July 30, 2011

Week One of Training

I finished up my first week of training as an Online Enrollment Advisor for the University of Phoenix. It was a very long week -- five (8) eight hour days of non-stop information downloads. There were frequent breaks and a lot of laughs, but still, it was hard to sit and concentrate for that long of a day. My brain hurts! LOL!

Overall, the week has been good. I have learned a lot about UOPX and I have come to see their innovation and unique delivery of course content in a good light. As an online graduate student at another college, I really see the value in their model and learning technology. My system at Mercy College is OLD and not user-friendly. I also am not impressed with the style of learning, though it is tough, it is not as stable from one course to the next. Each Professor can do what they want and structure the course as they see fit. At UOPX, the faculty follow more strict guidelines to course content and all must maintain a minimum standard for participation.

I have also learned that as of last September, there is no longer any incentive tied to enrollment. This means that EA's (my position) are no longer required to enroll students to receive compensation. The emphasis throughout the University has changed, top down, so that students now are priority, and their satisfaction on whether to attend is solely up to them. I like this change, and I know that it makes good sense. I wouldn't want to be pressured into attending a college, and I think the decision should be left up to me.

I found out that at many colleges, especially those with online programs, the advisors often are in a sales-position where they have to make quotas to receive salary and bonuses, etc. Apparently, this was fairly consistent industry wide. I am glad that UOPX, which is the nation's largest private University, decided to change the way it treats incoming students.

As I move through my training course, I know that I will be well-prepared for my job. I do think they provide excellent training, and that I will be ready to begin working with students. I am excited for this opportunity, and also for the priviledge to work for this University.

July 24, 2011

I'm Gonna Be Alright

Today is the first day of my new work life! I am no longer an employee of Macy's (PTL!) and while I don't mean to sound harsh over that fact (as if Macy's were the devil, kwim?), it is just that I am so very pleased to be moving on right now. Macy's was my transition phase, it was the in-between job to help me stay focused and relaxed until the Lord provided the job of His choosing. I didn't expect to be there a year, but so be it, it was what it was. I am now free to move on to the next job, and I am excited to get started down that path.

Tomorrow is my BIG DAY, and I am really anxious about the commute. I made it there for the interview in 20 minutes, and my heart/gut says that will be normal for me. Of course, that was at noon, and not during the morning rush. However, I am going there early tomorrow so I won't be late for my first day. On my regular schedule, I will work from 6-3 each day, so really the commute shouldn't be any issue for me.

As I sit here today, I am thanking God for His Marvelous Provision of this job. It is good practical work -- something I have been asking Him to provide to me for nearly two years. Yes, Macy's was good practical work too, but this is full-time, and it comes with salary and benefits, so I am really blessed. I am happy to know that very soon, within the month, I will have steady income that is enough to cover all my expenses. I will pay my mortgage on time, and I will pay the utility bills in full (and not in partial payments). I will have some money left over each month, and I can manage it well. I am so blessed, and God is so very GOOD to me.

Sometimes I worry though, and sometimes I wonder how it will all work together for my good. God's Word tells us that He is working through us to bring about His Good in our lives, and as such, we are to rest in His Work, to know that He is able to perform whatever is necessary for His Good. I believe this, I know this is true, and I have experienced testimony that reminds me that God was faithful yesterday, today, and He will be faithful tomorrow. I believe in God, and I know His Word to me is true.

So as I move forward today, and into tomorrow, I am thanking Him for His Goodness to me. I am praising His Name because it is Good to do so. I know that my life is in order, and that the plans God has for me are coming to pass. I am good because God is Good, and He is Good to me.

July 23, 2011

God's Will is Done

Macy's is done. I finished my last shift today, and I left with my head held high, and my heart in tact. I had a good day, albeit a very long day, but it was good. I made my goal for the last time, and I opened one credit application. I ended my year long employment on a very high note.

As I was leaving, I received all sorts of well wishes from my co-workers. Even the store manager said good bye, which was very nice of her to do so. I was pleased with the way things ended, with my day, and with everything I accomplished there.

At Macy's, I learned about retail customer service. It is a different kind of customer service, the sort of grist mill type, whereby the customer is served as quickly and effeciently as possible. It is not the kind of service I am used to giving -- the long term relationship kind. It is more of a "here you go, thanks for coming, and I hope you have a great day" kind. The customer pretty much runs the show when it comes to retail. The customer can be happy or sad, helpful or not, or agreeable/disagreeable. The sales associate gets whatever flavor of customer there is on a given day, and may or may not have any chance of improving their attitude or temperament. The customer calls the shots, and can demand what they want from the store. The associate has little authority, and relies on managers to intervene. Generally, most customers are congenial, and most associates helpful and friendly. The support is mutual, and it is short-lived. I may not see the same customers I saw today ever again. I get one shot to please them, and one hope of getting that sale. It is a hard kind of work, hard to make goals, hard to do the tasks, and hard to find any sense of real accomplishment. It is tough, really tough, and I am glad I got to experience it in between my own business and my next job at the University of Phoenix.

My view is sharply in focus, and I am keenly aware of what it means to give good service. I have had to do the hard work, the dirty work, and the "no thanks" work for almost one year. I am ready to step it up a notch, and get back into delivering the kind of service I think really merits the name, CUSTOMER SERVICE. My hope is that my new job will enable me to polish my skills, and develop the type of outlook that helps me to give this kind of support to the students I am assigned to advise. I hope it works out as I think, but I am open to examining new ways, and experience new avenues of support and service.

It was a weird feeling today, to work in the Petites department for the very last time. I have worked 95% of my shifts in this department. I enjoy my co-workers here, and I know the department and the regular customers well. I am blessed, and it was eery for me to look out and realize that I will never work here again. My supervisor, manager, and the store manager, invited me to come back at Christmas and work the holidays. It was kind of them, but I cannot think that I will do it. I will shop there, of course, but I don't think I want to work retail ever again (Lord willing).

I am so ready to move on, to move on with my life, and to begin this process of becoming what God has in mind for me. I am almost done with my graduate study at Mercy, and I am starting the process of applying to Regent University. I will be working for another University beginning on Monday, so it looks like my career path is clearly fixed in academia. I am pleased with this path, and I know it will provide a good work/career for me. I like being able to say that I work for the University of Phoenix. I like that I can say soon that I am a post-graduate student at Regent University. I am so pleased with this progress, and I want so much to get on with these things, to begin them, and to experience them fully.

My day has come to a close and I am tired. This is the last day that I will be tired -- tired in the sense of weary tired from a long day at Macy's. Sure, I will be tired again, but it will never be like this way. It will never be with swollen feet, and aching back. It will be a different kind of tired, a different kind of weary. God is Good to me, and I know that the plans He has for my life are Good too. I am resting in His plans, and in the security of His provision. I can say that I am content. I am at peace, and I am so very, very happy today.

July 22, 2011

Hard Light of Reality

The other day, I received some words of wisdom from my son. DJ will turn 18 in September, and he is one of those really quiet guys who never say much -- until -- until something happens or its the right moment in time, kwim? He is alot like me, introverted and shy. He also tends to prefer quiet activities like spending time reading or doing things on the computer. He does socialize a lot, but his friends are few. He gets overwhelmed by too much stimulus, so he goes out, and then comes back in ready for peace and quiet. He is my boy, and he is my gift from the Lord.

I am struggling this year to let him go. I have prayed over this point, asked for Grace from God, and I have trusted the Lord over and over for his well-being and welfare. But lately, whenever I see a little boy (like at Macy's the other day -- a sweet 6 year old -- my eyes fill up with tears and I barely can hold them back). I was at my music teacher's home on Wednesday, and two of her students, twin boys where there for their lessons. They are 14 or so, and they remind me so much of my son. They play the piano lovely, and they are so gifted and talented. The one boy wrote a piece of music for chamber, and he played it for me. My eyes welled up with tears again -- just thinking about my boy -- about how he used to play music like that, and write complicated pieces for chamber group. He still plays -- and now he is potentially a professional musician, with a chance to be signed by a recording label. Yes, my little boy is all grown up, and I look at him, and my heart longs for the sweet little one I carried, I loved and cuddled, and I taught at home for all those years.

I am so proud of him, and he has turned into a fine young man -- just what I prayed he would become -- and just what I covenanted with God to produce (I gave this boy over to the Lord when he was a baby, and I promised that he would be devoted to the Lord from that point onward). God keeps His promises, and He expects us to keep our vows to Him. My son is a wonderful young man, not perfect, but he is moving with God's Grace and turning into a man of God's own choosing.

So the other day, we were coming home from church, and my boy says something simple, yet profound. I have been honest with him regarding the situation between me and his Dad. He knows what is going on, and while I have tried very hard to NOT make him my confidant, I have wanted to be serious and honest so that he would known and understand the truth. I have also tried very hard not to put his Dad down or tell sordid stories about him. I have been as fair to his Dad as I can, and I have tried to be as kind and compassionate as possible, all the while struggling to keep all three of us under one roof.

My son is a reader, and he is quiet. So when he told me he had begun to read the "Boundaries" book again (Cloud and Townsend), I was surprized by it. He had read it last year, and we discussed it together. I wanted him to read this book to get a better understanding of proper relationships, considering that he is a college student now, and that at some point in the near future, he may choose to enter into a relationship with a young lady. I wanted him to know what is good and bad -- how to watch for unhealthly signs, etc. He read it then, said he learned a lot, but that was it. Since that time, he has completed Pschology 101 at the Community College, and he totally enjoyed that course (getting a very high A to boot). He is very keen on personality, behavior, and the psychological reasons for why people do and behave certain ways.

It should have been no surprize then that he had taken up "Boundaries" again. However, I just wasn't prepared for the way in which he delivered his advice to me. It was too mature, too thoughtful, and too grownup for my weary, and oh so very tired old brain to handle. I wanted to cry again -- just thinking that the person who is giving me such good advice is my little baby boy, my cherished child!

As we drove home from church, he quipped rather abruptly, "Mom, do you want to know what I think about this situation?" He was short with me, and I am sure it is because he is tired of the whole scenario, and he is tired of seeing the two of us, me and his Dad, go round and round all the time. He began with this statement: "Mom, Dad is a boundaryless person, and as such he has no respect for other people's boundaries. He has never had to suffer any consequences, and he is still getting away with behavior that has no consequence to it." I confessed to him that he was indeed correct, his Dad has never had to suffer any consequences because of two people in his life: his mother and me. His mother always rescued him, and throughout the course of our 27 years of marriage, at least 23 of those were helped along through financial contributions by his parents. Moreover, in the last 10-12 years, I have been the bread winner, I have supported him under the guise and thinking that he was self-employed and "working." Now in truth, he was working and he did bring in some money -- how much, I never knew because he never allowed me access to the bank accounts. He took my  money that came in, and paid the bills with it. I was never given any money to live on, other than a handout every week or other week to buy groceries. He spent his money and my money as he liked, and then when the bills came due and we couldn't pay them, he went to his mother for a loan. He promised to pay her back, but he never did. He promised me the same, and he never returned anything. He has promised his son -- and he has never kept that promise either.

My son continued and said to me, "Mom, I know this sounds mean, but it really isn't mean at all. This is for Dad's good. He cannot be allowed to continue to live without consequences. He has to take responsibility for his life. If he cannot pay for his car, then he will lose his car. If his bank account is overdrawn, then he will have to earn more money to fix that problem himself. If he cannot pay for a home, then he will be homeless." Yes, Dear Son -- you are wise beyond your years.

I sat there and all I could say is "Yes, you are right." I got out of the car and walked into the house, thinking all the way, "oh, how I have enabled David (my DH) all these years." I have made excuses for him, and I have stood by him. I am still making excuses, though I am less inclined to do that now. I pray, "Lord, I don't want to be the one to walk away, to tell him I am leaving." I don't want to see him homeless, living in his car, etc. Yes, I don't want to be mean, but as my son rightly stated, "It is for Dad's good."

My husband is 53, and he has lived his life off the good graces of other people. His business earns zero income, but he says it has potential to earn plenty. He has no money for gas, for food or to pay expenses, but there is hope that "next week" he will have money. The problem with this kind of behavior is that it is so far removed from reality, so far removed from the hard line and light of every day living. You cannot eat promises, and you cannot put "next weeks potential earnings" into your gas tank. To live this way, you must rely on someone else for your welfare. Some one else must foot the bill, pay the expenses, so that you can have the luxury of waiting. My husband has been waiting for 24 years for his business to be successful. At best he made a meager living, not consistently, and without my help, my parent's help, and his parent's help -- he cannot make it each week or month.

This was not always the case. When I married him, he had a good job working in Sales for a major magazine. He made $40-48K per year. He then left that job to work for the SJ Business Journal, and in time was promoted to the Sales Director. He made close to $60k back then. That was in the early 1980's, but the potential for earning was well in hand. I worked for a pittance back then -- but I still worked. I calculated once that in 1985, we earned about $60k per year. By 1988, we were making closer to $100k.

The problem was that even back then, I never saw any of my own money. To make matters worse, we never had any money saved, and we had collectors calling us for unpaid debts. I didn't have any debt when we married, and my husband only had a school loan. Yet, within three years of our marriage, we were in debt, with collectors calling my workplace to demand payment. I was shocked and horrified that this was taking place, and I cried every night, and I begged my husband to take care of it. He did nothing, so for years, I lived in fear of being arrested for unpaid debts.

I think I understand it now, and I think I finally get what happened. Sometime in 1988, my husband was fired from his job. I don't know the reasons for it, I was just told there was a changeover in management, and everyone was being let go. It may have been true because there were a number of people who were let go at the same time as my husband. After this blow, he struggled to find work. He eventually started to sell promotional products, and then he started his own business. I continued to work long hours, and we lived on my salary. At this time, my husband began to hide regularly, and by that I mean, he started to take a very conservative approach to politics, saying that the government had no right to our money or to assess taxes. He stopped paying taxes then, and I think subconciously began to strategize how he could live on the least amount of money so that he could remain under the government's radar.

The debt collectors never went away, but he seemed to never have any money. The money came in -- I know it did -- but when I asked him, he would say, "I paid some bills with it." Our bills, so to speak, were paid sporadically, sometimes in full, sometimes in partial, and sometimes not at all. Our phone, our gas, our electricity -- all -- were shut off time and time again. I worked so hard back then, and I never understood how we got into so much debt. When I would ask, he would say we weren't in debt at all. We had no debt. I never understood that, and when I said "what about so and so," he would just wave to me and say it was a mistake or something like that.

Back to my son, and his words of wisdom. Yes, I admit that my innocence and the fact that I had little financial experience led me to take on the role of "Mother" to my husband. I thought it was what a good Christian wife should do. I was his help-meet, and by that, it meant that I was to support his vision and dream for financial success. My husband latched onto every single "get rich scheme" that was advertised on TV. Nothing ever worked -- it was just money wasted. He could have been seeking sales work, and righting the damaged horse, so to speak, but instead he wanted to be a millionaire. I complained, I cried, and eventually, I gave in and took the submissive role of wife, of mother, and of financial supporter.

In my years of marriage, I literally supported us on whatever I could earn. I raised my child, home educated him on a shoe string, and I supported a husband who still controlled every penny I earned. He never made good decisions with our money. And even today, I see that whatever he does earn, he spends on food -- lunches out or breakfast with a "supposed client." He spends $40-60 a week on client meals, and none of these clients pay him anything at all. He has NO CLIENTS.

He told me today that we would be back at 10 for a "webinar." This is his way of seeking work. He will watch some seminar on the computer, take notes on how to make it big or how to be a better sales person, etc. Yet, he will not go out to work. He told his son that a JOB really meant "JUST OVER BROKE." What is that all about? My JOB will pay me enough income to keep my head afloat, plus provide a very nice home for us to live in. Additionally, it will cover health insurance, and it will allow me to save money for emergencies. I will not be JUST OVER BROKE. My husband is BROKEN. His mentality and his belief system is broken. He is not seeking God's will for his life nor is he following after any wisdom associated with the Lord. He is still following the world's system, and world beliefs that are telling him it is better to try and fail, than to do any kind of work where he could succeed.

Is my husband a boundaryless person? Absolutely. Am I an enabler -- Yes, I am. I am still in the role of mother, and I am still providing for his care. I buy his medicine, I buy him food. I go to Walmart to buy what he needs. He contributes sporadically, telling me that he "hopes to have some money next week." The money doesn't come, of course, and I foot the bill. I have footed the bill for too long, and now I am at the point where I don't want to do it anymore. I want to be free, to be free from all the fantasy, the lies, and the make-believe "what ifs" that surround my husband. And while he needs to see the hard light of reality, the truth is that I need to see it too. I need to accept the truth of this life, and that truth is that for the past 24 years, I have served only to continue to shelter and absolve my husband of every mistake, every error, and every bad action. I have suffered, I have taken his punishment, and I have lived as a victim of another person's bad choices. I chose it, I remained in it, and I am still doing it to some extent. I see it now, and I understand that I will have to do the dirty, the hard, the mean, and the devastatingly simple thing -- I will have to say NO to my husband, mean it, and then walk away.

Dear Lord,

You have given DJ great wisdom and the kind of attitude that is so common in children. He is upset at me for being kind to his Dad, for showing him Grace. I understand this now, and I know that I have enabled David to continue to live this way, and therefore, the problems, the failure is really mine. Yes, he has made bad choices, but had I not stepped in to save him, my life would have been better in the long run. He perhaps would have changed as a result of those negative consequences. I stopped the pain, and I am still stopping the pain. I can no longer be the one to save him, to take on his burdens, and to pay for all his errors. I have learned how to listen to you, and I have committed my way to following after you. I cannot carry him any longer. He is a grown man, able to do good work -- so let him work, let him find his own life, and let him take responsibility for himself. I walk on, I walk alone, and I follow after you. I cannot go where you are sending me and carry a grown up baby with me. It is time to remove him from the breast, so to speak, and let him seek solid food. My prayer is that he will turn, return to you, and seek you once again. I pray that he will get help, and that he will learn how to live on his own terms, no longer using people, and relying on them for his care and welfare. Thank you, Jesus, for this lesson in reality. I ask now for the Grace to walk away, and for the strength (in Jesus) to do the good, the right, and the best thing. May your Name be praised now and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 21, 2011

Living in Peace

This morning I woke up with such an aching back. I know the cause, and I know what I did to irritate it, but still, the pain was pretty awful. It is getting better the more I move around, and I know that once I get into the shower, it will feel much better (that and some Advil will help most). My aches and pains are always with me, and they are the "normal" in my life. I guess it is part and parcel with getting older, and I am used to them. I wish they were not here, and I wish I felt better all the time, but I know that my weak body, and some of the issues with it, are here for the duration of my life. Still, the thought of great health at my age is pleasant. I would like to know I could hike a mountain or take a very long swim. I wish I could ski or boat or do any number of things I used to do when I was younger. Now, I am settled, and my bones and muscles disagree on what they are willing to do each day. Just getting up, and just living is enough for me. Praise be to God who sustains me -- He is always so Good to me!

After my coffee and checking of email, I went out into the kitchen/dining area and found a load of laundry setting on a chair. It had been removed from the dryer, and was in need of folding. The one who had removed it, left it there, apparently intending on returning to it at a later time (for the folding part). I normally do the laundry, and I almost always do the folding. I don't mind, really. I have been doing laundry and folding since I was a little girl. My mother put me to doing the laundry when I was about 8 years of age. I sometimes got to do the entire process, but mostly, I was ask to fold the clothes for her. I actually enjoy folding clothing. It is like washing dishes -- a time of quiet solitude when your mind can relax and just be. I like that peace that comes to you when you are doing repetive tasks. I thank God that He has given me good work to do, and that in that work, I can enjoy the quiet and peace of contemplation. He is Good!

As I folded the laundry, the person who was going to do the folding came by and told me that "they were going to do it." I didn't mind doing it, but in my head, this little voice said, "Yeah right -- going to and doing it are two different things!" Argh! Here I was thinking about God, folding laundry and minding my own business when this prick of pride rose up within me. It didn't matter who folded the clothes, just so long as they were folded. Yet, inside of me, I felt put upon, taken advantage of, and that my goodness and charity were being used by someone else (as in "If I leave this here, Carol will fold the clothes -- she always folds the clothes!")

Then just as quickly as the words came to my head, I thought to myself, "Oh, Lord, I don't want to think that at all. I don't need to be right anymore." The more I thought about those words, the more I realized that being right was synonomous with being RIGHTEOUS. When you need to be right, you are living under the sin of pride. Pride says, "I am best, I know best, my way is right." I started to think about those words, and the more I did, the more I realized that I don't need to be right anymore. I have no righteousness of my own, and my only claim is that I live through the RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST. I live because Christ lives in me. His work, His blood, His atonement is what makes me RIGHT in God's eyes. It is not about me, it is all about Him.

These past months have been a humbling experience for me. I have learned how to serve, and how to work in places and jobs that were pretty thankless. The work was hard, and the suffering great, but the job was necessary, and I did it. Now I recognize what a blessing it is to be able to work for oneself (whether at home or for someone else). The ability to work, the ability to do things, anything is a God-given blessing. I am able to work, and I enjoy working. I like making money, most certainly, but I also enjoy the process of working. God designed us to move, and to work, and when we do both, we are using our bodies in the most natural way. However, some people choose not to work, and believe that they are entitled to receive help and care from other people. God's Word tells us that the person who doesn't work, shouldn't eat. It is clear that we are to work as long as we are able, and in doing so, God will use our work to honor Him, and to bring us provision.

The need to be right in everything, whether it is in relationship, work or even in spiritual thinking suggests that our way is more important than His way. God's way always trumps ours, and if we submit to it, then we will receive blessing upon blessing. I have come to learn that His way is Good, and for the most part, it is easy. Though the plow requires much effort, the result is a well-furrowed field. God doesn't promise us easy work, just that the burden of that work will be easy on us. This is what Christ meant when He said that His Yoke was easy and His burden light. The work, the physical nature of the work may be difficult, and even at times, overwhelming to us -- but the yoke of bondage (as in being a bondservant of Jesus Christ) will enable us to do the job, to complete the task. The burden placed on us is light -- it is not heavy or so hard to carry that we cannot do what God asks us to do.

I have found this to be true. The burden I carry now is very light. Even though I am faced with the responsibility of living and caring for myself and my almost grown son, I find the burden easier to bear -- than when I was married, and trusting in my husband to provide for us. It was not that looking to a husband was wrong or a bad thing; no, not at all. Rather it was that when I was looking to a person for provision, I often struggled and stressed over the provision itself. Plus, there was no blessing coming to us and the work was grueling and provided little support for our family. Now that I am under the blessing of God, the provision comes easily, and the stress and strain are gone. I am no longer worried about the money or the bills. I admit that I still am concerned and that at times I have to remind myself that God is my provider -- but generally, I am able to let things go, to rest and relax, and to trust God to do what He does best.

This peace that comes to us is a gift of Jesus Christ. I have peace within myself, with my God, and with the world (as much as it is possible). I still struggle, and I still suffer pain due to work (the physical aspects of it), but I am no longer straining to go my way, pulling against the yoke to have it all. Instead, I walk alongside the Master, and the yoke fits me well. The burden I pull is being shared, and it is light.

Therefore, with the laundry neatly folded, I made the decision to let go of my pride, and to stop (READ STOP) the need to be right all the time. I have decided that the only person who is right is God, and that He has a right to be RIGHT, if you know what I mean. Who can stand up against God? I mean, really? Are you better than God, do you know more than God, is your way superior to His way? Nope, not at all. I realized that even wanting to be right with people is pridefulness. You see, God is RIGHT all the time. He has made me RIGHT (in Christ's redemptive work), and as a result everything in my life is now RIGHT as He determines. So what do I need to be right about any more? Is there some person I must prove wrong? Must I demonstrate my smartness, my craftiness, my cunning to be approved? Certainly not! There is no one in the world who will approve me as much as My Father who has already APPROVED me. If God has said, "You are good," then are we not GOOD indeed? Truthfully, what more can be said of us, if the very Lord Himself has said, "You are Good." You see, it is our pride that thinks we need the approval of men, when in reality the only approval we need is God's approval. I am approved today, not on my own merit, but on the merit of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is done -- there is nothing more to be added to Christ's death, burial and ressurection. It is complete -- it is finished. I am APPROVED.

Now that I understand the depth of this sentence, I see clearly how pride attempts to pull me away from the approval of God. Pride still lingers in my flesh, and as such, it doesn't like being told NO. It wants YES all the time, and it wars with my Spirit and the FACT THAT I HAVE EVERYTHING I NEED IN CHRIST JESUS. It wants to assert itself again, to attempt to take back that yoke, but God says, "No, you cannot have it back." I don't want to go back under that yoke of bondage to pride. I want to rest in the security and blessing of His Peace.

As I close this blog post, I thank the Lord for His Mercy in showing me the death of my pride. I know that as long as my flesh lives, there will be a remnant of pride within me. However, that remnant has been made void and inert -- it cannot function unless I empower it to do so. If I live fully surrendered to Christ, that leftover pridefulness will lay idle within me until the day when I stand before the Lord and I am transformed by His Glory. My role now is to remain fully surrendered, and to let all those fleshly desires lay dormant until the day of Christ. I can do this, not of my own will, but of the Holy Spirit's power and the effectiveness of the Blood.

Thank you Jesus for your Marvelous Blood, and for the cleansing power it affords. Have your way today, and allow me the blessing of living in your Peace from this day forward. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 20, 2011

Tomorrow and then the Day After

It is going to be another hot and sticky day in Phoenix. Yesterday, it felt like an oven outside. We got no rain, and not even any dust. The day before, we had a good dust storm, but no rain. This is typical monsoon season for us. It is feast or famine when it comes to the rain. Some places will get rain, some just get dust. Ugh!

I woke up today, and realized that I was out of coffee. I thought it would be Ok, but after I got up and moving, I KNEW, just KNEW I needed coffee. So I threw on some clothes and drove over to Fry's. I ended up getting gas (at their pumps), putting air in my back tired (reminder -- take the car to the shop BEFORE you drive to Tempe next week!), and donuts. They usually have really good creme filled ones, but I must have picked one that was missing the creme! Bummer -- I mean, if you are going to eat a creme-filled donut, it better have CREME in it! Oh well, the chocolate on top was very messy and gooey, and the coffee was nice and strong. It all worked out in the end, and now I am totally satisfied for the morning.

I had some strange dreams last night, really weird ones (with bugs), and I ended as the fair damsel in a eerily similar Robert Louis Stevenson novel (LOL! - thinking "Robinson Crusoe"). I woke up thinking, "what in the world is going on here?" I mean, I am almost 49 years of age, and here I am dreaming about being a 20-something girl cast away at sea, and landing/living on a deserted island. That is just too weird for me (though I do love the beach, and I do have a "thing" for the whole island/castaway dreamscape). It was fun, and it was odd -- so there you go! I came back to the real world and found myself without coffee, and then made the decision to go and get some (read above).

Now, I am sitting at my computer, blogging, and planning my day. I have school work to do, reading to start/finish, and some writing to do. I also work at Macy's this evening (#2 of #3 times left). I am not looking forward to going there, but I have to say that everyone has been overly nice to me. My managers have been very kind and genuinely friendly to me. Perhaps it is because they see me as more than an Associate now. Perhaps I am a loyal Macy's customer or just perhaps I am a real person to them. I would hope it is all of the above because I have worked my little tail off at that place. I am tired, and I don't want to pick up bathing suits anymore (last night, one young girl left two-three dozen suits laying inside-out on the floor). I am tired of picking up messes, and dusting, and cleaning, and doing everything to keep the department clean. I am ready for my new job to begin, and for more mental challenge. My prayer is that I am able to learn the system, the policies, and the procedures, and get working right away. I know I can do this, and I know this job is of His hand. I am well-set now. I am so well-set.

Lastly, as I ponder today, I am so thankful for yesterday. I really wasn't too thrilled about yesterday at all, and I had a bad attitude all day. My son was part of the issue, and I was bent on seeing to it that he made his way straight. I actually ended up confessing my sin to the Lord, and asking for forgiveness because I was trying to control something no longer under my control. It worked out OK, and everything came off as it should have (sans the attitude). God is Good that way, and I am thankful for His steady hand. My son and I were able to accomplish several things -- getting his school money in order (PTL!), switching his banking from teen to College (which means he is a 'real' consumer now), getting his laundry done (he did it!), and vacuuming the hair off his floor (his hair, too long -- and he vacuumed). I was pleased, and God was Good to help me keep my cool through it all. God -- always COOL; me, sometimes -- but mostly NOT! Oh, I am so glad God loves me as I am!! PTL!!

So there is my life in a nutshell. I hope to get my school work caught up, and then pass cello (no practice this week -- too many things, still with a strained thumb), and then off to Macy's for the second to last time *ever*, Lord willing. God is receiving the praise today for He is worthy, and He is so GOOD!

July 18, 2011

I Am Almost Home

I survived Macy's One Day Sale, and the day after (Sunday)! I am so sore and tired, but I made it. I am now on the count down to my last day (this Saturday). I am praising God for His Marvelous Wisdom and His Goodness towards me. God is Good all the time -- All the time, God is Good!

As I rest today, I am thinking about how far I have come over the past months. I am now a full-time working woman! PTL! I am also financially solvent, though my accounts are pretty low, I am in the black, and I have money in savings (another shout out to the Lord for His Financial help!!) My car is paid for, and my schooling is set through the end of Spring 2012 (thanks to Financial Aid -- I am assured that I will graduate!) My son's schooling is also set, and with a academic scholarship, this means he can get his AA for free! God is SO GOOD!

While my body is sore, and I still worry and fret over the small details, generally speaking, I am trusting the Lord more and more each new day. I know He is God, and as God, He is able to do whatever needs doing in my life. He is able to make this come to pass, and bring me through to the end per His will and desires. I am blessed, so very blessed.

One of the things I haven't quite figured out is how He will do it. I know with my new job, finances are in order, and I will have enough to pay my bills and live modestly each month. I also have my credit in check, and I am slowly building my credit back to where it needs to be. I still don't know how I will leave this home (sell it) or when I will apply for the next one. I am hoping that I can move by next month. It all depends on my being able to do it, and I have to trust the Lord for His Provision of the money to move out of this home. I know this is His will, so I am letting it be, letting go of the worry. If it is what He wants, so be it.

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

July 15, 2011

The Day of the Lord

WOW! I am so excited today. I cannot really put my finger on the exact cause of the excitement, but I feel as though good things are about to happen for me. First of all, I am getting closer to beginning my new job (PTL!) and secondly, I am almost finished with my days at Macy's. I am at the BIG ONE DAY event sale, which means I will be working tonight-Sunday. I am not looking forward to the pain, but the Lord surely will give me the strength to see this weekend through to the end. After this weekend, I have one more week, and then I begin my new job. God is so very Good to me!


I am also greatly enjoying my new phone. I have gotten all my music loaded now, so it is both phone and mp3 player. In addition, I have my wi-fi setup so I can use my phone as a mini-laptop. I cannot do everything I would on a laptop, but I certainly can check email, facebook, and find maps, etc. I can also read the news, and stay on top of important events. I like that I can carry it with me, see the world and all it's happenings, and still be free and unencumbered with a full laptop. I also like that I can read the Bible on my phone or listen to one of the "Great Voices" read it to me. There is so much I can do with this little phone, and I am thanking God today for its provision.

As I ponder this day, I am convinced of God's faithfulness and His truth to me. I see His Hand upon my life, and I am experiencing His Grace daily. I am living fully within the boundaries of His Will, and I am blessed, I am so very blessed. My God is GREAT and I give Him all the Praise today. There is nothing I lack, nothing I need, and nothing I am worried or concerned about this day. God is my Provider; He is my High Tower. I am saved, I am free, and I am loved -- can there be anything better than these three things? I think not --

Praise to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit -- Three in One! Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and calmly think about that!!)

July 14, 2011

Sensing His Presence

I woke up today to an aching back and swollen feet! I am counting down the days until I leave Macy's, and I am thanking the Lord for His protection over me (Jehovah-Jireh -- the Lord is my Provision). I had a really tough shift last evening, working in the big Impulse department by myself. There was another associate in Denim (next door and part of Impulse), but she only came over once during the evening. Normally, both associates work together so that the one at the Impulse register isn't overwhelmed. This person was new, and obviously didn't understand that she had to work the entire department. Oh well!

As I was starting my shift, I went upstairs to the office to get my water bottle filled, and I received the nicest compliments from two of my co-workers. The one, my direct supervisor, and the other a sweet lady who works in the office, said that I brought something to Macy's that no one else had. They couldn't quite put their finger on it -- as in saying -- "we cannot really say what it is, but you have something different from everyone else!" Yes! Praise be to Jesus, my light and His Glory has shown in the departments of Macy's. Even with all my grumbling, and there were days when I grumbled out loud, my Light (Jesus) shined in this place. Both said how sad they were to see me go, but they wished me well. I left laughing, trying to make a joke about my age, and saying I was "seasoned" and that this was why I didn't get upset with customers, etc. Truthfully, I give all the praise to God, and I did get upset with customers often. I just hid it under His Grace, and praise be to God, no one really saw it!

I sit here today and I am thanking God for the provision of Macy's. It was almost one year ago today when I applied to Macy's. I was desperate, and I wanted to work so badly. I had already applied to a number of jobs, but I was not sure what the Lord wanted me to do. I wanted to work, but I was still being in control of the kind of work I did. The Lord opened the door for me at Macy's, and while it wasn't a good fit physically, and I have suffered much from my time there, I have learned a wonderful lesson in humility. I have learned that work is work, and that regardless of the labor, we are to work unto the Lord. Therefore, whether I am a Macy's employee or a University of Phoenix employee, it is always God who does the providing. He is the enabler, and the annoiter, and it is only through His Grace, that we can do anything at all. If I look to my hand, I fall; but, if I remain resolved to look only to His Hand, then I soar higher than the eagle. God is always, always to receive our praise and honor. There is nothing we can take credit for or glory in that He is not directly responsible for in our lives.

In this way, I am able now to go to the next job and regardless of the work expected, say to Him, "Gracious God, grant me the ability to do this job well and to bring you honor." I cannot do it, I cannot even attempt to do it well. I can trust Him, and He will do it through me. I am thanking my God that this is His Way, and that by yielding to it, and being agreeable and willing to allow Him to move through me, I can succeed, I can grow, and I can accomplish His will. I love the Lord most of all, and because of His Mercy and Grace, I am able to do all things. It is only through the resurrection life of my Lord, Jesus Christ, that I can stand today, sit here and blog, and consider tomorrow -- all with an upbeat attitude, a willing heart, and a desire to GO -- to follow after Him. No matter how my feet hurt today, I will walk on after Him. I will follow where ever He leads me to go. Praise be to God, Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit -- forever, and ever. Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

Update: Housing and Other Stuff

I am resolved to move from this house and into a rental unit. I have prayed over this and believe that this is the Lord's provision for me. I have had some interest in a mortgage, but I do not believe the Lord desires me to purchase the house I am currently living in. There is paperwork to be signed, and of course, a debt to be paid, but I am trusting the Lord to move me out of my current home, and into the home of His choosing very soon.

I can see the logic in such a move. I need to be free to go where the Lord leads, and that means that I need to not be tied into a long-term lease situation. I need to go when the Lord says, "Let's go" and we start moving. I cannot worry about selling a home, or even breaking a lease. So I think this is the Lord's doing, and I am resting in His Judgement on the case. I know He will provide a way out for me, and that He will resolve this situation quickly and within the next month.

So far, I have looked at a number of rental places. There is one nearby that would work well. I am thinking that this will be where we go, Lord willing, and that we will need to move sometime next month. The timing would be good, so Lord, let's go.

In preparation for this move, I have to finish some tasks here at home, namely painting and decluttering. I also need to start to pack. The Lord has given me the go to pack, so I need to make a do-to list and start packing. I am trusting that He will help me with strength and endurance, and that He will provide a way for me to pack now. I am also asking for a way out of some of the clutter, the old junk, etc. Perhaps bulk trash, and perhaps St. Vincent de Paul -- or another charity group that will pick up large items. I need to get rid of sofas and chairs, and old desks and other really trashed items. I have had these items in my home for 20-30 years so they are no good to anyone. I cannot just dump them, so I need to know who will take them away for me. I also do not have a moving truck or a truck -- so I am planning on moving with only small items. I will buy a new bed, and sofa, etc. and have these items delivered to me. I cannot fathom moving on my own, so I need God's help to get my things transported across town. Of couse, I can and will move the little things, the boxes, and such, and I do have a teenager to help. I just cannot move furniture anymore.

I see great potential in moving, and I am resolved that this is the Lord's will for my life. I anticipate being happy in this new home, no longer struggling with oppression that has been with me for 30 years. I am so excited to be free from the darkness, and to be in a home that the Lord has chosen for me. I know that in His choice, I will be surrounded by God and will be able to sleep and to live without that constant harrassment from Satan. Now granted, I know I will never be free of his harrassment, but I will be free from it in my home. I will be no longer tied to items and things and people with whom Satan has an attachment. The Lord in His word tells us to flee these things, these emotional attachments, and in doing so, we are able to withstand the darkness. If we remain attached to things or people that are not of the light, than that darkness settles around us. Yes, the darkness flees in the Light of Jesus, but we are already plunged into this dark world, and we are already being challenged daily by everyday things, and people we meet. We are to keep our personal life, our personal relationships, free from darkness so that our entire effort and being can be used to reach those the Lord is seeking.  This probably doesn't make sense, but I guess what I am saying is that as Christians we are called to live in this world (in the darkness), but that in our personal lives we are called to live the Kingdom of God (in the light.) It is not good for us to allow our personal lives to be hindered by the darkness -- we must always be in the light.

My goal is to separate myself from the dark aspects in my life today, and to be free from their influence. I am tired of struggling in my own life, of having to constantly do battle on the inside. I have enough worries with battling the outside -- so my inside life needs to be pure and righteous, and striving for the Lord only. I am choosing to follow God, to live in His Light, and to do what pleases Him most. May God be Praised today and forever more!

July 13, 2011

Changes and the Lord

It is a lovely Wednesday here in Phoenix. The day is going to be hot (again!) and there is little chance of monsoon rain. Oh well...this is what it is like to live in Phoenix during the summer -- hot, hot, and more hot, and just the promise of rain!

I am loving my new iPhone. I purchased the 3GS model, and my son bought the 4. I didn't think I needed the more expensive phone, and so far, I am very happy with my choice. I bought these phones in preparation of some changes the Lord has in mind for us. I have known for a while that we would need to begin to change our approach to life, to make some additions and deletions to services and providers. This was in part due to the unresolved aspect of my life (my marriage), and also the possibility of a move (locally or to another state). The Lord has graciously provided options to me over the past couple years. These options have included moving to states as far away as Tennessee, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Illinois. In more recent months, we have considered Texas. The Lord has asked me to "consider" moving, and by that, He means to think about it, to meditate on it -- in common vernacular -- to check it out (through Google, etc.) I have done this with all the options, virtually going there, visiting neighborhoods, reading statistics, looking at homes in the area, schools, etc. It has proven edifying to me, to actually see a place before I even go there. I think of Moses or Abraham who had to physically go there, to the place of the Lord's leading, without any prior knowledge. How thankful I am for Google and the Internet! LOL!

As I have pondered moving to these other places, I have had to deal with some really big unknowns. First of all, I didn't have a job, and I had no way of actually going there (yet). I could imagine it, but I couldn't really go -- without income, a home, etc. The Lord promised me that these things would be there when I needed them, but it was hard for me to really trust Him. I still need to see things before I believe (sigh!)

Now, though, things are very different. I do have a job, and I have a job with a company that has offices and campuses all over the US. I have the opportunity to work in Phoenix, and perhaps transfer to another location when the Lord says, "Let's go!" I am pleased to have the job I have now, and I am excited about the future, and whatever prospects the Lord has in mind for me. I also am content to know that my son's schooling is no longer a concern for me. I have based our ability to go on the Lord's will for my life. In short, I have said that we would go so long as His will in my life is done. I didn't think about the Lord's will for my son's life. Well, I did, and I did consider his needs for school, etc. What I didn't think was that the Lord might choose to move us BASED on His will for my son's life and not mine. Does that make sense? Really, I thought as MOM, and wage earner, we would move because of my job or a job prospect. I never considered that we might move because the Lord is doing something in my son's life, and will require him to live someplace else.

This has happened now, and though I cannot freely write about it, I can say that there is a good possibility that we (me and my son) might move for a ministry opportunity. This means that my life is no longer tied or bound to any particular location. The same is true for my son. I knew the Lord was asking me to let go, to let things be, and while I was doing that, I wasn't fully comprehending what this meant. I thought it was just agreeing with His will, but really He was asking me to literally, to physically, let go of my life here in Phoenix. I have considered this for years, and I have always said, "Yes, Lord, thy will be done." I have not really let go, though, not until last evening, and not until I really grasped the significance of what it means to "let go."

I am now free from all burdens and incumbrances here in Phoenix. And, although my home is still an issue, the Lord is separating me from it. My job is steady, all my other items (money, banking, schooling, etc.) are fluid, and are maleable to the Lord's hand. The home I live in is shared with my husband, but our note holder has asked for the loan to be paid by the end of next month. Of course, I do not have that money, and while my DH wants to remain in this home, and wants me to finance it, I cannot do that for him. I cannot purchase a home that is not of the Lord's choosing nor one that is not where the Lord wants us to be. There is a reason why the contract expires this year, and there is a reason why I am getting a new job now. It is too coincidental to think anyone but GOD is behind this change.

My plans are fluid and influx. I am fully entrusted to the Lord and I am relying on His hand of provision. I am going where He is going, and I am following Him now. If He moves us to another state, so be it, His will be done. If He asks us to remain here for a time, then so be it as well. I will live in whatever home He provides, and more than likely that will be a rental home. It makes sense -- to rent a home for a year -- and remain free to go when the Lord gives the command. Owning a home means you are settled into the place, and while financially it is usually a good choice (equity, earnings, etc.), sometimes it is better to be free to pick up and go. This is how I feel now, that we need to be free to go when the Lord asks us to go. There will be less work involved in ending a lease agreement than in selling a home (given the poor market in Phoenix).

So as of today, I am beginning to see what the Lord is doing in my life. I see that He is moving me out of my current home (for practical reasons, not just spiritual/emotional ones), and into a home of His provision. He is continuing to provide for me so that I can be in a good position (job-wise) and financially to move later on (in a year or two). He is up-ended everything that is here, and shaking it out, and making it ready for transportation. I am excited to be able to go where ever He leads, and now I have a better sense of why we would go. With my schooling online, there is no reason to go anywhere else. But with the reason not being focused on me, that simply means that my life is not in question. The details and data of my life are already set and fixed. Now the Lord needs to set and fix the details of my son's life. It is so wonderful to be held in His hand and to be in a place where He is free to move ahead of us.

Dear Lord,


I look to you as the Israelites looked to you -- you are that pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day  -- to lead me where you are settling me. I ask now that you have free reign to go, to change, to move, and to make us what you need and want. I want your will to come to pass, and I ask now in Jesus' Name that your will be done. I am trusting you, 100% to move us, to settle us, and to make this be. I ask that you go before us, and to prepare our way. Until you physically tell us to go, I ask that you continue to provide for our basic needs, and you continue to help me improve my financial situation. I ask that you give me your Grace in my new job, and that I am able to handle all the changes that are coming quickly. In Jesus' Name I pray this now, trusting and relying upon you as God. You are my Lord, and You are God alone. Praise to Jesus, for He is my King and my Master. May God be praised forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

July 10, 2011

Beautiful Sunday!

It is a beautiful Sunday morning here in Phoenix, AZ! I made it through my shift at Macy's, but I am struggling this morning with sore feet. Just two more weeks to go, and then I will be free from retail -- PTL! I did go in and turn in my notice to Macy's yesterday, and I feel so relieved to know that I am on my way out. Everyone was very nice about my leaving, and they were happy for my new job. Still, I found it hard to concentrate and do the work with the same level of effort. I know that "short timers" syndrome kicks in where you say "I am leaving, so it doesn't matter anymore," well, that really doesn't cut it with the Lord (I know this). I have promised to work two weeks, and that means working every shift just as if I wasn't leaving. Yet, in the back of my mind, I cannot help but think -- two more weeks!

God is so very Good to me, and I am sure He knows how I feel inside. I am happy and excited, but I am also so very tired of the hard physical work. I cannot lug the clothing or do the standing anymore. My feet are very swollen today, so I am going to our 3rd service at church (11:30). It starts late, but it means I can rest some this morning, and drink my coffee, and then head over to church later on.

My son is part of the new college group. I am so happy about this because our church was basically telling college students to leave and go to one of the big Bible churches in the area. These larger churches have mid-week Bible studies and groups with 100-200 students in them. It is understandable, but for some of our kids, they aren't going to want to do that, so two of the older boys decided to start their own group. There are about 10 college-bound or in college students who are going to meet each week for fun activities (to hang out). They will sit together at the 11:30 service, except when my son and the other two boys have to perform for Worship. I am guessing that they will encourage the other students to go to the mid-week study with them (I know they already go), and I think it is great for them to do this together.

I remember when I graduated from high school. My church was small and most of the high school students went away to college. There were about 4-5 of us left, and we had no place to go. Our high school youth group had been so active, and we did retreats, ski trips, summer beach outings, overnights, etc. all the time. It was my SOCIAL outlet each week, and I loved it. Then it was like "you're graduated, bye!" I hated that feeling of being cast-off. I understand now of course that just like with my current church, the kids back then were encouraged to go to the big Bible church and attend the college group (I did it, and that is where I met my husband).

My hope is that my son will stick with the core group of kids, and remain active while he is at the community college. He is still talking about going away to school, and perhaps that will happen. Until then, though, I like the idea of him having friends and being grounded in church group activities.

So that is my story for today. My feet hurt, but I am praising God for His GOODNESS toward me. I am on my way out of Macy's and into the University of Phoenix. I am so blessed for this new job, and I am so excited to begin it. For now, I have to be steady, and I have to finish this course, close out my days at Macy. I am also finishing my courses at Mercy, and will be done with these two courses on August 5th. I will then be at the turn for my schooling. I will have four more course, three literature classes and one thesis class -- then graduation with a Master of Arts in English Literature (the completion of a goal that has been 18 years in the waiting!) Praise be to God, all of this, all of these new changes and pathways are of His Hand! He is so very GOOD to me!

July 9, 2011

A Brand New Day

In January 2011, I changed the name of this blog to "A New Day." My hope at that time, was to change the focus of this blog from my life circumstances (my job hunt, and so on) to the things that mattered most to me (and to God): serving the Lord Jesus Christ, building up HIS church by using my gifts and abilities, and reaching out for opportunities to minister in my home and my community. This is what I wanted to do, but due to the continued struggle for financial freedom, the lack of permanent work, and such, I have continued to stress, to worry, and to engage in conversation to help keep my spirit up and encouraged in the truth that God's will for my life was coming to pass.

It has taken over a year for things in my life to settle down. I now have a good job (starting at the end of this month). I am now able to pay my bills, and I will be able to continue to live in my home (this or another) with God's Gracious Help and Provision. My schooling is paid for (PTL!) and I am set on my next step to pursue Communication Studies at Regent University. I will begin my language program once I start my new job (I will listen on my way to and from work). God has provided all this to me, and although, the time has been delayed, I am now at the point where my life is good, is working and moving forward in the direction of His choosing.

As I ponder this whole thought, I am consumed with praise for God, and for His faithfulness to me. I cannot contemplate any hope of work, of career, of school, or of anything because in it and through it and because of it -- there is God. He is at work in me and through me to bring His will to pass. I am in awe of Him today, and I give Him the thanksgiving and praise. To God be the Glory forever and ever, Amen.

Therefore, I have decided to close the book on my life and the details and events contained in it. This doesn't mean that I will no longer have to deal with specific things, issues and concerns -- ongoing, those items that are not yet resolved, it simply means that I am choosing to let the rest be. I am choosing today to let it all be as God plans and ordains. I am no longer going to concern myself with the items I cannot change or hope to alter in the course of my life.  Among these things, these items are:
  • A Job - Praise God! I have a job today!!
  • A home (be it this one or another)
  • My schooling (it is done!)
  • My son's schooling (it is done for two years - afterward, it is up to God)
  • My relationships (with family, friends, etc.)
  • My plans and dreams and the things I believe God is calling me to do
All of the above is now in His hand. I can do nothing, I cannot continue to worry or be concerned, so I am letting them all lay at His feet, and be moved or changed according to His Marvelous Grace and Blessed Hand. In doing so, I am letting go of the past hurts, the past dissapointments, and the past unresolved issues and I am embracing my day today, and my future tomorrow. I truly can do all things through Christ Jesus - who strengthen's me. I am able to stand today, and I am able to walk on tomorrow because it is the Lord Jesus Christ who moves in me and through me and directs and plans my ways and days. God is doing this through me, and I let go, and I choose to let Him lead me.

I am set free now. I no longer desire to rehash or relive my past days. The sorrow will diminish, the shame is no more (I am plunged in the fountain of Christ's blood, and I am clean). I can go on, walk on, and walk worthy because of Christ's finished work on the CROSS. I am saved, I am good, and I am free.

God is so very GOOD to me.

July 8, 2011

I Got a Job!

"The Lord isn't really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent." ~2 Peter 3:9 NLT


I am sitting here and giving up all the praise to God above! I got a phone call from UOP this morning offering me the position as Enrollment Advisor! I start on July 25th, and I can officially quit Macy's now. My last work day will be Saturday the 23rd! Whoo Hoo!!

July 7, 2011

The Day After

It is so hot and humid today -- all thanks to our gigantic haboob that came through on Tuesday evening. This was a massive dust storm, and there is about an inch of fine dirt everywhere, all over the sidewalks, the windows, my car (which just got washed!) The sky even looks dirty brown still. Our dew point is up in the 60s and temperatures have been around 100 degrees. Our humidity is still low, only about 32% but the combination is enough to make it pretty horrible to be outside right now. I think our high today is supposed to be around 105-106.

I went out to the coin wash to get my car washed, and then was going to go shopping. I ended up washing the car and coming home. I am now having some lunch, and maybe later, will attempt another trip to the store. In the meantime, I am enjoying my PB&J sandwich, and I am thinking about my job offers (potential offers).

I was really surprized about the ASU job interest. I really didn't think I would get a nibble on that one, considering that ASU rarely calls me back or even sends me a reply notice to my applications. I looked at the job description again, and even though it pays better than UOP, I am just not drawn to that job. I know, I shouldn't be picky, but I don't have a sense of peace about that job at all. It is in my field, and it is something I could do -- it is just that I don't really want to do that job. I cannot explain it, and I am hitting myself for being this way or feeling this way. I just don't feel like it is a job I want to do, that is all.

Lord, why do I feel this way? If I am being dense or not willing and agreeable to do this job, please change my heart and attitude! I want to do the job of your choosing, your work, and that means that I am willing to do any job offered. Why am I feeling this way? If this is of your hand, so be it. If not, then Lord, I yield and submit to your will in my life. I wholeheartedly lay down my wishes and desires to accomodate your way. In Jesus I ask this now -- in His Name -- may your will be done now!

July 6, 2011

Raining Blessings from Heaven

Call me thoroughly confused right now. I just got off the phone with ASU (Arizona State University) HR asking for a phone interview for a Web IT Specialist position. I had applied, completely forgotten about it, and now have an interview on Friday. I was able to log into their system to retrieve the job description, but I cannot get my resume (I lost my copy on old PC2 - old PC1 was my HP that failed in May). I don't remember what I said or how I marketed myself -- it is all gone! So here I sit right now, waiting for the outcome of my background check with UOP, and potentially being screened for an interview for a web design/developer position. Weirdsville!

I am scratching my head right now because as I read through the job application, I am saying, "Lord, I cannot do this job!" I remember applying, and I remember the Holy Spirit pushing me (well prodding me gently as He always does) to apply. I was so shocked to even receive a call from them. How can this be?

My gut tells me that the BIG GUY is behind all of this because it has His mark all over things right now. I mean, I have applied for web positions for over two years and NO ONE, I mean NO ONE, has even called me to interview. Nada, nothing, zippp! I went from having no options to now having several -- well, considering that Kelly IT has not offered the Tech Support job to me yet (in background check with them), and UOP is in background check as well (job offer forthwith more than likely). This option would be three positions open, two of which, are salaried and benefitted.

Dear Lord,

What are you doing here? What do you want me to do about this job with ASU? It feels so outside the scope of my experience. How am I to proceed? You had told me that I could brush up on some technical skills, but I haven't done that at all. Now I have today and tomorrow to actually get to work. I don't have access to the Robert Half Technology skills site anymore (that is on my old system too), and I am in need of some extra refresher course work. DJ has offered to help me (I laughed, you know, because DJ could do this job in an instant -- except that he doesn't have his AA yet) and I am grateful for his willingness to share this information with me. I wish I understood what you were doing, and why now all this is happening. I do know you are God, and that as God, you most certainly can bring me a job where ever and when ever you choose. I am thanking you now for this opportunity, and I am giving you all the praise, all the glory, and all the honor. You are worthy, Lord, so very worthy!

Seeing the Future

As I struggle to deal with some pain today, I am focused on the future, and the wonderful plans the Lord has for my life. I am trusting Him, and I am paitently waiting for Him to deliver me from the circumstances I am presently facing. Of course, I know that I will not be delivered from all of them, but some will miraculously be removed, while others will be placed in less emphasis. God is able to do this for me, and I am resting in Christ's STRENGTH today.

It looks as though I may be hired at UOP. I was emailed the background check form yesterday, so barring no problems with my history, I anticipate receiving an offer soon (perhaps in 1-2 weeks or there abouts). I am so excited to be moving in this direction, and I am so willing to do this work. I have heard some stories from others, some negative remarks, etc., but I am going into this position with my eyes wide open. I have come to learn that NO JOB is perfect, and that NO COMPANY is IDEAL. They all are flawed, and under this present world system, they all are self-seeking and self-serving. So be it, thy will be done, Lord. I know this, and I know that my job is to work unto my Lord, as my MASTER, and as a result, I work with earnest for whomever I actually do practical work. God is orchestrating this change in my life, and I am able to begin to see a future that is of His Hand.

It is exciting to contemplate -- just the fact that perhaps in one month -- I will no longer have to worry about my mortgage payment or getting the roof repaired. I will have steady income, enough income to pay all the monthy bills, but some for savings as well. As I go through the next year, there will be enough to repair my master bath shower (it needs to be removed, and a new prefab unit installed). I need new carpeting, new flooring, etc., and these are all fairly big ticket items. I need about $600 in flooring, and $1500 in carpeting. Plus the siding needs replaced/repaired, and the house painted. Then there are the things I want to do like replacing the counters and sink in the kitchen (inexpensive, but will enhance the value of my home). I also need some comfort items -- a new slip cover for my sofa and chair (to cover up the shredded arms due to my cats and their claws). There are little things too, minor things that I have wanted to change over the years. I would love new dishes, and to finally get grown up cups/glasses. Little things that cost $30, but have been placed out of reach due to severe financial hardship.

There are also the medical issues, the dental and vision needs, that have been on the "must" list for over ten years. I need dental work done, badly. I need to go to the Doctor about my female issues (beginning menopause), and I need new glasses (eye) which will run me about $400 (very poor vision and now with need of bifocal/trifocals).

All of this has been waiting patiently for the Lord's Hand, and now that He is moving me forward, and taking me to a place with good income (modest, but good), I can through thriftiness and savings, begin to do these things, to check them off the list. No more waiting for new eye glasses. I can schedule that Dr.'s appointment and order frames and lenses! Praise be to God the Father, to God the Son, and to God the Holy Spirit for His Most Merciful Blessing and Provision!!

Other News

Praise God, I got my financial aid award papers in the mail yesterday. I am approved for another year of student loan, and this means my summer, fall and spring courses are paid for and set! PTL! Of course, these are loans that I will pay back, and the dollar figure just chokes me when I see it, but I know that God has provided this to me, and that I am able now to attend the college of His Choosing for His Work and Ministry. I never thought I could get financial aid, and I am excited to be able to finish my courses, graduate and then head on to big college (LOL!) for my final degree. It is so wonderful to know that My God has done this for me, and that He is leading me through these courses, and preparing me for His work someday.

So even though I am not at my best today, I am praising God because He is so very GOOD to me.

July 5, 2011

Dust Storm 2011

Interview Success

I think my interview at the University of Phoenix went well today. It was so hot and humid, but I survived the drive down (only 20 minutes). I also enjoyed meeting the two managers who were doing the hiring. Both were very kind and accomodating. Compared to the other interviews I have suffered through -- this one was very pleasant!

After I got home, and second-guessed myself (all my answers were wrong, you know how that goes), I got a request for a pre-employment background screening check. This is the first step to getting hired. It can take up to 14 days, so I am asking the Lord to move "heaven and earth" so that nothing stops the process. I am prayerfully willing to do this job, and I am trusting God to see to it that my screen returns positively in favor of my hiring.

Dear Lord,

You know my needs, and you know my life right now. I am asking you to facilitate this screening, and enable it to pass through quickly. I pray that nothing pops up or shows out of order, and that my dates and testimony are exactly as they should be. I pray that I am accepted for this position and that I can begin on August 1. I ask this all now in the Matchless and Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen.

Language Study

My son has been asking me to find him some language tapes so he can learn to speak Finnish. I don't know why he is so interested in this language, but he has continued to press me to find some tapes for him to use. I scoured the Internet, and came up with a smattering of beginning courses. Apparently, Finnish is a very complex language, and it is very difficult for non-Finns to learn. I did find an inexpensive business/travelers course, and for $35, I think the price is good to get him started.

In addition to wanting to learn Finnish, he has not changed his position on learning Russian. I checked out the Pimsleur CDs from our library two years ago, and he still can speak most of the beginning phrases with a very good accent. He wanted visual study, one that included reading Russian, so I got him a phrase book, and he began to read a Russian Bible. His level of Russian is pretty good for a beginner. I spotted today on the Homeschool Buyers Co-op website that they offer Rosetta Stone at a discount. I checked it out, but think I can do better by ordering it directly from Rosetta Stone. In fact, the corporate website has a payment plan for home schoolers so you can make five payments instead of plunking down $380 bucks all at once. I may do this for him, and that way, he could get all three levels of Russian right away.

If he chooses to study Russian, and if he will complete the language series, he would be able to pursue a degree in Russian at Arizona State University. ASU offers a BA in Russian with study abroad options. It is a flexible degree, so they simply require passage of a test and demonstration of intermediate language acquisition. Our local CC doesn't offer Russian (the only campus that offers it is down in Mesa and that would be 45 minutes away from us -- one way). He is planning on taking French at the CC, and could complete four semesters before he gets his AA degree. ASU requires Russian language students to have two languages, so completing French and Russian would be good. He would also like to study German, so perhaps that would work as well.

My son has had language interest since he was a child. I started him on French, and he completed Rosetta Stone, Level 1 and 2 online. He also did level 1 of German, Spanish and Latin. I am not sure how much he retained, but he zipped through the courses quickly. He has been stuck on Russian for about two years now, so I think this is probably at God-thing.

Anyway, my goal is to help him with language outside that of the CC. He would like to study at college, but since our college doesn't offer instruction in the languages he wants to study, we will have to be creative and find the courses ourselves.

As for me, I will begin French again this fall. My goal is to relearn French, speaking mostly, through the next year. I tried Rosetta Stone French too, and while I did well on it, I found the process and approach too scattered for me. My son loved it, I found it repetitive and boring. I much preferred Pimsleur (audio) to Rosetta Stone. Therefore, my plan is to use Pimsleur along with some study aids to get my speaking language up to speed.

July 4, 2011

My Plan for Fall 2011

I have decided to trust the Lord for His Provision of a full-time job. I have been seeking work since December of 2009, and while that process has been frustrating to me, I have come a long way in my attitude and my willingness to do ANY work of the Lord's choosing. I have reshaped my perspective and my worldview, and I now understand more clearly how the Lord intends to use a job to help train and prepare me for His Work. I get it, I understand the point, and I even think I can go so far as to say why I think it has taken me so long to find work. Yes, the economy in Phoenix has been really bad, but I also know that I have had to do some major maturation, and in that process, I had to come to fully trust the Lord for everything. I have done this, and that is not to say that I am "perfect" in trusting Him -- oh my no! In fact, I still slip and I second-guess Him, and often, I whine and complain about His slowness in doing things for me. Yes, I am fully human flesh, and as such, I still goof up, and I still forget that He is SOVEREIGN, and that as God, He is quite able to do and take care of everything that concerns me today, tomorrow and forever. Praise to God, Glory to His Name, and Honor to Him as Most High God!

Therefore, I write this plan out with the knowledge that I may end up seeing it in a month or two and go, "Oops, that was way off the mark!" Yet, I feel compelled to write it down, if not to comfort myself, perhaps just to layout the testimony for others as the Lord moves in my life. May this come to pass as the Lord determines and delivers -- Selah!
  • Get hired at University of Phoenix as an Enrollment Advisor (this is the full time position I am interviewing for on Tuesday).
  • Remain here in Phoenix until such a time as the Lord moves me elsewhere
  • Help my son graduate from Paradise Valley Community College with an AA in 2013, and then help him choose a good school to pursue a BA degree (Language or music or something else)
  • Move from my home when the Lord chooses to sell it
  • Rent a place that will accomodate us and have room for all our music stuff
  • Be steady, get involved in ministry at PVCC (my church home), and generally LIVE in the Blessed FREEDOM of my Master Jesus, putting everything behind me, and pressing on to the goal of ETERNAL LIFE IN JESUS! PTL!
Not outwardly exciting, but inwardly fulfilling. Along with this list includes several priorities for me:
  • Graduate from Mercy College in May 2012
  • Graduate from Regent University in May 2017
  • Graduate from The Master's College sometime in 2023 or thereabouts
  • Finish my language study
  • Continue to work on my cello and begin violin study as the Lord provides to me
I know that seems like a lot of schooling but really it is all part of what I believe is my calling in God's economy and kingdom. I have a calling, just like every other believer, and mine is specific to what God wants me to do in this life. It has to do with ministry abroad, and because of that emphasis, there is language study involved. Music is simply to help faciliate ministry, and since I never learned as a child, I am learning now. This will break the ice, enable community, and allow me to reach people who might not want to be reached via regular channels. My degrees are for a specific ministry position, and the level of schooling is a requirement. I am a scholar, and I love school, so I believe the Lord has chosen me for this work because it is partly my God-given design and partly His Grace (well, all of His Grace) for me to do it. As I have blogged before, I struggle just to do LIFE. I struggle to work in a job, to be out with people, to perform on cello, and so on. BUT -- I do school easily. I love studying, and writing research papers, and the whole THINKING process. I love school, and I love knowledge. I am wired this way, and God is using me to do work in His Name because I am this way. He is GOOD like that, and I love Him for this attribute of His!!

Along with my love of school, I have this weird affinity for all things French. I studied French when I was in Jr. High and High School. I struggled through grammar, so I never finished four years of study. I had then, and I still have now, what my teacher called a "perfect French accent." I have forgotten the language almost completely, yet when I hear it, I understand it, and when I see it in writing, I can read it. I don't speak it, just out of shame and fear of sounding so awful (LOL!), but within my head, there it is. My son laughs at me, because when I repeat phrases he tells me in Russian, I sound French. He tells me, "Mom, stop sounding French!" I cannot help it, I just do it. God has called me into ministry to the French people, and I think this was my calling as a child. I loved learning French, and I was a straight A student. I wanted to study French in college, but was dissuaded by a not-so-nice French teacher who told me I would never make it through high school (well, she thought that about me personally, so there!)

I look back now and I can see God's handprint on my life. I can see my childhood, and my experiences, and my loves and desires coalescing into one vision, the vision of His calling. Before I looked at my life as one fragment, one shard or thread disconnected from the real me. Now it makes sense to me. I am supposed to do this work, and even though it has taken me 40 years to get around to it, the timing, it seems is perfect. God knew that I would choose certain paths, and that they would take me away from His calling for a time. I chose some poor pathways, and I suffered because of those choices. Yet, God didn't stop, He didn't let go, and He has used those choices to bring me back to Him as a more mature, more willing, and more agreeable servant. I have matured, and I am strong in the Lord now. I have ABRAHAM FAITH (yes, I asked for it), and because Abraham is the man I chose to emulate the most, I have learned Abraham lessons. I have had to patiently wait, and patiently endure. I had had to look to the promise reward, but wait years and even consider for a time that the reward would never come.

You see, I started graduate school in 1994. That was approximately 17 years ago. I started it, but because I had a child, I had to give it up. I gave it up willingly, and at my most lowest point, God sent an angel to me to remind me of His faithfulness. I know the person who showed up was an Angel (whether real or just a servant -- the word came to me -- and it set me free). I followed God's word, and I laid my desires for graduate school aside and I picked up my then young son, and embraced my mission to raise him in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

Throughout his childhood, my dream of graduate study never wavered. It simmered on the back burner, and more than twice, I cried my heart out to the Lord as I laid it at His feet. I gave it up, I forgot about it, and I focused on my son instead. God didn't forget my calling, and He didn't forget my desire. My life verse is Psalm 37:4-6, and I believe that when our desires are conformed to Him, God will use them for His Name and His Glory. It took many years for me to learn to find my delight in Him alone, and once I did, God gave me back graduate school, and not only did He enable me to go, but He provided the money so I could go.

I know in my heart what I am to do for the Lord, and how I am to do it. I still struggle with doing LIFE, and by that I simply mean that I am not the most social person, the most friendly or the most out-there. I tend to live under a rock, and I like being alone. It is weird that God would choose someone like me to go on the mission field. I don't like to meet new people. I just cower whenever I have to confront people or talk with them. Yet, I am going (or will go), and I am not afraid to go.

In the mean time, God has provided school for me, and more language study (relearning French for instance), and some other tasks for me to do. He has also provided income so I can live while I am being trained for His work. I lose my focus a lot, and often I struggle just to keep on task. God is GOOD to me, and He helps remind me of what I am to do, and shows me the way. I follow Him, and He leads me on.

I am blessed with this life, and while it is MESSY right now, and there are relationships (damaged ones) that hang in the balance, generally speaking, I am very happy and content. I am good and I am loved, and I press on. I keep on going, moving forward and I look to the Lord for His LAMP and the precious LIGHT of His WORD (Jesus). May God be praised today as I continue to walk worthy, following after Him, and seeking always to do His will. In Jesus' Name I pray this now, Amen.

Majesty

One of my all time favorite worship videos and performances - I cannot help but fall on my face before my God when IBC sings this song of praise and adoration to the One who sits on Heaven's throne. Blessings on this day of freedom!

Freedom

"So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free." John 8:36 NLT


Well, it is the 4th of July, and Independence Day here in the USA. I thought I would write a blog post about what it means to be to be free and independent. Of course, I am thankful to God that I live here in the USA, and that I am free to pursue any lifestyle I choose, including a religious one. I am also thankful for the bountiful provision of His Hand and that in our country, I am free to go to school, to work, and to be any kind of professional person I choose. It is not this way in many countries in the world, and most have highly competitive colleges and universities. Not every good student has the chance to be a doctor or a lawyer or even an artist or musician. It is a lottery in many cases, and some students cannot succeed, no matter how hard they try to do so. Not so here in the USA. No school is out of bounds for most students. Of course private and Ivy league schools may be out of bounds price-wise, but generally, most students with decent grades can attend school here. I am blessed to have been born in the USA and I am blessed that my Creator-God loves me and is providing for me this day.

Update: Job Front

I have not heard a word back from Kelly IT Services. That job is supposed to begin next Monday, and for that to happen, certain things have to be done in my home (set up an office, install a phone, etc.) I still have Qwest coming tomorrow (couldn't cancel over the weekend because Qwest doesn't offer 24/7 support like Cox does). I did buy a new router and modem, and that has practically solved my Internet woes (PTL!). Along with the install, to do this job, Kelly is supposed to give me a computer (IMAC) and an ITOUCH so I can be trained on these devices. Right now, I have no job offer, and no movement forward. In addition to all of this, I am supposed to attend some training with Kelly the week before I would start Apple Training.

My second option of working at the University of Phoenix begins tomorrow. I have my interview at 12:45 in Tempe. I am hopeful on this job because it is full-time with benefits. I have received some negative comments about the school, and this job, in particular, but right now I need work, and this job would be a good start.

I have not heard back on Allied College, and they said they would let me know by July 1 on that position. The other jobs I have applied for have returned no interest (no calls, no emails, no status update). This is pretty consistent with how it has been for me. I apply, then I don't hear for months and months.

Macy's has hired a dozen or so new employees. This pressures the older ones to train the new ones, without pay of course, and it makes it very hard for us to do our job. We end up doing the work of two or three people during one busy shift. I am so tired, and physically unable to do this work anymore. I really need to quit the job, but I don't want to do that until I have another in hand.

I feel confident about this UOP opportunity. At the least, I feel if I interview and don't get hired, I will have tried everything, every job in Phoenix, and every possible option for me for work. I can do no more. I will give up then, stop trying, and just look for more PT work until I can graduate and look for teaching positions.

Lastly, my son seems to be doing really well. He came back from the student trip to CA Saturday. He had a great time, and did an all-day missions trip to the heart of the homeless population in the US -- downtown LA. In two-square blocks, there are more homeless people than anywhere else in the US. It was an eye opener for him. I am pleased that he has had this experience, and I hope it will help him see the truth of what is out side our front door.

Aslan, Jordan, Adriane, DJ, and Kris

Photos courtesy of http://www.adrianeblanco.com

Yesterday, DJ played with the Adriane Blanco Band at all three church services. This week, he is off to Dallas to perform with them, and then in two weeks, he goes to Albequrque, NM for another performance. So far, he has made some nice money (not a lot but since he doesn't work elsewhere, it is like PT wages), and he has gotten to travel a lot. More than likely, there will be more performances for him and more opportunities for him to learn how to minister through music. I am blessed by his participation, and thankful to Adriane Blanco, for letting my very young son (still only 17) be a part of his professional touring band. God is so very GOOD to us!

I end this post with this wonderful quote from Psalms. This is my life verse, though I have changed it to Psalm 100 (for my blog). This is the verse I chose when the Lord first introduced Himself to me about five years ago. He pressed into me, changed me, and that day, I was set free. I was set free from so many distresses, and as I have learned how to walk with Him, I have enjoyed the deepest and sweetest fellowship imaginable. I am blessed because I know Him, and He has made me different, He has caused my life to be reordered, and through His work, I am alive today to walk, to sing, to shout, and to proclaim His Goodness! God is GOOD all the time, and ALL THE TIME, GOD IS SO VERY GOOD.

Delight yourself in the Lord
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
~Psalm 37:4-6 NIV