Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

In the form of a Christmas letter, allow me to reflect on what has changed in the past 10 years. 10 years. Has it already been ten years since I moved to Lafayette, IN? Well, technically it's only been a little over 9 years, but at the end of this school year I will have been teaching here for 10 years.

If you had told me during my senior year of college 10 years ago that I would be teaching at a Christian school for the next 10 years I would have laughed. But as Jeremiah says, God's ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts. I am so thankful that I believe in a God who is sovereign.

In my freshman year of college, I dedicated my life to God for full-time Christian service, thinking I would possibly be a missionary or a pastor's wife. But obviously God wanted me to be a piano teacher in a Christian school. I have learned so much over the last few years, but ultimately God has used all of it to draw me closer to Himself. I have learned a lot about teaching preschoolers and kindergarteners and about classroom control! I have played a lot of music and taught a lot of songs. I have learned to play off of chord charts and notate music. I have had some students for years and some for only a few weeks. The third grade class to whom I taught a general music class in my first year will be graduating in May! (That makes me feel old!) My views of some aspects of Christianity and Christian liberty have been broadened and refined. My church's worship styles have changed. My hairstyle has changed--multiple times! My living arrangements have changed: apartment to house to roommates and a dog! The color of paint on my walls has changed.

But some things don't change. God is the same God of the Bible that He has always been. He still causes all to work together for God to those who love Him. He is still orchestrating every insignificant detail of my life to bring glory to Himself. And as I learn to delight in him, He brings the desires of my heart into accord with His desires (Psalm 37:4). And, of course, in my finite wisdom, I couldn't have planned it any better.

I truly do love my job and the school-age people I am privileged to be around. Yes, there are some days when I don't want to go to work and I would love to stay at home, but I am thankful that God has provided this position for me at this time.

My love for God and His people has grown. And as you pray for me, pray that I would continue to grown in Godly love of the people around me, in my church and in my community. And pray that I would continue to stay faithful to God and to His Word. This year I reached a low point where I struggled with unbelief. I learned to surround myself with the truth of God's Word and with encouraging friends. Pastor Viars' Sunday sermons have been a necessity. My Tuesday night Bible study (that I originally didn't have time for) has really been an encouragement to me, especially in fellowshipping with other people working on the same issues. (I really enjoyed one book we did: Jerry Bridges' "Respectable Sins." Now we are doing "Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life" by Donald S. Whitney.) And I am still working on reading through the New Testament, as I didn't quite make that goal this year! I still struggle with keeping my "appointments with God" each day, but am striving to keep my focus up on what is eternal.

It's a great comfort to know that the God who set His plan in motion for redeeming the world over 2000 years ago is the same God who is coordinating events in the present time.

Merry Christmas!
Beth Hill (& Juju)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Juju and the Christmas Pudding

I taught my Preschool kids this year to sing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" for their Christmas program. We also sang the subsequent verses: "Oh bring us some figgy pudding," "We all love our figgy pudding," and "We won't go until we get some." So in music class I would "pretend" to give them their imaginary "figgy pudding" and they would say please and thank you. I thought it would be fun for the actual program if we had a real live figgy pudding! I looked up a recipe, and figgy pudding is a very dense cake (sometimes made with a spice cake mix) with figs, raisins, and almonds. So my sister Sarah graciously offered to make it the day before the program. So the day of the program dawned and the figgy pudding sat on our stove cooling. At lunch time I turned it out onto a platter and thought I'd put it someplace Juju couldn't reach it--I mean she hadn't touched it all night, right? Of course I should know better by now. I didn't lock Juju up in her kennel...and obviously I should have. Yup. She ate the WHOLE THING. Apparently Juju likes figgy pudding.

So we have been paying the consequences: Juju and I have been up throughout the night throwing up and cleaning up figgy pudding! I have a very sick dog now. I think she is determined to eat herself to death...