January 18, 2017

Do Not Be Afraid

It is a good Wednesday. It is “hump day,” as the saying goes, and for all intents and purposes, this middle day seems to be starting off with a big bang. I will admit that I had planned to sleep in some this morning. I arranged for my son to take my car to school, and I asked my Dad to take me over to  pick it up around 1-1:15 so I could drive to campus. I was all snug in my bed when I heard the garbage truck roll on by my window. Yes, I forgot to set the cans out again! This is the second time in two weeks, and frankly, I am persuaded it is due to my stress level and my overload at work.

Still, God be praised, I made it out to the street (sans slippers) and was able to set the can out by my neighbor’s bin. The truck rolled back around, and ta-dum, collected our garbage. I came back inside and tried to go back to sleep, and even though I did sleep for another hour or so, I ended up with that “hungover” feeling. Sigh. Nonetheless, I am determined to make this into a great day!

On Tap For Today

It is now mid-morning, and I have done nothing at all. I have checked email and Facebook, responded to some student emails, but other than that, I have dealt with issues here at home. The good news is that my Mom is on the mend. We (me and my Dad) were very worried about her yesterday. She has a virus, and has been not well the past couple days. Yesterday, she acted as if she was lost, and well, that really concerned us. More so, she had pretty intense stomach pains, and for a time, we thought we would have to call 9-1-1. Then, she fell off the bench while trying to put her pants on, and well, that was a nightmare. She was so out of it, couldn’t roll to her knees, and again, we thought we needed to call the paramedics to come help us get her standing again. All said, we got her dressed and in bed, and this morning, she woke up her cheery, albeit still slightly sick self.

All worries aside, this behavior is a concern to me and to my Dad. Mom’s condition has been getting worse, and she struggles some days with simply getting up and moving around. On other days, she is doing well, clear and alert, and even willing to go out to the store. Most of the in-between days it is rather hit or miss. Dad doesn’t want to leave her alone, and I cannot do as much for them due to my work schedule as I would normally do. The time is coming soon to make a decision on their next level of care, but until I am settled with a job (full-time), I honestly do not know what to do.

I blogged yesterday about the fact that I made progress on my research. In truth, I had a very productive day. I quit around 10 p.m. last night after completing the following to-do tasks:

  • Prep for week 2 at GCU (review PPTs and create new ones)
  • Read assignments for week 2 at GCU
  • Grade ice-breaker discussion at ASU
  • Grade Free Write assignment at ASU
  • Work on chapter 4 (dissertation)
  • Meet with my chair (Regent)
  • Answer emails
  • Do house chores
I know that this list does not seem like a lot of work, but the online tasks and creative tasks take several hours to complete, and I actually reviewed, edited and added new content to my chapter 4. In truth — I did A LOT OF WORK. Right now, I have 21 pages completed of my results chapter, with perhaps 20 more to go before the weekend. I had hope to send all 40 to my chair yesterday, but that didn’t happen. Now, I am scheduled to send it this weekend, and I feel confident that I can send him chapter 5 by the following week. If all goes as planned, I should be able to send him chapters 4-5 by the end of the month. This would leave us about 1.5 months to revise and defend. My chair told me that I am one of the students he expects to finish this spring, so that was very encouraging news. I am praying that I can do it — and Lord willing — I will do it. If it is His will, then it will be done! Selah!

Oh yes, I also applied for full-time work at Regent. Like I posted yesterday, it is a long shot. Plus, I am not sure I want to teach on campus. I love online, and well, I guess I would love to work there full-time. It is more so that I am not sure I could live in VA Beach, what with the cost of housing there. Still, I felt a prompting by the Lord to do it, and so in obedience, I did. If nothing comes of it, at the least, I followed what I thought was His desire for me to walk in faith. I did it, and I am content in that fact.

Now my day is full with on campus teaching. I have my three classes at GCU, and frankly, I am relieved. My time on campus is relaxed, for the most part. I like my courses, even though I get stressed over the American Lit course.  I am getting the hang of it, and my students are working with me. I think they are nervous about the way I teach — perhaps they don’t know what to expect yet. Anyway, my 106 classes (English II) are in process, just as they normally are, and for the most part, I just show up and do my stuff.

I am happy, I guess you could say, that my life seems to be running smoothly right now. I am busy, beyond busy, but I have a feeling that everything is going to be OK. Yes, I am confident in His control, in His care, and in His consistent provision of good to my life.


Do Not Be Afraid

This morning, as I was somewhere between deep sleep and waking up, I had a conversation with the Lord. I know, strange as that may seem, it was like a conversation. I was sitting next to the Lord, in His garden (my favorite place to sit and contemplate), and He asked me why I was afraid. I remember responding with the usual answers:
  • Fear of change
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of not pleasing those I love
He listened to me recount my fears, and then took each one aside and asked me to really think about the fear and to determine whether or not I was actually afraid or just anxious about a particular outcome. As I started to run through each fear, I quickly realized that I wasn’t afraid at all — I was just a bit anxious (worried or filled with uncertainty or anticipation). My “fear” was more like how one gets when they are called to the principal’s office for some unknown reason. Your first thought is, “Oh no! What have I done now?” We tend to run toward the negative rather than the positive, and in truth, getting called to the principal’s office doesn’t always equate to punishment — sometimes there is reward for good behavior.

As I started to think more about my so-called fear, I realized that my anxiety was a mixture of anticipation of good news and not knowing what was to be next. I mean, I don’t have an oracle to consult, so really, I don’t know what to expect. But, I have confidence in the Lord, and as I realized this truth, I began to exert my confidence, my faith, and I began to see that I am not really afraid at all. Yes, my fear has been replaced by faith, and my faith is strong!

