I thought I wanted it easy…….

This past week I’ve been wrestling with the idea of “easy.”

This past year or so has been super hard; probably one of the most challenging seasons of my life to date… or at least it’s in the top 5 most difficult seasons.

So, because of this hard season, I’ve been crying out to God:

“I’m so unhappy. Lord, I love living here in the U.S. but it’s been so hard, I just feel so dissatisfied, disillusioned and unhappy. I can’t keep doing this. I feel alone and it’s too hard. The price you’re asking me to pay is too high.”

The Lord is so kind and he spoke so gently and clearly. He said:

“No, you’re not unhappy, dissatisfied and disillusioned, you’re wanting “easy” and I never promised you that. Easy doesn’t grow you. Easy doesn’t produce character. Easy doesn’t make you more like me.”

WOW! The Lord was sooooo right, I was wanting “easy.” I felt so rebuked in that moment.  He hit that nail on the head. I was’t unhappy … I wanted easy! I wasn’t feeling like it was all too hard … I simply wanted easy!

So, this week I’ve been wrestling with this notion of “easy.” Do you ever long for a season of “Easy?”

Tonight, as I continue to meditate on all that God is speaking to me, I stumbled across Sarah Reeve’s song “Easy.”

The lyrics of “Easy” put so perfectly into words my wrestle in this season. The chorus and bridge declare this:

I thought I wanted it easy but easy never needed you
Just because I’m feeling weak and feeling lonely
Doesn’t make it true
‘Cause I know I’m only human
And I don’t know what I’m doing
I thought I wanted it easy but easy never needed you

…….

I thought I wanted it easy
I thought I knew what to do
But I’d rather be needy
Always needing You

This song has wrecked me tonight. Here it is…… listen to this gem and let it speak to your heart tonight as you learn to let go of “easy” and rely on HIM!

I really and truly thought I wanted it easy but Philippians 3:19 in The Message version says this:

18 There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. 
19 But, easy street is a dead-end street….. 

Ouch! “All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s cross…….. easy street is a dead-end street!” I truly believe so much of the western world identifies with the victorious aspect of Christ’s death but I think we have a lot to learn from the suffering aspect of the cross too. May we never come to hate Christ’s cross as Philippians says. Our flesh cries out for “easy” but it doesn’t produce any eternal fruit like it does when times are hard and we are identifying with the suffering of Christ and the Cross. Be encouraged if you’re facing some challenges, you are developing fruit in your life that doesn’t grow in seasons of “easy.”

I honestly thought I wanted life to be easy but easy doesn’t need Christ. Easy doesn’t need community. Easy doesn’t need roots to go down deep. Easy doesn’t need perseverance. Instead, I am to learning to be thankful for the difficult times when life isn’t easy as it makes us cling to Christ and it sure does make us grow. It says in James 1:3-4

“You know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

So, if you’re facing a challenging season, where your heart longs for “easy,” know that you are developing eternal fruit, you are learning more about the wonderful, all sufficient character of God. And…. remember, you really don’t want easy….. desire the growth and the maturity this challenge will bring so you that will be “mature, complete, not lacking anything.”

 

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Wisdom

So, being in leadership the past two years, my prayer is just for wisdom. All I need is God’s wisdom! Wisdom is defined as: “the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise…. and the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.” Being in my 30’s and in leadership with staff under me…. I sometimes lack experience and knowledge due to my age….. so my prayer, my cry, my longing in this season is just simply wisdom. It’s all I need. In every decision, in every hard moment… All I need is God’s wisdom! I’m often encouraged by Solomon’s story!

Solomon asked for wisdom. You know, I love this story because Solomon could have had anything! Let’s be real! He could have asked for money, riches, power, women…. cars LOL…. He could have asked for anything but here’s the story!

1 Kings 3:3-15 says this………

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father, only he sacrificed and made offerings at the high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place. Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant David my father, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you. And you have kept for him this great and steadfast love and have given him a son to sit on his throne this day. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. 13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

15 And Solomon awoke, and behold, it was a dream. Then he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, and made a feast for all his servants.

WOW…. he asked for wisdom and not only did he get wisdom but he also received long life, riches and honor! How good is Father God, that he granted the wisdom that he asked for and EVERYTHING else! God is a generous God, he loves to provide for us and give us beautiful gifts!

