Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Big questions

In my former roles as a middle school teacher and women's dorm director, I've been faced with my share of big questions that have caught me off-guard. I'm sure many more are in the future in my role as a parent!

It has been such a blessing to meet with 9 young ladies from our church for the past few months. Sunday night, as we were wrapping up our time together, one of the girls suddenly asked me, "How does God speak to you?" The timing and intensity of such a question definitely surprised me. Fumbling for words, I said that I often sense God telling me something through the Holy Spirit. Not in an audible way, but somehow I still feel it. She nodded, but pressed on. "Well, how do you know it's God saying something and not just your mind?" Oh, my. I knew mini-vans were already idling in our driveway, and yet isn't spiritual growth and learning the reason we're meeting?! I answered from my heart, the best that I knew how, and prayed that God would take my feeble reply and use it--somehow. It's frightening to be a teacher sometimes, isn't it? (James 3:1)

Although I felt overwhelmed and put on the spot with the above questions (and many others I've been asked over the years), I count it a privilege to be put in such a position. It's both an honor and a lesson in humility.

I'm interested to hear from you--what is a "big question" you've been asked that you caught you off guard, or that you weren't quite sure how to answer?


Anonymous said...

Oh, my ~ big questions ~ yes, for a parent they come regularly and sometimes at inopportune times (such as loudly at the store or in front of houseguests). I trusted God to cover my sometimes inadequate answers.

Now I am confronted with those big questions less often at home, but they sometimes come up at work. In an election year such as now, coworkers will sometimes ask how I stand on a particular issue or candidate. Another question that I have to consider every year as part of my annual review is "where do you see yourself in five years?"

Sometimes an answer I gave to an unexpected question "haunts" me for years and I wish for a "do-over." You are right that it can be a lesson in humility.

Love you! Mom

Liisa said...

I am so glad that this young girl had you to ask! Thank you for giving your time to help others.


Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I can't think of one right off the top of my head, but this post makes me excited! I am starting my class with the high school girls from my church this Sunday night. I hope we will establish an environment where the girls will feel comfortable asking tough questions!

Susan said...

What a wonderful opportunity. I had a 4 year old in my Sunday School class ask me if Michael Jordan was going to heaven.

mer said...

I'm thankful your friend felt like she could ask you!

My *big* question came from my then 8-year-old daughter. Out of the blue she asked me about the birds and the bees. I fumbled around and told her I really wanted to talk to her about it sometime when it was just the two of us. She's a smart little girl and said, "Mom, it's just the two of us now." So, I took a big breath, asked Jesus to guide me and give me the right words, and started explaining. It turned out to be one of the most special times with my daughter. She's come back to me a couple of times and wanted more explanation, and I love how innocent she still is in regard to it all.

**Eight is very young to be having this conversation, and had it not been for some incorrect information she was carrying around, I probably would have tried putting her off. Unfortunately, not all kids learn about this from their parents, but sadly from television, peers, and even older siblings.

Amy said...

Hmm, the first one that comes to mind is when my husband proposed! : ) I'm sure I've had lots of others (I used to teach high school) and will have many, many more in the future from my own children.

I know you answered your young friend well, though. God's grace is great toward us!

Katie said...

Carrie, I'm finally catching up on reading your posts ~ they are all so wonderful!!

As far as this post, a couple of years ago when my husband and I were leading a youth group at our church ~ one of the girls asked (who had not yet accepted Christ)... does God hear my prayers if I haven't accepted Christ as my Savior??

Wow...were we careful as we answered that one....

Usually if I am unsure, I'm very honest that I don't know...I need to search the scriptures first and get back to them. I take James 3:1 very seriously as well!!

Thanks for this post!
:-) Katie

A, B & C said...

My middle school teaching experience was in a low income, minority school. I knew from our discussions that most students didn't have much guidance at home, so I often felt it was important to help them with "life lessons" as well as school subjects.
My first big question was about when I reported a student for a knife. The kids didn't understand why I said anything since it was just steak knife. I had to explain that this student had already brought one knife to school and if he were to hurt someone, I would feel horrible that I knew he had it and didn't say anything.
I also had a few questions from girls, specifically about being intimate with boys. I usually walked them up to the nurse to make sure we discussed everything with the correct facts, but I always added as we walked that they needed to use their time as "kids" wisely. In a few years, they would be almost grown-up with responsibility, and those kinds of adult things would be easier to handle then. They needed to enjoy being young now and bask in having no responsibilities.