Beyond Proud

We have another college graduate living under our roof!!! To say I am proud would truly be an understatement. Kyle has worked tirelessly for years to finish his Bachelors degree in Christian Ministry and this past weekend he graduated!!! We didn’t drive to New Orleans for commencement, but we have marveled all weekend at how good God is to have provided for his tuition, energy requirements , and motivation to do well.

This man has gone from hating school and reading to completing his degree with all As and Bs. He enjoys reading now and often buys himself books (if you knew him in high school this may sound unbelievable). He has accomplished all of this while being a husband, pastor, dad, and so much more!

I am so impressed by you and will always be your number one cheerleader! Way to go Kyle! Congratulations graduate!!!!

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Silent Prayers for Veterans

I experienced one of the most beautiful moments in my teaching career yesterday. Our school had a wonderful program and invited veterans to attend. The school live streamed into the classrooms since we could not all watch it in person. After the second grade chorus sang the screen in my classroom went blank. I knew it was coming. I knew the school would not stream one of our assistant principals praying for our veterans. With all of the upset about coaches praying with their teams in the news lately, I knew the school would not stream a prayer into my classroom. I have cried and prayed for our schools, teachers, and coaches with this new upset about prayer in public schools. I have been upset, angered, and disappointed at where our country is headed—away from God. But as my screen went blank and I explained to my students why, I became filled with a peace as I encouraged my students to use the silent screen time as a chance to pray for our veterans. To my amazement, every head in the room bowed, every eye closed, and my students began to pray. My eyes were filled with tears as I also began to pray for our veterans, soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and country. I praised God for the chance I was given to witness such a beautiful moment, a silent praying class who wanted to lift up our veterans even when no one was leading them in prayer! 


Happy Veteran’s Day!

We Bleed Purple

For six years I have been learning how to bleed purple. When I was first hired at Cartersville Elementary I can remember many times being joked with for being a county school kid (I went to Woodland). I had a ton of navy and white clothing but very little purple. One Friday during playoffs two years ago I ran out of long-sleeved purple to wear to work and was playfully shamed for it. Needless to say I was given a ton of purple to wear that year for Christmas. Cartersville has this unique tradition of raising their kids from pre-K to twelfth grade to bleed purple! They are purple Hurricanes for life and as a person who didn’t have that, it was different at first. Then I fell in love with it! There is so much pride within Cartersville Elementary for all things Hurricane! As I began to pack, sort, and get ride of my school stuff I struggled to give away my purple, but I won’t be needing it anymore. It was even harder to pack my classroom and move it out of the building I have called home for six years. Leaving Cartetsville Elementary in May was emotional for me. To walk the halls one last time, with very few people in the building (thank goodness), remembering each classroom (I had 5 of them), student, teacher, and friend was very reflective for me. 

But as I have been able to go to my new classroom in my new school I have been able to see all of the ways God has been showing off in my life this year! He provided Kyle with a full time ministry position. Then he sent me a teaching position at the school I wanted to be in. Within hours He sold our house. Now he has sent us our dream home in Calhoun! I still can’t believe it!!! I serve an amazing God who will provide for all our needs and shower us with blessings!

So although I had learned to bleed purple with pride, I am going to learn how to be Jacket Gold at Calhoun Elementary and hopefully it won’t take as long 😜.

My Word Should have been Change

So much change has happened in our lives this year. My word for the year should have been CHANGE.

Kyle has CHANGED jobs.

I am CHANGING jobs.

We have CHANGED churches.

We are about to CHANGE houses.

But the amazing part is how God has orchestrated all of it! Don’t get me wrong…I have struggled with the changing. Look at this journal entry from earlier this year:

It happens every time. Every time we start over I spend hours, days, weeks, maybe even months crying. Crying because I miss people. Crying because I don’t have my friends. Crying because I hate change. Crying because I am confused on whether we did the right thing or not. When we left CFBC I cried for all of those reasons and some. It took time to adjust to ATCO. Then I fell in love with ATCO, made new friends, and found my new way of life. It was different than First Baptist, but it became my normal. Now at Trinity I don’t have a normal. I don’t have a routine. I don’t have friends yet. (I hope yet is right) It’s hard.

But God has already started to give me a peace about that struggle. The constant list of questions running through my mind these last few months has started to dwindle.

