Opportunities in the Struggles

In recent weeks I’ve gotten a lot of questions concerning the stacks of full length logs sitting beside the Ag Ed Building. Seeing those stacks reminds me that some of our greatest opportunities lie in some of our most serious challenges.

This year we were planning on offering an Introductory Woods class, as I was preparing the supply list for the course I was shaken by how high the prices of various 1×6 lumber had gotten. Just as I was preparing the supply list for the course projects, Justin Brenner had generously cut slabs of our cedar trees we had pulled from the clearing project behind the Ag Ed Building and dropped them off at the school.

Those slabs were beautiful and we quickly learned how to process them for use on various projects in the shop. We made everything from signs to a student, for his final project, making a laser engraved coffee table. It was then I was approached by one of our FFA alumni members that he had several logs of various wood species he’d be interested in donating if we could use them!

A year ago I probably would have said, “What would I have used full logs for?” Incredible, how much an answer can change in a short time! If we had not experienced the initial struggle of trying to figure out how I was going to get the lumber and material I would need for the course, it would NEVER had opened the door to the extent it has for student learning. Let’s think on this, rather than simply starting with a fully ready 1×6 which just needs to be measured and cut, students are learning how to process raw lumber.

They are learning how to use the jointer to create a straight edge to trim their slabs.

They are learning to use the planer in preparing their lumber for project dimensions.

They are getting to explore their personal creativity as they look at a slab and see not only lumber, but a potential book shelf with a live edge or a bench seat…the sky quickly becomes the limit.

We have the option to see the struggles of life as they are…the struggles of life. OR…

We can choose to see those struggles of life as revelations of opportunity. I’m reminded of the powerful verse from Romans 8:28 which reads: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

We are loved even in the struggles, we are graced even in the most terrible storms; now the question we must answer, do we have faith enough to live as if it were truth?

Friends, thank you for reading and sharing! I’m so excited for this next school year, it is already shaping to be a wild ride for this cowboy and I’d have it no other way! May the Lord pour blessings into each of our lives! Love y’all!

Take care, Anthony

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