With all this in mind, my conversation continued with the Lord, and He asked me what it was about moving to VA that bothered me most. I remember this specifically because I thought about it, and again, I realized that it was personal preference more than anything else. I really love my school, and I would consider it a great privilege to teach for them full-time. At the same time, I came to the conclusion that moving there would have to be His will for my life, and that He would have to open doors, provide a way, etc., in order for me to do it. As I thought more on it, I accepted this fact — God is going to move me where He wants me to go — and I am going to obey Him regardless of personal preference.

I fell asleep sometime in mid conversation, but I remember thinking that He has this whole thing well-in-hand. I was obedient, and in that there is no shame. I was trusting, faithful, and I followed what I thought was the Holy Spirit’s prompting. In the end, what will be, will be, and I will accept His will on this matter.

Anyway, when I finally woke up and started my day, I had this sense of peace about the past couple days. I am working so diligently, and I am sensing His good pleasure as I trust Him, rely on Him, and wait for Him. In all, I feel good about my future. I still don’t know what job will be, but for now, I am good. I have enough manna to cover me for this good day, and I have the assurance that my God, Jehovah-Jireh, is faithful. He is always so very faithful!

In Closing

As I close this blog post, and I made myself ready for the day, I realize that my life is no longer in my own hand. I mean, sure — I can call the shots if I want to do so — but since I have laid my life down at His feet, He is now the One who makes those calls. I find this thought empowering, exhilarating, and freeing. In this way, I don’t have to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow is already covered by His blessed care and concern. He has EVERYTHING well in hand.

My life has taken on new proportions, and I realize now that all I am asked to do is obey. I am to be  obedient to the Word of God, the written and the spoken WORD, and in this way, if I attend to what He has said in the Bible and revealed to me through His Holy Spirit, then I am doing well. He will care for me, He will cover me, He will provide for me. I don’t have to be involved in the details or logistics anymore. I can simply let go, and in doing so, I will let God lead. 

There is peace in this way. This is the way to find REST, to really REST. I have worked so long and so hard to get to where I am, but I know that I am here for His reason more so than my own ideas or plans. I am right where I am because He determined it to be so. I was faithful to follow, and He was faithful to provide what I need, right when I needed it most. Now, I can sit here, in His blessed garden, breathing deeply and enjoying the beauty and the bliss that accompanies a soul at its rest. I am at rest. I am at peace. I have joy, and in this way, I am no longer controlled by fear, motivated by it, driven by it, or harassed by it. Instead, I am free to go and do my Father’s business because I KNOW, and I mean I KNOW, He has me so well-covered. Selah!

January 17, 2017

Moving and More

Happy Tuesday! What a blessed day it is today! I woke up after a rather fitful night's sleep. I am not sure why I didn’t sleep well, but I tossed and turned all night long (hot flashes mostly). What is more, I really didn’t feel like I rested deeply — when I did sleep — and when the morning broke, I sighed at the thought that I had to get up and get started with my day. Thankfully, the coffee kicked in, and after a time of quiet reflection (and some good java), I started to feel much better.

Now, it is several hours later, and I am befuddled somewhat as to what the Lord is doing in my life. The Lord seems to be pushing me, moving me, preparing me to move, and well, I am feeling a bit frantic about it. Let me explain…

Thoughts on Moving

This morning, as I was moving about in my room, I heard the voice of the Lord speaking into my heart and mind. I heard Him say to me, “Carol, I am moving and this is going to change your life completely.” Okay, so those are my words, but that was the gist of what I felt He was saying to me. I really felt like He was saying, “Hang on because I am about to do something really big in your life!” In truth, I have felt this way for a while. It was sometime right before the end of the year when I felt the Lord was preparing me for this BIG CHANGE. Initially, I assumed it had to do with finishing my PhD and with learning how to juggle so many part-time contracts at my schools. I am overloaded, slammed as I like to say, and yet the Lord has been moving me bit-by-bit until I am right where He wanted me to be. He has gently created waves of change in and through my life, over the course of the past 10 or so years, I have been slowly inched closer and closer to His will (as in His next step in that marvelous will).

At first, this changed seemed to come only to reposition me as a teacher. I have blogged about it many times, but I came to teaching rather late in my career. I had always wanted to teach, but life didn’t cooperate, and in the end, I took a different path, a path that led me away from His will for my life, and a path I later came to regret. Still, God was always with me, and through the hardship and hard knocks, I came back around to teaching in 2010 when the Lord placed the desire on my heart to return to graduate school. I obeyed His call, and seven years later, I am teaching part-time at five different schools, and I am about ready to graduate with my PhD.

Despite His clear mandate, I haven’t always believed I was to stay on this path. After all, teaching is not the most lucrative career path, and frankly, I have struggled to make ends meet since I started my PhD program. The Lord has provided for me, don’t get me wrong, but I panicked during the course and ended up following other routes that seemed “safer” or that provided more income for me. I even I applied for several positions in industry, thinking that I could use my degree to get a high-paying job in the communications field. No doors opened for me, and even though He allowed me to apply for several good jobs (and even interview for one position in particular), no job offer came to pass. Each time I would suffer the rejection of a job interview, I would come back to teaching part-time, and I would focus on my studies. In truth, the only time I have been happy, content, filled with joy, so to speak, was when I was working on my studies and teaching students.

