high school this year. We began our meeting by introducing who we are and why we meet. One of the senior leaders led a quick description of our goals as a club which is just to grow together toward Christ and lead others in the school to know Christ more. I introduced myself, but the first meeting was almost completely led by students. They organized the meeting and later each stood up and shared their personal story and testimony with the rest of the club.

I didn’t realize how much I had missed every single one of the students over the summer until they began to arrive in carpools to the meeting. The excitement of seeing them for the first time in months was exhilarating. I spent the evening catching up with students who attended last year and getting to know all of the new students in attendance.

As a whole group they played a game that our FCA in infamous for: The Name Game. It involves running. screaming, and embarrassing yourself. So naturally the students all favor this particular game. I was so proud of them as every single student participated in the games, which is not always the case. After the game we moved into a time of worship. We all sat near a fire pit and listened/sang along to a worship song. Every week I provide lyrics to each song for those students who may be unfamiliar with it. This is such an awesome time. How many Christian public school teachers get to have an opportunity to worship with their students?

11924772_1090156964347439_3862337988341056870_n

Finally, the meeting wrapped up with good food and fellowship. The kids hung around for a bit shooting hoops, playing frisbie and talking. God has blessed me so much by allowing me to serve as adviser for this club. We are so privileged as a school to continue to have an FCA when other schools are told no. The administration at my school is supportive of all kids and their spiritual/emotional health and that is so encouraging me.

Please join me as I pray that God will continue to grow this program and people who are searching for Him will find Him in our family at FCA.

Faith

One of My Many Hats: Advisor

For the past four years I have had the privilege of advising a Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter at the high school where I work. I have been blessed to watch God work in the lives of the students I see on an every day basis. Most public schools are not open to the idea of an organized group of Christians meeting weekly to fellowship and grow together so I cherish this ability granted to me by my school district. We meet in the home of a current student leader and we have averaged this year anywhere from 60-100 students at a weekly meeting.

Wednesday nights are busy for my family. When I was approached and initially accepted the role of FCA Advisor I wanted to be sure to make it a family priority as it is a huge time commitment. Every Wednesday night we go to FCA as a family. My daughter has grown up with these weekly meetings. In the beginning that was a bit stressful, but I have grown to realize that she is getting the influence of great Christian kids and seeing ministry as part of our regular routine. My husband is a big help when it comes to FCA because not only does he help with keeping our daughter occupied and safe, but he comes alongside me to work with kids (especially guys) that he doesn’t even have in class or see beyond Wednesday nights.

As a leadership team we meet a couple of times a month to plan for upcoming meetings. We also meet over the summer to create a calendar and work through the ideas of discipleship. Our leadership team is made up of elected upperclassmen who have a positive influence in the school. The leadership meetings are some of my favorite parts about FCA. It is where I invest the most into the kids. I use this time to teach my students about the importance of organization and prioritizing, but this is where I also do the most of my 1-on-1 ministry.

When it comes to the actual FCA meetings I allow the leadership team to take control. I am there as an advisor, but the leaders actually run the meetings. This is the rewarding part of ministry. I am able to see my ministry in action as the leaders put their lessons and knowledge to work. Our meetings are quite organized to avoid the dead time that can lead to trouble. If you are working with high school students the less free time the better.

An average meeting generally includes: prayer, small group discussion, game, music, a speaker, reflection time, food, and we finish off all meetings with fellowship. We have several special meetings throughout the year like Olympics, Valentine’s Day, Bonfire, Thanksgiving, Cupcake Meeting, and Senior Cookout. Also, we attend an FCA Retreat every fall with other FCAs in the area.

FCA is all about providing a safe environment for students to come and grow closer to God in community. It is not a place of judgement or a place of perfection. The students get an opportunity to be real and ask questions. When we meet as a leadership team I stress to the leaders that our job is not to give advice to their seeking peers, but rather to point them toward God.

Being the advisor of this club makes my job as a teacher so much more rewarding. It provides a gateway for me to invest in my students on a deeper level. It allows me the opportunity to foster strong relationships with students and families, and it helps me become more of a member of the community where I work.

There are definitely times where I feel overwhelmed by the many hats that God has blessed me with, but it is when I begin to tire that God assures me that I am on the right path. I’ve been down a lot lately about how different my classroom has looked this year due to new tests. However, when I think about the way that God brought me to my job and aligned me with the available advisor position I can’t deny his provision and plan for me and my family.