more than letters after your name

As a SpEducator, my mind thinks in terms of Goals and Objectives. Reevals are a good thing, especially because they include multiple perspectives and adjustments toward realisitic expectations.

I'm thankful for the perspective voices the Lord has given me as I reevaluate my own goals and objectives. My husband is perhaps my chief sounding-board, and he's so patient to listen to my whims and wonder-ifs.... Extended family, especially my parents, are extremely helpful as well, especially given the amount of time they've known me. Even my kids' voices help me reevaluate what's important--the exuberant "Thank YOU, Mommy!" or the whiny "I'm not tired" both tell me their own truths.

Recently a still, small voice helped me reevaluate a reoccuring objective--one that I still have hopes for accomplishing, but not any time in the near future. If you're a believer, you know the Voice I'm talking about: that kind yet strong Voice of the Holy Spirit of God.

As background, let me just share that my husband is currently working on his PhD in NT Interpretation. It's been a lot of work and there's still a chunk to go, but I'm completely behind him in as his desire is to give national African men the seminary tools they need to understand the Word of God and to communicate those truths to their own communities.

It's tempting to call the degree, the goal; and at times it seems very much like the goal. But the truth is, it's only an objective on the way to the real goal.

Our real goal is to bring glory to God by worshipping Him wholeheartedly with gratitude and reverence and by by cultivating discipleship relationships with people in the specific cross-section of the world He's given to us.

So the objective that I'd like to see accomplished for me: a Master's degree in Special Education, more specifically in Reading and/or Written Expression Disabilities. And a doctorate isn't beyond what I could dream about. Yes, I'm an over-goaler. But I would love to pass on a love for SPED to the next generation of educators as well....

But at certain points along the way, I have to step back and do a reeval.
*Right now, I'm teaching SPED to help my husband accomplish his objective: it's part of what I believe is within the scope of the Proverbs 31 woman, allowing him to the man God intends him to be.
*I'm also a mom: Alan and I have two growing boys, still in early elementary school, who it is our privilege to love and disciple.
*And I'm a small-group discipleship teacher for the high school and college age young women in the InnerCity Ministry at our church.
*Not to mention writing...and reading....

It's not time to pursue a degree.... At some point, when Alan's completed his degree, perhaps the Lord will allow me to begin working on the Master's. But for now, Acts 4:13 has been a huge encouragement to me. (Title linked to Acts 3, 4 nasb via Bible gateway.)

Without any letters behind their names, with no formal education (4:13), the disciples of Jesus Peter and John spoke their message with unashamed clarity (Acts 3:11-4:3). Theirs was a noteably effective ministry (4:4, 21). They were not intimidated by others with more credentialed power who could have potentially silenced them, sending them to prison (4:5-12,15-18). Instead, they were set apart by God, filled with His Holy Spirit (4:8) and uniquely gifted (4:9-10; 3:1-10). They were devoted to Christ Jesus (4:11-12, 19-20), and it was obvious--largely because of the lack of letters after their names, so to speak--it was obvious that they had been with Jesus (4:13)!

If my goal is what I say it is, to glorify God, than if He realigns my objectives and even if He omits "graduate degree" from the list, that should be fine with me. He knows what He's shaping me into and what I need to have. If the best way I can worship Him and bring others along with me in praising Him is to forget the formal training, than so be it. He's given me wide-open ministry within my own family and neighborhood; He's broadened it to include discipleship relationships in our local church and in the Christian school where I teach.

The thing I need most right now is not more formal training. It's exactly what was so apparent of Peter and John: time spent with Jesus.

And that's a relationship incomparably more valuable than any letters after a name.

New objective: Michelle L. Grover will spend a cherished amount of time each day with Jesus, by reading His Word, by talking with Him in prayer, by singing and by journaling. mlg

Reeval submitted 5/27/10.
michelle l. grover

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