Sometimes Blessings Come Disguised

I am sure you’ve heard this saying before: “Sometimes blessings come disguised.” It rings true to us for many reasons. We make plans and often times those plans don’t happen how we’d like or when we’d like. We see the bad in some circumstances, only to find out later that there was some good mixed in. Or if there was no apparent good to be found, we at least learned some good things through the hard times.

This is what I discovered yet again a few days ago.
The LORD took me through an amazing time of reflection and thinking, a time of renewal. He encouraged me to write out my story, the whole thing, from beginning to end. So write I did… and write, and write, and write. And what a freeing act that was. He showed me that through some of the difficulty and strife, through some of the pain and hurt that I had experienced, there were great blessings and lessons that I learned that I am only beginning to see now. He does not deny that some of those things were bad or that some of them hurt — because they really did — but He is showing me that He can make such beauty from ashes, from the fire of trials. But He can only make beauty and bring restoration and renewal if I surrender and let Him. This is a scary act, I know, because it is an act of giving up control. But it is an act of liberation and trust, an act of letting Abba Daddy take the reigns and lead me by the hand instead of running ahead alone to fall in a mud hole that I cannot climb out of by myself. He will certainly help me climb out and gently clean me up if I DO decide to do that… but He encourages me to walk next to Him, letting Him speak into every part of this journey called life. Because truly, that is the Good Life.
So here I am, LORD. Do with me and in me as You will, Abba. I am all Yours.

Color, Music, Light… Oh, What Blessings!

Today has been a joyous day! The LORD had told me a few days ago to share a story from Him with a friend of mine that needed to hear it. I had known weeks ago that I would be sharing this story with her, but I also knew that I needed to wait on His timing. Today He blessed both of us with the chance to share this story from Him. What a blessing this was! Though I have shared this story with many people, it never becomes old. Jesus’s truth, His story, should never become old! He reveals more of Who He is each time I share it and He renews my courage, my hope, and my joy every time I obey Him and tell yet another brother or sister.

Today when I shared this story, my friend was captured by the light and the color in it. She was awed by the LORD’s beauty, awed by the importance that He places on creativity. The Creator made us in His image; He made us to be creative as He is and to love beauty as He does! The more we understand Who He is, the more we can be filled with JOY in observing and participating in His act of creation. By knowing Abba’s love and care for even the minutiae of our lives, we can appreciate and be attentive to even the minutest details of our own lives.
My friend and I discussed the role of an artist in our world today. We are artists who are Christians. This should make us the most creative people on the planet! We are connected to the Creator Himself; we have the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, IN us. This means that we have the power and creativity of the Creator Himself within US! If we are listening and obeying Him, He allows us to participate in His creative work. This can include painting, sculpture, composing, performing, drawing, and so much more! As we follow His call to create, we must listen to His leading, but we must also practice our skill. We cannot be used well if we are not being faithful with the talent and gift He has given us. I must practice writing out melodies and separate lines of music that I hear before I will be able to pick apart and write out dozens of lines that I hear in my head. When a particular piece or even one measure is frustrating and driving me crazy and I feel like quitting, I can choose to persevere or I can choose to stop trying. When I choose to keep going and do the best I can, Abba knows that I am giving Him all that I have. He sees my perseverance as being faithful. When we are faithful in the small things, He will entrust us with greater things.
LORD, may we as artists be faithful in the little things, the small notes, harmonies, colors, or specks we notice in our work that many others might not even see or hear. May we struggle through the process, knowing that it is refining and beautiful. May we persevere to discover the joy of sorrow you have planned for us in this journey of life, this journey of creating and making art!

Some Food for Thought

An Artist in the Dark

      This article was quite fascinating to me. It definitely brought many thoughts of my own to the surface from some recess of the mind, just waiting to resurface at a time such as this. What I find beautiful about it is the way in which the author does not attempt to solve the problem or resolve a firm conclusion. Instead she hypothesizes and thinks out loud for our sakes, yet lays the foundation of what we do ultimately know to be true by the last paragraph.

Magic of the Heavens

(written June 12, 2012 with editing input by H.L. Snead)

Up above the world I hang,
suspended in the air,
Peeking out the window
at all the colors there:

Checkered fields like calico cats
and floating cotton balls,
wisps of cloud like mermaid’s hair
I see from within these airplane walls.

Winding rivers and county roads
act as serpents and lazy snakes;
herds of hippos, white and soft,
vanish from their fluffy lakes.

Trees are stippled by His hand,
for this is His own magical land!

Salutatorian Address – Class of 2012

Andrea Joy Petersen

Commencement 2012 — Salutatory Address

Wow. Friends, this night is finally here! I’ve been picturing this day as a far-off imagination, not as a closely-approaching reality. I know that you all have been anticipating this, too, and while it may be with some hesitance and disbelief that we sit here tonight, it is also with great excitement and joy that we move on to new adventures and places. Before we get too carried away with future plans, though, I want to take a few moments to reflect on what we’re taking away from our many years at Schaeffer. The school focuses on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness. I’d like to take a look at some of the ways we’ve grown in these permanent things over the years.

Truth. We have grown up learning the truth of God’s Word through Scripture memorization, Bible stories and skits we performed in grade school, dressing up and presenting the armor of God in 5th grade, and so much more. I don’t know about some of you, but I know that I can still remember Psalm 23 from memorizing it in Mrs. Hanson’s 1st grade class.

We have also learned the truth of community and close friendships. As a class, about 64% of us have been together since Kindergarten, and all of us have been here for High School. We have learned how important it is to stick with each other, even if it may not be the easiest thing to do. During those crazy middle school years filled with flying pens, Stephanie’s pranks, Vicky and Kiersten’s plan for world domination, and the book of Leviticus, we managed not to get into too much trouble while still having a LOT of fun. We’ve persevered through many a finals week by studying at Panera, encouraged each other during long days of tests, and even worked swiftly together with Alex’s organization to pull off buying and filling all of those cups for our senior prank, which turned out pretty well and definitely surprised everyone!

We have learned how to seek and pursue truth in every area of life, especially this year in Philosophy. Mr. Daugherty’s classes never failed to leave us thinking, whether it be writing about how we know we exist or learning about Plato’s forms while we played with play-do and cookie cutters. We were always reminded at Schaeffer that truth conforms to God and His character, which makes it objective. This is very important for us to remember as we enter the bigger world where many people may try to convince us otherwise.

Beauty. We see beauty everywhere at Schaeffer Academy! The amazing artwork created by our peers that adorns the walls which we walk everyday is a unique aspect of our school that not many others get to experience. Two of us, Taylor and Laura, even have artwork joining the permanent art gallery this year. Our building is beautifully clean and tidy, thanks to the Whateleys, other maintenance staff, and our student council activity to clean the school as a community yesterday. We have learned how to look at the world the way God does in Mr. Arant’s class when we “moved from God’s Word to God’s World.” We hear beauty, be it listening to little kids practicing for choir as we pass the music room, hearing Sarah rehearse her solo for the coffee concert, catching the strains of fifth graders reciting their latest poetry in the classroom down the hall, or playing in the band, jazz band, or strings together. We even taste beauty, from Mrs. Lee’s brownie bake-off competition to trying each other’s pizza day desserts (especially your cheesecake, Abbey).

We have learned that beauty is not just what we personally think is good or nice, but what is lovely and admirable in God’s sight, which is of infinitely higher value. We have learned that, as much as most of us love to dress up and look pretty, God looks at our hearts and sees us as so much more beautiful than we may feel, fancy clothes or not, because He made us to be His.

Goodness. So many things about Schaeffer have been good for us! From difficult Lewis pre-calculus tests to Mr. Hunderfund’s discussions (and Tabitha’s entertaining comments in them!), we have been stretched outside of our comforts zones and challenged to grow. We have been taught that working hard and completing a difficult assignment can be a very rewarding experience. We have learned values such as integrity and honesty when Mr. Phillips asks us on tests if we completed the assigned reading. We have learned school spirit through great turn-outs to sports games and cheering our teams on, with the help of the cheerleaders and Lion mascot, of course. We have learned responsibility through the demerit system, as much as we may dislike it. It teaches us that everything has a consequence, for good or for bad, and that we will reap what we sow from our actions. We have learned from Mr. Harris and Mrs. Phillips the value of knowing our history, be it the history of our country, our school, or our identity in Christ. We have learned by wearing uniforms the value of looking within others for their identity, not for how they dress. As much as I know we will MISS them, our uniforms have played a small role in allowing us to focus on the wonderful and good things about each other without getting distracted by one another’s clothing. We have learned on sports teams the importance of unity. Winning may be fun and more exciting, but the community we have experienced through hard practices has been seen clearly in the teamwork displayed by Elizabeth, Heather, and the basketball team passing and shooting a basket or Kerryn, Sydney, and the rest of the soccer team’s dribbling to score a goal.

Schaeffer is such a blessing because as a K-12 school, we get to witness not only each other grow over the many years we’ve been together, but watch the younger students grow and mature, too. We have the honor of being role models for the elementary kids as they watch us in the halls, outside at PE or on the playground, and between classes. We have the privilege to influence their lives. I remember how much we loved our book buddies and gift buddies when we were younger, and I can only imagine how much the little kids love watching us around school.

These are only a few of hundreds of ways we have learned what Truth, Beauty, and Goodness mean. I am sure in the next few years we will appreciate even more the values our teachers have instilled in us and the huge gift our families have given us in this classical, Christian education. As we move our separate ways and pursue the things that God has made us to enjoy, let us not forget what God has blessed us with here at Schaeffer Academy. Through the good and the bad just remember: “Nothing is ever as good or as bad as it appears to be.”

  • Recent Posts

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Categories

  • Archives