Monthly Archives: September 2011

Love Wins

I was afraid when I went to church today that the service would be a huge 9-11 memorial.

Instead it was a service on balance and how we need balance in our finances to have balance in life, which was something I needed to refocus on.

At the end, though, our music minister did an amazing job with a one song reflection on the anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11. Or at least, that’s what I thought it was going to be.

It wasn’t.

It was a  beautiful anthem about how we’re resilient and how we won’t bow to hate and how LOVE WINS.

I’m embracing that message and, hopefully, doing my part to share it. Because in the end, when you get to the core of the hurt and pain and anger and hate that’s out there in the world, LOVE does win, if you let it.


Living on a Prayer

We’re studying the Crave lesson for tomorrow and talking about how often we limit God. Try to make Him fit in the box of who we are and what we want.

The lesson talks about how simple a concept faith is: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

On paper faith is easy. It simply is. I believe absolutely that Jesus is my savior, that he is God, that he is of God.

But then I go and try to make God fit what I want. I’ve always said some people confuse God with Santa. Our study says we confuse God with a genie. It’s true. At least it’s true for me.

I struggle with “letting go and letting God.” I want to put my will first instead of God’s.

I want a new house and I want it in a certain neighborhood, so God should want that for me. I want a new car, and God should want that for me. I want a publishing contract, I want, I want, I want….

Yeah. That’s not what faith is about.

Bigger faith isn’t going to make that happen. Changing my prayers won’t make those things happen.

There’s nothing wrong with hoping for those things. There’s nothing wrong with working toward those things. But with faith, I need to pray NOT MY WILL GOD, but yours.

Faith doesn’t mean life won’t be hard. It doesn’t mean utopia. It doesn’t mean people won’t die, crimes won’t be committed, terrorists won’t strike.

Faith is a belief in the promises of God. In His grace. In Jesus. Faith is the cross.

Louie Giglio’s Hope is one of the best sermons I’ve heard about this subject. If you’re struggling or hurting or angry, if you’re facing tough times, if you can’t quite make yourself let go and let God, you should watch. (Actually everyone should watch.) The link takes you to part one. From there watch the other parts. It’s worth the time.

I’m going to work on trusting God. On believing He’s in control, on stepping out of the driver’s seat.

Crave meets at 10 a.m. in the college annex at the back of the Colonial Church building in Wichita Falls behind the mall. Coffee, hot chocolate, the best scones ever, fruit and fun conversation can be found. If you’re between the age of 18-26, we’d love to see you! Our current study is Faith, Hope and Luck by Andy Stanley.


Honor and Lies and Prodigal by Elizabeth Lee (that’s me) are available on Amazon Kindle and or wherever ebooks are sold. Like paper instead? Honor and Lies is available on Amazon in paperback. If you have questions about getting involved in college age ministry or just want to talk about faith or faith struggles, feel free to comment here on the blog or you can email me at marybeth   aT    marybethlee   DoT   com.


Little Ms. Whiner…yeah, I admit it

If you’ve ever dealt with education, you know about modifications. I’ve been doing them forever. They’ve NEVER bothered me. Until today when I saw I need to read to some students for them to get the content.

For some reason, I just looked at that, said no way and that was that.

Until I walked across the hall to tell my friend, Lynda.

Lynda didn’t tell me I was wrong. Instead, she re-framed the issue. And then she offered a solution for what SHE was going to do. She’s going to record her bookwork.

Suddenly, I saw potential. I mean, hello, I have a Mac lab.

And so, I sat down with two of the last assignments and recorded them on GarageBand and added an audio file to their home on my classroom assignment site.

This isn’t an optimal solution, but it’s doable.

I’m going to try wearing a mic and recording my class at least one day next week. If it works, it could revolutionize my classroom. I already use an assignment area and calendar. If the mic works, my kids won’t have to worry as much if they’re absent.

Of course, the mic thing could be a total disaster. This class keeps me on my toes. We’ll see.

A long time ago I read The Success Principles. In the book Jack Canfield teaches Event + Response = Outcome, ALWAYS.

He’s right.

If I break this moment down here’s what I see:

My bad attitude=me walking across the hall to complain=my friend sharing what she was going to do for HER classes= the ball was back in my court. I chose to try something new. Hopefully it will help.

DH says it would’ve helped him in school since he’s dyslexic. Want to feel bad? Let the person who needs the extra help you’re grumbling about be someone you love. Puts it in a whole new perspective. Lesson learned. This time.


Reminder, Honor and Lies & Prodigal by Elizabeth Lee (moi!) are available on kindle or smashwords or wherever ebooks are sold. If you prefer paper, Honor & Lies is available on

Interested in ebook publishing or blogging or using your teacher webpage as a classroom extension and have questions or comments? Feel free to ask here or email me at marybeth   AT  marybethlee  DOT  com.


I Remember, but I wish I didn’t

I remember 9/11.
I can see it as clearly as if I were standing in the newsroom with my students– on the phone with my husband telling me to turn the channel to MSNBC because something had happened at the Twin Towers. I can relive every moment as my class watched in horror as the second plane crashed intentionally into the second tower. We didn’t stop watching.

When I got home, I kept the TV on. I didn’t turn the TV off for a week. Not for a second. Every night I tried to sleep, but the news was on. Always.
As I prayed and asked God for a miracle.
That someone would be alive.

I didn’t know a single person in New York or D.C. that day, but it felt like every person interviewed was a neighbor. I watched, stunned, as day after day after day people who lost loved ones were interviewed.

When the news started playing the voice mails left behind by people who never made it home, I cried.

About three months after 9/11, I stopped sleeping through the night.

I’d fall asleep and then wake up catching my breath, sure something horrible had happened to my daughter. I’d have to walk into her room and make sure she was okay.
Once she stayed the night with my parents and I had to call at 2 a.m. to make sure she was alive. My mom laughed and told me of course things were fine. I laughed, too. But inside, I wondered if I was going crazy.

Finally, at a doctor’s appointment in January, I told my family practitioner what was going on. I whispered the words because it took everything in me to make myself speak. I was terrified of what was wrong with me.

The doctor listened to me and then asked me about my 9/11 experience. I brushed her question off quickly.

9/11 experience? I didn’t have a 9/11 experience. The people with loved ones in New York and D.C., with family members in the military, with friends who served as police and firefighters…THEY had a 9/11 experience. I was a passive bystander in every way other than the night we went to church and prayed.

I explained this to the doctor and she didn’t say anything while I talked. When I was done, she asked if I watched the events on TV. I’m addicted to the news. I not only watched it on TV, I accessed it online. It consumed my life outside of work for several days. I wasn’t alone. Everyone I knew stayed glued to the news those first weeks after.

My doctor nodded and then explained that I was suffering from panic attacks. That the panic attacks could be from a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by my non-stop news viewing. She prescribed an anti-depressant, told me to take it until I felt I could try to go without.

I took the medicine for a few months. It worked. I got better.

I thought it was over. Until this anniversary of the day that changed our lives in so many ways. The news is covering the horrors of that day again and again. You can’t flip channels without seeing the Towers fall. I want to watch Toddlers and Tiaras and Housewives and What Not to Wear and Food Network. Anything to NOT see a replay of those days. And THAT makes me feel even worse.  I can sink into mindless TV and ignore a day that shouldn’t be ignored and so very many people can’t because while my problem was caused by non-stop news, they lost people they loved and cherished.

I feel unpatriotic. I say the Pledge every day at school. I support the troops and say prayers for those in harm’s way. I don’t want us to forget what happened because if we do, it will happen again and again and again, and God knows, we need to do everything in our power to keep that from happening.

But I don’t want to watch the horrors of those days replayed again and again on cable news networks with ridiculous headlines like WHAT IF IT HADN’T HAPPENED? New flash. There is no what if. IT HAPPENED.

So while this is the decade anniversary of the most horrifying day in my memory, I won’t be watching the news. I don’t need to see it, hear it, read it. I don’t need to because if I’m not careful, when I close my eyes, I can’t make it go away.