October 14, 2017

It is Done!

Well, it has been one crazy day here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. I actually slept well last night, despite a couple times when I woke up with hot flashes and a brief neck ache. Overall, I woke up feeling refreshed, and since I knew that the day ahead was low-key, I felt good about lazing about and taking my morning slow and easy.

I spent most of the morning on the computer simply hanging out on Pinterest, and looking for possible houses in several places where I have thought the Lord might end up sending me some day soon. Of course, I have no real inkling, other than just a sense about it. For right now, I am to stay put, and with that command, I simply am to remember that my time in Phoenix is not ready to end. I am to make the best of the situation, and I am to do the work He has assigned to me. I am to attend to my contracts, teach my students, and be patient with my parents as I attempt to care for them. I am to rest in all matters, in all things, and with this hope in mind, I am to simply trust Him to provide and to meet each and every need that arises as the need arises, I should say.

After lunch, I spent the majority of the afternoon grading my online students, taking care of discussion, and playing catch up with some left over teaching duties from the previous week. I felt good about my accomplishments, and in the end, I wrapped up my 8-week classes at Regent with good attention and a bit of winsome sadness for the courses concluding. Still, I was able to complete all the work and head to the grocery store with my Mom, no small feat, I should say, before dinnertime.

I bought the family pizza, and after dinner, I rested while I watched 3 episodes of "Midsomer Murders" on Amazon Instant Video. In all, I had a good day. I had a very good day.

My plan tomorrow is to rest all day long. My nephew and his girlfriend are coming over for dinner to celebrate my Dad's birthday (and mine), but the day is really going to be devoted to resting and relaxing. My prayer is to enjoy the fellowship of my family before I have to hit the hay and start my new week.

The good news is that Monday begins Week 8 at GCU. Technically, that is the midpoint of the semester, and praise God, I have exactly 4 weeks until I have a holiday, and 5 weeks until  fall break. Once Thanksgiving arrives, I have a week and a half until this overloaded semester ends! God is good to me! I know He will see me through to the end in good style.

As I close this blog post today, I marvel at His goodness. I am far from where I had hoped to be at this time of the semester. I had wanted to be in better shape, down 20 pounds, and definitely less stressed and hard pressed. But, alas, I am right where I started -- same weight and same lack of muscle tone -- all the while I am working my fingers to the bone just to keep time with my teaching contracts. I decided on Friday to not look a gift horse in the mouth, and with that reminder, I am choosing today to celebrate all the good the Lord has given to me -- all of it -- because He has chosen this way for me, thus this way is blessed, favored and it is good. It is good.

October 12, 2017

Resting and Living Securely in His Word to Me

Today is a good day. It is Thursday, and normally, I would have this day as a "down day," a day off. But since I took on the overflow class at GCU, I am having to prepare and teach an extra course on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It has been a good class, but overall, I am feeling so drained, so depressed, and really so distraught. I am tired, amazingly tired, and my back and feet ache almost constantly. I have been tested to my limits, and I realize now that I cannot teach full-time on campus ever again. No matter how much I think the sound of that rings sweetly, the truth is that I am not physically able to stand and to lecture five days a week. I can teach online, and I am able to teach my online students with more diligence than my on-campus students, but I cannot do both. I have realized once again that the Lord does indeed know what is best for me. He is good to me. He is so very good to me!

As I sit here at my computer, I marvel at His goodness. I think about all He has done this week, how He has protected my Dad from serious injury, covered my mom with grace, and made it possible for us all to "survive" a rather difficult week. Today, I am making ready to head to campus, and in all truth, I simply don't want to go. I just want to shut down and sit here at my desk and REST. But, I have a contract to keep, students that will show up, and I said I would do this work so I will do it. I will go and I will teach and I will come home and find rest at the end of a long and difficult workday. He will sustain me. He will help me. He will be my strength, my portion, and my cup. There is no other way for me to go but to walk on, to walk on. He will guide me, show me the way to go, and as Psalm 23 says, He will cause me (make me) to lay down to rest beside the still waters. He will give me rest. He will comfort me and protect me. He is good to me, so very good to me! Selah!

I feel anxious today, but the word of the Lord holds me fast. In Psalm 94, verses 18-19 (AMP), we read,

If I say, “My foot has slipped,”
Your compassion and lovingkindness, O Lord, will hold me up.
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your comforts delight me.

The Lord, Himself, is my comfort. I am tired. I am dead tired, and I don't think I can survive until the end of the semester. I feel so off, so very off, yet the Word of the Lord sustains me. He comforts me. He is my delight, and in that truth, I realize that when I come to the end of all things, one thing will always remain, and that is my Lord and my Savior, Jesus! He is my King. My Good Shepherd, and in His presence, I find sweet rest. My joy overflows as the word of the Lord comforts my tired and weary soul. He is good to me, so very good to me!
Enduring Hard Times

My life is filled with hard times right now. Though I have enough income to cover my needs, and my expenses are all within good control, my life -- my personal life -- is being challenged daily. Not only do I have to contend with a very full work schedule, but I have to deal with the debilitating condition of my parents, whom I love, and with whom I live. I do not have the luxury of having my parents live in an assisted or independent type living place. I do not have the luxury of visiting them during the week. No, my parents live with me, 24-7, and as such, every nuance, every detail of their life is enmeshed within mine. We are committed to this journey together, and frankly, while I enjoy the blessing of being able to help them out, I am finding the burden of caring for them to be too much for me to handle. My parents are well, don't get me wrong, but the fact remains that the tide is turning and soon they will need more care than I can provide for them.

For now, we remain. We continue on as we have these past couple years, and with that in mind, we continue to proceed as if nothing has changed or will change in the future. Yet, I know this is not the case, and I know soon things will change, and not for the better, but for the worse. I will have to deal with their ongoing care alone because my brothers are not interested in stepping up to the plate, so to speak. They prefer to let me handle it, and frankly, while I do understand that perspective, it makes it very hard for me to be the one left holding all the strings.

As I try to deal with the changes in my life, I realize today that I am absolutely incapable of doing anything about my life at this point in time. I cannot work full-time, I get that point so I must remain as a part-time adjunct. Yet, I need full-time income and benefits, and I have no other way to go except to remain on this path, to follow this path through to its final end. In fact, I was thinking about this yesterday, this point, I mean. I was thinking how there is no other job I can do at this point in time, yet this job is wearing me down quickly. I cannot do other full-time work, honestly, never again. I need to work from home, to have the rest I need daily in order to remain healthy and whole. I need to earn enough money to live comfortably, but at the same time, I also need a lot of rest. I feel my Chronic Fatigue kicking in, and lately, my fibromyalgia has really acted up. I am in pain, dull throbbing pain, most days. I need to sleep -- a lot -- and I have work that never ends. I am ready to give in, to give up, to throw in the towel, but I know that God has not asked me to do that -- yet. He has told me to remain, to stay put, to be faithful, and so I will do as He asks me to do. My end is soon, I can feel it. This test will end very soon, and then I will have the sweet and blessed rest I need. Until then, I hold on. I keep on keeping on, and I place my trust, my hope, and my resilience in the Lord alone. Only He can save me. Only He can help me. Only He is able to do for me this good day what I cannot do for myself. Only He is able to handle what concerns me this good day. Selah!

Thus, as I close this blog post, I rest in that knowledge. I cannot change my life. I cannot change my circumstances, but I can endure this trial and hardship until the Lord chooses to release me and permit me freedom again. I look up today, I look up to my Rescuer and my Redeemer, my Rock and my Refuge, and I cry out today for His help. I need Him so desparately. I cannot function, I cannot continue on, but today I look up. From whence does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth! It is in Jesus' Name that I pray and confess always, Amen.

October 11, 2017

Opportunities Abound

It is a good Wednesday here in sunny and warm, Phoenix. Yes, the air temperature today is expected to be near 100 again! Not 100! No, not in October! Normally, October temps settle into the mid-to-upper 80s, and well, nearing 100 at the midpoint of the month is just not fair! It is so not fair! Sigh!

