Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Calm Within the Storm

As I sit here writing this entry, there is a typical Kentucky spring storm brewing outside. Thunder is roaring, an occasional lightning bolt flashes through the darkness, and raindrops pound against the window. Despite this, I am calm......

This odd juxtaposition is all rather symbolic of the inner storm that has been brewing inside me.

The past 12 months of my life have brought many changes, many of which created more personal stress for me. My oldest child graduated from high school and began college. In helping him make his choice regarding where to attend, I tried hard not to focus on cost, but with each new college came a new tuition rundown, usually with bigger numbers. It didn't help that his top choice had probably the HIGHEST tuition in the state. Those who follow my blog know that I planned an early retirement in order to take another job. I kept thinking that my monthly retirement check plus the check from my "other" job would take care of things. At the last minute, the retirement system stepped in and threw a cog into the works, tearing apart my plans, and leaving me worrying about how to fund my son's tuition.  Though the college provided a great deal of assistance we could not escape the inevitable college loans, increasing the already large financial burden on my family.

Also within the past 12 months, my father-in-law and my husband's older brother both died. My own father experienced at least two months of health issues before finally going into the hospital for surgery. In addition, the implementation of new education reforms in Kentucky created an entirely new mountain of paperwork and duties for me, a teacher who already dedicated far too much personal time to her career.

All of these things combined to create that inner storm I mentioned at the beginning of this post- the one that created a stressed, worried, whiny, grumpy me. You see, as each stress was added to my life I allowed it to weigh me down even further. I worried about money and pinched pennies tighter and tighter. I fretted over every single bill that came in the mail and ever item that I bought. I spent my lunch hours listening to my peers complain about school, students, and whatever the latest work obligation might be. Not only did I listen; I added my own "belly-aching" to theirs. I am a stress eater and all of this stress caused me to eat more, and usually the wrong things. This caused me to gain back the 20 pounds that I had worked so hard to lose a couple of years ago.

At this point you are probably saying, "OK.... I understand the storm reference, but what about the calm? Where does that come in?" Well, that calm is a work in progress. As you know, I am participating in the Stressed-Less Living online Bible study. Here is this week's focus verse:

As I read this week's chapter and did the activities, I realized that I have been trying to take care of far too many things on my own. I have focused so much on the tuition cost of my son's education when what I really need to do is have faith that God will provide. There will always be another assignment that needs to be graded, another lesson plan that needs to be written, and some student that is just having "a bad day."I need to lean more on God to help me plan lessons that will meet the needs of my students, help me find time to get the paperwork done, and help me maintain an enthusiasm for my chosen career. In short, I need to do what the verse says, call on the Lord and allow him to help me with my distress.

Since I started this Bible study I have noticed an increased peace within me. I am not grumbling as much and my students have even noticed. This morning as I walked down the hallway before first bell, quietly singing a gospel song, one of my students said, "Mrs. Baker, why are you in such a good mood?" I just smiled and said, "It's a good day."


  1. Love that not only have you noticed an increase of peace within you, but that it is showing on the outside. Praying God's provision for your son's college tuition. It is a good day! :-) Lori (OBS Group Leader)

  2. Love this post Stella and how this study is impacting you and your students. Me too. I sub teach and just walk in there smiling these days. Thanks for sharing. Debbie W. (OBS Group Leader)

  3. I feel so much like you!! Doing this study along with another one has brought me a new level of awareness to the stress I was causing myself because of others. It hasn't been their fault at all, even though I originally tried blaming them, it has been my fault for not taking it to God. Just this week I've had three different issues arise that I've prayed about and immediately felt a peace I didn't know come over me. Thank God for His grace because only He knows how truly stubborn I am lol. Thank you for your words! You certainly aren't alone :)