In my own walk, I often go to my boss for wisdom, as he is seriously the most wise man I have ever encountered and he so generously shares his knowledge, experience and wisdom with me! I often want to run to him to get wisdom but this past month, God has reminded me that I can have access to GOD’s wisdom! All I need to do is ask for wisdom and I can receive it! It says in James 1:5:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

WOW! Yup…. I have most definitely lacked wisdom but when I ask for it, God gives it GENEROUSLY! I am so thankful that I can receive wisdom! Thank you God for your wisdom, please never stop pouring out your wisdom in me! Make me wise, Lord! Continue to grow this in me!

So, if you need wisdom today, simply ask! You will receive it freely, it WILL be given to you!

Blessings,

Shaileigh

The Power of Rest Part II

Rest is such a tricky thing to master! A few years ago I wrote a blog post about rest. I tried to rest and was diligent with it for a while, but as life got in the way I chose to work and not live by my new found conviction.

Fast forward a few years and I am a principal at a school in the middle-of-nowhere South Carolina, working my tail off and definitely NOT resting! My life seemed like it was spinning out of control and I so easily justified week after week choosing not to rest and choosing work. I allowed myself to get caught up in the daily grind and I allowed myself to work 15 hour days and I began to find my identity in how “hard” I was working.

In September 2017, I signed up to a DGroup* retreat and I arrived Friday afternoon just exhausted and longing to hear from the Lord. Longing to hear his tender whisper connect with my weary, worn out, and tired heart. So, the whole retreat was about resting. The theme was soul rest. How to rest. How to truly enjoy the Sabbath which the Lord gives to us as a gift!

So much that was shared spoke so directly to my heart but three points that really changed things for me were this

1. Resting implies trust.

Resting implies trust. It implies that you will trust that God will help you get everything done. It implies that we trust God to do what we can’t do! Resting shows that we trust that God is in control and that we don’t need to control or manipulate everything! Rest implies trust.

2. Resting takes planning and work but the fruit is worth it.

In order for me to have a day off to rest, it seriously takes planning! It forces me to get organized with my responsibilities and I often have to work harder on a Friday in order to have Saturday off to rest. Yes, it is work. Some weeks, it would be easier to NOT have a whole day off, but my body and soul need the rest. The fruit of resting is so very worth it. There is lots of fruit to resting but one of them is that I enter into the week ready to work and give it my all for God’s glory! This brings me to my next point……..

3. Soul rest helps us to work well for the Lord’s glory.

We don’t work to rest, we rest to work! We rest so we can enter into the week revived and ready to do all God has predestined us to do! Rest helps us!

If you want more info on resting and Sabbath, DGroup has many resources about Sabbath and rest. Scroll all the way down to the Sabbath and click on the links! Check it out! You won’t regret it!

Well… there’s my updated thoughts on resting! I have been taking Sabbath since September 2017 and wow…… so thankful for the times of rest and times where I can focus my attention on the Lord. I am excited to continue learning to rest well…… I am determined to learn how to rest well for HIS glory! Anyway…. this conviction will probably continue to develop… so stay tuned for Part III! LOL

*DGroup has been life changing for me! If you’re wanting to dig deep into the word of God with other like minded women, have accountability like never before, and develop a deep, spiritual community, then check out DGroup! Here is a trailer explaining how this Discipleship group works!

It’s Been Too Long…. My Story of Moving to the USA!

So… I stumbled upon my blog this evening! I have severely neglected it over the past two years but so much has happened! It has simply been too long since my last post!

When I last posted, I was teaching Grade 6/7 and teaching in a small desert town in South Australia. Now, I am the principal and education director in South Carolina, U.S.A.

I often get asked, “How did you end up here?” So…. here’s a short-version of this amazing journey!

April 7th, 2014 I had a dream where I was told to pack up my life and move to Faith Christian School. In my dream, I packed up and moved.

I woke up, grabbed my phone and Googled “Faith Christian School.” I was stunned to see that Faith Christian School was connected to the school I was teaching at in rural South Australia! This school was part of Adelaide Christian Schools and was our school in the USA!

I journaled about the dream . I said to God, that I love the USA for vacation but I don’t think I could live there! I left it with the Lord and continued teaching!

Later that year in 2014, I was offered a senior lecturer position at a Christian Uni in Adelaide. I went to the interview and as the dean took me on a tour, the Holy Spirit asked me “What about the dream?” I knew at that moment that I couldn’t accept the position and began to ask questions about Faith Christian School.

Fast forward a few months:

April, 2015  that next year I was flown over to visit Faith Christian School to see what the Lord was doing there and to see if God was indeed calling me to pack up my life. After my first day there, I knew I had to move. I spent two weeks visiting the students and school and they had won my heart.

I arrived back to Australia and that next week was offered the position of Director of Christian Education. This role was twofold. First, my role was to be principal of the school and help teach, second it was to write a 4 year teaching degree to be rolled out through a Uni in California to third world countries. By November 2015, I was in Melbourne being interviewed for approval of the E3 visa and was hammered by immigration! To them, it made no sense that I had a PhD, was an experienced teacher on a good salary, and I was choosing to move to S.C., to a tiny school and a tiny salary! The officer kept scratching his head in confusion, whispering: “This whole thing looks so sketchy!” Sometimes what looks foolish to the world is wisdom to the Lord! After a crazy visa interview I then went back to finish off the Aussie school year and packed up my life in two weeks before jumping on the plane and relocating to S.C.!

I’ve now been at Faith for two years and oh my goodness! I am so thankful that He always goes before us and that He always has a good plan! I feel so blessed to be here and I have grown so much!

So, that’s the short version of how I ended up in the USA. Stay tuned for more stories and reflections on my life here in upstate South Carolina!

 

Blessings in Disguise

I’ve been living in upstate South Carolina for two years and I’ve just arrived back from a trip back to Australia and homesickness wants to settle in some days. What I’m learning is…..the very things I miss highlight the many blessings I have here in the US. They truly are blessings in disguise. So, tonight as I wrestle with homesickness, I will make a list of my blessings and get my perspective in the right place!

  • I miss seeing the Southern Cross in the night sky, but I am blessed to see Orion and Pleiades each night instead!
  • I miss my friends, my long term, deep friendships, but I am blessed to be building friendships and deep relationships here! Shout out to DGroup!
  • I miss the gorgeous beaches that are only a few minutes away, but I am blessed to have mountains and lakes here that are just around the corner!
  • I miss gourmet breakfasts and hipster cafes, but I am blessed to have access to cheap food and buffets! Oh my word, the buffets! Thanks Dienners for your awesome breakfasts!
  • I miss having family around but, I am so blessed to have friends here who become like family! I am so thankful for how God places us in family, called His church!
  • I miss Aussie TV shows but, I am super blessed to have Netflix and Hulu and let’s be honest…. who has time to watch T.V. anyway!
  • I miss the lesser responsibility of classroom teaching but, I am blessed to now be a principal and to grow into this role and have my capacity stretched! SO blessed to be given more responsibility!
  • I miss Aussie Candy (especially: Tim Tams, Allens Lollies, Caramello Koalas, Twisties, Pods, Minties, Aero bars, mint slice, jelly slice…. and the list goes on!) but, I am so blessed to have easy access to the wonderful array of candy that the USA has to offer!
  • I miss the Aussie accent… NAH… I really don’t… I LOVE being surrounded by the American accent. It makes me feel like I’m living in a movie!

Homesickness and missing things of the past is challenging at times, but seeing these things for the blessings that are in front of me right now makes this journey easier!  So here’s a shout out to everyone living far away from “home.” Remember the blessings in THIS season!

 

 

 

Using Technology to Teach History

This week, my Grade 6’s are learning about Migration and my Grade 7’s are learning about Ancient History.

Yup… two very different topics in the one class! It’s a challenge but Im becoming a better teacher because of it and my classes are learning from one another.

So…. Migration is the topic this term and this is the unit plan so far…

  1. Define migration and brainstorm what countries the students in my class come from
  2. Briefly touch on convicts coming to Australia
  3. Look at the Gold Rush and how that impacted upon Migration
  4. Compare our lives to those children living on the Gold Fields.
  5. Talk about modern day migration – reasons for migration, experiences, feelings and how people come to Australia.

This is where Selena Woodward from Teacher Technologies and Skype comes into it!! 🙂

I’ve known Selena for a few years through our work at Flinders University. She migrated to Australia a few years ago, so I organised a Skype session with her. Selena spoke with my students about her experiences, where she came from and what she misses about her homeland. The students were so engaged listening to a real life story. Not only did it meet our needs in terms of History but it also covered some geography too! Selena used Google Earth to show my class where she is (Adelaide), where we are (Whyalla) and how far away England is. It was an awesome lesson! Selena also explained to the class that migrating to Australia was a lengthy process involving a 24 hours plane ride and many months of planning and even the process of having her 2 cute cats in customs and quarantine for a few weeks to make sure they didn’t have any diseases! It was fascinating!!

Next we also Skyped my dad who was a migrant from England many decades ago! It was interesting comparing his experiences with Selena’s. My dad travelled on a boat for 6 whole weeks and it was scary for him as a young child!

Two different experiences of the same phenomenon. It was very educational. I would highly recommend using Skype to bring various experiences into your classroom.

The Grade 7’s in my class also had a wonderful lesson learning about BC, AD and how we learn from the Ancient Past. I feel very blessed to be working in this school (for many reasons…) but also because of the expertise the parents have! I have an archeologist in the school and he came with lots of artefacts, methods of dating things, how the layers of earth are developed and what that means for history …..  and lots of real life experiences of investigating our Ancient past, not only of many countries overseas but also the ancient past of our local area – Whyalla. The students were enthralled and…. now they all want to be archeologists when they finish school! hehe

To conclude our lesson, we jumped onto twitter to reflect on what what have learnt! Here is our class twitter account, check out our learning in real time! I LOVE how we can share our learning with other classes and educators all around the world!!

What a fun way to engage students in the learning process – by using Skype and by utilising experts within the school and local community!! Technology really can enhance learning, but make sure you are using it well… I personally use the TPACK model to plan my lessons with technology, check it out if you have time!

Here are some pics of our fun learning this week!

This is Selena! 🙂

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What is the Purpose of School?

This blog post began in 2012. I have been pondering the question of what is the purpose of school?

When i began writing this piece, i was still at Flinders uni doing my thing of lecturing, tutoring and researching. My world view was very much for a humanistic position. Now, a few years later…. I am still reflecting on this question. What is the purpose of schooling and school? Why do we do what we do. Well…. here are a few thought! They may not be correct but this is where im at, right now. I’m sure these musing will grow and develop as I continue to develop as a teacher.

The Purpose of Schooling as of February 2015:

  • It’s about preparing students for the future
  • It’s about preparing students to know Christ and to be a follower of Him.
  • Its about learning NOT teaching, if students’ haven’t learnt, I haven’t taught.
  • Transformation… i.e. NOT using technology in old ways (like using Ipads to read books or as glorified dictionaries)
  • Creating digital citizens, who know how to effectively, safely and inclusively connect with others for the greater good of society.
  • Assessment should look different to what it has in the past: Show what they know not what they don’t know.
  • Use technology to improve their learning, to develop better structure of writing, deeper understanding and meaningful use of information in real world contexts.
  • We only have one life – its not private and professional – its ALL public!! Students need to learn what is safe to put in the public arena. Their online identity will never go away, they need to be purposeful about their online presence.
  • Schooling is all about a learning process – don’t tell me, show me and teach someone else! IT’S ABOUT CREATING and showing their learning.
  • Building relationships – asking about Weekend, build a connection with the students and their families. We learn in communion with others.
  • The purpose of Schooling is to set a good example, like Paul in the Bible says: imitate me as I imitate Christ. Kids watch everything we do – what are we modelling?? What attitudes am I passing onto my students? What habits or values am I portraying. May I truly be an imitator of Christ.
  • The purpose of school is to join with parents, partner with them so we can learn with the families and the children. Get parents on Twitter and follow educators – get the learning space happening! Check out my class Twitter account @MissPagesClass
  • The purpose of schooling is to create Christ following students who can operate in this ever changing world with the World View of Christ, everything is for Him, through Him and to Him!
  • I want my students to leave this year knowing how to Love God, Love Others and how to Love themselves! I want them to read well and to think critically, to engage in the larger issues of this world.

That’s about it for the moment. So… that’s where I’m at….. Bye for now!