The End is Near vs. Emergency Preparedness and Staying Ready

This title was brewing in my spirit all day, but from a different perspective (think recent apocalyptic prophecies and wild weather epidemics).  However, the way I spent my last 2 hours was the icing on the proverbial cake.  Just what was I doing, you might inquire?  Teaching ALGEBRA to my 2nd grader for his homework sheet due TOMORROW.  Eeeek!!!  Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggghhhh!!!   The end surely must be near…

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

(Matthew 27:46)

As if enduring the torture of working on a science fair project over several months of my adult life wasn’t penance enough (I guess it wasn’t), I had to face yet another one of my idiosyncratic hang-ups from the high school/college years:  math phobiaYes, I know I’ve worked at a bank for 8 years.  Yes, I’ve finally learned to TRULY balance my checkbook within the past 2 years.   Yes, I’m acutely aware that my God has a sense of humor second to none.  See, I’ve always been the liberal artsy type – the KHS TV/Radio Club President (geez, I’m dating myself – that was in the early 90s…before the term “media” became savvy), the show choir song ‘n’ dance gal, the Speech Communications major extraordinaire, the one whose “gift of gab” helped get her outta many a sticky situation. 

Yet, here I sat at MY kitchen table with MY child, reviewing math concepts his teacher had just introduced today: finding missing numbers.  Like I’m some expert on unknowns – kumbayah!  I cringe and shudder to even reminisce on the math requirements I trudged through – including 9th grade Algebra, and 11th grade Algebra II (God bless my teacher and her many hours of after-school help on my behalf).  I won’t even mention 10th grade Geometry…let’s have a moment of silence for the only “C” on my “I graduated as one of the top 10 students with “highest honors” transcript.

Remind me to tell you why my dad says we have the smartest dining room table in Virginia…I vaguely recall that it had something to do with me taking a “teleclass” for Statistics through community college one summer – thinking I wouldn’t need to actually watch the classes…until I ‘fessed up to my dad a week before the exam and he had to coach me through probability and Lord knows what else in no time flat.  Parenting – the job that keeps on giving…

Tonight, after realizing that my son didn’t understand the process for getting to the answer, I pulled out the blue and red checkers from the Connect Four game, 4 sheets of scrap paper (we used the front and back of 3 sheets), AND my calculator, to boot.  After I talk with the teacher tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll realize I did it the hard way, but we had to solve 10 – a = 4 without a negative number (a concept that hasn’t been introduced yet)…so you can probably imagine my BFQ (brain frazzlement quotient) after an 8-hour workday full of its own idiocy.  In the end, the boy made me proud – I don’t know if he was just pretending to “get it” so I’d let him go to bed at 10 p.m. (bless his li’l belly button – he’s usually crawling into bed by 8 p.m.), but he was able to show me his work after about the 12th problem we had to correct.  We’d stuck it out together.  Go, Team Cathcart – beat those mean ol’ numbers!  We RULE! 🙂

Nevertheless, God gives more grace to the humble…’cuz baby, I sure needed it tonight!  Lord, I thank You for being ever-present and ever near.  You are my Solution in the midst of every problem, puzzle, quandary, and conundrum.  Because You are more than able to equip me to handle whatever emergency arises, I can rest in You.  Selah.  Help me keep my heart ready to yield to Your every command. 

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

(Matthew 24:3-6)

 © Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

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It Is Finished!

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

(Matthew 27:46)

 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

(John 19:30)

After weeks and months of agonizing, planning, preparing, and executing, The Great 2nd Grade Science Fair Project of 2011 has finally been handed in – hallelujah!  We concluded the experiment.  We finished the research paper BEFORE Spring Break (no minor feat to keep a 2nd grader focused in the house when they’d rather be outside playing).  We printed the hypothesis, cut out graphics, and pasted until our hearts were content.  Not only did I survive, but I emerged from the process stronger than I expected.  I’m glad it’s done (really glad – trust me!), but I have a greater appreciation for why God made me face my own science project angst and trepidation head-on.

See, I went into this with the mindset, “I’ve already earned my degree(s) – why, oh why must I go through this dreadful torture again?!?”  However, God showed me so many things through the course of working with my child on this project, including how very alike we are (in more ways than I care to admit), including:

  • Bright with natural aptitude = wanting to rush through the process to reach a conclusion (can’t see the forest for the trees)
  • Inclined to take the path of least resistance = being more focused on reaching the destination than enjoying the journey
  • Intense, perfectionist, self-critical = not being patient with the process, and sometimes getting unduly frustrated with the little things

I had plenty of opportunities for teachable moments – as teacher and as student.  For example, I overcame the urge to finish the report myself just so it would be done – because I’d be robbing my child of his learning process.  When one particular milestone progress report was due, we were solidly in the midst of the 21-day fast.  I was irate, aggravated, and hungry; what I wouldn’t have given for some junk food that Saturday!  Yet, God showed Himself strong and mighty, and HE ALONE sustained me through that episode without the crutch of emotionally eating chocolate or carbs! 

So here’s the bottom line praise report:  This week, my child was selected as one of the TOP THREE 2nd Graders to advance a project to the school’s Science Fair!  My initial goal had been simply to “get it done and turn it in.”  Sad to admit, but I wasn’t aiming for excellence – “pretty good” would’ve been fine with me.  But my child saw the guidelines for having a great project and he really wanted to win.  Since we serve a God of excellence (not mediocrity), I had to practice what I preach and give my best effort.  After all of my foot-dragging, complaining about how I didn’t want to do this because it’s just one more thing on my already full plate, yada yada yada…God showed that He was in the midst of the whole thing.  Like I didn’t have a sneaking suspicion from the time the assignment came home…

So it really was never about me at all. 🙂  It never is!  It’s always for God’s purposes.  And this time, I believe God wanted to see a snaggle-toothed smile from a boy who won a prize full of science gold – complete with modeling clay, slinky, microscope, and who knows what else is in that package.  He had his moment in the spotlight – being featured on the morning announcements, receiving congratulatory cheers from his classmates, standing on the stage beaming in front of peers and parents, and getting his picture taken by his little sister who was genuinely proud of him.

Did he win First Place in the School Science Fair?  Nope – not even Second or Third Place.  My hubby claims, “We was robbed!” and I’m rather inclined to agree with him…who me – biased?  Nah!  But in our eyes, he stood head and shoulders above the competition (including 3rd through 5th Graders).  He represented us well, and our whole family was there to support him for his hard work and to celebrate his accomplishments.  We have the certificates to prove it – and that big tri-fold board in the corner that I won’t soon forget.  I think my hubby wants to frame the entire board.  And I don’t blame him.  As Editor-in-Chief of www.PaperPolisher.com, I declare that working on this project and report with my child may have been some of my finest work yet. 

We must learn to see priorities from God’s perspective, and then commit to grow through the process He chooses for us.  My daughter will have to do science projects, too – won’t she? 🙂

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

(Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)

© Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart

The Beauty of Being Hidden

Well, in the event that anyone missed hearing from me via this blog, hello again!  Where have I been?  A little of here, there, and everywhere – so I won’t try to stuff almost two months’ worth of experiences into a single post, but I’ll unfold it over the next few weeks.  After writing a blog entry entitled Talk Back to Your Flesh, I shouldn’t have had one ounce of surprise when my Pastor called our church to a 21-day fast.  Consequently, my fast included sacrificing some digital media access – including my beloved inspirational blog. 🙂  Reducing, curtailing, and eliminating many distractions (electronic, food, etc.) helped me to settle into a place of peace where I could hear Him more clearly.  Our God is evermore faithful – He knows exactly what we need and when we need it!

Sometimes we fight against the very thing God is doing in our lives for His glory and, most of the time unbeknownst to us, for our benefit.  Have you ever been “under the radar” – hidden so deep you could hardly find yourself?  And when you tried to emerge from the place where God had you covered, He pressed you back into the position where He’d concealed you in the first place?  I have years of personal experience with this!  But be encouraged – it’s not a bad thing to be hidden by God; it’s just one of the ways He protects us. 🙂  I’ve recently gained an even greater appreciation for His means and methods of sheltering His children.  Allow me to share some key points from a few verses God dropped into my spirit this evening.

Confidently Anticipate God’s Provision 

“For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the LORD, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.”

(I Kings 18:4) 

  1. A dark, damp cave can save your life when it’s appointed by God!
  2. Luxury isn’t a prerequisite for being sustained – bread and water will get the job done in a pinch.
  3. God is more than able to maintain – for His ultimate glory – what man attempts to cut off.

 Can You Handle Being Under the Radar? 

“… and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

(I Kings 19:10) 

  1. Remain where God places you for the season He designates!  Don’t pop up like the “Whack-A-Mole” game – stay low and humble yourself…you’re out of the public eye for His purposes!  
  2. Shut down the pity party – know that He’s got you separated unto Himself for good reason:  so He can directly feed you the nutrients and nourishment He needs you to have. 
  3. Let God work on you – even when (and especially when) it’s uncomfortable and requires you to change.  He knows the areas you need to be strengthened in for the next assignment or battle you haven’t foreseen.

 Rest in God’s Reassurance

 “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.”

(I Kings 19:18) 

  1. You can hear God’s voice clearly when you commit to be still in His presence; He is the Answer you seek.
  2. Believe that God’s plan is more extensive and comprehensive than what your finite mind is capable of comprehending.
  3. God will punish idolatry – even in these “modern” times; check yourself and make sure you’re not compromising with any of Baal’s stuff (his people, representatives, mindsets, systems, places, etc.)!

 A brief scan of the headlines for earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and tornadoes will remind us that these are serious times indeed.  May we find ourselves in the center of God’s perfect will, committed to obeying His every command to us – individually and collectively.  When this occurs, we will experience – and trust – His protection as He hides us …like only He can.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

(Psalm 91:1-2)

 © Copyright 2011 by Kayren J. Cathcart