November 14, 2010

More Thoughts on the Matter

Church was great, and I feel good too. DS is still there, setting up for an event tonight. I am eating Tacos, and reading emails. DH's mother called, and she is in need of some help, so he is going to go over there shortly. I have loads of school work today (two papers to write) and then have to get DS to his music teacher's home at 2 pm for a workshop.

We still don't know if my husband's parents will go to Turlock, CA (the Covenant Church has an assisted living facility there) or not. They have wanted to go, but have been prevented due to cost. Now that they are in more need, they are talking about it again. Last I heard, they were waiting for confirmation on whether they could go, and then if so, they would move either this month or next. Given my MIL's health and my FIL's debilitated condition, I am not sure whether assisted living is even going to work for them. Perhaps they need something more full-time, like nursing care. I am sure my MIL would not want to go to nursing care -- but -- if she cannot care for them at all, then I think that is the next step. It is very hard to discuss the situation, and it is even harder to try and make any sense of what is going on. This turn of events has been coming since June, and it seems to be crashing down faster each week. I know this happens with a lot of parents; one falls or gets ill, and then within months they are either dead or confined to a nursing home. It seems like it only takes one little thing, and then WHAM! it is over.

My parents are in a similar situation, though right now both are fairly healthly. My mother's BP is going up, and she is uncertain as to the cause. Tomorrow should offer some insight and a diagnosis, hopefully. My Dad's condition is tentative at best. Though he is well, he is physically disabled, and becoming more so each day. My Mom has to care for him or will do so, and her health is vitally important. My Dad cannot physically care for my Mother, so Mom has to stay well. Oh the trials of old age -- I am not looking forward to it at all (for myself, I mean).

As I ponder these changes, this leaves me wondering what God has in store for me. I sat in church thinking about my situation, and thinking about how I got to be where I am today. The past is the past, and I am done reliving it -- I have learned from it, and taken wisdom so that I don't make the same mistakes twice. However, I cannot completely be free from the past simply for the reason that it is part of my collective history. I have memories, I have feelings, and I have thoughts -- all about past events. So no matter how much I try to not think about these things, I know I will. What I can do, is not allow the past to dominate my thoughts, and color my responses or direct my actions. I can use the past for information, but I must trust the present and future to the One who knows it best. My future hope is in Jesus Christ, and it is in His Name that I place my faith. He knows me best, He knows what is to be, and He knows where He wants to take me. I am resting in Him alone.

I spent some time this morning thinking about yesterday, my thoughts and my feelings, and then working out the details of my life -- trying to piece them all together. It helped greatly, and I feel more confident. I think Satan tries to get us to focus on the pieces instead of the BIG PICTURE God is creating. In doing so, we lose our perspective and we start to see the individual pieces as being out of place or not fitting in. It is only when we step back and look at the tapestry of our life, even with parts missing, can we see where we have been, where we are now, and where we are going. This is what I did, and I now can see my life in better detail. I still don't have all the answers, and I still am uncertain what will be, but I feel so much more comfortable with the process. And, as our Pastor preached on the subject -- God is all about the process of our life. God loves us and has plans for us, and these plans unfold through the process of events we experience. This is how we come to be sanctified, and how we mature in Christ. The process then is very important to Him. We like the events in our life, the big items, the touch stones we can hold. God cares about those too, but it is the process, the nitty gritty of the grind where we learn to experience God and share in His suffering and His peace.

This then is what I know today:
  • God has a plan for my life.
  • God knows what is best for me today and tomorrow (and on into the future).
  • God's will is paramount to everything I do, so that is my focus -- on doing His will.
  • Nothing matters but His will, and therefore, everything revolves around it.
  • The littles in life, those nasty pesky things will be done -- but it is the BIGGIES of God's will that are our life's focus and endeavor.
  • I know that if I focus on God's will, then it will be done.
  • Moreover, I know that when I focus on His will, then I find satisfaction, contentment, purpose, acceptance, and joy. I am home in the middle of God's will.

For me, this works out this way. Right now, my goals are to find a full-time job. I believe that this job will come from Phoenix College. I have to be patient and wait this out -- knowing that they are notorious for taking a very long time to do anything. This delay is, therefore, normal.

Secondly, I am to focus on my MA courses and my graduation date of May 2012. This is my D-Day, the day I will move from the first level of graduate study to the second. I am set now on my path, having carefully evaluated and screened all options. I am to study Medieval/Renassiance Studies as part of my PhD in English. Of the Universities offering that discipline, only two are doable: ASU (here in AZ) and UT in Knoxville, TN. Either will work, so as for now, I am saying I will study this discipline, and leave which school to the Lord. He has to provide a research fellowship for me, so it is best left in His capable hands.

Thirdly, I am committed to teaching college. I have waffled on working in a corporate setting, but these jobs simply are not coming to pass. I will wait out the community college, and once I have my MA, begin teaching English. Then once I have my PhD, I will seek full-time faculty work at a teaching university. This is God's business, so I will be content to keep the plan, and let Him determine the details.

Lastly, I know that my end goal is to get to Chicago, IL. This is the only place the Lord has consistently told me I am to go -- not now -- but for ministry. I know this, and I have accepted this, so now I am simply letting it go. God knows how to get me there, and He knows what will be, so I will trust Him to provide whatever opportunity is needed for me to get there.

And, as far as my son goes and his college plan -- he is content to stay here and go to the community college for a couple semesters. He would like to transfer or go to UT most of all, but he would also go to Columbia College in Chicago too. I think either school would be good, so for now, our focus is on starting general ed classes, and then letting God open doors that would provide scholarship or other financial assistance at one of these schools. If all else, he can finish at either Southwestern College (our local Baptist school) or ASU or UA. The latter two have his program, and are reasonably priced. He can do it, I know he can, and with God's leading -- he will go to the school of the Lord's choosing.

To sum up then, this is my decision:

  • Wait on Phoenix College. Until then, work the schedule given to me by Macy's.
  • Move to a townhouse near our present home (after January). I went over and looked at it, and it is nice. The rent is good. The place will remain vacant -- it has been vacant for a year because it is on the corner and not the best location within the park. This works for us -- only one neighbor so my son can still play his guitars and piano.
  • Work until God opens the door to UT. This means finishing my MA, and applying sometime in December 2011. Lord willing, I will get some scholarship or fellowship to offset cost, and a teaching position so I can live.
  • DS goes to the CC until I graduate, so that is 2 semesters (30 units of general ed). He then transfers in to UT as a sophmore and finishes his BA a little before I do. If he wants a MA, he can do that and we move to Chicago after our graduation.

In the meantime, we work, we study, and we continue to trust the Lord. We basically do the work, we put our faith into action, so to speak. We know the plans the Lord has, and we do what He has provided for us to do. When the time comes, we move. We will be prepared, we will be ready, and everything will be set for us. We don't sit around undecided and uncertain of His will; no, not at all. Instead, we take confidence in Him, in His plans, and in His will, and we walk on. We press on, we do the "due diligence" and we accomplish the tasks He has assigned to us. It is all done in a very orderly fashion, with God as King and Authority, and with us as His loyal servants. It is very orderly because God is a God of Order and not chaos.

This is what I have needed to hear, what I have wanted to know; but although God was saying it I didn't get it, I didn't understand Him. Now I do, and it makes total sense. I get it. I understand, and I am on board with His plans and provision. God is so Good to me.

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