Still, I am content to remain in Phoenix, to live with the warm air and sunny skies for as long as the Lord intends to keep me here. It was just the other day that I decided to go, to find another place to live where I could enjoy the blessings of fall and the change of colors! Yesterday, I made up my mind to stay put because of the issues with my parents, my Dad's recent fall, and the uncertainty of our living situation. I simply made up my mind that the only reasonable solution was to hunker down and do whatever work came to my attention. As things would have it, this morning I received an email from a colleague at GCU stating that they will be filling a vacancy in the COM department. I was encouraged to apply. I thought, "Okay, Lord. I guess you want me to stay put in Phoenix." So, I applied with some hesitation simply because I really do not want to work full-time, on campus. However, I made a promise to the Lord that I would accept any offer for work, so in good faith, I emailed the Dean first thing this morning. Even after I had emailed him, I had this sinking feeling that this wasn't the position the Lord had in mind for me. I prayed before sending it, and I felt confident that the Lord wanted me to send the email -- just to put my name in the hat. Afterward, I thought, "Lord, really? I thought I was to work online so I could take care of my parents?" Well, not an hour later, an email landed back on my desk from the dean letting me know that with some budget concerns the position may not get filled at all. I was relieved! I mean, it is not that I don't want to work there, but more so, it was that I felt it wasn't going to be a good fit for me. I know myself well, and I know that teaching four on-campus courses now is taking a huge toll on me physically.

Anyway, I did what I thought the Lord wanted, and here I sit today, none the worse for wear. As a side, I also applied for another part-time position with Liberty University. I see these positions open every so often, and this time, the position was for adjunct faculty to teach online. It is a bear to even be considered to teach there, so I haven't applied in years. However, the Lord pressed on me that I should apply, and well, I did. I have no inkling as to why or what will come, but my prayer would be an open door for me to teach online at Liberty. This would give me three valid and strong schools where I could potentially teach for the rest of my career. I would be an English teacher, and I would remain in this discipline teaching writing and literature courses. It would be a good fit for me, and well, I would be happy to stay at home, teach from home, and simply let the whole "job" thing pass by me. I don't need the title anymore. I don't need the face-to-face interaction. I simply need good practical work that would let me stay at home and care for my parents through the end of their lives. Perhaps this will be His provision, His solution. I sure do hope so, I sure do hope it is so.

Making Plans

One thing is for sure, I really cannot make any plans for my future at this time. I mean, I have no knowledge of what will happen tomorrow. I have no real knowledge of what the next 60-90 days will look like at all. In truth, I have no knowledge, nothing to count on, except for the fact that no matter what, God will be there in my future, just as He is here today. I can count on this fact alone. God will be in my days, in His way, regardless of what happens to me. So, today or tomorrow, I can have 100% confidence that the Lord will be with me. He has promised me as such. He has said it is so in His word, and I believe Him. I believe His word is true.

Thus, while I like to think about possibilities, while I like to think about what may or may not be, the truth is that I just don't know, I just don't know. So with this fact well in hand, I step out today and I rest in what I do know. I know that Jesus is with me. He loves me deeply. He cares about me, my son, my parents, and my entire life situation. He cares for me. I can believe this is true because I feel it inside of me. I know Him well, and He knows me. Therefore, whether I go or stay, live here or there, work in this place or that place, I can take comfort in knowing that my God has a great plan for my life, He covers me well, and He has promised me that He would be with me -- until the end of the age. He has promised me He will never leave me or abandon me. He will never, ever, let me go, and for that, I am so thankful, so very thankful.

I go today with this knowledge, and I rest in His secure provision. I have enough good work to do, and the work that I do is good. I am trusting in Him, and in this way, I am resting because I know that whatever happens to me this day will be the result of His perfect will and His powerful presence as He rules and reigns over His way, in and through my life. Selah!