Last summer, I made the conscious decision to be settled as a teacher. I finally gave up all ideas contrary to teaching, and in doing so, the Lord blessed me by bringing me some extra part-time work. With His blessing, I started teaching online over the summer, and after a successful experience, the Lord brought me more courses — at Regent, at OCU, and now at ASU. Clearly, He has blessed my decision to stay put, and while I still don’t have a full-time position, what I do have is good, so very good. For the first time in three years, I have enough money to live comfortably. I am “slammed,” LOL, with work, teaching and dissertation, but I am well-covered. He has been moving me, repositioning me, and I think making me ready for His big reveal. Yes, He has been making me ready for the position of His choosing, the job of His choosing, at the school of His choosing.

What does this mean? Well, I think it means that He has a place in mind for me, a school where He wants me to teach and do ministry. I have believed in faith that He would open a door for me, and today, well, I think He may have done so. After the Lord spoke those words into my heart, I felt Him say that I was to go to Regent’s website and look at their job postings. I did, even though I was uncertain why He would have me go there since I am already hired as adjunct staff. Regent is growing, and this year they had record numbers for attendance. I knew that they were hiring COM professors (my friend works in the department), but I didn’t think they would hire English faculty. After a bit of a shock, I saw that they were hiring full-time faculty (on campus). I thought to myself, “No, Lord, not here!” This reaction was in spite of the fact that I have said on numerous occasions that it would be a delight for me to teach at Regent full-time. My heart is simply pulled toward this school, and I love everything about it — I always have.

So with a bit of a prayer, I stepped out in faith and applied. It is a long shot, really, but I believe that if this is the Lord’s will for my life, it will come to pass. If it isn’t, well, then I did what I thought He was asking me to do. I was faithful to obey His word to me today.

I am still in shock that I even applied. This is a tenure-track position on campus, which means that I would have to move to Virginia Beach in July. I don’t want to get my hopes up because between now and then there is so much hanging in the balance. I have graduate. I have to deal with my son’s schooling, his living place, and of course, my parents care. All of this is just too much for me to handle right now. Yet, just yesterday I heard Greg Laurie speak and He said “If your God is big, then your problems are small. If your problems are big, then your God could be too small to deal with them.” I remember agreeing to this thought, and I said aloud — “Lord, I believe you are bigger than these problems of mine!”

What is more, this morning, after the conversation with the Lord on moving, K-Love’s word of the day was from Psalm 20, verse 4:

May He grant you your heart’s desire And fulfill all your plans.

I don’t mean to interject more here than there really is, but I believe that (1) God has a plan for my life, and it is a good plan; (2) that He knows my needs (past, present, and future); and (3) that He is moving me someplace for ministry purposes more so than for a job. That last part is part-and-parcel with a video clip that a good friend and colleague sent me this morning from Lisa Bevere:


I have believed this testimony for a while. I know that what God is calling me to do requires a special anointing from Godly ministers. I don’t mean to sound all Pentecostal here, but I believe in the anointing power of prayer and oil for commissioning before any ministry effort. Moreover, I have believed that before I could begin my communications ministry, I had to graduate from Regent (one of the ceremonies is an anointing/commissioning ceremony). I believe that I have been under attack lately, not because of my sin, but because of the work the Lord intends to do through me in the future.  My destiny is in His hands, and that means that I have to go where He sends me, and I have to do the work that He has planned for me to do. Selah!
In Closing

As I close out this blog post, I think to myself, “Lord, I am so tired. I am so ready to be set free, to be released, and to go and do your work.” I know the plans He has for my life are good. I know that everything that I have done thus far has prepared me for this next step of faith. Until He moves me, however, I have to stay focused. I have to complete the work that is on my to-do list today. He is good, He has me well-covered, and in this way, I can truly rest in His abilities, His provision, and His sufficiency over, in and throughout my life. Selah!

January 16, 2017

Making Progress Despite Illness

It is a good Monday morning. Today, is MLK holiday, so I am at home (PTL!) I have quite a bit of work on my plate, but I am confident that I will be able to get everything finished that needs finishing this good, good day. I am struggling with some virus, however. I woke up in the middle of the night with a bodacious sore throat. I was able to finally swallow freely after I downed a bottle of water and then sucked on a throat lozenge. I woke up feeling better, so right now, I am thanking the Lord for His provision of rest and sleep (and good Ricola lozenges!)

In other news, I am getting settled into my role as online instructor at my two schools. So far, the experience has been good. I am a bit overwhelmed with the grading responsibilities, but I feel confident that the Lord has me well-covered. I am feeling better too about the overall emphasis on writing, and how the process determines the outcome. I still tend to teach product writing, but I am starting to see the benefit of process writing. Hopefully, as time goes on, I will continue to improve my instructional technique, and I will be able to gain even more confidence when it comes to teaching writing.

As I reflect on the writing process today, I realize that I am a product of that process. As a struggling writer, I often found it difficult to focus and to understand what my teacher's wanted from me. Overtime, and by trial and error, I was able to improve, and now I consider myself to be a very strong writer. Still, I struggle to transfer my experience as a writer to my students, and as such, I often think they know more than they really do. I give my students far more credit than I should. I don't mean to put them down or demean them, but in truth, I consider them to be better writers than they really are, and in that way, I often err on the side of grace. I am less strict as I probably should be, but in the end, I look up and say, "Thank you, Lord." I know that I learned how to be a good writer by the very grace of God, and as such, I am tentative to not be gracious to my students.

In all, today is a good day. I have a lot on my plate, but I have also completed several major tasks. I took the outdoor lights down and I vacuumed and cleaned the inside of my car. I did some grading, and I completed some other minor to-do's for Regent and ASU. Thus, I am in this good place today.

Now, I need to turn my attention to my own writing, and I need to make good progress on my dissertation. God is good -- and He knows what I can and cannot accomplish today. I am resting in His abilities, and in His goodness this good, good, good day.

January 15, 2017

Feeling Unwell Today

It is a blessed Sunday, and I am at home and at rest. I am still not feeling well. I went to bed early last night, still dealing with a sore throat and an upset stomach. I think the two are related. I am guessing the post-nasal drip is causing my stomach to be upset, and the combination is working overtime to make me want to lay down and rest. I did rest well. I slept in until around 9 a.m., and finally got up so that I could start my day. Since that time, I haven’t accomplished much of anything. I ended back on the bed about a half-an-hour ago after I started to feel lightheaded and nauseated again. Sigh!

The good news, if there is good news around, is the fact that I rarely am ill. I mean, I suffer from tummy troubles, headaches, the occasional sniffles, but I have not been seriously ill in years. I have light symptoms, mostly, the kind that come and go, but that eventually just leave me completely. I am suffering from indigestion, but I think it is due to an abundance of coffee. I have been drinking a lot of coffee the past couple months, and well, I think my stomach has had enough of it.

The Lord has been so gracious to me. He has made it possible for me to remain well, and to not suffer from any major disease or disorders these past seven years. In truth, I have been pretty healthy overall. I have had two attacks of kidney stones, one very serious asthma attack (brought on by a nasty bug that settled high in my lung), and back issues (wear and tear and a fall some 20 years back). Generally speaking, though, I am in pretty good shape. I feel as good as I ever have felt, though my energy is lacking some days. Still, I am able to do my work, praise be to God, and despite these on-off ailments, I pretty much go where I want to go and do what I want to do. God is good, so very good to me. Selah!
Moving On; Staying Strong

I am moving on toward my final destination. In the meantime, I am focused and disciplined. I am making progress on my research, and I am figuring out how to manage my six classes and still keep my head in the game. Yes, in all, my life is moving swiftly. I feel like I have been dropped into a rushing current, and that I am poised on a raft that is being carried down by the fast moving stream. I am hanging on for sure, but I also have this steady sense of confidence that where I am going is good, that my destination is certain, and that my path way has been made smooth. I think it is interesting that at this time I feel as if I am being transported by a rush of water rather than by physical steps taken on a dusty path. You see, I think what is happening to me is simply outside my control, and that the Lord is moving me — rather than me moving myself — to get me to where He wants me to go.

Many years ago, I had a dream. In this dream, I imagined myself floating down a large river. I was stretched out in one of those comfortable lounge chairs that you see on the decks of big cruise ships. I was simply stretched out, relaxing as the wind rushed through my hair. I didn’t have a care in the world, and the ship, while under the careful control of the Captain, was heading to the next port of call. My job was to relax, to rest, and His job was simply to navigate and take the ship where He needed it to go.

I remember that dream still because there was a turn of phrase spoken to me that said I was to remain in the “middle of the river of His will.” At the time, I didn’t really understand it, but after some practice, I realized that what this phrase meant was for me to remain in the middle of His will, to be relaxed, rested, and sitting still while He brought His will to pass. My mental picture of the cruise ship and all those deck chairs has come back to me before. I know that whenever I try to steer the ship, we easily go off course. I know that often I don’t possess the skill or the ability to navigate a major vessel, and as such, any attempt on my part could bring catastrophic results. Thus, when I take my place on the deck, and I rest, I allow the Captain and His crew to do what they do best — steer, navigate, and move this massive vessel down the mighty river.

Today, I feel like I have been sidelined by illness. Yet, I have work to do, good work, work that must be done. I feel so unable to focus, to stay upright, but I know that I must do this work. I must do what He has asked me to do. I sit here at my computer and I blog about my experiences. I wonder about my life, about my destination, and about the next port of call. Where are you taking me, Lord? Where will I end up?

One thing is for sure — wherever I end up — it will be His determination. He has made a way for me, He has planned my way, and He has helped me find that way. Now it is up to me to go that way. Yes, I go — mostly mentally — but in time, He will ask me to physically go as well. The whole process, however, will take me from point A to B and then on to C until I finally arrive at the end of my time here on Earth. The Lord has my life planned out, and I can rest in the knowledge that as Captain of my life, He does indeed know what must come next. He knows what must come next.

Thus, I relent today. I let go of the wheel, and I take my place on the deck of this ship. I let Him lead, guide, and provide for me. I let Him Captain my life, and in doing so, I let Him have His way in and through me. I let Him complete in me His good work. I let Him develop me, call me, equip me, champion me, and in this way, He leads me into work and ways that I never imagined. Today, I rest. Today, I look up. Today, I say — thank you, Lord — for your marvelous provision of goodness, of blessing, and of peace. You alone are worthy to be praised! You alone are worthy to be adored!
In Closing

As I close out this blog post, I remember that today, January 15, is a good day to remember all the Lord has done for me. Today is a good day to rest in His provision, to know and to grasp the significance of His work in my life, and to remember how much I rely on Him for everything I do. He is my King, my Lord, and my Savior, and today, I let Him have His way in me. I let Him lead.

January 14, 2017

Belief, Hope and Faith

It is a blessed Saturday, and I am sitting at the computer and thinking about all that I have to be thankful for this good, good day. I slept well, that is a HUGE praise, but I also am feeling better, and as such, I am lifting up a sacrifice of praise simply for the blessing of feeling well again. I was very concerned yesterday, after having woken up with a sore throat, that I was going to come down with the same “crud,” that my Dad had last week (headache, sore throat, upper respiratory congestion, etc.). I felt pretty poorly last night, and then after dinner, I really thought I was going to be down for the count this weekend. This is MY WEEKEND for writing my dissertation, so I simply could not have any sickness way me down. But, praise be to God, I woke up feeling better. I still have some lingering scratchiness in my throat, but overall, I am feeling much better. At the least, I am feeling rested, and well, that is such a good thing.

Today is Saturday as I mentioned, and it is January 14, and that means we are almost mid-way through the first month of 2017. I cannot believe that we are at the mid-point of this month, and that in less than two months, I will be finished with my dissertation. Of course, I have a lot more work to do, but for now, I am content to put to paper what I do have completed. I have placed all my faith in God for this outcome. I have let my entire career, my academic pursuit of the “illustrious” PhD go, because I simply couldn’t manage it and my jam-packed school/teaching schedule. I have too much on my plate, and as such, I am struggling to keep my head above water. Yet, I know my God, and He is faithful, always faithful. My belief, my hope, and my faith run together today as I look to His mighty hand of blessing to see me through this last phase, this last push. I am ready, so ready to graduate, and I need His help — 100% of His help — to do this last bit of work. I need my God to show up and to defeat the giant that stands before me. I believe He will do something wonderful today. I believe He will show up and do this good work through me. I believe and I hope that in His Name, in His Power, and in His Strength, I will do what He asks of me this good, good day. I believe it. I stand committed to it, and I place all my faith in His Character, and in the fact that my God, my Lord, is faithful!

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (ESV) says, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it,” and I say, “Yes, Lord! I believe your word to me this good day!”
This morning, as I sat here at the computer, I couldn’t help but feel so overwhelmed regarding my current situation. I mean, I have everything to be happy about, to be filled with joy, and to feel so content — yet — my enemy was hard pressing doubts into my mind, and with those doubts, I began to “self-talk” in negative ways. We all do it, you know, talk negatively about ourselves, but often we forget that the negative self-talk is one of the ploys of our enemy. The devil desires us to be condemned, and though we are no longer condemned by God for our sins (former, present and future), he uses negative talk, hate speech, and whatever other tools he can to make us feel defeated and deflated. If we give into self-talk, this negative behavior, and we allow our enemy to persuade with these thoughts, we will end up believing his lies as truth. It is so important to stop this pattern, to short-circuit it, and to keep these lies at bay. 

One of the best ways to do that is simply to recognize it when it happens. I find that sometimes the words just pop out of my mouth, and they have no rhyme or relation to what I am saying or thinking at the time. I might be driving, and all of a sudden I will say, “Lord, I want a new life!” I will hear myself say this, and then I think, “Wait a minute! My life is pretty good. I like my life. I love my job. Where did this come from?” Or, I might say, “I am no good at teaching. My students hate me.” I will hear myself saying these words, and think again, “This is not true. I may not be a great teacher, but I am not awful, and I know for a fact that my students do not hate me.”

I am not sure why these words come out of my mouth, because most often, they do so without me really being in control. I think it is because my mind is overwhelmed right now. I have so many details that I am trying to process, to keep in line, and I am often so exhausted that I cannot control my thoughts. I think my enemy has chosen this time, in particular, to attack me. He knows that my mind is filled with so much, that I am not resting as I should, and therefore, I am easy “prey” for his influence and spite-attacks. 

I know what to do, as I said, and I need to make it a point to stand my ground, and to refute these lies as they come. The more I ignore them, the more my enemy will take pot shots at me. My plan for today is to stand against these thoughts, to do as the Word instructs and take every thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (MSG) says that it is the Word, the very Word of God, that is the weapon we use to counteract the thoughts, the ideas, and the philosophies of the corrupt world we live in. I love the way the Message translation phrases this verse because I think it brings the truth home, so to speak:

We use our powerful God-tools [the armor of God including Word of God] for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

In verses 3-4 (AMP), we read "For though we walk in the flesh [as mortal men], we are not carrying on our [spiritual] warfare according to the flesh and using the weapons of man. 4 The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood]. Our weapons are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” Yes, God has equipped us with powerful weapons of warfare, the weapons we need to fight with our enemy and win. We must not forget that we are well-equipped for this battle, but that we must remember to use the Word of God, to use the very words of God whenever our enemy attacks us or tries to persuade us with lies.

Today, therefore, I rest in the fact that I am well-armed. I have the tools needed to do battle with my enemy. I can defend myself, and I can claim victory over my enemy simply because the Lord Jesus Christ has already been made victorious. He has overcome! He has overcome, and He sits at the right hand of God, the Father. This battle belongs to the Lord, but I must do my part and stand strong against the lies, the wickedness and the deceit that my enemy throws at me. I must stand, and today, this is exactly what I intend to do.
In Closing

This morning has been challenging of sorts. I woke up after a good night’s rest, but my enemy was bound and determined to have his way, and unfortunately for a short time, I fell prey to his evil lies. Thankfully, after some time in God’s word, and an affirming message from Joyce Meyer today, I was ready to stand strong against his vile attack, and with the Word of God as my weapon of choice, I was able to defeat my foe and send him packing. God is good, so very good to me! Praise be to God, He is good! Always, He is good!

Today, I have a lot on my plate. I have to write my chapter 4 (dissertation), and I have to work in my online classrooms. Moreover, I need to run to the store for some needed items, and in and through it all, I have to focus on everything that “must needs” be done. I realized while I was showering that I cannot do all that is being asked of me. I simply cannot do it all, but my God and my Savior, can. So I rest today. I let all the tasks and to-do’s go, and in this way, I trust that He will see them done. He will help me, guide me, and provide for me so that I can do everything that must be done this good, good day. He is good, always — He is so very good to me! Selah!

January 13, 2017

It's Raining Opportunities

It is a blessed Friday, and I am at home this morning preparing for my afternoon session out at GCU today. So many new things have happened to me, so many wonderful new opportunities, that frankly, I am overwhelmed and overly blessed this good, good day.

First of all, I received confirmation on my class at ASU. I was able to login and begin mentoring students yesterday, and for the most part, I really like the curriculum design. Second, I received word that my recommended changes for American Literature I, the class I am teaching at GCU, have been accepted. What is more, I was asked to be a Subject Matter Expert or SME for this course improvement. Third, my classes at Regent are in full swing, and well, they are bursting at the seems. I have more students this semester than in the fall. God is definitely blessing Regent with students! Last, my son told me that he has been given an opportunity to go to a special trade show for musicians in LA next week. The cost to get there was going to be around $200 because he wasn't able to ride with the group that was leaving on Thursday due to a school conflict. I was able to locate my miles through AA, and for the cost of a bus ticket (plus tax), he can fly to LA one way on Friday. This show is something he has wanted to go to for a long while, but the only way into it is by invitation. He was invited by a musician friend who has his own business (you must be in the trade to go). Needless to say, he is overly excited about going, and I am blessed to be able to help him experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

With all that in mind, I am sitting here and thinking what "else" the Lord has in store for me. I mean, I am well-set with jobs, but I am a bit stretched thin right now. I am thankful for each assignment, and I will do my best to produce good work in my courses. I am trusting Him for His provision of grace so I can finish my dissertation, but frankly, I have had to let that go -- not as in give up -- and trust Him to complete it on time.

What more do I need? Well, some practical things of course...

  • A full-time job (one faculty position)
  • A second car for my son to get to school and work
  • A solution to my parent's long-term care situation
  • Completion of my PhD
  • Health, wellness, and wholeness (and a loss of 20 pounds)
Other than all of this, I am in a really good place right now. I have enough money this semester to live very comfortably. I will have to budget for summer, my dry season, but really I am in good shape. My prayer is that the Lord will provide that full-time contract so that I can start in the summer or perhaps early August. This would be a blessing. Still, I am enjoying my days, and I am making a conscious decision to find joy in every single day that the Lord gives to me. Selah!

Power of Postivity

I woke up this morning after having two pretty nasty dreams. Yes, when I say "nasty," I mean "unpleasant." I woke up with that feeling of "doom and gloom," you know, that feeling when you simply feel like the world is spinning out of control or your little corner of the world has "gone all topsy-turvey." This is exactly how I felt this morning. First, I woke close to 5 a.m. Why? I don't have a clue. I simply rolled over and found myself awake. I never wake up that early -- never -- ever, so to wake up this early on my day off, well, let's just say that I wasn't a very "happy camper." I got up out of bed, did a cycle through the house (checking locks), and then returned back to bed, hoping I would sleep in for another hour or so. In fact, I slept for four, which simply gave me that awful "hungover" feeling. I am still feeling rather punchy, and despite a nice warm shower, I simply feel ragged and worn. Sigh!

The good news is that I survived a mid-morning meeting over Skype (yay!) for my new position as Adjunct at ASU. I finally got my credentials setup yesterday, and this morning, was assigned to my group of students (24 at last count). I am pleased, of course, but with all things new, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Still, I realize that God has this all figured out, and that through His marvelous grace, I am so well-covered. I am covered, and I am good. Enuf said.

Thinking About Next Term

So after my morning meeting, I was in the shower praying, and I couldn't help but wonder what the Lord was doing in my life right now. I mean, He knows I need a full-time faculty position. I know that this position will not come to pass until I have that degree in hand (May). Still, it seems that the doors that are opening for me are those that are part-time and not full-time. I get it, I mean. Most schools today are not hiring full-time faculty so part-time is the easy way to fill the need for teaching instructors. In fact, just the other day, I read an article online that for many major research universities, the emphasis now is on hiring teaching professors rather than academic research professors. I guess these schools simply cannot cut it when their faculty are engaged in research and not available to teach students. More so, the graduate or teaching fellow role must not be working either because it appears that many schools are reaching out to PhD’s for teaching positions that would normally fall to assistants.

As I was in the shower, I started to pray over my life. I am in this very good place right now. I have more work than I can handle, and with my PhD program ending, I am ready to take on more responsibility. I struggle some, I worry a lot, and often, I feel really confused about the direction I am supposed to take. I mean, should I begin to apply for positions in schools far from my home? Should I simply play the “wait and see what God does” route? I mean, what if I go in one way, and then the Lord opens a door that takes me in the complete opposition direction? I know, I know, God is going to bless the way that I should go, so really I am simply worry about things that I need not worry over. These are all details that He has covered. Sigh! He knows that I struggle with logistics, with making plans, and then with the actually obedience in following those plans. He knows me so well, so very well.

After I finished praying, I had to drive down to Tempe to file my I-9 paperwork with ASU. That trip took an hour driving and about 10 minutes of actual paperwork submission. Plus, the two dollars.  Let’s not forget the two dollars. It cost me all of $2 to park in handicap parking. Like to park for 10 minutes. Sigh!

