Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Development

Just over a year ago, I entered a transition back to life as I remembered it back in the US. I knew it hurt a lot, and that it would continue to hurt. Nothing could have prepared me for all that this year held, or for the joy that has come.

The question of what to do and where to go next school year has been on my heart through the year. I love being part of the team at Pilgrim and the ministry there is deeply valuable and important. Working with the students and faculty has been an honor. Through all of the experiences and lessons brought into my life this year, two things have been clear to me. God has given me a love for third culture kids that goes far beyond simply missing those I have known, and He has also given me a distinct love for Germany and its people. So, after seeking wise, Godly counsel, and continually laying my own heart before the Lord, it gives me great joy to announce that I am planning to return to Germany and Black Forest Academy in the fall. I have been offered a position in the music department, teaching private lessons, accompanying LOTS, teaching music appreciation classes, among other things. I also plan to get involved with leading a Bible study for high school girls, helping out in the dorms, getting involved in the Gerrman community, and otherwise filling the role that God has for me. Some have asked how long I will be there. At this point, I am looking at a 5 year commitment. This is not a matter of like vs. dislike. It is a matter of following the call of God on my life so that He can accomplish His purpose in me, through me, and in the lives of others.

The goal is for me to return to BFA by the end of August, so I am in the midst of raising support that will enable me to go back. The need is urgent, and I am prayerfully seeking those who would partner with me, especially on a monthly basis.  I would love for you to join me! If you feel that this is something God would have you pursue, please either click on the following link, or simply contact me personally via email:  https://give.teachbeyond.org/ or Laurenholland25@yahoo.com. If you would like more information about BFA, you can find more information here: http://bfacademy.com/
More than anything I am in need of your prayer support! I look forward to sharing this journey with you as it unfolds!

Black Forest Academy, Kandern

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Clarity and Lessons Learned

Clarity. We all need it, craving it at times. The question "why?" seems to be continually present in some (all?) seasons of life. This year has been one of those seasons for me. I asked this ever-present question at many bends in the road this year. One thing has been abundantly clear to me, however, and that is the fact that God is in complete control. No matter what expectations others have for me, or that I may have for myself, nothing surprises God. And with those things in mind I have been attempting to sounds the depths of all that I have learned this year. I will attempt to share the beginnings of my findings with you:

1. Let it go - a recent film has elevated this phrase to fame, but seriously, how easy is it? When I am struggling with certain grace-producing factors in my life, how obediently do I really release my sense of pride and submit to the hand of the Master, steadily at work in the depths of my soul? Or what about the sense of defeat when you or I realize that the problem we've been chipping away at is simply much bigger than we are? The abundance of peace that comes from letting go in these, and many other, situations comes not from releasing them into the great unknown and refusing to think about them, but rather from handing them into the all-capable hands of the Master of our lives and times. 

2. Classroom management - This one is a particular favorite, because I look back at my all-wise college-age self and think, so you didn't want to teach??? If I had only known. The opportunity to stand in front of a classroom, maintain attention, interest and discipline, and everything else that goes into running an orderly classroom, has been both daunting and rewarding. It has been humbling simply to know that I am responsible to adequately prepare so that I am ready to present and hopefully enlighten the minds before me. I don't profess to have perfected this area, or even come close, but I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow.

3. Mentor and be mentored - with every passing year I am made more and more aware of my need to be poured into if I am going to pour out into others. If I am going to pass on any semblance of wisdom, I need to be seeking it myself. I am thankful for the chance to rub shoulders with some of the faculty that taught me during my high school years, building on past relationships and forming new ones. Each one has touched my life and enriched me with their wisdom, from discipline, to relating to and loving students and faculty, to growing my own walk with Christ. At one point, one woman I look up to greatly professed her own need to walk more closely with the Holy Spirit and listen to Him more. Wow. If she needs that, then how much more do I? 

4. The importance of family - I have seen more clearly than ever before my need for my family. We have worked through some excruciatingly difficult things this year, but the beauty of a struggle is the resolution that follows and the healing that results. Before this year, I had underestimated the depth of my need to be around my parents, adults who have walked farther and experienced more in life than I have. It was also high time to be around my siblings again. It has been 9 long years since it was physically possible for me to spend this much time around my sister and brothers, let alone share a time zone (most of the time). These five incredible people teach me so much about life, myself, and God. I need them.

5. Involvement with teens - This is not something I envisioned being part of my job description, but it's what I've been up to, or rather continues to be a huge part of what God keeps handing me. And I am amazed at the continual refilling of His love that He supplies.

These are only a few of the lessons that God has been teaching me, among many others. I pray that in some small way they can be a blessing or encouragement to my readers.