July 2013 Newsletter - Liberty University Online Academy
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Consider it all joy in the midst of trials? That sounds crazy, right? The truth is, God calls us to be joyful in spite of the trials so that we can see His greater purpose through them. Maybe your summer is shaping up perfectly, or maybe it just isn’t what you pictured at the end of spring. Know that the potential road blocks that pop up are not intended to sideline you permanently. God calls us to a greater joy — the joy of seeing what endurance can do in our lives.
Have you ever trained for a race or worked really hard on a specific project? Chances are you didn’t just wake up one morning with the ability to run miles at a time or to build a complicated structure. Those things take time. They take patience. They take pushing through the moments when you want to quit.
In the exact same way we are tested when pursuing a physical goal, we are often tested spiritually. Instead of seeing these moments of trial as a door to defeat, God encourages us to persevere with joy so that we can see the benefits that He has already planned farther down the road.
So, if you’re being tested in this season, count it all joy! Know that God is up to something and He isn’t done yet. Let endurance have its perfect result and be surprised by the joy it will bring you in the end.
Shelly Bailess is the new history department chair for Liberty University Online Academy. She began her teaching career as a substitute teacher in a local public school, while pursuing her undergraduate degree in social sciences.
Bailess was later privileged to be a graduate student assistant while working on her master’s degree. This gave her the opportunity to lecture and teach on the university level. When she finished her Master of Arts in History, she began work as an online instructor. While she has taught residentially at Liberty University, God has shown her that meeting the challenges of online learning is what really drives her.
She has a passion for helping students engage with material in new ways. For example, while teaching on the Civil War, Mrs. Bailess arrived in class dressed as Mary Todd Lincoln. Teaching in a black hoop skirt was great for keeping the students’ attention; however, it took a little time to answer questions about the costume and the cultural background of wearing mourning during the Victorian Era. Since then, she has always enjoyed dressing the part to teach that particular lecture and has added more costumes to her collection.
Bailess has been married to her husband, Jeff, for almost 19 years. They have three beautiful daughters, Katie, 21; Heather, 17; and Lindsey, 11. Her favorite verse is Ephesians 6:10-12: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Trace Marshall became a student at Liberty Online Academy after his father saw a television advertisement for the school. Marshall graduated from the academy this past May and will attend Liberty University this fall. He plans to major in business management information systems with a concentration in accounting.
This summer, Trace is working full time at a local warehouse. In July, he will be going to Daytona Beach, Fla. with his youth group. In his free time, Trace likes to play golf, run, bike, read, and travel. He also keeps busy by competing in local talent contests singing and playing guitar, and leading music worship for the youth group at his church. Marshall was recently featured in his local newspaper, the ShelbyVille Times Gazette. In the article, the reporter emphasized how Marshall could take his schoolwork with him anywhere since his studies were online. She also pointed out how his self-motivation led him to excel, getting up even before his parents and completing coursework. One of the things Trace liked best about Liberty Online Academy was the flexibility to travel with his dad and mom on business trips while still completing his studies.