Monday, April 30, 2012

Overcome, Overwhelmed, and Overjoyed

Today I was o-v-e-r-c-o-m-e, o-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-e-d, and o-v-e-r-j-o-y-e-d.

O-v-e-r-c-o-m-e with emotion.
O-v-e-r-w-h-e-l-m-e-d by the preciousness of children.
O-v-e-r-j-o-y-e-d by God's goodness evident throughout the day.

I wrote about my experience as a teacher on the last day of our co-op in this post.  However, I also wanted to share all the ways the Lord ministered to me.  God’s goodness was continual throughout the day as He tenderly poured encouragement over my tears.

When I stepped into my room yesterday morning, my eyes were shocked to see the surprise awaiting my arrival.  Sitting in the front of my room was a new set of nonstick cookware!  Brand new- in the box, with a note on top that blew me away!
This surprise had been on my “wish list” because I knew water would be scarce and cleaning nonstick pans is significantly easier than regular pans!  Wow!  I was deeply touched to read that the TC Board had come together to bless us with this gift.  Michelle said, “I want you to know we are surrounding you with love as you cook in your kitchen.”  Believe me, I will.  Thank you.

When I saw the cookware and read the note, the floodgate of tears sprung forth.  Unstoppable.  My poor class witnessed me weep for 10 minutes because the blessings continued.

After reading the note, I turned around to face a young woman I’d never met.  In fact, I’m not sure I’d ever seen her.  Her face was unfamiliar, but emulated a sweetness in her demeanor.  Embarrassed from my tears, I quickly tried to explain my emotion.  She shushed my explanation and handed me an envelope.  She said she’d read some of our blog and her family wanted to help us.  Then she walked out the door. 

Later, I opened the sealed envelope to read this note:
“Last night I found myself on your blog for the first time.  We hope this small gift meets one of your many needs.  I am sure to return to your blog, if the e-newsletter gives more information, please include us.  We will be praying that you each feel the peace of Christ as you step into this mission field.”

After reading the note, I unfolded the enclosed check.  It was a gift of $500!  $500!!!  From strangers…  No, not strangers.  An incredibly generous gift from a family with a heart for God’s World and an understanding of our call to live on mission for Jesus.  I was blown away.  Actually, I still am.

After this generous woman left my room, I attempted to teach my class.  (Teach through the tears…teach through the tears.  I think I can...I think I can...)  It was difficult to regain my composure.  I’d purchased journals for all of the English students so they could record the story God is writing with their lives.  After giving the books out, one of my students, Brandon, handed me a book.  The cover was red construction paper with a cut out yellow piece in the corner.  On the circle, written in ink pen were the words “Newbery Award.”  Brandon had written a book just for me It was precious.  In the story all of our boys get lost at the airport causing us to miss our flight!  Hilarious!  Children are such a blessing!

As my first class left, the teacher from across the hall walked in.  Niki was carrying a bag.  She handed me the grocery bag and said apologetically, “It’s not much.”  Then she held my hands and dropped something in them.  “I want you to have these.”

Looking down, I saw a sparkling gold ring and bracelet.  “Gold?”

Niki said, “You can either sell these or keep them for a bribe.  When I was in Ethiopia, people would not allow me to leave the country without giving a bribe.  I was ill and needed to leave immediately. Finally, my mom helped me find some gold to give.  Robin, you can do whatever you want with these.  I simply want you to have them.”
Each piece of gold jewelry had a story which Niki shared.  I am astounded.  Niki’s family lives like us…simply without much extra to spare.  She and her husband have adopted several children and foster others.  Their home is a house of love always filled with children needing a family.  In fact, when we were considering adoption, Niki was a primary influence leading us toward adoption because of the way she lives her life.  Niki gave what she had.  I was amazed by her kindness and generosity.  What an amazing gift!

Throughout the day, God sprinkled more of His love upon me through the TC families.  I received gift cards for supplies, monetary gifts toward the mission (helping us hover close to 96% of our need).  One family even gave a gift in honor of their children’s co-op teachers.  Friends brought suitcases for packing, games, shampoo, batteries, deodorant, movies, peanut butter, and other things on our wish list.  People dropped into my room all day long with bags of Ghana goodies.  One family even loaded some things in our car surprising us when we left!   I couldn’t believe the generosity.  It’s such a picture of the BODY OF CHRIST.  Wow!  Our family is only one teeny-tiny piece of the puzzle.  The entire picture comes together when all people are a part of what God is doing!  Unbelievable!

Beyond the tangible supplies for Ghana, God lavished love upon me through words of affirmation.  Kind words came throughout the day and into the night.

My boys wrote beautiful poems and sentimental notes for me.  Yes, boys.  Yes, poetry.  Yes, sentimental words.  They were tucked in my notebook for me to find later.  Is there a more precious gift?

Of. course there were also sweet gifts from my girls.  An envelope was handed to me from Sarah, and it read, "I'm Ghana miss you."  Inside were some dollar bills that I believe came from her - not her parents.  Beautiful!  

Other gals also touched me...
Girls sent e-mails and posted on FB.  These were some of the things I read today:
From Emma:  This week has been so depressing! Had my last day of TC ever, because next year i'm going to public high school. Gonna miss all my friends sooooo much! And I'm gonna miss Mrs. Beebe who is moving to Ghana with her family in June. I'm gonna miss everyone!
From Julia:  I love you Mrs.Beebe. I am going to miss you guys so much! I will be praying for you and your family. Have fun and hug some kids for me♥
From Abby:  Amazing last day at TC. Emotional, yes! Mrs.Beebe has been an amazing role model in my life and made Hannah and I cry the whole class! :) so sad to say goodbye to all my friends not comming back next year! :( going to miss you guys! Love you!
From Hannah:  Had an awesome but emotional last day of T.C. Im going to miss all my friends through the summer! And Im going to miss Mrs. Beebe soooooooo much! Thanks for making it an awesome year guys!

Many other students and adults wrote notes, said kind words, etc...  The day was so filled with love, I could never record everything.   Even parents sent nourishing words to my soul thanking me for the impact I've made on their children.

I am truly humbled by all of the undeserved words from so many.  For when anything good is seen in me, it is simply a piece of Jesus shining through.  This life is not about me.   Nothing good is a reflection of me - it is only a reflection of the goodness of Christ.  I praise Him that HE chose to allow me to be a vessel for Him.  I was overwhelmed by emotion today because of how great my God is!

Then I read e-mails like this one:
We have your family photo on our refrigerator and in my Bible. You are in my
prayers. I hope you don't mind if I share something with you. On the way to
TC Thursday my girls and I had just finished praying. The Father spoke to my
heart and said, "Stay in your own lane." This was not a driving correction,
but a life focus encouragement. He ministered to my heart about what He has
given me to do and that I am to be about that, not looking at what others
are doing in their lanes or being distracted by surroundings.

What He has called your family to is large. HUGE by western standards, but
His call for you all, nonetheless. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. I wept with
you as I prayed yesterday, as I know there is so much you are leaving and
will miss, but the GREATER part is what you are going TO and what you GET to
be part of. What an amazing adventure! Your boys will become men serving in
a capacity that many never even fathom. May you find peace and joy in your
journey, savoring each experience and being mindful to be present to every

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your
heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it."
Psalm 37:4-5

We are lifting you up!

May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Finally, the most precious gift of my last day at co-op day was witnessing the answer to prayer for little Molly Rader.  While she was in the womb, the Lord burdened my heart for this beloved child.  She was diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome and a major heart defect prior to birth.  Forty days before her due date, God led me to fervently pray for her while fasting from one of my favorite things as a reminder to pray for her. 

Last Thursday, Molly’s big sister Annie gave a presentation on Molly’s surgery.  She passed out prayer cards asking the students to pray.  It was to be a very serious, complicated surgery with the top prayer request being, "that Molly would not die."  The surgery was postphoned from Wednesday to Thursday, so we were praying sporatically throughout the day at co-op.  We prayed as classes until we received word that the surgery was complete. 

We all rejoiced to hear the word that Molly’s heart had begun to beat again.  She had survived the surgery and was in recovery.  This news made the day complete with JOY.  It was a gift to celebrate with Molly's siblings, Jackson, Hannah and Annie! 

I’ve been so blessed to be a part of this co-op.  I’ll carry a small piece of each person from TC as we move to Ghana.  I thank you all for your role in God’s work over the Earth.  Thank you for joining so mightily with His Work.  I’m grateful for each of you.  YOU are a blessing!

If there are discouraging days ahead, I will be remembering this precious day of LOVE!  ALWAYS!

"To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, 
to guide our feet into the way of peace."    
Luke 1:79.  (a verse given to me on Thursday from Timothy Lumsdaine, 6th grade)

No comments: