been there, done that

"You forced me to become strong
When I just craved bein' weak..."
-The Good Kind, The Wreckers

Right now in science we're studying botany with the middle school classes, and today, as I celebrate Arissa's 2nd birthday in heaven, I can't stop thinking about her and our turnip plant, or wishing I was walking around in Tennessee pointing out the lichen and the nonvascular plants... I don't know if it will always be this way for the rest of my life, but this time of the year is so hard for me! I only have this one and last year to look back on, but ever since Arissa's death and the events surrounding, all of those sad, bitter, and hurt feelings start to creep back into my life and my heart around the end of November timeframe... All of those feelings drag me down so far and leave me feeling so weak... Which is definitely the best all-encompassing word to describe my life two years ago....

Weakness is a natural response for me when things are hard, probably because it's so easy, and I'm lazy by nature, something I fight every day but will probably always struggle with... I can think back on that time and remember lying in my bed for hours, sleeping so I wouldn't have to think about anything, or be around people and have to try to be strong or even try just to appear to be strong... That was the absolute easiest thing for me to do then... play the 'weak card' and feel sorry for myself...

and where did it get me? It wasn't until I allowed the Lord to take control of the situations (which He already was in control of anyways) and my emotions that I was able to become strong and allow Him to do His great work in me...

I continue to miss Arissa more and more with every passing day, but I think that's ok... I don't spend time dwelling on my grief, because I don't feel grief, I feel nothing but joy in my heart for Arissa... and I certainly try not to ever go back to that moment when I first found out about the accident or any of the other events that were happening... But that tends to be a hard thing for me to avoid come late November... When it comes the same days and weeks of certain events in my life, I almost can't help but place myself right back in those same situations, and play out the conversations and my thoughts and feelings at the time... let me tell you, that is not helpful even a little bit for me! Two years after the fact, if I start to feel just as sad, bitter, and hurt as I was then I'm gonna start playing the 'weak card' again, and I'm gonna start making all those same mistakes I made way back when.... and the Lord knows I'm completely unusable in that frame of mind!

The problem is, I don't know how to avoid all of those feelings flooding over me all the time... So..... the Lord enlightened me and put His word on my heart:

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

The Lord has put me in an amazing place this year.... it's the same place, and yet somehow a totally different place from where I was last year... the jobs, the family, where I go home to, all that's the same, but I've reached a completely new place of contentment with who I am, where I am, what I'm doing and why I'm doing it, and it is truly an amazing thing! I praise God daily for what He's done in my life since this school year started... I feel like I was at that place of contentment in Tennessee, especially after I gave it all up and allowed the Lord to take total control, and when I left Tennessee, I knew I was following God... But, I'm not so sure the 'contentment' factor set in here until a few months ago....

So now that I'm there, and at the same time facing the end of November, I absolutely want to avoid any opportunity for me to lose that and sink back into my "weakness" mode... But God does not stop me from coming face to face with that craving to become weak again everytime I close my eyes and look back at those times two years ago...

And somehow, I find myself so grateful for that because still, He consistantly forces me and assists me in becoming strong every day... He puts me in this position of surrender... "Surrender, give it to Me, or give up and let weakness take over your life..." I hear that all day every day... the temptation to become weak is so intense sometimes, but the pleasure in finding strength in the Lord is so much more intense, and praise God that I've been there, done that, and He is forever faithful!

In looking for strength these past few weeks, I've read through all of the emails I've sent to date, and especially the ones sent approximately 2 years ago.... Those are hard to read, but at the same time, very comforting to remember the way that God worked in my life back then and to realize the way that He's still working now, doing the same things and teaching me the same lessons... I'm so thankful I have those records to look back on, and that the Lord led my heart to write down the remarkable things He was doing in my life and continues to do on a daily basis!

On a 'update' type of note, my children are doing wonderfully! The relationships I've been able to build this year have been so great, and the Lord reminds me continually of the great blessing He's given me in all of my students! The science classroom is running so smoothly, I absolutely love the new teacher I'm working with this year, we have so much fun, and I've built some strong relationships with the other staff members who I, for whatever reason, distanced myself from last year... God has been so good to me, and I feel oh so undeserving but very thankful and amazingly blessed!

So this past Thanksgiving, I found myself ever more thankful for the people, the opportunities and the trials that the Lord sets before me, giving me strength daily to face them all... and I'm so thankful for each of you, who without fail, support me and pray for me as I follow God along this path... Thank you, thank you, thank you so much! And please continue to pray for us at Eagle Ranch, these next few weeks are usually a little crazy, what with Christmas and a big two week break just around the corner!

Thanks again... I love y'all so very much!!

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God everytime I remember you;
in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
-Philippians 1:3

Here's some exciting news... I'm definitely in the preview for We Are Marshall!! Here's the link if you want to see me:

now, you have to pay attention... it's quick... at appx 2:14 the words "hope never dies" show on the screen, then there's an upclose shot of a football being kicked, and then, at about 2:17 into the preview, there's a crowd scene that fades in and fades right back out.... if you look in the crowd, towards the bottom right, about 3 people in on the bottom row, you'll see me!! i'm in an orangish redish leather jacket, and look completely emotionless... haha, acting is not for me! but how exciting that I'm in the preview! That means I'll be in the movie! we're having a "see if you can spot me" party at Hollywood Cinemas on Dec. 23, and you're all invited!! haha, it'll be $8.50, or whatever they're charging these days, but it'll be a great movie! and i'll be available for autographs and pictures afterwards... hahaha, JUST KIDDING!!