Still, I am really glad that I am set now. I have my class of students, and I am ready to take care of them. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, I am worried about overload on my part, but I do believe that God has this figured out. He has me well covered.

Today has been a good day. I am rested, finally, and I am feeling that whatever is happening to me, it has been well planned and purposed by God. I feel confident that He has something wonderful prepared at the end of this semester. I believe and I claim in faith that the Lord has someone amazing and wonderful for me to do once I am finished, once I am graduated. Until that time, I will rest in His abilities and sufficiency.
In Closing

As I close this blog post today, I am reminded of how the Lord always goes before His people. He says that He will always lead us, never let us go anywhere alone, and that He will provide for us as He is guiding us. This is why I have come to say that I will trust the Lord as He leads, guides, and provides for me. I believe that there is scriptural precedent on this account, and that my faith is put to the test whenever I agree with His mandate. Therefore, today, I agree with Him, and I place my faith and my trust in Him yet again. He will take care of me. He will see to all my needs, and He will certainly provide a way for me to go. He is good to me, always so very good to me!

January 11, 2017

Compassion

It is a good day to be alive and well and living in Phoenix, AZ! I am feeling fine today, despite the fact that I was roused at 6:45 at the sound of the garbage truck passing the house. And yes, I forgot to set the bin out, so I jumped out of bed, hustled outside and put the bin across the street. Thankfully, I made it in time to be collected. Sigh!

It is now 10:00 a.m., and I am sitting here at my desk, working on my computer, and thinking about all that has transpired over the past several months. I am in this sweet “spot,” this wonderfully good place in my life. I have my home, my job, and my studies at Regent. I am content, happy, and settled. I am open to new avenues, new ideas and thoughts and discourse on said ideas and thoughts, but mostly, I am in this place where I feel safe and secure.

Lately, the Lord has been sending me confirmation — like oodles of it — whereby I am sensing just how blessed I really am. And, just yesterday, after I received a recorded message from my healthcare provider reminding me to schedule a wellness visit, I could not help but a “sigh of relief,” simply from the fact that I know that I am well-covered (medically) this year. More over, after that call, I made a dentist appointment (for bi-annual cleaning), and again, I had to give thanks to the Lord for His provision of dental care. What is more is the fact that as I complete the paper work for my new teaching contract at ASU, I cannot help but remember that I would have “nothing at all” if it wasn’t for His gracious provision of a teaching career, an education to support that career, and semester contracts to give me blessed experience in that career. Thus, in all things today, I am giving Him thanks.

Notwithstanding all the joy, I am a wee-bit stressed (just a partial bit of stress — LOL). Yesterday, I didn’t work on my dissertation at all. Instead, I took care of business and other issues related to my new employment. I spent time working with my online students, and then later, I rested. I was so beat, worn from getting up at 5 a.m., and of course, from not sleeping well the previous night. I am not sleeping well normally, and these periodic wake ups are taking a toll on me physically. Still, I am thankful for a good rest, and a good day yesterday that was filled with more down-time than up-time. In all, the Lord has graciously provided for me. He has made it possible for me to graduate on time, and for that gift, I am truly blessed and thankful.

As I work through my day today (leaving here around 1:00 p.m.), I am thankful that I have this wonderful schedule. I mean, while I am not crazy about teaching until 7 p.m., the very fact that I am able to do it, is testimony in and of itself. Yes, I am thankful for the provision of stamina, grace, and interest — just so that I can do this work — and what is more, I am thankful for an increased interest in my field, in my area of study. Yes, the Lord has not only blessed me with a rich and wonderful place to work, but also He has graced me with the gift of interest. I love my job, and I love what I do, and I love my field of study. I cannot imagine anything better than what I already have at present. The Lord has made a way for me, and I am safe, secure, and settled in it. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!
Interest is Everything

I mention the fact that I have this renewed interest in my field, and just today, as I was prepping for my American Literature class, I realized that English and Communication are so tightly intertwined. I mean, I am studying rhetoric, and rhetoric is found in both speaking and in writing. More so, my background is in digital technology, and as such, I have spent many years working with technology as a means of persuasion, communication, and of course, marketing promotions and advertising. My life, it seems, has been one long progression or journey that started with my interest in studying Art in high school (Graphics or Commercial Art) and later developed into an interest in all things technical (working in high tech industry in the 80-90s), which then led to a career in designing and producing artifacts for commercial use (90s-2000s). Moreover, my study in academics, has been a progression as well. I first studied Art (commercial, studio, history, and culture) and then later, English Humanities (history and culture), which in turn, let to graduate study in literature and communication. Thus, I have spent the majority of my professional life working as a producer of communicative goods. More so, I have spent the majority of my academic life studying the influence of art, architecture, and literature has had on the development of historic culture as well as postmodern culture. Now, as a PhD in Communication, I am studying the underlying theory that supports how we learn, how we think, how we process meaning, how we communicate, and how we use language to engage with each other socially, culturally, and representationally in this digitized, modernized, and heavily mediated world we live in. Yes, it seems that the plans the Lord had for my life have come to fruition. I am right where I belong, having lived and studied, the very content He desires me to understand, to incorporate, and to explicate for His people, the Church. I am ready to do His work, and because of my broad range of experience, I am in this very unique position to be able to do this work well.

My mind is fixed. My heart is focused and determined, and as such, I am ready to be let loose on His Church. I am ready to go and do this wonderful work, in addition to teaching students rhetoric and the art of writing academic and persuasive papers. I am ready to come into my own, and to begin to live my life as a Professor of English Humanities with an emphasis in Digital Rhetoric. I am ready, so ready to move into this wide field, one that embraces both aspects of my life — the applied part and the theoretical part — and in doing so, I am poised to make an impact in this area, this field.

It is exciting to see how the Lord has used my life, all of it, the ugly and unpleasant bits along with the sweet and wonderful bits, to bring me to this place today. I am right where I belong, and that thought excites me, encourages me, and causes me great enthusiasm as I plan, ponder, and purpose my days going forward. I do believe so strongly that the Lord has a wonderful plan for my life, and with what I have experienced thus far, I can only imagine what my future life will bring.

My interest has been piqued. I am ready to become a fully-fledged English professor, and in this way, I am ready to pick up my banner and march on. I am ready for the Lord to open that door for me, the one that leads to that faculty position, a tenure track position, where I can set down roots, and really dig in and make a difference. My prayer is that He will bring me this position soon. I realize that I will not begin this work until after I graduate, and more than likely, not until the fall semester (2017) begins. Yet, there is part of me that hopes that I could start in the summer, perhaps begin this work in the summer, because with that, I would have a running start, so to speak, and I could really get a jump on the new academic year. But, the timing of all of this is within His hand, and I am ready to wait, to be patient, until He puts everything in order, in place, and I am in contention for this position. He will make a way where no way exists, and He will place my feet securely on the path that leads to the fulfillment of His will. He will do it, He will do this for me. He is good to me, always so very good to me!

Coming and Going

In many ways, I am coming and going at the same time, as weird as that sounds. I mean, I am learning how to come into my own, to embrace my unique qualities and gifts and to no longer fear the reprisal of others. I am fully trusting the Lord to cover me, and that means that I am trusting Him to settle my enemies around me and to give me peace. Yes, I am believing in faith that He will settle me. He will settle all contention, strife, anger, and hard feelings, and He will bridge reconciliation in all relationships. It is in His Name and Power that I claim this promise from scripture, and thus, I can rest in knowing that the person that I am, with all my oddities and idiosyncrasies is exactly what He desires. You see, I don't have to change my colors or stripes for anyone. I don't have to be like others, to do things like others, or to even react, act, or perform like others. I am my own person, created in Christ Jesus, for His specific purpose. Thus, I embrace me, and in doing so, I come to accept that everything that makes me "ME" is all part and parcel to His plan for my life. I am coming into my own through the process of letting go. I am learning what to let go of, which mostly is the need for approval, the desire for praise, and the longing for acceptance. I am simply enjoying my weirdness, my wonderful wacky way of looking at the world, and I am saying to the world, in short, "accept me for who I am because what you see is always what you get!"

The coming part has been hard-fought and hard won. I have processed through so much hurt, trauma, and difficulty, yet through that process, I have learned to become more comfortable in my own skin. I am in such a good place mentally, emotionally, and physically. I understand myself well, and I have finally have a handle on my wants and needs. I get what I need most, and that is to be free to be me. I don't want to change, to become someone I am not or to live always feeling the need to prove myself to others. I have decided that the best way for me to live without the need for approval is for me to simply let go all those expectations that others have for me as well as those expectations that I have for other people. I simply let them go. I let people live their lives, whether for good or for ill, and I step aside from the jury box. I let the Lord judge the nations, as it says in His word, and I simply remain busy doing His work. Yes, I place His work ahead of my need to control or to controvert anything, anyone, or any place to meet or suit my needs.

In this way, I am letting go of the biggest part of the "ME" picture -- the need to control outcomes. You see, I have so long needed to control the outcome of my life. I have stressed, struggled, and striven to keep my ship afloat, but now I am in this place where control no longer exists. I cannot control anything save my mouth, my anger, and my humility. I cannot change other people, cannot hope that they will behave this way or that nor can I even begin to expect them to live as I do. I have given over that control to the Lord, and as a result, He has blessed me with freedom. Freedom from guilt, freedom from oppression, and freedom from feeling less than perfect. Yes, I am free. He has set me free from condemnation and guilt, and He has helped me see how often I have allowed myself to become depressed and oppressed simply because I held myself to such high expectations (behavior, attitudes, and the like). More so, my need to be perfect, to not make mistakes, has caused me intense stress. I am learning how to humble myself, to accept my flaws, and to let mistakes happen when they do. I am learning how to say, "Oh, well" and in that way, I am releasing people, obligations, and even goals from holding me hostage. I am embracing His timeline, His plan, and His provision, and in this way, I am saying to Him that I am willing, eager, and excited to walk according to His frame of reference, His context, and His choice in all things.  It is liberating to me to finally accept myself and to let go of the past, the pain, and the unfulfilled life I led for so many years. It is a blessing to accept His future, His hope, and His promise for a good life, a prosperous and fruitful life. I am living in blessing, "walking on sunshine," and in this way, I am experiencing His blessed joy every single day of my life. I am enjoying my life -- every day -- as Joyce Meyer says. I am loving life, loving people, and loving the Lord simply because I have embraced His way fully. I have agreed with Him that His way is best. It is best, always the best! Selah!
In Closing

As I close this blog post, I lift up my voice and give thanks to God above for His magnificent blessing, His marvelous prosperity, and His majestic goodness in and through my life. He has made my way, and my way is good. It is so very good. Today, I recognize that every breath I take is a gift from the Lord, every word I speak is a gift from the Lord, and every thought I entertain is a gift from the Lord. I am alive and well. I am alive and well, and praise be to God, I am living in such a good place, a good way, and with a good hope and future -- all because -- He has chosen for it to be this way. Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah!