May 29, 2011

Just When It Looks So Good

Well, it would figure that as soon as I made this grand proclamation about what I am to do for a living, something would happen that places a gigantic boulder in my path!  UGH!

I came home from work yesterday to find that my computer had died. I have struggled with this system since I bought it back in 2007. I don't like HP computers, and it seems that every single one I have owned, has had major issues at some point. The only system that seems to work for me is Gateway. I am typing on my 11 year old Gateway system right now. It is slow, but it still works, and I can check email and get around the Internet.

I have wanted to upgrade to a new computer for a long while. And, I had asked the Lord for permission to do so, but that purchase had to wait. I didn't have the money to buy one, and without a permanent job, it wasn't feasible to add that expense. My son needed a laptop for school, and I made that purchase back in January. My computer has limped along, not wanting to start after it has been shut down for about 6-8 months. This past couple weeks, it almost died on me, and luckily it did reboot and return to life.

Yesterday, before I had left for work I asked my son to install some updated software (in preparation for my skills work -- see my blog post from the day before). I didn't even think that my computer would need to shut down (duh!), but it did, and well, there has been no life since. My son said he spent about an hour trying to turn it back on, and finally he gave up. I tried it several times as well, and had no luck either.

Today, I am sitting here waiting to head to church, and I am wondering how this could be possible. I mean, I am trusting the Lord for a job, and I believe that I am to do something from home (initially or as a telecommuter), and then I end up without a computer. Right now, I don't have any money for a computer. Plus, on Tuesday, my graduate courses begin again, and I will need to log in and be in class each day for the next 8-10 weeks. I am stuck, royally stuck, and I see no way out.

I prayed over this situation, and I am still not sure what the Lord seems to be doing in my life right now. I am willing, so willing to work, and just when I commit to doing whatever is necessary to do that work - I end up without access to a computer. I know that nothing is to come in the way of my graduate courses, yet, without more work, we are hopelessly in trouble. My DH is paying some of the bills this month, and says he can pay part of the mortgage. I will have the balance, but then I am very low on funds for food. I will be bringing in my normal $500-600 per month from Macy's, but I cannot pay any additional bills.  Not now, anyway.

Lord, what are you doing, and why is this happening?

I believe in God, and I rely on Him for His provision. I know His plans are GOOD, and that the plans He has for me are GOOD. All I can think of is that this is His way of drawing attention to the fact that I can do nothing without His permission, and I will not work until He brings a job to me. I thought that perhaps the reason I haven't worked all along was due to my unwillingness to do the one job I have held for the past decade. I have come to terms with that job and with doing it now, but still there is no applicable work there for me. I am in the exact same position I was in yesterday, and the day before.

Macy's would like me to work full-time, and I did find out yesterday that I was given "Best Improved Employee" in the store (along with my Supervisor). I don't get anything but the recognition, and while it is nice, it doesn't help me to make more money. My raise is nice too, and while I am thankful for it, I still cannot see making enough to live on. I guess this is the Lord's way of saying to me that no matter the work I do, He will always be the one to provide. I will never be able to make enough money on my own -- it will always be His Hand, His Way, and His Gift to me.

So here I sit, typing on this old system, and thanking the Lord for it. At the least, it works, and I am thankful. Yes, I would like a new computer, and right now, I don't even care what kind it is -- Mac or WIN. I need something to do my classes on, and I need it now.

Dear Lord,


I humbly ask you for help regarding my computer system. You know my needs, and you know what I need to do. I ask now that you will help me see what is going on, and then accept your provision. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, Amen.

May 28, 2011

It is done!

Ok, so I am stubborn and downright willful at times. I wasn't always this way (well, yes I was -- I will explain), but as I have gotten older, I have become all the more unmoveable. Over the course of the past five years, the Lord has worked on my heart, my mind, and my soul to get me to recognized that while He can work with stubborn people, the only way He will work through us is if we are willing to let our guard down, and do the work (whatever He asks us to do). I tell the Lord, "Yes!" even when in my heart (and sometimes I am not even aware of it) I really mean "No." I often say yes without thinking it through, without considering the options or the cost -- then I find something I don't like, and immediately turn around and say "No" to Him. It shouldn't be this way, but I consistently do it.

Last night, the Lord and I had a good heart-to-heart talk. He has been working on this stubborn part of me for a long while, and I had to accept some truth that I really wasn't willing to accept. Now, we have a very good relationship, the Lord and me, so most of the time when He explains it to me, I confess it and the matter is settled. Sometimes, very rarely, I am unwilling to consider the matter, so He waits for me. He waits and waits and waits until I am ready to accept it. Then we move on. This is what happened today. I spent the better part of the night tossing and turning while dreaming strange dreams, and then finally coming to terms with my rebellious streak. God knows me well, and He knows that most of the time, I quickly accept His determination on a thing. However, there are times, last night for example, when I need time to percolate, to think the matter through, to really come to the end of it. I am glad I did, and I feel better, though still a little undone about the whole matter.

As I posted yesterday, I went to an interview with a technical recruiter. This was someone different, but from the same agency I met with in January. At that time, I had a good interview, but no real options for work. The recruiter suggested some more training for me, and then asked me to redo my resume to focus on my specific interest and skill. I did this with the help of my brother, and I ended up with the interview at Toolbox.com. This wasn't a good fit for me, and I was put off by the way in which they conducted the interview process. I floundered, stopped looking, and then just recently started the search up again.

This time the recruiter was very helpful to me, and if anything, she helped me see that I could make good money as a Web Developer. I have always billed myself as a Web Developer because I really am not a graphic artist. I am a Web Designer, but I know how to use SQL and other server-side applications as well as Unix/Linux. I can code some and I am able to do this kind of work. However, I got my nose out of joint when the man at Toolbox told me I was a sham and a scam artist for trying to say I was a developer. In his opinion, I was nothing (ok, he was chauvinistic and a mysogynist). Now, I am listening to this Recruiting Manager tell me that I am an Intermediate Wed Developer and that I could earn $85k per year. This is good news, and this is what I want to hear -- but I don't believe it is so (my problem, not hers).

The recruiting agency had no real work for me, but I left feeling more positive than I have felt in a long while. I considered my skills, and I considered learning how to upgrade them so I could do this kind of work. I am able, I am a technical user, and I understand SQL and PHP. I just don't code in it -- never have -- but now I am considering learning how to do it. It would benefit me, and enable me to earn more money, not to mention, it would also open up a lot of doors to me. So there you have it...I have been stubbornly refusing to do the work I am best suited to do, and all these many months of looking for work has demonstrated one thing: I am not willing to do the work the Lord has in mind for me.

I have worked as a website designer from home for the past twelve years. It is my most recent experience, and it is what I can do well. I need some skill-refreshers, just to polish up my resume, and such. But I should be able to earn this amount of money easily if I apply myself to learning some new things. I have been struggling to work at Macy's, and disappointed in the $8.38 per hour I make (not putting it down, but I cannot live solely on this amount of money). Now, I see that this has been to humble me, to get me to understand that I can work here or I can work in the job suited to me. There is no other option for work, I have tried them all. I wanted to teach (not yet, no MA); I wanted to do Instructional Design (I can, but it is hard to break through to education); I wanted to do training (computer and systems, but again, not enough experience). I am stuck doing one thing, and that is working on the computer and doing design and development.

I have recognized that the reason I am unwilling to do this work is that the memories of the past 12 years are painful to me. I was used, manipulated into doing work I felt was outside the scope of my experience, and I never saw a penny of my own earnings. I lived pitifully, I was poor, and I was worked nearly to exhaustion (60-70 hours was normal). I also hated collectors who called, and the fact that our bills went unpaid while I waited on clients to pay up. I never made enough money to make a big difference, yet I know that my income is what supported us for all those years. I did it, even when mismanaged and overwhelmed, I survived, and I made our life livable.

The recruiter thanked me for wearing a professional suit. She told me that I am a "people person," and that I exude "confidence." I am sure she thought, "I cannot understand why you are not employed, you are so confident of your abilities, so at ease with who you are." It is true, really it is true. I know who I am, and I know my purpose. I am confident in my skills. I know what I can do, and what needs to happen. I get afraid at times, and I sink down into depression often, but generally I am positive and upbeat about things.

I know that God allowed me to go into this recruiter's office for one reason and that was to show me that I am ready to work, that I possess all the skill necessary to do any job of the Lord's choosing. The Lord has chosen this path for me, and I understand it now. All the other jobs were possible, of course, but my skill is specific to this one area, and I have the necessary experience to promote myself this way.

I guess what I am saying is that perhaps the delay in getting full-time work was simply to allow me to recognize that I am a web designer and developer, and that I can do this work and get paid the going rate. I can manage my own business, and I can be successful. I don't need my husband to sell for me, and I don't need anyone but the Lord to manage my business. The Lord has managed my finances well, and He has made sure that I always have enough money to do everything that is needed. He will make sure I can succeed in this work, and if He chooses to bring a job with a company to me, so be it, thy will be done. If not, then I will work from home doing contract work until I am able to do something else.

My plan, therefore, is simple. I need to make a list of all the skill most Intermediate Web Developers need, and then pursue reading books and taking online training (tutorials). I can do this, I know I can. Besides, I happen to have a 17 year old who knows how to code in all the C languages and in PHP. He can help me get up to speed, and he will love being my teacher. He is good that way. If I spend a little bit of time working on learning some new skill as well as running through the tutorials for Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Dreamweaver, I really should be set to command a greater income than before. I need some hardware too, and the Lord has promised me a new computer this summer. I can use my existing system, but it is so slow, and has a power problem. I need a better computer, and some software, so if this is the Lord's well, then He will provide these things to me.

Lastly, this means that I am focused on getting a good job, whether at home or with another company, but now I know what I am doing. Now, I know how to market myself, and now I know how to line up my skills. The Lord has to do the rest, and it will be because He has determined it to be so. I am content, and I know that with His Grace, I can do all things through Christ Jesus -- I can do this work.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to see what I need to do, and then how I am to go about doing it. I can do this work, and with your help, I can brush up my skills, polish up my resume, and find good practical work. I need to learn the skills of your choosing, and I am willing (Yes, Lord, I mean it). Help me now to learn how to write in SQL, how to code in PHP and ASP, and how to present myself as a better version of the "old me." I am trusting you for this provision, and I know that you can make this happen quickly. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, Amen. Not my will, Lord; but thy will be done. Amen, so be it. Selah!

May 27, 2011

I Am On My Way

I am on my way, ready to embrace the job the Lord has for me. This morning, I had an interview with a recruiter from a technical firm. I had interviewed with them back in January, but at that time, it was only for contract work. I applied for a job yesterday, and a different recruiter called me to interview today. The meeting went well (no job of course), and I came away feeling more positive than I have in a long time.

My goal now is to get a good paying job, and I believe that the timing is right with the Lord. I have my schooling under control, and I am moving forward in the hope that the Lord will direct me to the job He wants for me. I am open, and I am willing to do whatever work He chooses for me.

As I think about this today, I know that God is working in my life right now, and that very soon there will be a job for me.

Dear Lord,

I have been waiting patiently for a job opportunity. I ask now that you provide a good job to me, and that you show me that job now. If I need more training, so be it, I am willing. Provide whatever training and preparation you think I need so that I can be highly favored, highly considered, and offered a good job. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, Amen.

May 26, 2011

Enjoying My Day

It's Thursday, and I am at rest. I worked hard yesterday, first battling the ants that found their way into my kitchen, and then doing laundry and house cleaning. I am blessed - I love it when my house is clean and fresh, and everything is put away. So today is a day of rest for me. I am able to stay at home, lounge about, and consider my life as it comes. God has richly blessed me with all manner of blessing in Heaven and on the earth. He is my God, and I am His servant. There is nothing I want, nor need other than Him. To God be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.

As I consider my day, this thought comes to mind: "Lord, what plans do you have for me this day?" I don't have to work at Macy's until Saturday, so I am really loving the last little bit of my vacation. I am looking forward to working full-time (soon, I hope), so that I can have my weekends free again. I miss my Sunday church routine, and I miss having a set schedule. I am comfortable with my classes, and with how much time I have to study to keep my grades up, so I know I can work a regular 9-5 job and do school. Please Lord, soon?

God knows exactly what I need, and His plans for my life are good. They are set, and fixed, which simply means that I am onboard with His desires, and I am fully complying with His purposes for my life. I want what He wants for me, and I am willing (Yes Lord) to go and do whatever He determines needs done. God is Good that way, He always makes sure we are ready, and that we are willing to do the work. I know that in my case, I said I was willing, but when it came right down to it, I wasn't willing to trust Him enough to actually do the work. I liked the "idea" of the work, I liked the idea of "going" but in truth I really wasn't onboard for the actual "doing" part of it. This is now changed for me, and I am fully ready to engage in His work in my life. I know that I can trust Him, and that He is faithful to me. I am ready, I am willing, and I want to get going (Please Lord, soon?)

God is so very GOOD to me, and He loves me completely. I am blessed, and I feel His blessing as it flows down over me. I cannot imagine anything other than this sense of being completely secured within His Powerful and Purposeful plans. I know that whatever comes to pass is His will, and that His will is only for my Good. I am happy to know that I can rest now, no longer trying to seek the answer or figure things out. It is just as it is supposed to be, and God will do whatever He desires from this point on. It is a good feeling to rest in God's plans, and to know that from this time forward, there is nothing I have to do, nothing for me to try to handle or determine. It is all set, it is all fixed, and everything is working together for my Good.

I love you, Lord, and I lift my voice to worship you this day! Praise be to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three in One, God Almighty, and Eternal - Forever and ever, Amen. Always Amen.

May 25, 2011

Letting Go of the Past

I am back from Indiana, and I am refreshed and ready to get started -- started in the sense of moving forward, and making some necessary changes to my daily routine. I enjoyed visiting with my Aunts, and getting to see my cousins. It was lovely weather, wet, slightly humid, with mostly overcast skies (a nice change from hot and sunny in Phoenix). Everything was green, and the flowers were blooming. It was just as I remember Midwestern late May days.

I slept well, considering that we stayed in Berne, Indiana, where there are no street lights. The nights were cool and dark, and the mornings were beautifully filled with the sounds of birds. My Aunt has several bird feeders in her yard, right near her kitchen window, so we could sit at the table and enjoy breakfast while we counted the Cardinals that came to feed. Other birds too -- mostly ones that I don't see here (like Robins), were also prevalent. It was so peaceful, and serene. I also enjoyed the frogs - I love frogs, always have since I was a little girl, and two needed rescuing from my Aunt's pool. I saved them, safely planting them on the grassy edge (I think they were grateful since her pool was being filled, and they struggled to jump out).

We spent our days walking through the old cemeteries, recounting memories of loved one's passed, and seeing how well the folks there trim their plots (pretty good). We felt bad that so many of the stones were unreadable due to the harsh climate and the soft stone. Still, it was lovely to just sit and rest under the big Oaks, and marvel at the old church building, still standing. I cannot recall a nicer vacation, when I simply lived a quiet life, and enjoyed friends, family and fellowship.

We had no grand plans except to attend my Dad's 60th high school reunion (our reason for going), and it was funny, hokey, and very old fashioned (and downright just nice). Everyone we met, chatted with us, and everywhere we went people were so friendly. From the airport attendants to the restraurant waitresses -- everyone seemed to want to chat. I liked that a lot, and found myself opening up, sharing a bit of myself with strangers. It was nice, considering that here in Phoenix, it is only our winter visitors that do that -- most Phoenicians are pretty tight lipped, preferring to be about their business, and not be overly social.

My son had fun, laughed a lot, and enjoyed the climate. He has decided he doesn't want to live in Phoenix anymore (well, that is not new), but now I think his reason is more about choosing where to live versus just getting out of town. He wants to live in a four-season climate (as do I), and really liked Indiana. I think he prefers a little bigger town, though, and would like to be where there are services and ammenities. We visited little towns with 8-9 houses to major cities, so he got to see a large selection of locales. I think he will probably lean towards finding a college out of state now, and that is OK with me. I don't want him to live that far away, but I am willing to go where he goes, if the Lord wills.

Overall, my trip was a delight, and I got to spend some unforgettable moments with my parents and my older relatives. I will remember how we all laughed, and some of the old, old stories, especially those about my grandfather, who died when I was 17. I miss him, even though I didn't know him well. He was a character, and when he would visit, it was always so nice to talk with him (real slow - but he was a quick wit). I miss the old farm, which now belongs to someone else, and the old house, which burned down a couple years ago. The land though looks just like I remember it from my summers in Indiana when I was young. My Aunt's farm around the corner looks the same, and it was nice to be back there to see it again.

God has graciously provided this time for me to return to my childhood past, and to enjoy the blessings of my family (most of whom died in the Lord, and those living are strong professing believers). I like that, I like knowing that my family is with the Lord, and that the ones who remain are striving with Him now. It gives me that second connection of knowing that we are related by blood: by the familial blood, and by the blood of Jesus Christ. God has blessed my life, and my family, and I am giving Him praise today. He is so Good to me, and I love what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will be doing in my life. God is GREAT!

I titled this post, "letting go of the past," because it marks a point in my life where I think I have crossed over from the old life and into the new life. God told me that May 17th would be a day for New Beginnings. I thought He meant a job offer -- isn't that always the case -- we look to the practical, when God is looking to the eternal. I was disappointed that there were no real changes in my life, no emails offering me an interview, no windfalls, no real changes -- just the same old things. It wasn't until I arrived home that I realized what He meant when He asked me if I was ready for this "new beginning." I answered, "Yes, Lord!" and then I waited. I waited some more, questioning Him, wondering when these new changes would take place. Nothing changed in my life, and even coming home on the plane last night, I thought to myself, "I am back in Phoenix, back to my old life."

Yet, I woke up this morning, and sitting here with my coffee and my cats, I am thinking that something has most certainly changed within me. I may not have a job offer, but I have the ability to let go of my past, my entire past now. I am ready to let it all go, and that is every part of it, and then yeild what I hold in my hand to the Lord Himself. In doing so, I am able to allow the Lord full reign in my life. He is able to move me, to change me, and to take me where He wants me to go, and I am willing, so willing to follow. I was willing before, but I think I needed this trip to help me see who I am, really who I was then, and who I am now. I am a child of my father (both literally -- my earthly father and my Heavenly Father). I am so much my Dad's girl, and I am content in that fact. My memories and my history share this common connection, and I am no longer running from it. I am embracing it, have embraced it, and now I can simply let it go. My history is with me, because it is a part of me, it is who I am; but now, God is writing my history, and who I become is not determined by my past, but rather by His Will for my life.

I am honored to know that God's plans for my life are coming to pass, and that in a short time, I will see big accomplishments on my part. God is working behind the scenes to change things, to alter courses, and to straightening me out, so that I can walk in a way that brings Glory to His Name. I am being conformed, and in this way, I am living the life He has purposed for me to live.

As I let go of my past, my history, my roots, I am able now to lay hold of the new destiny that God has prepared for me, a destiny founded before time began, and reserved only for me. It is mine to grasp, and it is freely given to me. I must reach out and take hold of it, and in doing so, I am able to experience all of God's blessings and His Mighty Provision in my life. I am no more trying to figure out how to do this or that thing, but instead, I am waiting for God to move and make that very thing available to me. Sometimes I must wait, and sometimes the thing comes now; but always the thing will be because God has planned it as such.

I am in awe of Him and I sit here today and give thanks to Him for opening my eyes and helping me see that the past days, the past months and years, have worked together to help me let go of who I was, and to embrace fully the person He has made me to be. I have no regrets for to do so would be suggesting that the path I have been on was a mistake, and that the lessons learned had no value. I chose this way to walk, and I suffered through trials associated with this path -- this was my doing, my choice, and I have lived the life that this path promised. There has been much good on this path, and for the sorrow that was there too, it has all worked out to bring me in closer fellowship with my Lord. Therefore, I am content to know that I am Good, that God is GOOD, and that the Good He has in mind for me is coming to pass today.

May God be Praised today and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

May 17, 2011

Happy, but struggling with leg pain

I had another difficult night's sleep. I have been getting nerve pain in my left femur for about three-four days now. It comes on suddenly, and feels like an electric shock wave from my groin to my knee. I thought it was Sciatica, but now I am convinced it is a stress fracture instead. I have had Sciatica for a number of years, and it usually does come on after falling or twisting my lower back/hips. The pain is intense and has that dull throbbing crush that never goes away. This pain is different, and this pain doesn't run down the side or back of my leg. It is more intense, and it comes and goes, whereas Sciatica flares up and stays with you until you rest. This pain cripples you for about ten minutes, then it goes away. I can be sitting, standing, laying down -- it doesn't matter, it just shoots in there, and then the muscle tightens and cramps up.

The reason I believe this is a stress fracture is because of the way I fell on my knee. I landed vertically, like as if I was jumping up, and hit the soft tissue area below the knee. Stress fractures of the leg most commonly occur with this type of activity, jumping, running, etc. The symptoms usually come on two-ten weeks after the injury, and they typically get worse with normal use. It has been two weeks (three on Friday), and I am feeling worse each day.

The good news is that I am doing what is recommended, rest and Ibuprophen. There is little they can do for this type of fracture, except cast it, and then only if the fracture is severe. Usually for femural fractures, they don't do anything. I would need a Nuclear Bone Scan to determine if I have one, as normal xrays won't reveal anything. I don't have insurance anymore, so I am going to try and take care of this on my own. I have two weeks off from Macy's, and then if I get another job, the opportunity to sit at work. Standing, lifting, and doing retail has not helped, and truthfully, between this pain and my regular hip pain (other side), I am pretty much done in at Macy's. I cannot imagine working there much longer.

Lord, please bring me a job offer? Lord, I am willing to work anywhere I can sit and do a good job. I am willing to drive, if need be, and to do whatever work you choose for me. I know that the only way this stress fracture will heal is to rest, and that it could take 12 or more weeks to months for it to truly heal. I need the time to heal, and I cannot do anything to further injure either area. Please help me today, please bring me some confirmation of a job. I ask this now, Lord, because only You can do this for me, and I am in such terrible need. In Jesus' Name, I ask this...Amen.

May 16, 2011

Getting Ready to Go

It's a happy Monday, and I am planning out my trip to Indiana. We leave on Wednesday morning, and I am struggling to figure out what to take with me. The weather is stormy, or will be, and the daily highs range from 60-80. I am planning on jeans and tees, along with a sweatshirt. I have a nice set of clothes for the reunion and Church, but for the days I thought I would just wear casual "winter" clothes. It has been 100 or close to here each day, and I am wearing capris and bermuda shorts, but I don't think I will take any with me. I get cold easily, so jeans will probably work best for me.

On the job front, I am waiting to hear back on potential interviews. I have applied for five good jobs, any of which, I would be happy to take. I am hopeful that I can interview, and I am trusting the Lord to work out whichever job He chooses for me. It would be very nice to have a job interview to come home to, so I am praying that someone will call me to schedule a time to meet for the week after we return. I would like to give my notice to Macy's so I can finish out by June 15th. We will see...the Lord has this timing at hand.

As I look forward to the future, there is still a big hole in the middle of it. I have my schooling under control now, and I feel good about pursuing Regent University. I know that if that is God's will, it will come to pass. If not, then He will lead me to another school of His choosing. Until then, I concentrate on what I am doing, praying for His continued blessing and His providential care (trusting for financial aid, etc.) God is so Good to me to provide a way for me to go to school, and I know His plans will come to pass.

The hole for me is a job, practical good work for me to do so I can live comfortably throughout the rest of my life. I have no one to provide for me, so I need to take that responsibility on myself. I did it, I have done it before, but I shirked back, and hoped that I could remain a SAHM. I cannot not, I know that now. I have to work, and I can either work at Macy's (and suffer miserably for the work is not a good fit for me physically) or I can work in a job that pays well, and requires less physical effort. I need the latter, and I need it now. I am disgusted with myself, to think that I took a year and half to come round to accepting this truth. I had accepted it, God was going forth in my life, opening up doors, and then WHAM! I shut down and would not go. I would not accept His precious gift of work. I looked at it and whined, "No, Lord -- I want to stay at home, to work from home, to be what I always have been -- a Mom!" I knew that I would always be a Mom, but I wanted that freedom to be at home, to do my own thing, to go where I wanted to go. I wasn't willing to go where He wanted me to go.