October 10, 2017

Taking Control

It is a good day in Phoenix! The skies are clear and the air temperature is mild. The expected high today is only in the mid-80s. Yes, fall has arrived in the desert southwest. It is a good day, as I said, simply because I am alive and well. More so, it is a good day because my life is good, and well, my life is good on account of one major factor -- God is good!

I blog often about the goodness of God. It is my calling, so to speak, and it is the message given to me by God to preach to the world. I know that sounds really odd, but when I came to know the Lord more deeply some 11 years ago, this is what He asked me to do. He said, "Carol, you are to tell everyone you meet about my goodness." I said, "Yes, Lord," but I never really understood how I would do that or even to whom I would share that message. Furthermore, when I first started to share His goodness, I struggled with the message because it felt so stilted, so fake, so artificial. Then, after some time, I just stopped focusing on it, and I became really busy with life and all the troubles associated with life. Little by little, I would blog here and my posts naturally started to include this phrase, "He is so good to me" or "God is good." It was about a year or so later, after that time, when I was browsing back through my posts and I started to notice a theme. I was sharing the message of God's goodness through my blog, and every single day, my post -- no matter the actual topic -- ended up with some message attesting to the fact that God is good, God cares for those He loves, and He is faithful.

In truth, my blog, for good or worse, is a written legacy of His goodness. I have written over 10,000 posts, and in all of them, there is this same thread. He is good. He is so good to me. Now, as I start my 14th year of blogging (started in 2004, and we are almost to 2018), I realize that God intended me to use this blog to share this message with readers (anyone who might find it). But, more so, God intended me to share this blog, to write this blog, I should say, as a way for me to remember His goodness, to recall the moments of His goodness, and to keep a record of the ways in which He was good to me. I look back now, and I think, "Whoa, God was amazing!" Yes, I marvel at His goodness, and I marvel at the fact that He chose to use me, a rather quirky and unknown person, as a vessel, a vehicle to share His message of goodness. He is good. He is so good to me. He is good all the time, and His praise and adoration are from everlasting!

In Control -- No Complaining

So, I blogged yesterday about how I felt out of control as if my life was starting to unravel.  I had completed my blog post, and I was preparing my lesson for my three on campus courses yesterday when my Mom called me into to look at my Dad. Apparently, he had hurt himself and she wanted to know if they needed to go see the doctor. I was not happy about having to stop what I was doing to go and check on my Dad, but when I did, I realized that he was in pretty serious shape. He had fallen in the garage and bumped his head. In fact, the bump was about the size of a 50-cent piece. He had some other cuts and bruises, and honestly, it was a miracle that he got himself back up off the ground without calling for help.

I stood there, feeling so helpless, and thinking "I don't have time for this now. I have lessons to create, and I am running out of time to do them." As I started to panic, I heard the Lord speak into my heart and say to me, "Take care of your Dad, Carol." I said, "How, Lord? How can I do this? I cannot take the day off from work, not now, not an hour before my classes start." Well, as I panicked, my mind cleared and I simply did what needed to be done. I called in sick, took the day off, left my students hanging, and I did what a good daughter should do. I took care of my parents.

The good news is that the bump, while a "doozy," appeared to be the worst part of his suffering. We got into the doctor, who was very kind, and after a trip there and back, Dad was settled into his recliner with ice on his head and some Ibuprofen to help with the swelling. He seems fine today, though a bit black and blue.

My heart stopped, of course. I thought the worst, and what was more, I simply wanted to stay at home so I could be here to help care for my parents. I prayed all day yesterday, and then this morning, after a good nights rest, I realized that the Lord has provided a way for me to do this, to stay at home, and to teach online.

You see, with all the overload this semester, and with the feelings as if I am doing too much, too much work, somewhere in the mix was the solution to my problem. I have been given the work I need to make a decent income from home. However, right now, I am in the transition phase. I am trying to handle five online classes and four on-campus classes. It is too much for me. But, next semester, I could potentially have 5-6 online classes only. With this amount of courses, I could live comfortably and earn enough to pay my bills and still have extra to cover expenses. It is not a perfect solution, but it is workable. I realized this today, as I was dealing with Grantham, grumbling about the school, the courses, the way the curriculum was designed. And, rather than see it for what it was, a school that needed my help, I only saw it as a problem. A big problem that I really didn't need at this moment in time. Yet, with fresh eyes today, I see how I could make the situation better by doing what I do best, and that is improving the basic instruction, helping my students learn how to write with extra help from me.

