Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't Forget the Gifts

In a lot of ways I've been using this blog to take inventory--particularly inventory of those things that have contributed to my food addiction. But no inventory is complete without looking at those areas of strength that I can draw on to help me successfully manage this disease.

How do I do that without either false modesty or hubris?

I think for this post I'll stick to one trait I believe God has blessed me with and uses in ways that sometimes leaves me in awe. I believe in certain areas, God gives me vision and persistance in pursuing it. I do some footwork and God opens a door. I do some footwork and God opens another door. Eventually the vision gets passed to others who then bring it to fruition. These are usually in areas of ministry.

Today was a day in which one such vision came to fruition. A few years ago I became aware of a system of raising and teaching kids called Love & Logic. I'd heard about it in passing, then while searching for a speaker for a parent involvement seminar I saw something about a person who gave talks on Love & Logic. I had funding for him to come and talk and I also purchased books to give to parents who came.

I became convinced that I and my school needed to adopt Love & Logic as their system of discipline rather than the somewhat haphazard and often old school methods I'd been raised in like hollering and arguing and lecturing that are even more ineffective with today's children than they were with me.

Today, after four or five year of footwork, our entire teacher inservice was devoted to training in Love & Logic. Our new principal is squarely behind it, a veteran Roseland school teacher who was sent to week long training in Love & Logic through funding I'd uncovered gave the presentation using materials purchased with funding I'd uncovered. The vision has taken on a life of its own, and Roseland will be much better for it.

Many of you have checked out the video of Arthur Patrick, now called Testimony of a Student,, that I included in some previous posts. I knew some of Arthur's story and had worked with him for four years bringing up his math and reading scores. I knew he had made tremendous progress and I thought his story might be worth telling from a public relations viewpoint.

I tested Arthur and compared his entrance scores in fifth grade to his current scores, interviewed his mother and foster mother, and wrote up their story for the promotions committee. Another member of the committee, who'd been hearing about Arthur from me and who was making these videos for Roseland wanted to interview Arthur for one of the videos. If you've seen the video, you know what a powerful story it turned out to be. This video was used at our 125th anniversary celebration and has become a powerful fundraising tool for the school.

Arthur, by the way, after his story was made known, was given the Most Improved Academic Achievement Award by our local district councilwoman. He was surprised with it at graduation. I cried. He was also given a scholarship to an Entrepreneurship Camp this past summer.

This time the results went way beyond what I'd only vaguely envisioned.

I've said before that ideas fly from me like confetti. Every once in a while one of them sticks and grows and takes on a life of its own. I'm not sure what my part in that is. Sometimes the vision for what could be is given to me so clearly and other times its vague, but I believe God uses me as a catalyst. I can be relentless, like water dripping on stone, for a cause I believe in. I can stay focused and even organized enough to do the footwork when God gives me the passion to pursue a vision. I know when the vision is God-breathed when God keeps cracking doors open for me to walk (and sometimes push) my way through.

Getting the lapband has some of that feel to it. It took from June 2008 to June 2009 to go through the process of getting approved. It had been on my mind a lot longer than that. I kept doing the footwork because I had a vision of a healthier me, a me that would be able to continue to pursue visions for what my students and what their school could become.

In the process I acquired another vision: a vision for what telling my story as a recovering Christian food addict, who chose lapband surgery as a tool in that recovery, could do for other Christians and for those who are not yet Christian, as well as what it could do for me and my recovery.

Again, my ability to focus--even hyperfocus--when I am passionate about a vision kicked in. I've come up with a post almost every night since before my surgery. Many people not only view my blog on this site, but I copy and post it to two other sites as well where it is read by many people. I've heard from enough people to know that my blog is helping many, and even those not affected by food addiction have found inspiration.

And God gave me another gift. He's allowed me to use my gift for writing, to dust if off, polish it up, and let it shine before other people. People like to pretend that they just write for themselves. The fact is, when we write, we are always envisioning an audience. Thank you for being my audience.

Vision, passion, persistance, catalyst, writer--God's good gifts.

God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.