In all this "going" I assumed that meant physically going someplace, like in moving to another state.  Although God gave me options of going elsewhere, He also expected me to go where ever He opened a door. That meant going down the street or across town for good work. I complained at the distance, the time required for travel. I complained about gas prices, and I complained about the hours. I wanted what I wanted, and not what He wanted -- even though He kept telling me, "Carol, you need a job."

Oh Lord, how foolish and arrogant I have been -- I have not taken the jobs you showed to me, for a myriad of reasons, and here I sit, begging you, waiting on you, asking and pleading again, for you to open up one job for me to do. I am ready now to go, ready to drive 20-30 or more minutes just to work. I am ready to sit in front of the computer and do any kind of work. I am ready to trust my days and weeks to you, the schedule of how everything will be done, to your hand. I ask that you do this for me, open that door, and let us go through it. I pray now that you will show me what to do, and give me the Grace to accept whatever job is offered to me. I need a job today, and I want to work today. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, Amen.

May 15, 2011

Thinking Through the Job Market and My Willingness to Work Full-time

After yesterday's grade in Colonial American Literature, I was really bummed. I had to work at Macy's, so I went with a not-so-great attitude. I did my best, and after about an hour, found out I was getting reviewed. Great! (really, UGH!) My review went well, I "met" expectations, which is a crummy way of saying that all your hardwork was noticed and you are doing a fair job. You are average. Yes, had I consistently opened credit accounts, and upped my IPT (items per transaction), then I would have "exceeded" expectations, and been considered more favorably. I got a raise, up to $8.38 per hour (not putting it down, but it is still very low). It is what retail pays, so be it. I am happy that at the least my manager likes me, and sees in me the possibility of doing better (exceeding next time).

I don't think there will be a next time for me. I am home from church today because at 11:30, I have a recital at my son's piano teacher's home. Normally, we would go to the early service, but after working all day at Macy's, I can barely walk. I will have to sit for an hour, and play cello, and I would rather rest now, before I have to perform. I hate that I miss so much church, but until I can leave Macy's and find a regular M-F job, it is what it is.

I have applied now to five new jobs. These are all as Instructional Designers, which is really a Web Design position within academic circles. I am not working on the actual school web site, but I would be creating teaching materials for presentation on the web. It requires similar skill, less programming experience, and more creativity in design and visual output. Plus the work is more along the lines of supporting the faculty with teaching their courses, and I like that idea. I like to be helpful, and to use my skill whenever I can do it. The question is whether these jobs will look at me without a degree in Instructional Design.

I already considered following that route, getting a MET degree so that I could have that on my resume. But that option required two years of courses, and there was no financial aid for me to do it. I set it aside, and decided to apply for entry level positions, saying that I was looking to transition from Web Design to Instructional Design. It makes sense really, but someone has to be willing to look at me with that intention. I am hopeful that one of these jobs will actually consider me as a good candidate.

My issue it seems (to the Lord at the least) has been my unwillingness to work full-time and go to school part-time. I know that I have said I was willing to do it, but my attitude was not aligned 100%. I was willing, but not willing. I didn't want work to impact my life, to change things too much. Yet, I knew in my heart and in my head that I had to work. I have waited so long, and now I am in a tight financial situation. I need a JOB very badly, and my attitude is still not 100% on board with it.

I asked the Lord why I was not being considered, why I was not getting offers, and His Word came back to me -- I wasn't willing to do the work. Yes, I confess that this was true. I liked the idea of making the money, but not doing the work. You cannot have one without the other, so I just considered it as a money-thing, not a real life Job thing. The Lord had told me previously that He wouldn't provide me a job if I wasn't willing to do the work. I had to promise Him that I would do the work. I said, "Of course, Lord, I promise you," but in my heart, there was something He knew about me -- something, I didn't even accept. I was not willing, and therefore, the Lord didn't open those doors.

I have tried to wrestle with this truth, and it stings me. I really believed I was willing to work. I have been so patient, so hopeful, so depressed at times. I have been willing, Lord! His Word tells me otherwise because there has been no job for nearly two years, and I am still sitting here applying, but not going to work anywhere but at Macy's.

I thought perhaps this meant I wasn't to work at all -- just part-time until I finished Mercy. I was Ok with this, but then materials needs shot up, and I was confronted with the reality of the situation. I cannot be this way any longer, I have to stand up and take responsibility (that which the Lord gives me), and I have to do the work. I have to take the job that is offered, and do the work.

So here I sit waiting on a job, hoping that this time the offer will come. Perhaps it will, perhaps this time, my heart and head and willingness are all aligned. I pray it is so, I pray it is so.

Dear Lord,

I knew back in 2010 that I was going to have to take responsibility for my life. Under your leadership and with your provision, I would have to work to provide for myself and my son. I trusted you to provide a good job to me, I am still trusting you to provide one, but no job has come to me. I have interviewed, but no offers. I understand now that in my defiance, I wanted to remain at home, to stay at home, to work from home, to remain a SAHM. I didn't want a career job, I wanted to be a wife and mother. I didn't want anything other than what I had -- I wanted to go to work to help support the family, to go to school to honor you and complete your work, and to support my parents and my son -- to be what I was before my life changed. I understand now that the old life is gone, it is buried, and it cannot be ressurected. I have to walk in the new life, and the new life requires that I take firmly hold of it. I am no longer a SAHM, but I am a career woman who must work to support her family. I rely on you to provide a career job for me, one that will work with my new life and not conflict with the plans you have for me. I surrender now my desire to remain at home, and I embrace your desire for me to be responsible and in control (under your Headship). I ask now that you would direct my steps, show me where to go to find a good job, and then give me your Grace to accept the responsibility of doing the work. I know that with your help, I can do this. I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen. Thy will be done -- Selah!

May 13, 2011

Feeling Strong

Today is my last day off before I return to work tomorrow. I have Sunday through the following week off to Indiana. I am finally feeling rested, though I think I need a good six weeks of no work/no school to do that for me. Oh well, that isn't going to happen, so I am satisfied with what I do have, and that is a good long week of vacation with family back home in Indiana.

I am anxious about my papers and my final grades, though I know I did well. I worry about grades beause I am a perfectionist who cannot deliver perfect papers! I have to turn them in before they are 100% and then I stress over the little errors they contain. I know it, I do it all the time, but at some point, you just have to let them go. I did that this semester, and truthfully, I was so proud of both of my papers. My Joyce paper is my best, but I am worried now about plagarism. My other Professor uses SafeAssign which checks your paper against a major database. I don't plagarize, but I do heavily quote when necessary, and apparently "quoting" is no longer acceptable. Everything must be paraphrased. I get it, but MLA still allows quotes so I try and keep it to 50% of my paper. Still, I had to quote on that paper because of the subtext, and I am hoping that my Professor doesn't ding me on my usage and style. AGH! The trials of graduate level English courses.

I am set to take two classes this summer. I had decided to wait and take only one, thus prolonging my studies out another year, but really I don't want to do that unless absolutely necessary. I want to finish Mercy in 2012, and begin the next phase of schooling that fall. I have 5-7 years ahead of me, and I need all the time I can get to finish up the course work and major dissertation. I am not worried so much about the work, I am more worried about finishing my MA on time. Oh well...I can only do what the Lord allows, and for now, I am sticking to the 2-2-2-2-2 or five semesters of two courses each approach.

I am leaning now towards Regent University, AGAIN! I love the fact that this program is directly related to ministry. I would like to be about His business as soon as possible and I want to start taking these courses now. I have to finish Mercy, of course, but I am so ready to start taking Bible classes, to begin courses that will directly prepare me for ministry. I have to wait for the Lord's provision, but I definitely feel called to attend here. I cannot explain it because it is just a feeling that says "this is where I want you." I want to go there so badly now, whereas before, I was considering it along with the other schools, preferring none. Now, though, this is something I feel inside of me, growing and calling me, so I have to consider it more carefully. I believe this is the Lord's will for my life, and I need to rest in His calling, knowing that His calling always includes everything needed for the task at hand and the life to be lived.

As I get ready for my day, I am thanking the Lord for His provision of life to me. I am blessed beyond measure, and I am grateful that He has chosen me for this work. I know He will equip me and He will provide everything that is necessary for my life and for His work. I am resting in His care today, trusting for His provision, and believing that He is God. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah - pause and calmly think of that!

Update: May 15, 2011

I got my first paper back -- a B+! I was so disappointed. My Professor said it wasn't research (true - it was an essay), and that I wandered around a bit. The topic I picked was really difficult to find enough research on, so I had to use what I could. I was upset at first, but now I am OK with it. Each Professor will grade differently, and it is important to experience different views on what is and what is not a good paper. It will help me be better, so I am OK with it now (pride was wounded there because the last B paper I got was as an undergraduate - I always get As). My Bibliography was missing a heading (my fault), so I got an A- on that one. Over all, I am hoping that I get an A- in the class. I have an A in discussion, and the course is weighted in thirds. That should prove an A- for an overall grade. It will keep my GPA at 3.83, which is OK. I don't want it to dip below 3.8, but I think I have to stay above 3.5 for Honors. Oh well, I had to surrender my perfectionist attitude and pride to the Lord yesterday, and I can see this as a regular habit of mine -- laying it down, trusting Him, and letting it go. God is Good, and I am satisfied with my work. I did my very best, and think I wrote a very good paper. I think that says something, really, if you think about it. I mean, my Professor wanted something else, but I wasn't ashamed of my work. It wasn't as if I knew it was missing his mark -- I thought it was solid, and very well done. He may have very high standards (he does), and he may not give out As easily. Therefore, for not hitting his target, a B+ was a good effort. I have this same Professor next Fall, and I will do better, now that I know what he expects. It is all part of the learning process, and while I may not like it, this way teaches me how to improve versus just getting As all the time.

May 11, 2011

Seeing the Light

I think I am seeing the light at the end of a very long tunnel. It has been an incredibly difficult semester for me, with two graduate courses, and working 20 hours at Macy's. I am so exhausted, and so relieved to have the semester over, and a full week off from work. I am not sure how this all came about, but I am off this week through the 24th (I asked for the latter dates for my vacation to Indiana). I am enjoying resting, and taking it easy this week, and I know that I will need the time to get us ready to leave on next Tuesday. Today is a good day, and I am trusting the Lord to provide a job to me.

Some new changes have come to light, and I am struggling to accept the reality of them. First off, my DH has agreed to purchase a vehicle he cannot afford. He has the car now, but has to prove insurance, and pay off some DMV fees before the car will be available to him. He doesn't have the money, and I don't have the money, so I am stuck with the thought that he will not have any car at all. He traded his car in to the Insurance company after he was hit three weeks ago. He picked up the check to cover the damages, and now is trying to get himself another car. I am fine with his choice, and it is a nice car. It is just that he cannot make the bills here at home, so how does he plan on making car payments. It is frustrating to me.

Then there is the issue with my situation right now. I am tired of being the one holding the purse, and I want more money so that I am not always worried about the electricity remaining on. I know that if I had a good job, everything would be OK. It is weird to think that all I need is work, and I would be able to live comfortably. I am not talking about major income either. I need $2K to cover everything, and if I could bring in more, well that would just add to my savings account. I am a college educated woman with over 20 years of practical work experience. You'd think I could find work? You'd think there would be A JOB out there for me. Instead, I am a full-time student, and a PT employee of Macy's. In a good marriage, with a husband who provided well, I would be set. Working part-time and going to school would be just fine. But in my case, with the ball landing on my side of the court all the time, I am the one responsible for everything. I am tired of carrying this load, and I need someone to share it with me. Yet, there is no one to do that, and it is getting heavier and heavier with every minute. I am tired, and I am weary, and I am all alone.

I know that God has called me to this path, to walk alone, and at times I love it. I love the life I am living, and I love the fact that I am doing so well. However, there are times when it is nice to have a shoulder to cry on, and a friend to help you through things. I have neither, and I am holding my life together with the tiny threads that I can see, and can knot. My son is doing well, and he is finding school a breeze. I am blessed that he will get another year of scholarship money because of his good grades. Yet, here we sit, in a home that is about to fall down on us, with no money coming in, and no way out.

I titled this post "seeing the light" and now when I think about it, things still look pretty dark for me. I want a way out, and I want to work. I want this to all go away, and to begin a new life. I want to wake up every day and know that I am doing good work, and that on Friday's I will be paid an honest wage. I want to know that if the dryer breaks, I can go to Lowes and get another one. I want to know that if I have to buy new tires, I can go and get them, and not worry about how to pay for them. I simply want the comfort of living a modest life, modest and middle class, and know that I am working towards a retirement whereby I won't be dependent on the state or my child for my living. I want to be free, and I want to be in control. God is in control of my life, and I trust Him to provide for me, but I need to feel that control, to see that everything is as it should be. I try to let things be, but I fret. I am so reliant on my vision -- to see things so I can understand them. Oh Lord, what can I do?

Trust me, the WORD comes back. Yes, Lord -- help me to trust you today. I know you are God and that as God this is nothing to you. You can change this around, you can make it better for me. You are able, more than able to handle anything that concerns me this day. I am relying on you, and I am resting in your provision. Please provide for me today? In Jesus' Name I ask, Amen. Selah! *PAUSE AND CALMLY THINK ABOUT THAT!*

May 10, 2011

Finally, The Answer!

Today was incredibly stressfull for me. After a relaxing time at the hair salon, I came home to find that I came down with some sort of stomach virus. I have been running to the bathroom nearly every hour since, and I am totally worn out. I hate these kinds of food-borne illnesses.  They really do a number on your intestinal system.

As I drove my son over to his piano teacher's house for an extra lesson today (to work with one of the violinists on her recital piece), I realized that this Sunday will be the last time my son will go to piano lessons. We started lessons in January of 2004, and he has taken them for the past seven years. He is a fine pianist but has decided that classical piano is not an interest. He likes playing Jazz and Rock now, so he decided to quit lessons. I am sure his teacher is really sad over the loss (a student loss, but even more so, because she was often his substitute Mom -- encouraging, chastening, etc. when necessary). I am sad that he is growing up so suddenly, and that he is almost done with his first semester in college. He had finals today, and has two more exams before he officially ends this first semester. So far, he has gotten all As, and I am certain he will get As in the rest of his courses. He is such a good student, and he does enjoy school.

I sit here struggling to figure everything out, and I wonder what God is up to in my life. My checking account is dipping periously low to empty, and I don't have any recourse open to me. I have my money from Macy's, and Lord willing, my stipend from my Uncle, but there will be no major influx in income until November (when my financial aid check arrives). I am scared, and I am worried because I have bills to pay -- my car registration and smog test is due this week, and I will have books to purchase for summer school. Plus I have tuition for summer (not covered under financial aid), and I have little money for food and gas.

I need a way out. I have applied for four Instructional Design positons, and I have no idea if they will come to pass or not. Perhaps I might get an interview, but at this stage of the game, I think not. I want to work, and I want to finish school. I want it all, but it seems like I cannot have it all right now.

Next week, we leave to go to Indiana, and I had hoped to have about $500 to take with me (not thinking of spending that money, but just having it to cover us). I won't have that much at all, and probably not even $100 to take along. I am bummed about the income, and I am bummed that I am heading into summer with absolutely no way or means to pay my mortgage and other bills. I have empty hands, and I don't see any way out.

My faith is in God, and I know He will provide, but I don't see any way in front of me. I had hoped to be able to find some work right away, or I had thought I might get hired at BSU as a graduate assistant online. Nothing has come to pass on that front, and I have nothing to look forward to doing right now. I did drop a course at Mercy, so now instead of graduating in 2012, I will not graduate until 2013. I am bummed, really bummed, and I need help.

Dear Lord,

Please help me to figure this out. Show me a way out today, and help me, guide me through an open door. I cannot do it alone, and I need your Help. Please, Lord, I ask now in Jesus' Name, Amen.

May 8, 2011

Seeing Things in a New Way

I was so disappointed in the opportunity at BSU, and it took a while for me to find a positive out of that experience. Upon reflection, however, I have come to understand that I am already qualified to be an Instructional Designer, and while some schools may ask for a Masters in Educational Technology, many employers won't. I started looking at jobs on the Internet, and I have applied to three that ask for a BA only. I am hopeful that perhaps this was the Lord's intention and that He is guiding me into a this field of work.

I can see the opportunity now, whereas before, I only saw Website Design. I have been a designer for nearly 12 years, and after the last interview where my integrity was inpuned (I was told I was lying about being a designer), I stopped looking at jobs completely. Now, with this new focus, I can see how it is possible for me to be hired in higher education or corporate education as an Instructional Designer. I think this is a good path for me to follow, and I am hopeful (again) that the Lord is maneuvering me into this field for practical work.

May 6, 2011

When The Road Looks Blocked

Well, I have my answer back from BSU. It is funny really, I mean, about two weeks ago when I found out that they don't accept graduate assistants in the first year, I thought for sure I knew that I would need to let that opportunity go by. I was disappointed, but I made my peace with it, and let it go. I embraced staying put, focusing on my studies at Mercy and then Old Dominion, and decided that I would trust the Lord and follow Him in these plans.

Then I got an email from the advisor asking me if I had changed my mind, if I was still going to go to BSU. I thought, "this must be my sign" and I went ahead and changed my plans. I was waiting for final confirmation today, and then finally it came through to me. I am a bit disappointed, but at the same time, I am alittle put off. The website or the program makes it sound like they offer financial waivers on their courses, but when I logged in to register, all the courses say that they are not eligble for waivers.  This seems to be dishonest. I should have read the fine print, of course, but I didn't it. I believed what the advisor was saying.

So now I know that BSU offers no tuition assistance at all, and that if I want to go there, I will have to pay for it myself. I cannot do this, so I am taking this as my final confirmation to stay on the existing path and not go anywhere else. I will continue my studies at Mercy, and wait for the next clear step. I will not fear the turning tide of events in my personal life, nor worry over how I will live this summer. I will trust the Lord completely, and know that He is able to provide for me.

I have tuition due at Mercy, and now I am wondering whether I need to put that off as well. I don't mind waiting another semester, it will be Ok really, but then that puts my PhD off another year too.  Oh well, that is too much worry for today, so for now, I will thank the Lord for this plan, and trust Him to clear the debris away and make my path smooth.

Confused and Feeling Vunerable

Just when I was feeling so good and so strong, a curve ball gets lobbed right into my face, nearly knocking me off my feet.  I am confused, and feeling vunerable today, and I need the Lord's provision NOW. Let me explain...as of this morning, I was doing well, thinking that the Lord's plans for my life were clicking by, with everything just as it was meant to be. I felt good, thinking that there would be confirmation on Boise State, a tuition waiver, and then a promised job as an assistant in the department (with PT pay at $5 more per hour than my current Macy's position). Then WHAM! I am tossed over, and I am now thinking, "what in the world is going on, Lord? How did all this happen!"

I think it was about a two months ago when the Lord and I talked about things, sorting out some upcoming details, and getting things straightened out so that I would know what to expect. At that time, I was considering my son's need for a car, and my need for a second vehicle. My DH had the use of our old Thunderbird, and it was pretty much dead (being driven into the ground and being really old and beat up). At that time, the Lord said that I would need to help my DH buy another car, and that I would need to finance it for him. I thought back then that God would be providing a good job, and that I would be able to do this easily. Then no job, no prospect, and the turn to Boise State, and not thinking about jobs anymore (at the least until I finished up my Mercy schooling).

With the thought of having good credit, a good job, and the ability to secure financing, I thought it would be OK to do this, and with the Lord's desire for it to be, I was willing to do it. Of course, over time, everything changed, and I put that thought out of my head.

About three weeks ago, my DH was in a car accident. Some lady backed into the side of his car, ripping a gigantic hole in the door. Her insurance totaled the car, and will reimburse him the cost of the value, or about $2400. He was happy because this meant he could get another car. I was OK with it, hoping he would find something and trusting that it wouldn't affect me at all.

Well, I come to find out today, that my name is on the title of that car. I had thought this wasn't the case, but lo and behold my name is on the car. Furthermore, my DH has found someone to sell him a car (old and beat up) with super high finance charges. He has agreed to buy this car, and pay $200 per month on it for one year. Ok, that would be fine IF he had that money to pay for it himself, but he doesn't. Furthermore, half that car money is mine, and while I am agreeable to letting him have it to buy a car, part of me doesn't want to get saddled with another beater.  Then there is the underlying issue that says that somehow I will find myself in the position of having to pay the car off -- because he won't have the money. And, there is the issue with the fact that to get that money, I have to go with him to total the car out, and then deposit it into my account to wait for it to clear.

So this is what freaks me out right now. I am in a good place, struggling financially, only in the sense that I am making a small amount of money, and in that I don't have any hope for a full-time job yet. My DH seems oblivious to the fact that he is going to have to make the mortgage payment next month, and with only one client (who pays him $500) that just aint gonna happen. I am looking at a whopping $1100 of my contribution, and that leaves us $400 short to cover major expenses. How can he spend $200 per month on a car, when he cannot even support his family? Moreover, will he take $200 out of his $500 and leave us with less than what we need? Of course, this is his plan, always his plan. He robs Peter to pay Paul, and believes that the Universe will somehow pay for everything else. He promises to pay, but never delivers.

I made up my mind to leave him after our marriage hit rock bottom a year ago. I let all the animosity go, and decided that I didn't want to live this way anymore. Putting the fidelity issues aside, the truth is that I don't want to live in want, or waiting for the Sherriff to show up for unpaid bills. I wanted to live honorably, legally, as the Lord tells us to do so in His Word. I wanted to pay my bills on time, not promise what I couldn't keep, and live freely unto the Lord in everything.

So here I am waiting to find out how this will all work out. The Lord has promised a job to me, some work this summer that will cover our expenses. I don't know what this job will be, but I know that now I am desperate for it. I need $2k to live comfortably, and without any contribution from my DH, that means I need $900 (or $1500 if you swap a job with Macy's) each month. I don't have it, I don't know where it will come from, and I need it now.

Dear Lord,

I know that you are my Provider, and that this is nothing to you. You can bring me $1k or $2k more each month like that (with a snap!) I need your hand to bless me today, and I need a job now. I cannot wait any longer, and I am not willing to allow anything to keep me from your work -- so I am confused as to what you want me to do, and whether I am to work FT now or trust you to provide for me through another avenue. Oh Lord, help me today. Help me to understand how this will all work out, and what I will do or should do about it (or anything). I am trusting you, and I rest in your care. I love you and I know you love me. In Jesus' Name, I ask this now, Amen.

May 4, 2011

Feeling Strong Today

I am doing pretty good today, and I am giving the Lord all the praise and honor.  I slept well (another good night, yea!), and I made it up in time to take my son to school (well, let's just say I slept into about 9:30 - wow!)  I am now at home, blogging, and enjoying my cup of coffee.  I am going at 12 to meet my good friend, Karen, and then will be back to pick son up at CC.  I have to work on my second paper, and then work tonight at Macy's.  I am feeling so jazzed about everything today.  I see such great potential, and I feel so very good -- about everything.  God is doing something in my life, and I can sense that excitement, that anticipation.  I don't know what He is up to (does anyone, really?), but whatever it is, it is Good (well, or for my GOOD!)  God is always so Good to me, and I love the changes He makes in my life.  I just feel GREAT!

Yesterday, the Lord brought us a new camera to use for our Indiana trip.  We have needed a digital camera for over two years, and while looking at them, we were not able to swing the cost.  This weekend, Office Max, had a great sale on camera's, so I went over to check them out.  We ended up with the new Kodak Z981 HD camera.  It has all the bells and whistles my son needs, and still is easy enough for me to use.

As we left that store, having plopped down a whopping $260 for the camera and scandisk card and insurance coverage (everything is covered, which is what we needed when my son got his camera wet 2 years ago!), I thought to myself -- "Oh, Lord, this is becoming easier and easier for me to do."  Just a year ago, no perhaps only six months ago, I would have stressed over using that money.  This time, I just did it, and we walked out.  God has provided for every single thing we have needed.  Yes, a camera may not seem a need, but my son has a keen interest in photography, and will need one for school.  The Lord graciously provided us with this awesome camera now so that we will have it when we go on our trip in three weeks.  Praise be to God for He is so Good to us!

I have been thinking about God's provision this past day, and the thought keeps running to this fact:  when God makes up His mind to do something, He does it.  God always knows what He is doing, He is always in control.  He never goofs up, never makes mistakes.  He plans and purposes, and then He provides and BOOM! the thing gets done (get er' done!)  He can do it all, and He always is ready, and His provision is sufficient to meet the need.

I look over my life and see my home.  It has great needs too -- a new roof, some replaced siding, the grass and weeds, the termites!  And, that is just on the outside.  I need paint, I need carpet, and I need tile work done in my bathrooms and kitchen.  My back yard is a dirt lot with weeds and debris and it has looked this way since we purchased this home in 1999 (12 years).  I am tired of the way my house looks on the outside, and I am tired of the way it looks on the inside.  It needs renovation badly, and it simply is in a state of disrepair.

I have prayed over my home for some time now, and God tells me that it will be fixed in time.  I know He is right on this matter, and that He will provide a person to make these repairs as well as the resources for me to pay for them.  I am longing to move, to just pack up and go someplace clean (well, empty so it can be cleaned and made ready).  I am better at starting with a blank slate than with a full house of junk.  The junk overwhelms me, and I cannot function well.  I like empty rooms that can be easily painted, dressed up.  This is easier for me, rather than trying to empty out a house of stuff, and then make repairs.  It is so much more work.

Yet for now I am to remain here and stay put.  I get it, I know it makes sense.  I just think it would be easier to start fresh, somewhere close by, somewhere new.  Any chance of that happening, Lord?  Probably not.  Oh well, it is fun to think about it just the same.

The more I ponder God's Goodness, the more I realize just how much He has me in His hand.  I mean, I don't make a decision without His direction.  I wait on Him for everything, and we go when He says, "Let's go."  I like it this way, I like the fact that all I have to do is follow Him.  He does the rest, and I can trust Him.  He handles the pressure, the events, and I just do the work.  It is a good relationship, and I like Him being Head and me being the tail.  We get things done, and we go places.  I like that nothing is overlooked, nothing is missed.  I can rely on Him to bring things to pass, and to deliver me when I need to be delivered.  He is Good like that, and He never leaves me alone.  I am so blessed, and God be praised -- He is So very GOOD to me.

The next few weeks, I am anticipating that my life will change drastically.  I am waiting to hear back on BSU.  It will either be as the Lord has said to me, and that will be acceptance and full tuition waiver plus fall work OR it will not.  Regardless of the outcome, I am ready to go there.  I know now that God will provide a better computer and monitor for me to use, and He will make sure I have all the books and software to use.  He will also structure my days and weeks so that I can do the work -- and not be overwhelmed by it.  All I have to do is do the assignments and papers.  God does the rest, and in time, I will finish with an additional degree and be able to teach technical courses at colleges or Universities.  It is a win-win situation, and I am so willing to follow Him here, that I am excited about the prospect of it.  I want this to be now, whereas I was so hestitant and uncertain just a couple weeks ago.  If God is in it, then that is where I want to be.  I don't want to do anything that He is not directly in -- why should I?  I am not willing to waste any precious time being about anyone else's business but my Father's.  It is the Father's business I do, and I am so glad to be about it. 

May the Lord prove worthy today -- and May His word come to pass in my life.  He is Worthy, and His Word is TRUTH!  Praise be to God for He is so Good to me today.

May 3, 2011

More Confident and Feeling Ok

Today has been a rock-solid day for me.  First of all, I finished one of my semester papers, and sent it off to the Professor early this morning (whoo hoo!)  It turned out to be 34 pages in length, but that was with an Annotated Bibliography.  I am so relieved to have that paper done and "put to bed," so to speak.  Now, I have one week to write a second paper and then SEMESTER TWO is done for Lit Grad School!  PTL!!

After finishing my paper and taking my son to school, I went to the Beauty School for a haircut.  The gal did a pretty good job, though I will like it better when I style it myself.  I made arrangements to go back next week for a color/highlight job (before my trip to Indiana).  I picked up my son at school, visited with my folks (oh yes, had lunch with the folks), and then went to Office Max and bought a new digital camera.  Last, I ran into the bank and paid the mortgage.  I am home now, tired, but feeling oh so accomplished. Thank you, Jesus for your Mercy and Marvelous Provision today!

Oh yes, I forgot -- in addition to all of this running around, I also faxed a request off to my old community college to ask them to fax my transcript over to Boise State.  BSU is waiting on my one transcript, and any hope of financial aid will rely on my full acceptance.  I am feeling amazingly calm today regarding the decision to attend BSU.  I prayed about it last night, and truthfully, I think I was all worked up because of the stress of that major paper being due yesterday (I was late, but my Prof is a good guy, so it shouldn't be a big deal.)  I talked with my Dad about BSU, and he feels that this is a God-thing, a provision from the Lord.  I think so too, and it is interesting that my Dad is so on board with it.  I think he sees it as a way for me to find good practical work, and to be able to support myself well.  I agree, and now am waiting on the Lord for confirmation that BSU will accept me, and offer me a tuition waiver for these courses.  I am also hoping for a graduate assistantship position, but this would be for the Fall and not summer.  I can hang in at Macy's need be, but it sure would be super awesome to have some other means of financial support.

The more I consider going to BSU, the more at peace I feel inside.  I was all worked up over it, worried about doing the work, taking the extra courses, etc.  Now, I see it as a provision, a way to get a good teaching job, and to be able to do something I am already really good at doing.  I also see it as a potential work assignment that might lead to placement either at BSU or another major University.  I am open to doing that, and I am willing to go where ever the Lord provides a job for me.

My son is doing so well in school too -- he got the good news that he is the top student in his English class.  I am jazzed for him -- he deserves it, he worked hard this semester.  My hope is that he will continue to improve, and will get good grades.  He is also enjoying the blessing of being part of a great worship band, and is loving the "rock star" treatment (well, not really, but they did get picked up in a limo!! LOL!!)

All in all, I feel so blessed today.  I don't know how the Lord intends to provide for me, and my needs, while not gigantic, are still substantial.  With Macy's and my small stipend from a family member, I am bringing home about $1k per month.  I need $2k to really live comfortably.  I need that extra $1k to cover the mortgage, so that I can take care of the utilities and food.  God has promised me enough money, and that I won't lose my home or default on any payments.  I am trusting Him to provide this to me.  I don't know how He will do it, but if He says He will, then He will do it.  This is God -- He always keeps His promises.

Lord,

You know my needs this month, and those needs that will come due this summer.  I need $2k each month just to live comfortably, and to make sure everything runs and stays on (like the lights and stove).  You know that I need food, and that my son now eats more than ever before.  You know that I am willing to work in any job that will provide for us, and that I am also willing to work only at my schooling and for your will.  I am trusting you to provide income to me today, tomorrow and all through the rest of this year.  My needs are small compared to others Lord, but they are my needs.  I ask you now to provide for me, to abundantly bless me, and to help me keep this roof over our heads, and our stomachs full.  In Jesus' Name I pray now, Amen.

May 2, 2011

Confused

Ok, what do I do now?  I knew that Boise State would accept me because I have such good grades and excellent work experience, however, I had already made up my mind not to attend this fall.  I decided in favor of attending ASU instead and working directly towards my PhD in English.  Now, I don't know what to do.

I received an email this morning from the advisor for the Ed Tech program wondering why I hadn't registered for courses.  I was waiting on confirmation from them regarding financial aid, but I guess they were waiting to see if I would register.  Well, I went ahead and registered, but my transcripts have not arrived yet.  I am still in the waiting mode, but it looks like they will accept me and potentially offer me some kind of aid.  I am pleased, but now I am thoroughly confused.  I had this all figured out, or at the least, I thought I had it figured out.  Now, I am not so sure.

My options are wide open, and I am overwhelmed with choices.  How did this happen?  How did I go from having nothing to having everything open to me?  I am sure God has something to do with it (doesn't He always get right in the middle of things :o) -- Yes, He does! PTL!!)  I spent the better part of yesterday working at Macy's and while the Lord sustained me (and incredibly so), I left there feeling pretty content that I was doing the right thing.  I would plan on staying at Macy's until I finished my courses at Mercy, and then I would go to ASU, teach and study towards my PhD.  It made good sense, perfectly good sense to me, and I liked the proposed outcome.  Though in hindsight, all day I felt anxious about what I was doing -- not upset, not off the mark, but I had an unsettled feeling.  I had asked the Lord why I felt the way I did, and He replied, "It is because I am doing something" and then He asked me to trust Him (always!)

Today, I woke up feeling that same sense of anxiety, and wondering if it was just me or the fact that I am in crunch mode on my courses (the semester ends in two weeks).  I am confident of my grades, so I didn't think that was it.  I generally had a sense of peace about what I was doing or planning.  I cannot say that now -- I feel anxious like as in "I am totally out of control."  Yikes!

So I prayed about my decision, trusted the Lord, and registered for three fall courses.  Now I am sitting here thinking "what in the world are you doing, Lord?"  I mean, I am about to say yes to two MA programs, to working at Macy's and then quitting (soon), and working online as part of the Ed Tech program at BSU.  It all sounds good, really good -- but the amount of work is overwhelming and I am completely undone.  Can I do it?  I feel as though it is possible, but not the way I felt about ASU.  That was more like -- "Oh, I can easily do this" whereas this is like "I cannot do this at all -- Lord you have to do it for me!"  Perhaps that is exactly what the Lord desires to do -- to do the work through me.  I don't know, I am so confused.

I am happy to have this opportunity, and I am open to doing it.  I am willing, Lord -- really I am!  Just how is this all going to work out, and how can I actually do it?

Somethings will have to come to pass for all of this to make sense:
  • I have to be accepted to BSU (they are waiting on two transcripts)
  • I have to be given financial aid (a tuition waiver)
  • I have to be approved for online graduate assistant work (20 hours at $12.50 per hour)
  • I have to purchase a new computer and monitor (for my weak eyes)
  • I have to purchase a web cam, headset
  • I have to purchase Adobe Creative Suite - Web Premium (as an academic/student)
Then:
  • I have to quit Macy's
  • I have to rest and recover from working there so I can focus on my studies
  • I have to be able to do the work, do the courses (both BSU and Mercy)
  • I have to graduate with Honors from Mercy
  • I have to graduate with Honors from BSU
If all goes well, I will then have two Masters degrees.  One will be in English Literature and the other in Educational Technology.  I will not have assurance of a job (practical work) but I will have better skills, and a good credential to seek work in higher education.  I will then need to decide where to go for my PhD.  I certainly can still go to ASU, but if I am working, then I would need to study online at Old Dominion University in Virginia.  I can do either or go to Regent University and study Communications.  Oh, it is all mixed up now.  It was fixed, it was set, and I liked it that way.  Now, I have to be flexible on the plans.  Oh, Lord, I don't like being flexible -- you know me -- so why must I be flexible now?  Can't I have it written down in Black and White -- pretty please?

Yes, I know.  I blogged the other day about how important it is to be flexible.  God has worked on me regarding flexibility, and I am the least flexible person I know.  I am rigid and conforming, and I don't like change much at all.  Oh, Lord -- really must I change, really, really, really?

Dear Lord,

I understand what is happening here.  You are giving me opportunity to practice flexibility.  I am being rigid and fixed, and I am not acting like I am fluid, movable, changeable.  I am being stubborn and headstrong, and I repent now.  I want your way, and I am content to do things your way.  Help me today to let this be, to let it go, and let your blessing roll over me.  I ask now in Jesus' Name, Amen.

May 1, 2011

A New Day, Revised

What an amazingly wonderful day!  I am beaming and I am giving all the praise to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I woke up today feeling awful, and thinking that I am not going to make it through the day.  I worked yesterday, 12:45-9:15, and by the end of the shift, I barely could walk out of the store.  Then I slept badly, mostly due to the pain, but also just to being very tired, and uncomfortable (generally speaking).  I did take Advil, but that didn't seem to help me at all.  I was weary, I think, and so very tired of working.

This morning, I slowly got myself moving, and after resting quite a bit, and having several cups of coffee, I am actually doing OK.  I have decided to skip church this morning, in favor of keeping my feet up until the last possible minute.  I work from 1-7, and I am pretty sure it will be the final killer to my back, hips and feet.  I am looking forward to three days off (the last working only the evening shift), and I am confident that I will be fully recovered by next Wednesday.  I think my age, my disposition and my physical limitations are working against me, and no matter how hard I try, Macy's is going to be my 'thorn in my side.'  I am stuck with Macy's for the duration of my college career (well, not all of it, but the next year).  There is no point in looking for a different part-time job because Macy's is what I have, and it works (convenience-wise and schedule-wise) for me.  My managers have been very kind to me since my fall on Thursday, scheduling some extra help to make sure the department is not overwhelmed, and it has helped a lot.  I will do my best today to work as normally as possible, and hopefully then with a few days off, should be back to my better form.

My focus has been sharpened of late, and I am coming to understand this process, the process God has been bringing to me, and helping me work through since late 2009.  It has not been an easy process, and it has incorporated a number of major issues.  Among these, the following have been instrumental in my ability to do what I am doing today:
  • Working independently of my husband, and earning my own money
  • Managing my resources, and using them wisely (as unto the Lord)
  • Developing a keen interest in financial matters and making changes that will provide better access to resources and tools and well as retirement and security
  • Understanding my purpose as a Woman of God as well as Mom, and Daughter
  • Coming to terms with my husband's choices and the ensuing separation from him
  • Choosing to remain married, even though it is not providing marital joy or friendship or even companionship
  • Countering advice from others who believe it is better to be divorced than to remain married even through difficult circumstances and a fractured relationship
  • Focusing on my studies at school, learning a new instrument, beginning language courses -- all to accomodate the Lord's will, and to enable me to continue further graduate study
  • Lastly, learning how to let go of my old life, and embrace this new one.  Accepting the reality of what this life is, and what will be, and choosing to trust the Lord to provide and meet my every need.
As I focus on this New Day, this is what I am reminded:  God has been with me since the day I felt His touch upon my very being.  He reached down and gave me a good poke, and since that day, I have come to enjoy His fellowship and His friendship.  I know He is God, and I trust Him as God.  I may not know anything else in this life, but I do know this:

"For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2 NLT

This verse has become my verse in the last year, really half a year.  I went from desiring God, and wanting to do His will and work (Psalm 37:4-5) to wanting to know Jesus Christ and nothing else.  I am not really sure when this happened or even how it happened, though I do remember praying it several times.  It was like all of a sudden I realized that in my life, and in my whole being, I only know this one thing:  I KNOW the Lord. 

I was driving home last night from Macy's and I remember saying to the Lord, "Lord, why do I feel this way?"  I was amazed at how I was able to walk out of the store, and get to my car (which was a long way away due to the Mother's Day sale and the parking lot being full yesterday).  I was in a lot of pain, but I was happy.  I was thinking about how GREAT God is, and how He had helped me yesterday.  I actually had a really good day.  I just started to think about submitting to Him, and then this thought popped into my head:

I am submitted under you, Lord.

I was trying to find a word to describe my position, or how I saw it, and this was the picture that came to mind.  In the past, I would submit my will to the Lord on various points, and then at other times, I was fully in control of my own way.  Now, however, I am fully submitted to the Lord, and it is as if I am emptied out, and all that remains is His will in my life.  I said, "I am in bondage Lord" -- but then I thought, "No, not in bondage to this world or things of this world, but to You, Lord."  The Lord replied, "You are my bondservant."  Yes, Lord this is it exactly.  I am His bondservant, and I am fully yeilded and submitted to His way.  My will is now "His will be done."  If He says go, I go.  If He says stay, I stay.  If He says do this, then I do what He asks of me.  I cannot really explain it other than to say that this position is by far the most comfortable for me to be in.  I am safe, I am secure, and mostly, I am at rest.  I just do what the Lord wants, and He blesses me and gives to me and provides what is needed.  I do it, He provides it, and it is done.

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NLT