I grumbled. I complained. I have grumbled. I have complained throughout the past 7 weeks of school. I have looked at the Lord's gift of grace with disdain because it appeared to be not what I wanted, not good enough or right enough or in the right context. Yet, the Lord provided a way for me and rather than wait with patience for Him to open the right door at the right time, I simply grumbled, stomped my feet, and said, "I am not happy with this outcome."

Thankfully, the Lord is good and kind and gracious toward me. I repented. I relented. I rested in my resistance of His will and His way. Furthermore, I let this matter go, as in I decided to accept what He has offered and with that acceptance, I said I would "trust Him" to provide, to work through it, to handle it, and to make His best come to pass. Yes, I decided that if the Lord provided it to me, then it must be good since He is always good and only gives good things to His children. This particular "thing" doesn't look good on the outside at this point in time, but inside of it, there is "good" because the Lord has chosen it for me. Thus, I rest in the knowledge that He is good, and His gifts are good for me.
In Closing

I close this blog post today with humble submission. I realize that I am where I am, in this place because God is causing all the events of my life to work together for His good. Thus, my life while it may appear out of control actually is within His control. I am good because He says it is so. I rest in His goodness today because I believe He is good, His nature is good, and His actions are always good and for my good overall. He is good to me, and I thank Him this good day for His goodness, His mercy, and His great care for my life, my family, and all my needs. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!

October 9, 2017

Prepared and Ready to Go

It is a new Monday, the start of a new week and the beginning of Week 7 at my on-campus school. My online classes have either ended or will end this Saturday, so I am pretty much in a nice little lull right now. I had a grading blitz weekend, and thank the Lord, I survived. I estimate I graded close to 230 essays or projects, and I managed to keep my head on tight. I didn't lose my head, praise God!

This week, then is a low week on campus, just teaching content, but no grading. My online courses at Regent have exams and papers coming in so tonight and tomorrow night will be hectic. Afterward, I will rest for about a week before the whole grind begins again. It is a vicious cycle, but it is the life of a teacher. All my teacher friends are in the same boat, and this is why we say that we work harder than any other person during the 9-months we are employed. We need our rest come summer, and well, without it, we seriously wouldn't make it. I am counting down until fall break, November 20, and as of today, I have six weeks until I get a whole week off. My praise is to thank the Lord for my time off to come because I know how much I will need it and enjoy it once it arrives! God is good to me, Selah!

Coming to Terms with My Life

As I sit here and blog, I remember how good it is to know that the Lord has me covered. I am well-covered. I am stressed, panicked, and pinched, but I am well-covered. I think this semester will prove to me my limits. This semester will demonstrate just how far I can be bent without breaking. The Lord knows my testing limits, and He knows what I can handle. I would have to say that this semester has been a proving ground of sorts. I have been tested to my limit, and while I am holding steady, the truth is that I am uncomfortably pressed, hard pressed. I don't like this feeling. I don't like the pressure. I don't like the fact that I am so close to missing the mark. No, I prefer to be in control, to manage my time and my days well, and to not allow things to slip through my fingers. I feel like I have lost control over my days, weeks, and months, and as a result, I am flying too close to the wind. I want to reel myself back in, and I want to have a plan of attack, a check-list, and a roadmap to follow. I need this for my sanity, my security, and my sense of wellness. I need to be in control, and I need to manage my own life well.

It is not that I am out of control, so to speak. It is more to the fact that I gave up control a while back because I thought it was the best thing to do. I remember how I felt when I let someone else lead me. When I was married, I was in control initially, and then I made the decision to let my husband take that role. In right and proper headship, this is what should be. But, I was taught to let the man lead in everything -- regardless if he was fit to do so. In this way, I gave up my rights, responsibilities, and say in the matter -- all matters -- in order to defer to my husband's headship. My voice became silenced, and I lived with my husband's decisions -- for good or for ill -- until our marriage eventually crumbled as a result.

Since 2010, I have been on my own (figuratively and literally), and I have accomplished a lot in that time. I have been under the Lord's leadership, of course, and with His direction, I have learned how to make good decisions and to follow good pathways. Lately, though, I have struggled to simply let go. I have tried to let go of my need to be in control, and whenever I do that, I feel lost, confused, and confounded. In some ways, I made the same mistake that I made as a newly married wife. I gave the Lord 100% control over every decision, and while there is nothing wrong with that at all as the Word calls us to submit to His authority, the Lord has not created Autobots to do His bidding. He has created people, His people, and He has given them minds, intellects, and desires to willingly follow after Him. In this way, I believe the Lord calls us to be good stewards, good planners, and achievers, and that He delights in us when we do good practical work. This being said, I feel as if I have not done what He asked me to do, simply by wanting to let go, I actually stopped doing the work He assigned to me to do. Let me explain...

You see, I am a planner by nature. I am an orchestrator, designer, and the type of person that accomplishes and achieves A LOT. I am hyper-productive, and I can handle a lot of work. But, I must be organized, careful, and keenly aware of details. As such, I am scrupulous when it comes to not overbooking myself, not taking on too much work. I am meticulous and very good at my job. I am also prone to stress, strain, and fatigued. I have taken on too much work this semester in order to earn as much income as possible, and while the Lord permitted me to do so, I realize now that my effort to take on more work was more about what I could earn than what the Lord intended for me to really do with my life.

It all started at GCU. I was set with my schedule, three 106 courses (Comp II). I have taught these three classes 8 times now, and I know them like the back of my hand. I had a sweet schedule, MWF only, and my fall was set up to be low-key, easy, and relaxing. The Lord said as much, and I knew it would be good to have this low-key semester coming off my dissertation. Plus, my parents needed more care (weekly) so having my days off would be good for me. Rest days, as I call them.

Then I was asked to take a class where the professor stepped out at the last minute. I considered it too quickly, not really thinking clearly about what it would mean to teach 5-days a week. Plus, the class was one I had not taught previously. I prayed over the class, and I felt the Lord was saying "yes" to me. So, I took it. As things turned out, the lead in the program resigned, and well, I ended up being moved from English to Communications on a rather permanent basis. Now, I have four on-campus courses along with my online classes.

While the extra course was extra work, I was able to manage the workload until Grantham came back into the mix. I had to take a tutorial class, pass it, in order to be evaluated as an instructor. But, without my knowledge, this school scheduled me to teach not one but two classes. Now, I am overloaded. I can handle this load, barely, and I am holding on, but frankly, it is too much.

So, I have to suffer through the next 6-8 weeks of overload. It is my fault, really. I should have said, "No" to Grantham and told them to wait until next year when I would be freer to work for them. Oh well, lesson learned.

Therefore, my plan today is to take stock, to see where I am at and where I am going, and well, just dig in and do the work. I will not give up, and I will be faithful. He is good to me. He provided enough work, and I will trust Him to cover me the remaining 56 days. I mean, really, we are taking only 56 days! It is not like 56 years!

 In Closing

I close today with this thought. I read Psalm 19 this morning as part of a 7-day devotional on the promises of God. I love this psalm because it reminds me of the power of God to keep His word to His children. He is good to us, always so very good. I may mess up. I may make mistakes. I may fall flat on my face, but through it all, the messes I mean, He is there for me. He is my ROCK AND MY REFUGE, my STRONG TOWER in whom I place my absolute devotion and trust.

October 8, 2017

Feeling Stressed, But Determined

It is a Sunday here in Phoenix. I am home, doing laundry, and sitting at the computer waiting for the 11:00 service to begin at my church, Scottsdale Bible Church. I know it is weird, but I am in this weird season in life when doing church via distance works for me. I hope to soon get back to on-campus attendance, but there are things in my life that are making that decision complicated. Thus, I am an online worshipper, at the least, for the next couple months or so.

This past week was a bust for me, like a real bust. I am struggling to overcome doubts, severe anxiety, and frankly, my attitude is taking a bit of a downswing simply because I have too much work to do, and not enough hours in the day to do it. I know, it is my own fault. I took all these contracts, and now I am feeling as if I overextended myself. I don't normally do this, I mean, not on purpose. When I was in school, I managed my time well. I only took the part-time contracts that I knew I could fulfill. Since graduation, I have taken every contract offered to me, and the result has been a really difficult semester with little to no break.

Making Sense of My Life

In defense, I did pray over each contract, and I only took those that the Lord said to take. In hindsight, I can see no error in my judgment, so that tells me that the Lord purposely chose to test my limit, to show me how much was possible, and then to provide for me through the test. For example, I know that teaching 8-10 courses is unrealistic over a long period of time. Yet, the Lord has opened these doors, and I am doing my best to keep up with the workload.

I don't feel that the purpose of this test was to determine my faith, rather, I believe it was to show me His ability to handle the workload. I need to know that He can do this work, not me and that if I rest, really rest, He will do everything asked of me in good fashion and order. For example, despite being slammed, I have made incredible connections with students this semester. I have prayed over them, helped them, encouraged them, and in the end, I have had some wonderful relational moments in my classes and outside of my classes. God has been good to me. He has given me fresh eyes to see the hurt, the heartache, and to realize just how influential I am in the lives of my diverse and widespread student population.

I have also come to see what I like and do not like, as in what schools I prefer to teach at, and what schools I do not like due to challenges with curriculum or student access. In short, I have come to see that of my favorite schools all around, both Regent University and ASU are best. My on-campus school, GCU, ranks up there as well, but my online schools actually hold the top spot. My online schools have an awesome curriculum and awesome students. I love what I teach for these schools, and I love the experience I have teaching at each place. My least favorite school, as of right now is Grantham University. This school was a held-out hope that I would earn a decent income from the contracts, but after three weeks and two classes, the curriculum is so badly designed that most of my students are dropping. This means that I will not make a decent income after all, and for the frustration, I simply will not enjoy working at this school. This saddens me greatly because I really had hoped that this school, in combination with my other online schools, would provide a good overall income so I could work from home. Sigh!

Therefore, I am in this really weird place right now. I had hoped to not teach on campus next spring, yet once again, I have three contracts signed. I am teaching Communications and not English, but I am moving out of one department to another, and well, I am committed to working on campus for another semester. My contracts for spring at ASU and Regent are unknown, but I am assuming they will be forthcoming. I love these online schools so I don't want anything to keep me from teaching at them. I guess I am just trying to wrap my head around how I will make ends meet, how I will continue to earn a solid living if these are the schools that seem to be working for me.

My mind says, "it is not enough," but I believe the Lord is saying to me, "I will provide." In fact, I really think this "overload" situation is His way of reminding me that He is in control and that it is up to Him to bring me work. I am not to go seeking a job. I am not to find work. I am to rest and let Him bring work to me. He has my best in mind, and He knows what I can and cannot do. He has my limits set, and as such, I can rest in the knowledge that even though I feel overwhelmed, He is my Rock and my Refuge. He is my Strong Tower, my Hope, and in Him and Him alone, do I place my trust and my faith.

In Conclusion

As I sit here today and blog, I am reminded that my life is no longer mine to choose to do with as I want. I am His bondslave, and as such, I am to go where He sends me. I am to do the work He has prepared for me to do. This means all the work, not just some of it. He will provide for me, and I will trust Him to do just that -- provide. He is good to me, so very good to me. I adore Him this good, good day, and I trust that He will show me a way out. I believe there is a way out, and He will open that door for me today.

October 4, 2017

Learning to Lean on the Lord

It is Wednesday, and that means I am at the midpoint of my week again. I feel like this semester, in particular, is flying by so quickly. We have 9 more weeks of school left (skipping our fall break, I mean). Of course, that is 9 weeks of teaching, preparing, and delivering content. Still, 9 weeks left of the fall semester just seems unreal to me. I am thankful, truthfully I am, for the good classes I have this year, but I am getting burnt out. In fact, I just received another small teaching contract at Grantham University, so that is two new classes to add to my already overflowing schedule. I was panicked at first, but now that I have logged into the teaching system, reviewed the curriculum and lesson plans, these classes (Writing) are pretty easy for me to facilitate. I am really grading assignments and being a mentor/encourager rather than teaching. I am not responsible for the content, but I am bringing my skill to the class to help these working adults learn to write well and to pass all their courses so they can graduate. Most of my students are military, which cheers me. I am so happy to help our working military earn academic degrees while they are serving our country.

Thankful for His Goodness This Day

Today, thus, is a good day. I am tired from not sleeping well, and from having some really odd dreams, but overall, I feel fine. I am just worn out. I should have a rather low-key day today at GCU, and then tonight, unfortunately, I will be back to grading. This is a busy week for me, but I can do it. I am committed to seeing this term through, and to doing my best to assist as many students as I possibly can. I have decided that if Grantham continues to give me classes each week, I pretty much could let GCU go for the spring term. I believe that I could teach at my other online schools and at this one, make more money, and save the wear and tear on my car. It would be a good thing.

Speaking of the car, my Nissan is making a funny noise so I will need to take it over to the dealer for a checkup. I am praying that whatever is wrong is still under warranty. My AC unit is whining when I idle. I think it might be the belt, but I had new belts done when I put in the unit. Hopefully, they can fix the car and it won't break the bank, so to speak.

In all, I am in this very good place. I have the potential to earn significant income through my existing online schools, and despite not having a full-time position, I feel really good that I can earn a good living and live comfortably as a contracted instructor. It is weird to say it, but I am actually OK with not having a full-time or tenure-track position.

The Lord is good to me, and He has made a way possible. I know that He has a great plan for my future and that I can rest in His care and in His provision. He is enough! In fact, Joyce Meyer posted a short clip today that reminded me that we are to trust in the Lord, in His provision, and not count or look to our own strength or abilities to do the Lord's work. Joyce was teaching on 1 Chronicles 21 where David sinned by counting the Israelites. He was forbidden by God to count the people, yet he did it anyway so he could know how large his army of men really was. The problem, of course, was that David, in looking at the size of his army, took his focus off the Lord, and put it squarely on the size of his arsenal. Who goes before you into battle, David? Is it not the Lord? In truth, we do a similar thing whenever we look to our blessings, our resources, and we think "I have enough to do this thing or that thing." We need to be careful to remember from whence our blessing comes, and then to make sure we are always relying on God, the maker of heaven and earth, as our chief supplier.

This message resonated with me this morning because I have become guilty of counting my chickens of late. Yes, I have looked to the contracts, the jobs that the Lord has brought to me, counted up my "figures" to get an idea of how much money I am making, and then thinking I am invincible because I have so much work to do. I forget that the Lord gives and He takes away, so today, I am humbled at the thought that as easily as these jobs have come to me, they could just as easily slip away.

Oh, Lord! Please be my Manna from Heaven, and bring me YOURSELF daily as the Living Bread and Water I so desperately need to survive!

God has graciously provided an abundance of good work for me to do. I cannot handle all the demands, so I rest in His ability to "fight" for me and through me. Of course, I am not fighting like David fought in battle, but I am putting the plow to the ground to do good work. I am trusting the Lord to be my strength for only He is able to sustain me. I know He will provide plenty of rest for me, and as I faithfully do my work, He will bless me and honor me through these efforts. He is good, and I lift up all praise and honor to His holy name. I lift up all praise and honor to the One who is able to perform miracles, and who is the One to champion my cause and see my end come to pass. He is good to me, so very good to me!

As I work today, I remember that I am just flesh. I rest in His power and presence, and I thank Him -- again and again -- for His mercy and goodness. He is good, and I give Him my praise this good, good day!

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Ps. 34:1 KJV)