Will I get a new job? Change. Will I get a new grade level? Change. Will I move homes? Change. Will we buy a different car? Change. It’s so much to think about and handle. I dislike change so much.

But you know what is constant? My husband. Kyle is a trooper and knows my struggle with change and is supporting me the best he can right now. My daughter. She doesn’t recognize anything as being different. She just loves her mommy and daddy. Most importantly, my God. He does not change. He is a constant in my life. If I don’t feel Him it is not because He isn’t there. He is always there. My God has saved me, loves me, never leaves me, provides for me, goes before me. He is my rock, redeemer, friend. He shelters me, carries me, comforts me. He is king of my life, Lord of everything.

Today I know that He is counting the tears I cry. I know He is preparing the way for me, whatever way that may be. I know He has a plan for my family and even though I cannot see it now I know He is working it out for our good. Today I may not like the feelings of change, but I know God is requiring me to trust Him in the change.

I don’t know all of the answers to my list of questions, but I do know that where I ended up in that journal entry is still true. God is my constant. He does not change.

Temptation

I was remembering a time about 12 years ago where I was tempted, fell into temptation, and reaped the punishment when I was caught. I was a junior in high school taking honors British literature. My parents had a rule; we could exempt finals if we had an A in the class. When I asked the teacher what my grade was she informed me it was an 89.5. Oh the temptation… take the final or not? The teacher told me if I bombed the final she wouldn’t put it in and I would keep my current grade. I don’t know what I thought would happen…maybe that the teacher would have a heart and round my grade up, but I decided to lie to my mom and tell her I had an A, not take the final, and wait to see what the report card said three weeks later. Temptation means a desire to do something, especially wrong or unwise. It was so wrong to lie to my mom. It was wrong to not take the final. Everything about this situation was wrong.

Jesus was tempted. He withstood temptation. “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:1-11)

WWJD…did you have a bracelet with those four letters? I did. What Would Jesus Do? When Jesus was tempted he quoted scripture and clung to God’s word in order to withstand temptation. It may be hard to believe, but the Bible has scripture for everything. In my situation I probably should have considered, “You shall not give false testimony…” (Exodus 20:16) or “Honor your father and your mother…” (Exodus 20:12), and definitely “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,” (Colossians 3:23).

temptation

Whatever you do, gah that’s a lot of stuff…brushing my teeth, writing a blog post, teaching children, taking a test, playing a sport…WHATEVER YOU DO. Work at it with all your heart. I did not work at Brit. Lit. with all my heart. I just wanted to get out of that class. So many times we do things half way. God’s word calls us to do things with our whole heart. As working for the Lord. For the adults here…when your boss is around do you work harder? Imagine if God was in the room with you…😳 I would want to do my very best!

When my report card made it to my parents I had a B in Brit. Lit. and I was grounded. Not for the B but for lying to my parents and not doing my best. I guess the teacher had a heart change at some point though because on my transcripts I have an A in the class. Temptation is a tricky thing. Every time we meet temptation we should WWJD and use God’s word to help us fight it.

More Than a Teacher

Have you ever walked in to a place and felt at home? Somewhere you’ve never been or seen until then and just known that it’s the place your supposed to be? I’ve had it happen a few times in my life and a month ago I had another one of those experiences. I walked into Calhoun Elementary School and immediately felt at home. It was welcoming and almost screamed “You belong here!” The three administrators I met with were inviting and pleasant. I could picture myself working for them and alongside them. I didn’t get the sense that I shouldn’t mention my husband, daughter, or faith. I believe that it was welcomed to mention things about who I am away from school. 

So many times teachers are asked to come to work and be just a teacher. When we are at school we are not a wife, mom, Christian, or republican. We are a teacher and only that. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t work that way. I am always a Christian. It doesn’t matter where I am. I am praying while I teach. I am shining my light for Jesus everywhere I go and I cannot put it away when I walk into work. AND… the only reason people call me Mrs. Ruff is because I am married. I cannot pretend that my husband doesn’t exist for 8 hours a day 190 days a year. I should be able to talk about him while I am at work and not be sorry for it. To top it off, I finally became a mother last year and I will not avoid any conversation about my sweet girl. I am a Christian first, wife and mother next, and teacher last. I have been able to be all of those things and so much more at Cartersville Elementary School for the past 6 years and I felt that I could be the same way when I stepped inside of Calhoun Elementary School last month. It was so nice to know that other schools allow their teachers to be so much more than just a teacher!