April 18, 2014

When Things Get Difficult

It is Good Friday, the day our Lord went to the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. I should be thinking about His sacrifice, His great and merciful gift of redemption, but as usual I am thinking about myself and my difficulties today. Perhaps there is reason for this, and perhaps there is a life lesson to be learned today.

This past week has been filled with MIGHTY POWERFUL distraction. I have tried in my own strength to combat the distraction and to remain focused on my work, the Lord's work. Alas, I have failed to do that and as a result I am now pushed to the wire to finish a major research paper. Yes, I have my data, and I have about half the paper completed. I have today and tomorrow, and I am not concerned about finishing it. It is just that I wasted a good number of hours procrastinating, and spending time in my head, day dreaming, rather than remaining engaged and on task. I do this occassionally, especially when I become overwhelmed with the work load or the amount of pressure I am facing. It is a habit I formed in childhood, to disappear from the scene for a while and to go to a make-believe place where I am in control of all the demands placed on me. I call the shots, I save the people, I behave heroically, etc. I have created places in my mind where I write stories, all kinds of stories from the wild west, the desert places, the fairy tale forests. I create characters from the best stories -- King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, legions of Roman soldiers marching to battle, epic stories of love affairs with princes and princesses. In my mind, I am able to write the dialog, to create the scenes, and alter the outcome to suit my desires. If I don't like the way a story is being written, I just change it. I turn the tables, I upset the apple cart, but in the end, the story draws to a close the way I decide is best. This safe place, this solitude has always been my go-to place when I was scared or when I needed to get away from LIFE.

As I have matured, I don't always go there anymore. Frankly, my story vault is a place where I go on extreme occasions only, and unless the pressure is overwhelming, I usually skip it. This week, however, I retreated there and found solace for a time. Unfortunately, my story place consumed precious time and while I was away creating stories I was not focused on my real work, my paper, my classes at Regent. I have felt guilty for not staying in the moment, and for letting this paper slide until the very end of time. I know better, I so know better.

I confessed my sin before the Lord today:

Psalm 32

A psalm of David.


1 Oh, what joy for those
    whose disobedience is forgiven,
    whose sin is put out of sight!
2 Yes, what joy for those
    whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt,
    whose lives are lived in complete honesty!
3 When I refused to confess my sin,
    my body wasted away,
    and I groaned all day long.
4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
    My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Interlude
5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you
    and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
    And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Interlude
6 Therefore, let all the godly pray to you while there is still time,
    that they may not drown in the flood waters of judgment.
7 For you are my hiding place;
    you protect me from trouble.
    You surround me with songs of victory. Interlude
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
   but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.
11 So rejoice in the Lord and be glad, all you who obey him!
    Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

I know I am forgiven. I know that my slate is clean. The Lord Jesus Christ took all my sin: past, present and future sin upon him at Calvary's cross. I am forgiven. I am washed clean. My conscience is sprinkled with His blood and I can stand in His presence. He is good, so very good. All the time, the Lord is good.

So with renewed vigor I approach the difficult road ahead, the road made difficult by my own hand. I know what must be done, and I know the One who must do it. I cannot do it. I tried in vain to accomplish a major research paper using my own skill, my own mind, and my own wits. I failed, and I retreated to the place of safety where I thought I would be refreshed. Instead, I only wasted time. I should have marched into the throne room of God, sat at His feet, and confessed my need, my utter need to Him. He would have given me rest from my troubles, and He would have provided the refreshment I needed. My soul delights in Him. My soul magnifies His Name. I cannot do this work without His force, His control, His influence. I am utterly unable to do this work, and this week, I was reminded of that fact.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

April 15, 2014

Who Me? Nah...

I have four days to write a research paper on the topic of Student Motivation and Collaboration in Online Learning. I conducted a survey, got about 43 actual respondents, and now have to make heads or tails out of the data.

So far I have run three tests for nonparametric research:

- Chi-Square
- Spearman's Rank Correlation
- Kruskal-Wallis

My data is not interesting (due to poorly formatted questions), and my null hypothesis is mostly kept (on all variables). I have a couple that show significance, so I might change my research questions to suit. I know you are not supposed to do that, but this is a pilot study, and I approached the project as exploratory -- wanting to see what the data would show -- rather than to test the null hypothesis (which is what you normally do). Oh, Lord! What do I do now?

Did I mention that I do not like statistics? Yeah, well, this is not really true. I actually do like it -- A LOT. I like analyzing data and running the tests. I like studying the output. I don't like coming up with research questions and hypotheses, but I do like seeing how the numbers play out when you run them against your RQs and H0's.

I guess I have to start saying that I love statistically analysis. I didn't think I would when I started this class. In fact, when I took that Business Research class last summer, I thought for certain I would fail it, and I would fail this advanced methods class (my current class). I got an A in the Business class, and I am holding an A in this class (who'da thunk it?) In hindsight, I can see how statistics and my brain work well together. I am an analyst after all. I may not have had enough math in high school and I may not have enjoyed math then, but I do like this now. I like reading tables, searching through data, and seeing how it all fits together.

Just some weirdness this morning...

I have finally given into Spotify. I know, I know...doesn't everyone listen to Spotify? Well, I have been a Pandora listener for a couple years now, and I like the fact that I get to listen to a random selection of "like" songs. My son listens to Spotify, and it seems everyone who is "cool" does as well. I had downloaded the application to my PC, but it messed up my computer so I removed. Then the other day, I was listening to the web application and I thought I would try the app for the Mac. It took me a little while to get the hang of it. At first, I thought I had to listen to song collections, but then I found I could search for albums and such. Oh my, am I in music heaven!

Right now, I am listening to Dan Fogelberg's "The Innocent Age" on Spotify. This was one of my favorite albums when I was in college (1981). I can remember listening to these songs on cassette in my Triumph Spitfire as I cruised over Highway 17 from San Jose to Santa Cruz. Somehow these songs symbolized my loneliness and isolation. I loved that I could sing songs that were all about sad reflection and worrisome days. Yep, that was my life back then before I had met my husband. I lived in such uncertainty, not knowing what I was doing, where I was going, who I was. I was lost in so many ways, and so unsure about my future.

Dan Fogelberg for me, reminded me of the days when I was certain, when I knew who I was, and where I was going. I know it seems weird, but there is something about childhood and young adolescence, and that period in between that causes such confusion. When I first listened to Fogelberg's, Souvenirs (1974), I was in 7th grade. When I heard Nether Lands (1997), I was in high school. I was living in Illinois, and while I wasn't happy in school there, I had a great support group, a great group of friends where I "fit in" and I belonged. By 1978, my parents had moved to San Jose, and I was in a different school. I had no friends in 1979, and those that I had in 1980, were fly-by the night. I didn't "fit in" in San Jose, and I had a bad personal experience with friends I thought were my friends. Moreover, I met a boy, dated him, and end up being crushed by him between high school and my first year in college. In short, I was miserable, and these songs resonated with me during this oh-so difficult time in my life.

It is funny when you think about it, really. I mean, here I am at almost 52 years of age, and I am feeling wistful about those days. I am not old, really, I am not old by any measure. Yet, sometimes I think about those days and I cannot help but feel as if my life has transitioned through so many stages. I am at a point in my life where I can choose where to go, who to be, and the path to follow. I have made that decision, clearly I have, and as I sit here today, I cannot help but think about the past, the present, and the future. Where I am going now is so vastly different from where I thought I would be. I am filled with excitement and anticipation, yet there is still part of me that misses those days (pointing backwards). I miss those days, the days when I was young, without any care or concern for the future. My life was so good back then, so safe, so secure. It is not to say that this is not the case today, because I think I am far more safe and secure now. It is just a feeling you have when you are young, and you trust your parents, and you think everything will be OK.

Now back to the present...

I have to start writing my paper. I have to finish this semester at Regent. I have to do this...

Lord, 

Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy these songs once again. They bring back such memories for me, and my heart at times is sad when I think about the missed opportunities, the missed days, and the missed chances. Yet, I know you have such awesome plans for me, and that my life is filled with great hope, great potential, and great success! I love what you have done in my life, and I love the fact that you are guiding me each day. I pray now that I can stay focused to complete my work, to do your will, and to walk in your ways. I surrender everything that is blocking my focus now, and I sit here and I wait upon you for your gift of grace and provision. You are my rock, my refuge, and my restoration. I love you, Lord! I praise you this day, and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done!



April 11, 2014

Loving the Lord!

 WOW! What a great day today! First of all, I got my paper back on my creative storytelling project and I got an A. Hooray! I was so concerned about that grade, but I am glad that I did well. I am hopeful that my professor will give me a solid A for the class (sweet!)

Secondly, I found out that my other professor is letting us take the final exam as open book/notes, and is giving us an extra 30 minutes to complete the online test. Furthermore, he is offering 30 points extra credit for anyone who wants to participate in a lab that he is doing for research (sweet!)

My grade in advanced statistics is holding a 97.5%. I have one final lab to turn in (should be 30/30), and a very difficult quiz (hoping for 74 or 75/75) to turn in tomorrow. I know I will get full participation points so the only UNKNOWN is my final research paper and the exam. I am forming a study group with four other gals and we are hopeful that we will do well on it. God is so good. He knows how worried I was about my paper (original research), and about this exam. The extra credit points will help keep my grade above 96%. This means that I will keep my 4.0 GPA and that helps me keep my scholarship for fall/spring.

Furthermore, my class at GCU is wrapping up, and generally my experience there has been positive. I love my students. They are awesome, and I am so blessed to have been able to spend time with them this semester. I will miss them all, and I wish them all the best of success in their life and school endeavors!

I am excited about the opportunity to teach at Arizona Christian, and I look forward to meeting new students, especially freshman! Oh how I love freshman, and I looked forward to being able to mentor and speak truth into their lives. God is so good to provide such valuable, genuine, and influential work to me. I love what He is doing in my life, and I get up each day thinking that the IMPOSSIBLE HAS HAPPENED, THE UNEXPECTED HAS BEEN REVEALED, AND THE UNTHINKABLE MADE REAL. God is so amazing, and I stand in awe of Him this day!!



As I consider the way my life is headed, I am filled with such excitement, and I am fueled by expectancy. I think about where my life was almost three years ago. I was in the midst of being crushed by the realization that my husband no longer loved me and no longer wanted to remained married to me. I was trying to trust the Lord, to figure out how I would live my life without my husband. I was overwhelmed by the responsibilities I held in my hand. I was trying to balance life, work, school, and still be primary care giver for my then 18 year old son. I was balancing so many irons in the fire that I thought I was going to go under, to sink and not swim.

Yet, the Lord never let go of my hand. He has led me onward and forward each new day. He has asked me to trust Him, to believe His word, and to rest in His care. It wasn't easy nor did I come round to His way quickly. I struggled against His way for a long time, and I thought it was impossible to believe Him, to trust in Him, and to rest. Somehow, miraculously, He showed me how to do it. He gave me the strength to pick up my life, to dust myself off, and to shake off the dirt and move forward. He gave me a place to go, a job to do, and a reason for living. He filled my life with purpose, and He has given me direction every day so that I am always moving forward, walking in His way, and accomplishing His will for my life.

The Lord is so good. He is so very good.

At the end of this month, I will have successfully completed one full year of my doctoral program. I will be a 2nd Year student, and I will begin to transition to scholarship and begin to prepare for dissertation research. I will also have completed my first semester teaching college Literature courses. I will begin teaching a full-load in the fall (at two Universities), and I will be on the way to becoming a full-time professor. I will be accomplishing my dream of being a college professor! It has only been 21 years in the making, and for a long time, was believed to be an impossible forgotten dream. Then the Lord gave me hope, renewed my sense of calling, and put me on this path. I am for all intents and purposes a college professor. God is so very good, so very good to me!



Now I begin to look forward to other paths, other plans and other opportunities.  I am excited to think about all that COULD be in my life. For one, I think about the day when I will be offered a full-time teaching contract. I think this may be sooner rather than later. I am excited at the thought of settling down and teaching in one place. I am also excited that I can be a part of a department, to begin teaching as part of a team. I would love this opportunity, and I am trusting the Lord to open the best door for me at this point in my life.

Dear Lord,

I am ready to do your work, Lord. I am ready to begin this work, to do what you are calling me to do, and to be prepared to do it. I ask now that you open a door of opportunity for me, and that you bring this job to pass. I am happy with the chance to teach at ACU, but you know that I would like to be settled, to have salary and benefits. I ask therefore that you would provide this to me, and that you would place it on the hearts and minds of those individuals who need to be moved to hire me full-time. I am ready, and I believe in YOU. I know you will do this through me, and you will never let me down. You are God, and you are great. I love you, Lord, and I sing your praises today and forever more! I ask this in Jesus' Name, Amen!

April 7, 2014

Thinking About Today

The Word of the Lord is sure. The Word of the Lord is good. The Word of the Lord is never failing. His Word abides in us, and His Word guides us. He is good, He is good, He is so very good to us. Amen, selah!

Today is a good day. It is a very good day. Today is the day that I give praise to the Lord for He has made a way for me. He have given me His peace, His grace, and His strength. I am able to go where He sends me, to live where He says to live, and to do the work He has prepared for me to do. I am good, I am good, I am so very good today.

As I think about my day and the plans that the Lord has for me, I am reminded of this truth. The Lord's unfailing love rests upon us. We wait in hope, we rest in Him, and we look up -- seeking Him diligently for His mercy and grace are needed (Ps 33:22). Yes, the Lord is good to us. He gives us what we need, He shows us how to go, and He provides for us. He is our shelter and our rock. The Lord is our ROCK AND OUR REFUGE.

The Lord has promised good to me. He is working to bring about His promises, and I am the recipient of His good will. It is a wonderful place to be, to be in the midst of His goodness. I cannot explain how great it feels to know you are covered. I cannot tell you how freeing it is to know that the Lord God is my champion and my victor. He has me covered, so well covered.

The world seems out of control. I see the world as it spins and falters. So much hatred, so much fear, so much sorrow. Yet, God is firmly in control. His will is coming to pass, and His way is for certain. How much longer, Oh Lord, will we wait until we see your Glory? How much longer, Lord, until we see your return? I know my heart cries out and it sings for joy to know that the goodness of the Lord is coming to pass. I lift up my heart, and I open my mind and I begin to see the goodness of the Lord as it falls upon my life, as it cradles my little needs, my little concerns. He is so much bigger than all my sorrow. He is so much better than all my joy. I long to see Him, to know Him, and to be with Him. I long for the day when we are together, when all this mess is over, and I am able to rest in His Glory and in His Name.

Dear Lord,

I long to be with you this day. My heart sings a new song, and I want so much to sit before you singing and praising your Name. I long to see your glory, to sit and to know your Glory. I pray now that you will have your way in me, and that You will work to bring about your will in every area of my life. I thank you for your gracious provision that meets my every need. I ask now that you do what is necessary in my life to ensure that my entire being conforms to your image. I long to bring you praise, Lord, so I ask that my heart, my mind, my soul, and my strength be wholly devoted to you. I confess your Name. I confess that you are Lord. I look up, I wait upon you, and I rest in your Holy and Marvelous NAME. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. SELAH! (Pause and think calmly upon it!!)

April 4, 2014

Ready to Move On

I had a dream about trains last night. I was on a train, and I was riding in the engineers compartment. It was a funny dream because I was on the train, but also off the train at a couple points. The whole sequence lasted a long time. I wrote down all the various snapshots that took place in my dream, and after looking through them, I think my dream was about closure, the ending of my former life, and the beginning of my new life. Well, at least, that is what I think it was about -- for all I know -- it just could have been nothingness with a BIG TRAIN in it!

I did a little search on the Internet for dream interpretation. I love to read what other people THINK dreams mean and how they interpret them. I love it when a dream dictionary will say that such and such means this OR it could mean something completely opposite! LOL! Yeah, how can something be two opposing things...NOT!

In my case, though, I do agree with some of the dream interpretation and ideas in the dream dictionary. I definitely see that my dream wasn't just a dream about a train. It was very specific images and sequences that made sense, they followed a progressive pattern which led me to believe that the dream was a story of sorts. Most of my dreams don't make sense to me. Some are snippets that seem so random. However, at times, I will have a dream that tells a story, from a beginning to the end. This is the kind of dream I had last night. Weird, dream, but nonetheless, it seemed to tell me a story.

In my dream, I was waiting to get on a train (beginning a journey). I saw the whole train in my mind, from engine to caboose. This train was a freight train with flatbed cars carrying various items. It also had cars that had people in them. I got on the train and sat in the front with the driver. At first it was just me and the driver. Later there was the driver, another man, and another woman.

For a time, I rode with the driver. Then I was off the train and I watched the train move away from me. The train was going very fast, and it wasn't going in a straight line, but rather it was weaving around like a amusement park ride. I got back on the train, but not at the front. I got on at the back of the train. I started to move to the front again, but I stopped to see two families. One had a lady who was pregnant. She was in a car with her husband. I had a conversation with her. The second was a family who were living in a tent on a flatbed car. They were all together on this car. I didn't speak with them. Then I found my way back to the front, and I sat in the back seat. There were two men in front, and another woman in the back. I was cold, and I put on my socks.

The train came to a stop and the four of us got into a car. We started to drive north, and I was in the back seat. I looked out the window and I saw a massive tornado. The tornado was moving south. It had one white funnel and four black funnels around it. I noticed that we started to drive through debris, mostly downed trees. There was debris on the road. I asked if the debris was from the tornado, and the man driving said no.

We stopped at an office. We went in and sat in the reception area. It was a doctor or dentists office. I sat by the receptionists window, and I had a conversation with her. I asked about the weather and tornado. I asked if they had a TV to know the latest news. She said the doctor didn't want to know the details so there was no TV. Then she got up and walked outside. Her mother was there to pick her up and they waved goodbye to me. I watched her leave and then I woke up.

Weird dream, for sure. I think now that this dream was a recap of my life. I think the two men were my husband and my son. The woman in the back was the woman that my husband never stopped loving, and the woman he kept secretly in his heart throughout the years of our marriage. I am not sure about the other people, I didn't recognize them. The tornado was symbolic of destruction, and the fact that I wasn't afraid tells me that I am no longer in fear of the news about my life. The office is unknown, and I don't know why the woman told me goodbye. I am thinking that this was closure, the ending of my life as I know it. I am not sure.

So as I consider this dream, for what it is worth, and I think about where I am now, this is what I think:

Trains in dreams usually symbolize a journey.
Engineers are usually the one in control of the journey.
Tornadoes symbolize destruction, chaos or being out of control.
Pregnancy is usually a sign of new life or a new idea.

I know that I am on a journey, this is for certain. I believe that the One driving my life is not my husband nor my son (the second man), but the Lord. I am not sure of the rest other than to say that it makes sense to me to assume that this dream was my former life, and that the reason I wasn't emotionally connected to any of it was that I have already acknowledge it, and I have accepted the outcome of it. I am not afraid nor do I fear any emotional hurt.

As I move forward in my life, this dream tells me that my former life is over. The train pulled into the train station (a sign of a completed journey). However, I got in the car and kept traveling with my husband and son and this other woman. I think this means that I have been holding on, staying together as a family, even though the family is no longer three, but four. The doctor's office could have been a legal office. Perhaps the end of the story is that there will be divorce. I am not sure, but normally a completed journey ends in death (end of the course of a person's life). In my case, there was no end, so perhaps it just means that there will be a legal end. Not sure, but again, it does make sense.

Oh well. I know where I am going. I know where I have been. I am ready to do whatever the Lord asks of me. I am ready to go where He leads. This dream may be nothing, and it probably is just the result of taking two liquid Aleve's before bedtime. Who knows? Not sure, but I am trusting the Lord nonetheless and I am resting in His understanding of my life, my needs, and my desires. Lord, have your way in me this day. In Jesus' Name, I ask this, AMEN!

April 2, 2014

Good News!

I've got good news and I reason to celebrate today! I just received an email from ACU saying that they would like to bring me on as adjunct teaching staff in their COM and ENG departments! Hooray! I am so blessed!! This means that I will for certain have two courses at ACU in the fall (two COM or one COM/one ENG). Extra income, check! Teaching in my new field, check! God is so very good to me, so very good!

I should have confirmation on the contracts by May (PTL!), and that means that I will be set to teach MWFs. I won't know what classes GCU will have for me to teach, but I am thinking perhaps the Novel and maybe an COMP class. I would like to have two at each school, which would bump my income up nicely. If I can only teach three this fall, that is fine too. I am open to a very flexible schedule.

ACU would like me to teach Intro to COM as well as Public Speaking or English Composition. I said I wanted the Intro to COM class, but that I would let them decide on the other based on their greatest need. I am OK with either course at this point. God is Good, so very very good!

Whew! Huge weight lifted off my shoulders today. I can see the path before me, and I can see the Lord's work coming to pass in my life. He promised me goodness, and He has delivered on that promise. God is amazing Good -- all the time -- AMAZINGLY GOOD!



So where does that leave me?

Teaching

Well, I think I am well set on my way to teaching full-time (at some point). God has promised me a full-time teaching job, but not yet (so He says). I know this is the case because truthfully I couldn't handle the full-time responsibilities (committee meetings, extra activities, etc.) and complete my doctoral course load. While I hate not having the steady income, I know that adjunct is where I need to be for now, for a short time, until I am further along in my program.

Ministry

I am steadily building skill in media communications ministry. At present, I am helping my church with their website, and serving as part of a communications team to plan events, create graphics, etc. for the church. I am happy to help in this area, and I am glad that the church can use my professional experience to help them minister to others in our local community.

Personal

I think this is the one area that still a big hole for me. I am living as a single woman (with my parents), but still married to my husband of almost 30 years. We have lived a part from each other since late 2011. He asked me to think about divorce last summer, but he never did anything to start the process. I have the forms on my computer, partially filled out. I am still waiting for him to make the next move. I don't see any chance of reconciliation and restoration at this point. He has moved on with his life, and from the status of my blog, clearly the Lord has been moving me in a different direction. God is not moving us closer together, but farther apart. As I lay my life down to serve the Lord, He moves me closer and closer to His work, full-time ministry work. I am not doing this, I cannot do this, but He is the one who opens these doors, gives me the favor in interviewing, and moves people and resources in ways to support His work. It is a miracle to see, and I know that the Lord is doing His will in my life. But what do I do about the ending of my marriage? Right now, I believe this is to be a fact: my marriage is over. I have let it go, and I have laid the ending at the Lord's feet. I am trusting Him and His timing on all things. He will do what needs to be done, and I can rest in His knowledge of events, of circumstances, and of outcomes.



As I look forward to today and tomorrow, one thing is for certain: the Lord is with me. He is my tower of refuge and strength. He keeps me safe, He shelters me, and He provides for me. I can rest in Him because He is my everything, my absolute everything.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for this teaching opportunity at ACU. I know this is of your doing, you made this happen for me, and I am blessed by your mercy and kindness. I ask now that you would go before me in all things, that you would open doors that need to be opened, and close doors that need to be closed. I am ready to let go of everything, and follow you completely. I rest in your care, in your sufficiency, and in your presence. May my lips praise your NAME today and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah! Pause and Calmly think about that!!

March 31, 2014

The Next Steps

I am ready to take the next step in my journey toward a Christ-centered life. I have been steadily following after Him for many years, but the last few have been marked with an increased thirst for Him personally, to know Him, and to know the plans He has for my life. As I move forward on this path, I am amazed at the work He has done in my life. I see transformation daily, and I able to reflect on the way He moves in me and through me. I am made new each day, almost as if, this day is the first day of the rest of my life (every day is this way). I love this fact. I love the fact that my life begins anew each morning, and that each moment holds some new truth, some new understanding. I am in awe of His work, and in how He chooses to reveal Himself to me.

The Lord is Good to those whom He loves. He is good, and His goodness precedes Him. In this place, there is goodness all the time. I feel it, I see it, I experience it. It makes me feel safe and secure. It gives me hope for a successful future, and I enjoy the blessing of knowing that my steps are ordered, set in place, and that I am going where I am meant to go.

It wasn't always this way, of course. For many years, my life was of my own making. Even though I was a Christian, and I believed in the Lord and read His Word, I didn't always make good choices. In fact, I made some pretty horrible choices, choices that would not better my life, but make it worse. I moved of my own accord, based on my own judgment. Sometimes I was motivated by fear, sometimes I was motivated by compassion, and sometimes I was motivated by self-interest. I never was motivated by His Love nor by His will for my life. I made a decision because it seemed good to me to do so. It was logical (sometimes) or it was the only option (as it appeared then). I made these decisions for good or ill, and for the most part, I lived with them, consequences and all.

After so many years of guiding my own ship, making my own plans or accepting the plans of others, I became weary with the outcome. It seemed that my life never went anywhere at all. It was one step after another leading into more mundane and muddied waters. I was never at peace. I didn't have hope, and I didn't believe my life could be any different. It seemed like my life was going to follow an endless journey that would lead me to nothingness. I wasn't going to be successful, I wasn't going to have a career I loved. I wasn't going to live life to the fullest or experience great moments. No, I was destined to toil, to suffer hardship, and to grieve (deeply) for the things I had lost.

Then a bright light came into my life and I was moved by it. I didn't think it was possible to have an epiphany at so late a stage. I was in my mid-40s and I thought, for all intents and purposes, that my life was what it was, and that there would be no major CHANGE to it. But the Lord had other plans for me. He changed the course of my life in an instant, and I started on this wonderful new path. Was it easy for me? No, it wasn't. I fact I suffered what the Lord said would be for those that truly follow Him. I lost everything. I lost everyone I knew and loved. I was destroyed personally, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I lost my identity, and I was emptied out of everything that smacked of ME. He never let me go, through it all, He held to me and He helped me through the darkest and roughest times. In the process, He helped me learn the truth of who He is, and who I am, and in the midst of it all, He gave me a new identity and a new purpose in life. I became purpose-driven, and I learned that my life had value, had merit, and was worth something to Him. He gave me hope again, and He gave me a future. He promised me good, and He delivered on those promises. He gave to me, and I received His gifts of blessing and abundant life. In return, I gave myself to Him, wholly to Him. I made the commitment of my life -- to live my life devoted to Him and His work.

Now, I am on that new path, that path that leads to His Glory, and I am loving the experience. I treasure each day, and I long for HOME. I see it in my mind, I experience what it will be like, and I remember that He is with me until the end. I move forward, I walk on, I press through the muck and the mire, and I keep on moving toward HOME.

Today is a bright and beautiful day, a new day filled with possibility. As I look out my window and consider my life, where I have been, where I am going, and the way He is moving through me, I am filled with excitement and anticipation. God has done a marvelous work in me. I give Him praise, and honor, and glory! All to His NAME, to His MIGHTY NAME be praised now and forevermore.