So much has happened in the last 24 hours, and I am excited about these changes. I am not certain what prompted them (ok, well, I am -- it was the Lord, of course!), but I am overjoyed with the results. I am giddy, and I feel so wonderfully blessed today.
First off, I am contented to remain in my current situation and to stay here in Phoenix. I have spent the past year and half seeking to move away, for a myriad of reasons, and I believed so strongly that it was the Lord's will (I still do, but now with a new understanding of that process). I have come around to realizing that God's word to me regarding His will has been fulfilled. I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing, and I am in the process of completing these assigned tasks. The end result will be accomplishing His will, and that will happen over the course of my lifetime. For now, I know that each course I take at Mercy College, each day I practice cello, and each hour I listen to my foreign language tapes -- I am ticking off "to-do's" on God's Assignment Schedule for my life. I am to remain focused on what He has asked me to do, and to not get pulled away into worrying about my daily life or the concerns that are all around me.
Matthew 6:25-34 (NKJV) says:
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
As Christians who are dependent upon God for His Provision, we are to remember Jesus' words to us -- "Your Heavenly Father knows these things" -- God knows our needs. Why then must we fret and worry and despair over the dailyness of our lives? Why can we not trust God to provide for each need as it arises?
It has been couple hours since I first typed this post (saved it, not published), and now I am back home again. I am still thinking about how God has intervened in my life recently, and how I am so blessed by what He appears to be doing. I mentioned above that I am content with my situation -- remaining where I am and staying in Phoenix. Secondly, I am content in my schooling and the options I have for second-tier graduate programs. Moreover, I now have a firm plan for how to get through the next six years, and I feel confident that this is the correct way to go. In the past, I felt confident about aspects of the plan, but not the whole plan. I now feel as though I am right in the middle, right on target, and I am moving down the middle of the road. I am happy to finally be in this spot, because I had found the sides of the road filled with some bumps and pot holes (figuratively speaking).
I feel like I have this plan sorted out. I still need to finalize some of the specifics, but generally speaking, I see the road ahead as "doable." Before, I believed it was doable, but I couldn't imagine actually doing it. Now, I see it as both -- it is doable and I can do it (with God's Grace). I think this is the difference between believing something and actually walking in that belief. I am confident that with God's help, I can do all that He has asked of me. I am so blessed.
Some issues still unresolved right now include finding work, which has been such a major sore spot for me. I have some applications out there still (no word back), but I generally have let the search go. I believe that God will provide some work for me to do, and that work will coorespond to a need (if PT is the need, I am set; if FT is the need, then He will provide). The other issue is really with my present home. I am blessed to have had my window repaired, but now I am faced with other more significant concerns. I cannot sell my home in the condition it is in right now, so staying put means working to make these repairs and then trying to sell it when the economy improves. Perhaps this will be in a year or so, I am not certain. I am to remain as I am and stay put in Phoenix (and in my home). There are a number of homes available to me, and for very good prices (nicely renovated, low monthly payments). I really would like to move. I have seen a home not far from me that would be perfect. It is bigger than my current home and it has a pool. It is hard to live in Phoenix without a pool, and I am thankful for my parents home, which is near by and has a lovely pool (though they are wanting to downsize, and I will be without a pool in the next couple years). However, long term, I would like a home with a pool. Now would be the time to buy since there are so many foreclosures in our area. I will need a FT job, and the opportunity to purchase a foreclosed home. Perhaps in time this will be the case. If not, that is OK. I need to fix my home anyway, so I will focus on making the changes I can make now. God knows what these are, and He will provide for them -- of this I am certain.
Lastly, my son seems settled here. He wanted to move for so long, but now with school and church work, I think he is happy here. I am glad because I didn't want his life to be ruined because of my problems (marriage and such). I think God has protected him, and blessed him in music as well as in school. I know God has a great plan for his life, and I am trusting the Lord to do whatever He chooses to do as far as making that come to pass.
Overall, I have found the secret to contentment. I have made the conscious decision to forgive those who have hurt me deeply. In the past, I forgave without much work -- I mean -- if someone asked me to forgive them, I readily did so. I never was in a situation where I had to forgive someone who didn't ask for it. I forgave, but I held on, and grudges formed in my heart. I took offense again and again, wondering why they wouldn't just come clean, ask and be done with it. It took me a long time to realize that for some people forgiveness will not be the choice they make -- they will not ask to be forgiven. I can either live with that root of bitterness or I can choose to forgive them completely and allow God to heal my heart on the matter. This is what I have done and I feel so liberated. I feel so free, and I am sensing God's pleasure in my attitude and heart. I know that we are to forgive 7x70 -- which is not difficult when you are dealing with repentence. It is a much different matter when there is hardness of heart or even a disinterest in seeking restoration. This is when forgiveness and grace are most effective. To forgive at this point is the time when God is honored most, and His Name is glorified. I admit that I haven't been the most willing, and I had to come to terms with that feeling. God has been patient with me, and now I am experiencing that blessing. God is so very Good to me.
As I close today, I am confident in three things:
- God loves me so completely and has a good plan for my life
- God desires me to be like Jesus, and His Holy Spirit works constantly to bear fruit of this testimony
- God longs for me to be in like relationships -- with Him and with others -- and He works to bring this kind of life testimony to pass in our lives