May 6, 2012

Listening to Music

I love to listen to music, specifically music that has a beat (drum) and that includes stringed instruments. My personal favorite is Clint Mansell's "Requiem for a Dream." I happen to be listening to Escala playing the remixed version called "Requiem for a Tower," which was used as a trailer for the LOTR Two Towers release. I love this music -- it is so moving. Impressive!

As I sit here at my computer, I am reminded of just how much music means to me, and how I enjoy playing music now that I have learned how to play the cello. I long to play the cello well, but unfortunately, I always seem to put practice off, and then regret my progress.

The same is true with my last remaining assignments. I need to complete my course work for my Humanism course, but I am not into the class. There is no reason to do less than my best, but I am just not into the course and readings. Sigh!

Some other thoughts....

As I prepare to graduate, I am struggling with the whole impending "ending" of my goal. I have wanted to complete my Master of Arts degree since 1993, when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I put that dream on hold, many times literally laying it before the Lord with tears of anguish over not being able to complete it. I believed in my heart that I was supposed to go to graduate school. I ached for years, suppressing the feelings, and crying out to the Lord, "Why? Why do I desire it, if it is not your will?" I didn't know then what I know now. I didn't know that it was the Lord's will for my life, and that I would some day actually do it, accomplish it. In fact, in 1997, I quit my job at Scottsdale Bible Church to go back to graduate school. I told my boss, then Pastor of Children's Ministry, how I believed that God was calling me to go back to school. The problem was the timing. God was calling, has always called me to graduate studies -- the timing was off, that was all. I had to humble myself later on and say that because of my three year old son, that I couldn't attend full-time. I had no one to watch him, and my husband blatantly said "no."

That "no" hurt more than anything, and I turned inward and left my hurt simmer below the surface for years. I focused on my son, raising him, teaching him at home, and finding enjoyment in the time we spent together, learning new things. I devoted my time to church activities, and to being a Mom. I wept inside, though, wept for the in-completion of what I knew was God's plan for my life.

And now, I stand on the threshold of the degree, having completed the required thirty credits of core curriculum. I am about to graduate with my Master of Arts degree in English Literature. I am poised, and I am ready, to take the next step of faith.

The sorrow is gone, but to accomplish this goal, to do what the Lord was calling me to do, has taken great sacrifice on my part. First, I had to wait almost 18 years before I could begin the degree. Secondly, I attempted the program AFTER my husband and I decided to separate. He was not willing to allow me to do this degree, to go back to school. He would not allow me to take financial aid, and he wouldn't allow me to quit my job to do it. I could only do it after I sacrificed my marriage to follow after what I believed was the Lord's will for me.

It is crazy really, just to think that one person could keep the Lord's will from coming to pass, but it is true. I submitted my will to my husband's as any conservative fundamental Christian wife would do. The problem was that had my husband been more open to God's leading, my degree -- this degree could have changed our life for the better. I would have worked full-time, in a teaching career, and our money worries would have disappeared. It could have been such a good thing, if only...

The pain and suffering of having to wait for something you believe in is difficult. I believe this is why James tells us that we experience growth when we encounter trials -- the testing of our faith. Waiting for the Lord's promise is a test. It is a way for us to demonstrate our faithfulness in waiting for the Lord to provide His promise to us.

I am now free to take the next step, and I can see a very different future ahead of me. I am ready to begin doctoral studies, another calling of the Lord, and to move forward on a career path that scares me completely. I am not ready to teach students. I don't know how to do this well. I am lacking knowledge, fundamental knowledge, yet I feel His pull on me and here His voice calling me to "go." I am to go forward, to take possession of this career path, and start walking on this path. I am afraid I will fail. I am afraid I will fall flat on my face, or worse yet, never even get the chance to try it out (no one will hire me). I am afraid I will disappoint the Lord. I am afraid that all of this sacrifice was for nought.

New Thinking Abounds....

I think this is why I cannot finish my coursework, why I am procrastinating. I want to fail. I want to have to say to everyone, "I was wrong. This was not the Lord's will because it didn't come to pass." Yet, in my heart I know this is not true. I know I can do this because it is not me at work doing it -- it is the Lord working through me.

My prayer today is to be able to complete the required course work this week, and graduate on the 23rd of May. I am ready, Lord -- I am ready for the next steps. Help me to complete these last tasks so I can move on, follow your lead, and go where you are directing me to go. In Jesus' name I pray this now, Amen.

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