Answering the Questioner

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It’s not enough to just be right if we want God to use us to reach people with the Gospel. Our rightness only serves ourselves if we alienate people by our attitude and choice of words. Failure to show interest in people as individuals comes across as an attempt to propagate one of a myriad of doctrines and treating people as another notch on our belt.

We live in a world where many are talking, but few listening, all while broken hearts cry out, “Does anyone hear me?”

Click below to continue reading my entry in RZIM Connect’s 2019 Writing Competition. I’m no trained apologist or theologian, just small fry in a sea full of big fish—but I couldn’t resist. 😉

Topic: Why is it so important to answer not only the question, but also the questioner? Continue reading “Answering the Questioner”

#ThankATeacher

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The highest place you’ll ever step is down to serve another who has nothing to give back—except maybe their heart and a changed life because you invested in them.

Teachers spend their lives investing in the future of others. They deserve our support and listening ear. It is my honor to host these eleven teachers from five states. 

Why did you become a teacher?

Jeff Fauver, Physical Education Teacher and Coach, Marion, Illinois:  I became a teacher largely because my father was a teacher/ coach. I saw the impact and influence he had on young men’s lives. They would come by and visit years after they had graduated. I’ve taught and coached for over 30 years—elementary, middle and high school.

Doctor Laura Seabury, Professor of nursing at Cape Cod Community College:

When my kids started  school, I wanted to take courses at college. I chose nursing and I loved it. I never thought I would be a nurse or teacher when I was young. So whatever led me on this road was the right road. I have my Doctorate in nursing education and I’ve been teaching since 1997.

I was a nurse before a teacher. I graduated from this program at Cape Cod Community College and knew as a student that I wanted to be a teacher here. I worked at several hospitals, such as Massachusetts General and Jordan Hospital in Boston. When I got my Masters degree I returned to work as a clinical instructor at Cape Cod Community College full time teaching at the lab. Three years ago I became a lecturer and I teach clinical also.

Clinical involves teaching students caring for patients in the hospital setting, a medical surgical unit, two days a week. Each student takes care of one to two patients.

I noticed the sticker on your door: “Save a life. Be a nurse.” 🙂 It’s also Nurse Appreciation Week and you are both a nurse and a teacher, so I’m thrilled to have you participate in this interview, Dr. Seabury. Thank you for answering the call to a combination of two of the toughest professions.

Elementary School Special Education Paraprofessional, Cape Cod Massachusetts: I love, love, love my job as an assistant teacher. I’ve worked with children from kindergarten to fourth grade for 20 years. This year I’m one on one with a second grader with significant special needs and I don’t have a minute to spare.

Social Studies Teacher, Fort Worth Texas, 6 1/2 years teaching: To build a better future for a generation that’s lost its drive to go further.

Steve Perkins, High School Latin Teacher, Author and Speaker, Indiana Teacher of the Year 2014: God called me to teaching when I was a high school junior. This is my 28th year of teaching Latin. I have taught in Missouri, Texas, and Indiana at the middle school, high school, community college, and university levels.

Middle School Math Teacher, Texas. (17 years teaching high school and middle school math and science.): I became a teacher because I really loved school and saw it as a chance to make a difference in lives.

Middle School English Teacher, Massachusetts: Because it’s important for the youth to be educated; they are the future.

Special Education Teacher currently for 3rd and 4th Grade, Massachusetts: Different careers interested me as I grew up such as lawyer and nurse. In high school I took a class that included exploration of careers and spent a day on the pediatric floor of a hospital. It was a heart wrenching experience. I realized that day that I wanted to work with children, but I did not have the gifting to be a nurse. It was at that point that I directed my attention to becoming a teacher.

I was drawn to the hurting and needy, wanting to make a difference in the world somehow. Special education was a new field of study when I entered college. Supporting students with learning disabilities piqued my desire to make a difference in the lives of children. I’ve been a special educator for over 25 years and I can say for certain that I made the right choice. 

Leshil Holder, 4th Grade Reading Teacher, Tennessee: I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. My main goal is to glorify God in my classroom.  I will begin my 10th year of teaching in the 2019-2020 school year.

Angela Georgantas, 12th Grade English Teacher, Writer and affiliate with The Fellowship of Christian Athletes club at her school, Texas: English was always my favorite subject, but I didn’t want to be a teacher. I majored in marketing but only worked for two years before I became a stay at home mom for a decade. When my kids went to school, I subbed to make money. I tried elementary school for 2 weeks and made a second grader cry. I tried junior high for one day and ran screaming from the building, (metaphorically). I tried high school, and it was like the gears of the universe clicked: God had called me to teach, and I was home. Within two months, I was back at school to get my teaching certificate, and I have loved it ever since. I have taught for 14 years.

Professor Patricia Allen, Professor of English, Cape Cod Community College: I teach because I was the kid who dropped out, the kid who hit the wall of hopelessness. I teach to keep other kids from hitting that wall. I have been teaching for 22 years.

I dropped out of high school when I was 16, I got my GED and found my way to community college when I was a thirty year old mom with five kids and an injured husband. Amazing teachers kindled a fire to learn inside me and I transferred to Wellesley College, then Harvard for grad school. Now I am back to the community college where I was taught, trying to kindle fires in my own students.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 

What is your greatest challenge as a teacher?

Continue reading “#ThankATeacher”

Major League Home Runs & Touchdowns on the Field of Faith with Del Duduit

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It is my pleasure to introduce you to award winning journalist, sports writer, author, and speaker, Del Duduit. 

Del, we’re excited to hear about your newly released books featuring the stories of #MLB and #NFL stars. But first, can you please tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and your writing background?

My wife Angie and I have been married for 32 years. We have two sons who are both ministers and have their own families. We have two wonderful daughters-in-law, one step-granddaughter and a grandson due in May.

My first job out of college was a sports writer for the Portsmouth Daily Times. I worked for four other newspapers, one radio station and two television stations.

I have been a pharmaceutical sales representative the past 13 years. I continue to write for some magazines such as Sports Spectrum.

Three years ago, I wrote a manuscript and was introduced to the Christian writing world where I met my agent, Cyle Young. Since then, I have broadened my platform and write for Southern Ohio Christian Voice, Sports Spectrum, Clubhouse Magazine, The Christian View On-Line Magazine and have appeared on Todd Starnes’ website.

I see you’ve written for Athletes in Action too. You also won two Associated

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Literary Agent Cyle Young & Bethany Jett present Del with three writing awards including “Outstanding Author,” at the Ohio Christian Writers Conference 2017

Press Awards, one for a column you wrote about your interview with Boston Celtic’s Larry Bird, and you received the Outstanding Author Award at the Ohio Christian Writers Conference in 2017.  

 

Recently you Tweeted, “When you think it’s over, it’s actually a new beginning.”

That sounds like there is a story there. Will you please share with us what you were referring to?

That was actually a quote I saw online from CS Lewis. It sounded good — LOL.

My take on that quote means it’s never too late to make a difference. When one door closes, another will open. It tells me to have patience, get out of the way and wait for the next opportunity.

When did you become a Christian and can you tell us about your faith journey?

My sophomore year in high school, when I was 16, my brother invited me to church. I went and it was explained to me that I needed a savior. I heard the Gospel that night and made the commitment to be a follower of Jesus. I’d always tinkered with God, but never made a commitment. I wasn’t a hoodlum, but I was a sinner. A lot is offered out there but none of it satisfied. I saw my need and decided to act on it and gave my heart to HimIt was the best thing I’ve ever done.

I met my wife at church too. She was and still is the church pianist—we dated for four years and got married. She is my rock and one of the reasons I am where I am today. She sings with her family, my sons preach, and now I write as a ministry.

I, like everyone, have had my shares of struggles, but I know that God does deliver and provide in His timing. I don’t think I would have gotten through some things without God. The things that happened to me when I was a young man I questioned, but now know they were there for me to learn and help me on this new journey. Continue reading “Major League Home Runs & Touchdowns on the Field of Faith with Del Duduit”

A Parent’s Petition

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Sometimes as a parent your heart swells with joy, but at other times you labor in love with tears and a busted heart over your children. For those in a hard season, I thought I’d share some scriptures and re-post my poem, For the Prodigal’s Mom, in hopes of encouraging you.

Whether your child is faring well, struggles or has strayed, whether you just have the occasional hard day or more tough days than not—your work does not go unnoticed. God sees you, He feels your heart. He wants to come alongside and help and strengthen us. Jesus weeps with us and we can take joy in the shelter of Him. He cares for our children. Remember, He sets out in search of the one lost lamb.

We don’t have to walk this road or wage this war in our own strength. Jesus is the difference maker in our lack as we strive to find your footing and guide your children on the right path. We can petition Heaven and storm Hell with our prayers and partner with our Maker, the Good Father, for the needs of our children. God provides and equips for every task He calls us to.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9 KJV

For the Prodigal’s Mom

Mama,

Don’t you know Jesus loves your children

Even more than you?

Pound the gates of Heaven, Mama

Pray without ceasing

Know the God of Heaven, inclines to your cry

He shares your passion for restoration of the prodigal child

So go ahead and cry Mama

But, make every tear a prayer

An offering of hope and heart

Your prayers are the rain

On the soil of your prodigal’s heart

Your prayers are the rain

On the soil of your prodigal’s heart

Your prayers are the rain

On the soil of your prodigal’s heart…

Those who sow in tears 
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him. Psalms 126: 5-6

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

Suggested posts:

Letters to My Children

The Measure of a Mom

Sometimes it’s a God Thing                                      A Perfect Mothers Day Gift

© 2016, 2018 Rachael M Colby                 Tattoo It On Your Heart

#whyiteach

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I received the following messages from a friend who is a teacher. She wishes to remain anonymous.

TEACHER:   Texting you this… Need people to help remind me why I teach when I’m having bad days.

Teaching is one of the hardest jobs. You rarely ever get kudos. You mostly hear what you are doing wrong.

So, in those rare moments when the smoke clears, and you see what truly matters, and you see the little things you do, and the impact they can have, that is the gold you have to hold on to—or you will quit.

*Per request, I have re-posted this article from 2017 in honor of  #TeacherAppreciationDay and #TeacherAppreciationWeek Please take the time to encourage teachers, not just this week, but throughout the year.  

So Far Today:

I comforted and prayed with a teacher who just had a miscarriage.

I’m standing in the hallway welcoming students, hustling the stragglers to class. Glancing in my classroom, I realize one of my boys is crying. I motion him to come into the hall and he tells me his aunt died from a stroke last night. We talk, I give him a hug and help him grieve. He gives me permission to share with the class. His friends quickly change seats and circle him. No talking or touching; they are middle school boys after all. They support him by just being there. They take out paper and write notes of encouragement—without any prompting. #proud #whyiteach

All before 9:30am.

11:20am Update

Another student running up and down the hallway screaming and crying. Counselor trying to help. He refuses… I step into the hallway, take his hands, have him take deep breaths with me to calm him down so he can talk to the counselor without screaming. #whyiteach

Teaching is never about the subject you are teaching. It’s about showing compassion, how to grieve, process anger, express joy. So much emptiness and anger in my students— they just don’t know how to handle life. Happy that I can be here to help them.

Remind me of this when I’m having a really bad day.

Anyone who becomes a teacher because they want kids to learn a subject is missing a huge piece of teaching. I went into teaching because I want to teach children how to successfully live their lives, process emotion, and become productive people. The subject I teach has so little to do with what I really do.

“When will I use this?” they say.  (Algebra, science, etc..)

The answer is: “Who really cares? Will you remember that I taught you compassion when your classmate’s aunt died, that I held your hands when you just couldn’t take another step, that I told you I care about you?”

And yes, of course, I’ll give you another chance when you screw up yet again in my class, because this is #whyiteach.

Update 1:00 pm

Two boys try to fight in my classroom. Calmed them down and talked to them. One of the boys tells me he’s not really mad at the other kid. He just watched his dad get arrested and he’s really upset… Sigh.  #whyIteach

At lunch, the boy whose aunt died comes up to me. “I’m doing better,” he says quietly, and dashes away.

Last Block:

The boy who was crying and screaming in the hallway comes to class. He’s smiling now, and we’re just figuring it all out. It’s a good day. #whyiteach

I know I could get a job in a better district. My family asks me why I stay all the time.

“Who’s going to teach them if I don’t?” I reply.

“Someone will,” they say.

“But will they care about them? Will they pray over their desks? Will they cry over them? Will they love them?”

I can’t walk away from these kids. Many of them don’t have adults that truly care. They are used to being thrown away, adults not sticking with them. I can’t be one of those people. Teaching is a calling, not a job. I have to teach them how to be cared for and to care for one another, to create community in the classroom. Once I’ve done this, and only then, can I actually teach them any academic content with success. This usually takes a few months to establish.

I have to teach them, I don’t know if someone else will care for them like I do. #whyiteach

A Few Weeks Later:

TEACHER:  Why do I teach again? My head hurts, my neck aches…

RACHAEL:  Because it matters—maybe for eternity for some of your students. Even though you don’t see it now.

Because they need you even when they don’t want you.

Because you may be the only love, the only Jesus, some will see today and over the next few months.

Because you have to. It’s your calling.  #makeadifference   #youmatter

Because it costs more to quit than to carry on. #whyyouteach

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 NKJV

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strengthTattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Heroes_Among_Us
is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my
infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2nd Corinthians 12:9 NKJV

 © 2017 Rachael M Colby       Tattoo It On your Heart

Important Announcement 

Dear reader,

It has come to my attention that those who read my post entitled, Herald, and also, What #BillyGraham Meant to Me, and perhaps prior postsin their emails rather than on my website, may not have realized that several of what appeared to be still photos are actually videos. If you click out from the email to read my posts on my website, there are arrows on the photos which indicate that they are videos. Apparently that doesn’t show in emails. I am so sorry I didn’t catch this sooner.

Also, the black box that says, Tattoo It On Your Heart, mid way through Herald is a podcast, (audio with music and sound effects and me reading my poem, He is Risen). 

In my Billy Graham post, there was no text with the link in the videos listed under Resources, so some may have mistook those for still photos as well. I did include a text link for the videos included in my actual Billy Graham story, as I usually do in all my posts, but I did not under Resources. Hopefully those who read my post in their emails noticed the links to those videos and all the others in prior posts.

To avoid these issues in the future and so you don’t miss out on any announcements, promotions, updates to posts, or content in the sidebar and other pages on my website, I will be changing the settings for posts received via email. In the future when you receive my posts by email, they will only include an excerpt of the post with a request that you. “Click here to continue reading this post.” This will take you out to my site which will give you access to the most updated version of my post and site and to resources on the other pages. I plan to add a Q&A and a Resources feature to my site soon.

Until I make these changes, please click the title of my posts in your email as that will also take you out of the email to my site to read posts.

*If you read my prior post, What #BillyGraham Meant to me, you may have noticed my whopper of a typo. If so, sorry about that. I’ve corrected it. Must be that staying up writing until 3 o’clock in the morning makes for a fuzzy brain. If you didn’t catch my error—whew! 😉

**If you haven’t yet read my Billy Graham post, or you missed out on some of the videos, please click here to link to:  What #BillyGraham Meant to Me

***If you haven’t yet read Herald, or if you missed the videos and podcast in it, please click here to link to:  Herald.  

Thank you for being a part of my writing journey. God bless you. You are in my prayers.

Rachael

I Hate Commitment, (or is it Failure I Fear)

I hate commitment. It’s terrifying! Failure to keep a commitment devastates me, no matter how small. So, I shy away from it. I procrastinated all day about accepting author and writing coach Jeff Goins’s 30 day  #My500Words writing challenge because I figured if I waited long enough, it would be too late to commit and then I couldn’t fail. One way to avoid failure is to not commit—just don’t take the risk. Right? Wrong.

The Bible admonishes us to count the cost, to consider if we are able to complete a task before we begin and to let our yea be yea and our nay be nay. We should have  reverence for commitment, but there’s a difference between responsibly considering decisions and living in neutral. Neutral often slides into reverse motion

Tattoo_It_On_your_Heart_Rachael_M-Colby_Neutral

You can choose to live a reactive or proactive life. God calls us to action and faithful stewardship of our talents and abilities. Passivity is an action. We are responsible for the results of our indecision. We either pursue God and His call for our lives or neglect it. Inaction is an action; indecision is a decision. No risk, no gain. Guaranteed.

In an effort to feel more secure and protect myself from failure, I wrote my first 500 words before typing, “I’m in,” and accepting the challenge—at the last minute. So how did I do? I failed. I missed three days and many days I fell short of the 500 words, but on others, I exceeded it. There is a difference between failing at something and being a failure. Failing doesn’t necessarily identify you as a failure. It could just mean you tried and as Thomas Edison said, figured out many ways how not to do something, which is often the route to finally achieving a goal or overcoming an obstacle.

So, what really is the battle here? Am I afraid of commitment, or failure? Or am I just a control freak? The answer is yes. I like the sure thing. It’s not a risk if I know the outcome, can do it in my own strength, or don’t need a miracle. But if I stay in my comfort zone, I don’t need faith and if I don’t reach beyond my own abilities, I miss the chance to see God work with me, through me, and move on my behalf. My mess yielded to Jesus is a chance for God’s miracles. My obstacles are God’s opportunities.

I’m often hard on myself when I feel I’ve let myself, others, and most importantly, God, down. Even though I want and need input to grow, sometimes it’s hard to receive criticism from others because I’ve done such a good job of beating myself up. That’s an issue with Grace. God says in His Word that His mercies are new every morning.

Unspoken- Miracle

Let your trials and failures refine you and let God define you.

Sometimes it’s the process of the struggle that builds the strength to accomplish the task. The only real failures are those who do nothing or quit at their calling.

Sometimes what we think of as failure is God’s strength and endurance training, equipping us to help others.

Sometimes that good thing for us is failure, or setback, or discipline, or faith stretched until the midnight hour—and then the victory. Pray; wait on God, and when He says it’s time to move—move.

Tattoo-It_On_Your_Heart_CFM_Pastor_Chip_Ganiear_Potential_Miracle

When I depend on myself and my own abilities I fall short. The only sure thing is the Gospel. The only guarantee of success is to obey God and hitch our hearts, our hope, our destiny and eternity on Jesus. What matters is not my own or the world’s definition of success or failure, but God’s. God defines us by our identity with Him. I am His.

If God is asking you for something you can’t do then it’s God’s turn to do whatever it takes to accomplish His will and destiny for your life. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

And all that really matters is the will of God.

I’m going to fail sometimes. You’re going to fail sometimes. We will lose some battles, but I read the end of the story, and those who walk with Jesus win the war.

Pray. Persist. Prevail.

“I AM THAT I AM” beats “it is what it is” every time. — Pastor Chip Ganiear

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

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We were made for Christ, to follow Him, to obey His

 Word and calling, to lean on His strength and grow in His grace.

He has called me to write for Him, and so, I write.

3rd place 2019 Tar Heel Award, North Carolina Christian Writers Conference

Carrollton- Made for This

© 2018, 2019  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart

 

 

 

 

 

Dear reader,

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

 

Dear Me, I Have a Question for You

Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Dear_Me_I _Have_ a Question_for _YouHis question hit me like a bucket of ice water, and it wasn’t even the subject of his blog post. The job of the preacher is to preach the Gospel, to speak truth and make us uncomfortable with complacency, with less than what God wants for us—uncomfortable in our sin. And so he did.

“What would you say to someone whose life looked exactly like yours?” Pastor Payte said.

What a profound, thought provoking, convicting, question Pastor, but it’s too long of a list for a blog post. That’s a good question for us all to ask ourselves at the onset of the new year—or perhaps everyday.

So, time to take inventory. Have a seat Self.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: Psalms 139:23 (KJV)

Let God defend you. He is able. Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart_Rachael_M_Colby_Most _Times

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

My good friend Sue, prays, “ Lord put your arm around my shoulder and your hand across my mouth.” She’s a Proverbs 31 woman

Circumstance will circumvent your plans if you are not intentional with  your time:

  • Time spent in God’s Word and presence
  • Time with your family
  • Time developing your skill to fulfill your calling.

Let God define you.

Rachael_M_Colby_Tattoo_It_On_Your_Heart__Life _and _Time-are-Bullies

Make priority a priority, or it probably won’t get done. Don’t let the urgent distract you from the important, as the preacher said.

Don’t allow the demons of One-More-Thing, Procrastination, Fear, Discouragement, or procrastination to derail you from what God called you to. Sometimes later doesn’t come, and too late or missed opportunity shows up instead. But if that happens, take heart; Jesus loves you anyway and  meets you where you are. Nothing we do or don’t do takes Him by surprise. So, look up, get up and carry on—follow Him. He has a plan.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)

Becoming a better person is more important than doing great things. People who strive to be better end up doing great things.

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalms 51:10 (KJV)

We all fall short but Jesus is the difference maker. His mercies are new every morning. He supplies all our needs when we supply ourselves to him. Not just our physical needs, but our spiritual needs. He can turn our vices into victories, our failures into triumphs—even a ministry to others.

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

Your turn.

Oh, and I’ll talk about the actual subject of Pastor Payte’s article another time. 🙂

 

I’d like to invite you to read about our young friend, Alek’s, battle against Lymes disease. Please consider sharing on your social media and with friends, family and co-workers.

*Matching funds on new donations from February 1st- February 14th! Link to read his story or donate toward his ongoing treatment. the information on Lymes disease in this article by his mom is a good education on the disease and may be helpful to others battling it or with undiagnosed similar symptoms:

Click to read or donate here:  https://www.gofundme.com/aleks-battle-against-lymes

gofundme_aleks_battle_against-lymes

© 2018  Rachael M Colby     Tattoo It On Your Heart