Olivia woke up with a horrible sore throat.
The early morning realization that today is going to include a doctor's appointment along with an after-school teacher's meeting and a restructuring of my seating chart in every class because of multiple schedule changes yesterday left me with eyes wide open and a chest feeling a bit heavy.
I decided to get up early instead of fighting the reality that my mind was too awake for another hour of rest.
As I slipped downstairs at 4:30 to make coffee and read for a bit, I was reminded of yesterday morning's little message from God that gave me strength.
Just remembering it again, made me smile.
Yesterday morning as I was driving up the hill to the high school where I teach, I was having one of those "I really needed a snow day; my schedule is overwhelming this trimester; I don't know if I can do this" kind-of beginnings to a day. On KLOVE they were playing a song that really caught my attention, so I was listening with a little more interest in the lyrics. The chorus kept repeating, "glory, and honor, and power to Him Who sits on the throne." As I tapped my steering wheel and did a little "out loud" power talking to God, claiming His power and asking Him to reveal His glory, I felt as if the Holy Spirit placed the verse in my head that says, "we are more than conquerors." I kept listening to the song and thinking, "Yes, my Father sits on the throne; and glory, and honor, and power are His.......because of this truth, I am more than a conqueror.....I can do this today." My whole mindset changed. I had such a moment of personal revival that I found myself OVERWHELMED with a feeling of victory. All day, I claimed this promise, and I made it through the day! I know that this supernatural strength and Providential promise are available and true every single day, but...........
I found myself sitting here this morning with my mind weighed down by Olivia's illness, my new trimester schedule, early-morning cafeteria duty followed by early-morning backpack-checking duty, a teacher's meeting during my only planning period, and an after-school meeting with literacy specialists from Frankfort..........
Then I opened my Bible.
Yes, I opened my Bible and once again God showed me something that reminded me that even when I feel burdened He has a plan.
In my chronological reading, I am in the book of Numbers.
God is instructing Moses on how to set up the tabernacle.
Read what happens in Numbers 7:
When Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed it and consecrated it and all its furnishings. He also anointed and consecrated the altar and all its utensils. Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of families who were the tribal leaders in charge of those who were counted, made offerings. They brought as their gifts before the LORD six covered carts and twelve oxen-an ox from each leader and a cart from every two. These they presented before the tabernacle.
The LORD said to Moses, "Accept these from them, that they may be used in the work at the Tent of Meeting. Give them to the Levites as each man's work requires."
So Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites. He gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, as their work required, and he gave four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, as their work required. They were all under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest. But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible. When the altar was anointed, the leaders brought their offerings for its dedication and presented them before the altar.
I've read this passage every year for the past four years (since Nick died I have made a personal commitment to reading through the Bible every year until I get to Heaven or until my eyes stop working), but I had never been stopped in my tracks while reading about the anointing and consecrating of the tabernacle furnishings.
No, this morning, the Holy Spirit grabbed my attention as I felt as if He were saying to me, "Tammy, look at the Kohathites. They were given NOTHING from Moses after the leaders presented their gifts to the Lord." God had specifically said, "Give them (the carts and oxen) to the Levites as each man's work requires." So Moses turned around and gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, and none to the Kohathites.
Scripture gives this reason, "Because the Kohathites were to carry on their shoulders the holy things, for which they were responsible."
I wonder if there was any murmuring among this group as they saw the gifts handed out by Moses.
To be honest, there were exactly enough carts and oxen to be divided equally between all three of these groups, yet Moses specifically gave one group twice as many as another and left the Kohathites to carry the holy things entrusted to them on their shoulders.
I want to dig deeper into this part of Numbers when I have more time, but for today, it's enough for me to know this,
God isn't surprised by what I'm carrying on my shoulders today.
He's also not surprised by what you're carrying on yours.
Could it be that God has asked us, much like the Kohathites, to carry some holy things for Him?
Our families, our callings, our gifts...............
I know that today is not going to be easy, but I'm just guessing that the Kohathites may have been tempted to look around and see some unfair use of carts and oxen by other Levites as a reason to complain until they looked up on their shoulders and remembered that God had entrusted them with "holy things."
I opened my Facebook after reading this passage and had an inbox message from a girl who I had 6 years ago in 6th grade. She is now a senior at a school in another district and wondered if I remembered her. She said she needed to talk. She asked if I could help her decide about a career choice she is considering. I remember this sweet girl so clearly. She was such a special student to have in class.
God reminded me this morning that the burden I feel on my shoulders is a privilege and an honor.
Olivia and my students........
He has entrusted me to carry them today.
So, with a deep breath, a smile, and the refusal to look around at who might be getting the help of a cart or an ox, I will do my tasks with the spirit of a Kohathite.
I think I will be writing these words on a dry erase board by my desk.
As a Kohathite carried holy things on his shoulders, I will carry my family and my students on mine.
Thankful today for the weight on my shoulders and thankful I could not sleep........I now have a little extra time to get some things done for my "holy things."
What is burdening you today? Is something causing you not to sleep well?
Family, work, grief, loneliness, illness?
Could it be that God has asked you to carry some holy things for His glory?