As an educator, I get to work with kids from all walks of life. Some kids come to school ready to soak it all in and learn. It is obvious that they have been invested in. You can tell from their conversations that the adults in their lives have taken the time to love them, play with them, teach them, read to them, and ensure their environment is safe and appropriate. You can also tell which kids don’t spend quality time with the adults in their life, haven’t been read to as much, don’t feel as loved, and who have not had someone safeguarding their environment and what they are exposed to. Both types of kids are FULL OF POTENTIAL, but those whose homes have not been so great often face much greater challenges in realizing their potential. The greatest challenge I face in my job relates to loving that kid that is “unlovable” and encouraging him (or her) to rise and succeed despite the odds. The greatest moments of joy come when that kid truly reaches that potential!
But really, is the same true of us as adults? Can the outsider observing us see that we are loved? That we spend time with our families? That we spend time with our Heavenly Father? That we are being taught by Him? That we expose ourselves to things that will build up our character, not tear it down?
Here’s the catch: as an adult, we have much more power to choose the influences in our lives than a child does. Plus, we have a Heavenly Father who is ready and willing to invest in us, to spend time with us, to teach us. We just have to let Him into our lives.
So today, I want to encourage you to reach your full potential. Intentionally make time to spend with the Lord and with those He has placed you closest to. Be wrapped up in His Love, letting it overflow to others. Surround yourself with influences that will help lift you up, not distract you from living a godly life. Choose joy, not anger and bitterness. Rise above all you have been and grasp all you can be in Christ. Allow His influence on your life to shine through and be easily seen. As you do this, you will succeed. Despite the odds, despite your past, you will become all He has created you to be. The world around you will notice and be encouraged. Your influence will be great and will spark the greatness in others.
Stay connected to Him, and enjoy the journey of becoming!
Hi, I’m Claire. But really, who am I? That question is not answered as easily as it seems. I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, an educator. But that list seems to not really define me fully.
To me, life is all about being connected to others. Relationships are a top priority in my life. Nurturing relationships takes time, and I try to purposely spend as much time as possible on that. I’m more likely to be coloring with my four year old daughter than cleaning the kitchen. The time with her is more valuable than a clean house. I’ll go shopping with my mom rather than get work done, even with a deadline looming. She’s more important. If my husband wants to do a project together, we’ll do it – no matter what my plans were for the day. He deserves the best of me and my time. Being connected to others is a vital part of my makeup and something I choose to be intentional about.
This sense of connectedness is also central to my spiritual life and my ministry in TWU. I am really passionate about discipleship – not just going to church, but truly knowing God, being connected to Him, and having a relationship with Him. Really digging deep into God’s Word is the best way I have found to nurture that relationship. I did my first “real” Bible study the summer after my 6th grade year. My mom and I, along with some of my friends and their mothers, did a mother/daughter study of Genesis by Kay Arthur. It was life-changing for me, and I was hooked! Ever since then I have searched for ways to learn more and help others learn more about how to connect with God. This desire brought me into TWU. I serve as the Marketing & Advertising Director, but I also have taught at many events, and teach Bible Studies throughout the year with my friend, Suzanne Pichon. Seeing other women learn how to truly know God in a more personal way brings me great joy and excitement.
I love spending time with my family. My mom, my husband Danny, and our daughter Riley are very close, and they are definitely my very top priority. We love to go camping, bike riding, and work in our garden. It’s not really about what we do together, but that we are together. I feel the same way about my friends. With busy lives, we have to be intentional about nurturing those relationships. Simple moments with those I love are key to me – they are what life is all about!
Professionally, my life is all about connections, too. For the past ten years, I have taught at Bonne Ecole Elementary. I love working with kids – not just helping them make academic connections, but also helping to mold and shape their character. This year, I am the school librarian, which means I will likely be headed back to school soon to pursue a Masters in Library Science. I love the chance this has given me to use a good story to get the kids thinking about a social/moral issue. Through literature, we have so many discussions about good vs. evil, empathy, making good choices, and what justice really is. Hearing their thoughts and seeing their character unfold is an awesome privilege. At Bonne Ecole, I chair the Sunshine Committee, which works to basically encourage staff members in a variety of ways throughout the year. I have also worked with Suzanne Pichon to start the SHINE Club (Serve, Honor, Inspire, Nurture, Encourage). It has been so cool to have that opportunity to intentionally model and teach character traits to a group of kids. Seeing them search for ways to serve, to want to make the world a better place, brings such a sense of accomplishment and hope.
Right now, I am working to organize ways for our school and SHINE to be involved in Relay for Life. Relay For Life means a lot to me, because I have lost my father, my sister, and my father-in-law to cancer in the last 5 years. It gives us a chance to honor those who are no longer with us, but also the fighters and survivors. Seeing so many walk the survivor lap every year is an amazing thing – and it is amazing to cheer them on! I am really drawn to find ways to help those who are sick, to bring encouragement, and to find little ways to overcome a disease that to so many seems insurmountable. For me, it is fighting back, connecting to and honoring those we have loved and lost. It helps me see a purpose through the pain and know that Hope is still there.
And now, I am excited about this opportunity to connect with others – to share a bit of my life and what God is teaching me, and to hopefully help you connect to Him a bit better. God has big plans for you, me, this blog, and TWU!
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