*** Special Announcements***
1) Serve-a-Thon: Over the coming weeks, I intend to use this space to guide us in praying especially for our upcoming ACSD Serve-a-Thon (happening on May 3). I'm still working out exactly what this will look like but I wanted to give you a heads up that I'm trying something a little different here, while still keeping the same goal of providing encouragement and guidance for us as a praying community.
2) Midweek prayer: Starting the first week of March, anyone is welcome to join a prayer zoom call each Wednesday from 12:15-12:30pm. The idea is to create a space right in the middle of the week for us to collectively catch our breath and spend a few minutes praying together. Below is the info to join. Feel free to come once or as many times as you like. Perhaps you could also consider just pausing to pray wherever you are at 12:15 on Wednesdays.
Meeting ID: 881 2155 0820 Passcode: S9SnnA
Did you ever have something you thought always worked a certain way seemingly stop working without warning? Maybe you always fit your cereal boxes into your pantry in a particular order, but one day you try to do the same thing and are surprised to find that you can't get them to fit, even though you thought you were following the same method you always followed. Or perhaps you walk through the grocery store thinking you're following the same procedure you always have, one that usually takes you about an hour - and suddenly you realize two hours have gone by and you haven't even checked out yet!
Well, writing this week's blog has felt a little bit like that for me. I have followed the same basic procedure week after week, and it more or less always worked the same way. I have a running list of topics that I gradually add to whenever I think of an idea, and when I sit down to write the next blog, I simply look at whatever is next on the list, say a prayer and start writing. I'm not always quite sure exactly where I'm going, but usually about an hour later, I have a blog post. I may do some minor editing afterwards, but for the most part, the words seem to just come.
This week, however, it seemed like my supposed smooth-sailing boat sprung a leak, and it really kind of threw me for a loop. I sat down, started writing, and felt like I was tripping over my own writing feet. I would write a sentence, maybe a paragraph, but then start questioning where I was going, switch over to journaling to try to sort out where to go next... only to feel like I was right back where I started. It was as though I had totally lost whatever groove I thought I had. (It was honestly mildly terrifying.)
So I took a break. But then later I started thinking about what I had been planning to write about. I was hoping to share about the story of Esther, how certain things in that story have stuck out to me - like how much of a team effort it was and how Esther took so many steps and seemed so smart in how she went about asking for help.
One of the things that made writing about this story feel difficult though, was how I felt a bit uncomfortable trying to pull out "applicable life lessons from the book of Esther". There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but I fear sometimes we take Bible stories and juxtapose them with formulas we think we can then apply to our lives and they will always work a certain way. And I really didn't want to do that.
I think Esther was really wise in how she took little steps leading up to asking the king to save her people. Steps like asking Mordecai to have people fast with her for 3 days, then going to the king, then inviting the king and Haman to a banquet, and then inviting them to another banquet - all these steps before she finally asked the king for what she really wanted.
It would be possible to take this story and think, okay how do I apply this wisdom to my life? How can I ask for help like Esther did to ensure God brings deliverance in my situation? But I wonder if that is quite right. I wonder if we often look at Bible stories as clues for how to make our story line up with them. Maybe sometimes our stories will line up with the ones in the Bible, but other times maybe they won't quite.
The crazy thing to consider about Esther is that while the people in that story were living it, they had no idea what was going to happen next. They just did one little thing at a time, trusting God along the way. So if there is any kind of principle we can apply from this story, maybe that would be the one.
We don't know where we are in the story God is writing, not exactly anyway. And we don't know what God has planned. But no matter what plot twists may come - whether it's our writing methods seeming to fail or our cereal boxes not lining up right - may we continue to trust God one step at a time.
Artwork by: Jocelyn S (WCA, 4th grade)
Pray with me ...
... Lord, when we hit what may feel like roadblocks or unexpected twists and turns, would You keep us anchored tightly to You?
These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of his return. 1 Peter 1:7
... Father, as Alliance Christian moves into this spring season, would You guide our steps and show us how to pray according to Your will?
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. John 14:26
... God, help us to trust You as You continue to write the stories of our lives within Your bigger story
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:16
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory