So each morning I read (and pray) the same prayer from Phyllis Tickle’s Divine Hours:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen (Book of Common Prayer)
I try to ask God to order my day. The other day as I was heading into school to sub I was thinking about this. God is very faithful to answer this prayer, but I am amazed at how it is still a struggle to enter into the way He may order the day. The last few weeks I have been heading in one direction and then people or situations arise that change the day altogether.
I am thankful for the privilege to be part of whatever it is, but I was thinking how my soul does not rest in it with joy that God is ordering my day. It is usually, “wow Lord that was a lot. I feel a bit like I am treading water”. I started thinking how I want to be cooperative not just with my actions, but also my heart and mind sooner. I feel like God is teaching me that I still hold onto my time and ideas a bit too tightly even though my words are for His ordering and fulfilling of His plans.
As I headed into the school I was thanking God for His mercies being new every morning and how He had ordered my days to bring me to this moment in this school. I was looking forward to spending the day with the first graders. I am usually in High School which I love, but it would be a nice change of pace as we head into the end of the year. I had my stickers and bubbles packed. I was ready for an active but fun day.
God had an object lessoned well planned for me. I got to the office and they let me know there was a change of plans. I would start in first grade, welcome them, get them settled, and then head over to High School. Outwardly I kept a smile on my face and spoke few words, but inwardly I was not happy. I was ready for first grade. I had what I needed for first grade, the right tools for a good day in first grade. My mindset was heading in that direction. My outfit was chosen for being able to sit on the floor and run around… yes, unfortunately this is where my mind went. To say the least I was not terribly happy about the switch even after God and I had just chatted about me being more cooperative with His ordering of my days.
I continued to pray that God would help me to have a good attitude. I felt like it was a wrestling match. God even reminded me of my sadness on Tuesday when I thought it was most likely my last day with the High Schoolers for this year. The rest of the week I was scheduled for elementary, and next week is June so I figured, most likely, this gig is up at the end of the week. God had other plans. Not only was that day switched but the rest of the week.
Each class I prayed for peace for the class and for myself. I prayed for me not to miss what He had, but also that I would not be a martyr in my attitude. It was a struggle. I felt ill-prepared with my bag full of bubbles and stickers.
Then I realized that is how I have been feeling. I have my hypothetical bag ready with bubbles and stickers, and then God leads me to a different situation where those things are useless. I did not bring my bag of candy, or my extra crossword puzzles to work on, just things that are appropriate for first grade.
Then God reminded me that His grace is sufficient in my weakness, and this whole thing isn’t about me. Ouch… He was asking me again, do I trust Him?, yes… but if I could know some stuff ahead… control… “that is not trust”. I want to make sure I am heading in the right direction… control… “if you walk with Me, I will lead you… you will hear a voice that tells you to go to the left or the right. Be fully present and listen to me.”
Graciously, the next day I was given a heads up but I went in with open hands ready to receive whatever was given, not in my own strength or power, but His. God showed up and made the day obvious as to where I needed to be so some students could be seen, heard and loved. He could have done so in spite of me, but thankfully He invited me in and made a way for me to do what He planned before time for me to do. I am thankful His mercies are new every morning and He patiently teaches me these lessons over and over. Oh to learn quicker to trust the Father’s heart.