Five Minute Friday: hide

hide

The sky is patched with clouds today, and my lunchtime walk was fragrant with honeysuckle, clover, roses.

I’ve met with 23 students today, one by one, and I sit and wonder who they’ve seen in their meetings with me, how little of them I know. They’re startled when occasionally I step outside of my teacher-ness, move toward friendship, but it makes sense to me.

These skins which we wear, the recognizable parts of us — they can also be called “hides.” And though peeling off my skin to show the sinews and bones of me would not reveal more me-ness, there’s a lot of me-ness hidden behind this hide.

Often, I want to hide. There are times when I wish even my skin-bound self were invisible. Other times, though, I desperately want to come out of hiding, to be known and recognized as the self with whom I’ve lived almost three decades, instead of the slices of me which various people get to see.

And our God? He answers both longings. Holding out gracious wings, He invites us to shelter with Him, tells us our lives are hidden in Him. But He also tells us that He knows us, through and through, inside out; that nothing of us is hidden from His sight, that nothing can hide us from Him.

hide-600x600

Today I link up with Kate Motaung to write on her Five Minute Friday prompt, “hide.” The button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: tomorrow

tomorrow
I’ve spent my life equal parts dreading tomorrow and living for tomorrow. Both are unhealthy.

The fear which would defer all change, which shrinks from what will come, does not belong to the one whose Savior has assured her of the victory.

So too is it unhealthy to ignore today in the hope that tomorrow will be better. The future is no panacea for all hurts, and I am not assured the things I have at times confidently expected: life events coming in appropriate, timely order to land me where I want to be.

No. Earthly tomorrows may be quite unlike what we expect, whether we expect good or ill. But there are things of which we are sure.

1. There will be an end of earthly tomorrows.

2. There is something beyond earthly tomorrows.

3. If we are in Christ, He who has called us is faithful, and He will keep us through all our todays and all our tomorrows — and beyond them.

tomorrow-600x600

Today Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt is “tomorrow.” Use the button above to find other writers writing on this topic, and to join your voice to theirs.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: relief

relief

The door opens and I turn to see who it is: a man who mumbles an apology: “Hey, sorry about the noise.”

Only three students were in attendance when my eight o’clock class was to begin — they increased to ten before the end.

My ten o’clock was full, but the students were rain-drenched, having run through a downpour to reach me in that dry library corner.

Days like today, when my alarm was not quite enough to force me awake in the early darkness, the routine itself is a relief: tasks and the clock in alignment, so that I need only obey, not initiate.

Even teaching is a form of obedience: this is my job and I do it, sandwiched in a hierarchy, so that I feel safely between this and that.

This is the relief of Isaiah 30, the grace of the Teacher who promises we shall weep no more:
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

relief-600x503

Today I join Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, relief. The button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

all the days

grassIn the ditches the weeds are purple and yellow, white and maroon. In their seats my students are all very much alive; their hearts pump blood which is contained and hidden under their unbroken skin and flesh. They write an in-class essay today, and none of us is afraid of attack in our back-corner classroom with its big glass wall and single sliding door behind the stacks of bound periodicals.

I assess the room. Our tables afford better shelter than the desks that most classrooms contain, but, really, it would be hard to hide here.

And then there’s Garissa University College, in Kenya, where last week 147 students lost their lives.

With a full teaching load, I have a total of 97 students.

I’ve seen some pictures of Garissa after the fact: bodies on classroom floors. I look at the pictures and picture my own students: one with the plastic bow on the corner of her glasses, and one who wears a visor upside down and backwards every single day; one with earnest blue eyes on the far left, and one with intelligent brown eyes front and center; one who talks constantly but almost always about class content, and one who never speaks but whose silence is a thinking silence.

They’re here in pursuit of their futures — indeed, a banner on campus invites students to “Find Future” at our institution — and the training I do, I assure them, will benefit them not only in their grades now, but also later, in ways they can’t realize now.

But what if there isn’t a later? Would we call all this effort wasted effort? Would we call these wasted lives?

All the days for each of these were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. All their days. However many or however few.

Even at their longest, their days are like grass; they flourish like the ditch weeds — the wind passes over them, and they are gone, and their place knows them no more.

But — and I don’t know quite how to make it align with Garissa, with a baby I know of who died two days ago, with the persecution that continues all across the Middle East and Asia —

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children.

Our days are like grass and on earth we are soon forgotten. But our Heavenly Father does not forget us, and His steadfast love to us is great.

In the face of this that I cannot understand, I know this truth, and on the strength of this truth:
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): good

Yesterday I unthinkingly asked the baristas at my favorite coffee shop if they were having a good Friday, just I as would have asked if they were having a good Monday or a good Tuesday.

I realized, about the same time that one of them said it: “I’m having a good Good Friday.”

There are different sorts of goodness, and one of them is subjective and based on individual experiences and one is objective and exists no matter our individual experiences.

And the essential goodness of Good Friday is not a subjective goodness, but an objective goodness, and it does not rest with us, but with God.

His goodness, also, is an objective goodness, superseding all our experiences and objections, permeating all the pain and all the questions, making even the day the perfect Son of God died as the meanest criminal a day glorious and good.

FMF-good--600x600

Today I link up with Kate Motaung, writing on her Five Minute Friday prompt, good. The button above should take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

March: learnings 2015

March was a long month, beginning in ice and ending in wisteria blossoms, punctuated by long walks in the woods and on the beach and around campus and in town. So now that it’s April, here I’m sharing things I learned in March and linking up with Emily P. Freeman, who invites to this monthly sharing. what-we-learned-in-march-2015

1. Port St. Joe, Florida is the place where, in 1838, the Florida Constitution was signed. The building is gone, but there is a monument in a gorgeous little park there.

See? Gorgeous.

See? Gorgeous.

2. There’s a lot of water in the earth’s mantle. So much so, that if it were on the outside of the of the earth, only the mountain tops would stick out. So, when Genesis 7:11 says “the fountains of the great deep burst forth,” that’s what happened. (I mean, sort of “duh.” But cool to see science catching up with the Bible.)

3. Speaking of water, snow makes my driveway look longer and more exciting. (Though it is, for a fact, long and exciting even without snow.)

Longer and more exciting.

Longer and more exciting.

4. Shen Yun Performing Arts puts on an amazing dance show, and attending — in formal attire — was thoroughly fun.

5. Shen Yun also was intentionally educational: though their literature didn’t  hint at it, the show’s obvious purpose was to raise awareness about the Falun Dafa religion, a meditation-based practice that is illegal and actively persecuted in China. The most interesting part to me was how often the Dafa claims seemed to mirror Christian claims, so that, at times, I almost thought it was a disguised version of Christianity, but it wasn’t. So I learned about Falun Dafa.

6. I learned about trios:

W

When they’re in motion, it’s hard to get a good picture.

7. I learned that I am as bad a bowler in Meridian, Mississippi as I have been in Clinton and Flowood, Mississippi, and as I was in Marietta, Georgia and in Memphis, Tennessee. But I still like to bowl.

8. 90% of the people in India are officially classified as “unreached” with the gospel. An astounding number, since I’ve always assumed that, as India was colonized by England, and people like Amy Carmichael did ministry there, most people would have had some gospel-exposure.

9. Port St. Joe, Florida, is also a good spring break destination if you want beach without the mayhem of spring breakers. I loved it.

See the lack of crowds?

See the lack of crowds?

10. I learned how much I love symmetrical stories when I found my heart unnecessarily delighted by seeing in the morning a woman rolling her garbage can to the curb and in the afternoon the garbage truck collecting from that same curb.

I’m still looking for the symmetry in mine, but I know it will come — only to be recognized, perhaps, long afterwards — and meanwhile I’m learning and learning and learning.

God is good.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: break

break

“Break” comes with connotations of pain and I shy away: do I want to write about pain today?

But then I think of all the positive kinds of breaking: we may break a silence. We may break a fast. We may break from working or from school. Every morning day breaks through night, and weary watchers rejoice. A breaking may be a rest, a relief, a joy.

And I wonder if other things broken — the painful sorts of breaks — might also, viewed from another angle, be openings for joy?

Perhaps the broken heart, the broken dreams, the broken bodies are really broken to let in light, nourishment, hope of a kind we wouldn’t have imagined.

When morning arrives, we don’t mourn that a night has been broken, we thrill that a day has been made.

FMF-Break-2-600x600

Today, I join Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to muse over her prompt, “break.” The button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott