May 13, 2012

More Fine Tuning

God is so very good to me. I cannot tell you how consistently faithful He is toward me. I stray, He is always there -- He never leaves His place -- and I can always know where to go to find Him. I love the fact that no matter what I do or what I think, He is the same.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. ~Hebrews 13:8 NLT

Yesterday was a day of crisis for me. God stood by me, gently reminding me that whenever I look to my own hands, consider my own way, I will feel overwhelmed. If I would only remember to look to Him, then I would see the hope and possibility of future reward.

I was stuck, really stuck, and I was going no where fast. I had one essay completed, and I needed to write three more. The deadline was looming and I knew that if I didn't get my backside in gear, I would be out of luck come Tuesday (the last day of the semester). I had been ill, not deathly or violently, just ill enough to make you want to stay in bed all day. I couldn't afford to take the time to be sick, and I had to make the most of my last weekend off from work to complete all my assignments. The price was too great -- the cost -- my graduation from Mercy College. I had to pull myself together, pick myself up off the floor, and do the required work.

The problem was that I was not able to even do the minimum required to get myself going again. I have blogged about my CFS acting up, and the heavy pressure I feel at my place of work. All of these coincided with my end of semester cramming -- something I try so hard to avoid doing. I was a mess -- no strength, no victory, and a "mountain" of school work to complete. I couldn't do it, and to compound matters, I was second-guessing my every thought, my every move.

Satan had me trapped, caught between the proverbial "rock and a hard place" and I couldn't see any way out. Every time I tried to advance, I was knocked down. Every time I tried to get up and stand -- just stand -- I felt the pressure of the requirements for graduation weighing down on me.

I was crumpled up, used up, and worn out -- and I needed rescue. Thank the Lord for His Marvelous Grace and Mercy -- My HERO showed up to pluck me from the pit of despair -- and set me high upon His Majestic knee. I could breathe again, and from His vantage point, things didn't look so bleak. I could see the time remaining, and the tasks at hand. I could grasp the scope of the work, what really needed doing, and what could be set aside. I could see the path to take to complete these assignments and to find success.

The Lord set me down, refreshed my soul, and gave me the guidance to complete the tasks, to finish my school work. I did it, and in doing so, I felt this wonderful sense of accomplishment. I felt the heavy burden lift, and I felt empowered to do more. So I did. Not only did I complete the second essay, but I completed all four required and I turned them in (after spelling checks, style corrections and plagiarism review). I did my do-diligence, and I turned them in. Check them off the list -- hurrah!

I even put in some time on the boards, making extra comments, and adding in my own thoughts on several readings that I had neglected to comment previously. In short, the Lord enabled me to get myself caught up with my last course, and gave me the direction and focus needed to do all the work required for graduation.

I still need to finalize my thesis, but that is a task set for today. I plan on adding some additional commentary to the boards today and tomorrow -- just for good measure -- and then I will sign off Mercy Blackboard for the rest of my academic career. I cannot believe I am saying good-bye to Mercy, but after Tuesday I will be an Alumnus of this school. I will no longer be a student in residence, and I will be graduated with my Master of Arts in English Literature.

Why is God so good to me? Why is He always there for me?

It is His Nature, and His Nature bespeaks His Goodness toward mankind. Yes, I am saved. I am born again, and I am in a Grace-based relationship with my Lord. I thank God for His Grace, and for the privilege to remain in this state of Grace. It is beyond my abilities to save myself, and it is beyond my abilities to stay in His Grace. He has done this for me. He saved Me, and He continues to save me through His Blessed Grace.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:13 NLT

Now I must consider my next steps. Where do I go from here?

I have prayed over my options, considered so many possibilities, and nothing has seemed "right" to me, good to me. Well, let me put it this way -- nothing has seemed like it was the best fit. Yes, every option sounded good. Every course seemed sure. There was just something that seemed off.  I thought it was me, I mean my not wanting to humble myself and do the Lord's will, but now I think that it was the timing of the matter. I was ready to go, but the task still to be completed was my graduation from Mercy.

The Lord had told me clearly that my first priority was to graduate. This was my goal, my focus, and my intended outcome. I had to graduate, and that meant focusing on the tasks still waiting for completion. I didn't want to do them -- as stated previously -- and every time I tried, that spirit of procrastination came upon me. I gave up, I gave in, and I wrestle with it instead of standing my ground, and casting it out in the very Name of Jesus. I languished for months with the deadline ahead, and the pressure mounting. Had I only stood up and lifted my shield of faith -- those fiery darts would have been vanquished.

In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. ~Ephesians 6:16 NLT

I succumbed to the overwhelming feelings inside, and I sat down in the dust, defeated, dejected, and filled with despair.

God be Praised! My situation is different now. I am ready to go, I am ready to complete the last check box, and graduate.

I can begin to plan Phase 2 of my life, my career and my schooling. I can seriously take the steps needed to go on to advanced studies. Before this point, I could only consider what to do, to check out, to research options. Now I can actually apply or finish applying. I can take the GRE and I can collect all the necessary paperwork to go to the next level. I could only dream about it, worry about it, fear it. Today, I can look at that road and I can see the viability of it. I can walk on it. I can start walking on it and I can look around, test it out, see what lays ahead for me.

It is a very good thing, indeed. The road ahead is long, three years of studies plus a dissertation. I can do it, I have confidence in God that I can do this, and do it well. I know I cannot do it in my own strength. I know I cannot do it without His Grace, and His Blessing of Mercy. I cannot do it without HIM, and I don't even want to attempt it. I need Him. I need His Help. I need His Steady perspective, and His ability to see past the test, past the essay, past the courses -- to the very end.

Dear Lord,

I ask now that you would open the door to advanced studies. I have considered all the options, looked over the requirements, and discussed the viability of each school. I have made tentative decisions to go here or there, changed my mind, and then changed it back again (many times). I realize now that I am to go only to the school of your choosing, your provision. I am to go where you send me for advanced studies, and you will go before me and you will prepare a place for me there. I will not go anywhere else for the work I do is your work. It is for your Name, for your Glory, and to bring you Praise. I ask now that you would make this way smooth, make it doable, and provide everything required for me to accomplish these tasks. I ask this now in Jesus' Name, knowing that your will is everything I need, and that I am committed to accomplishing your will through Christ. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!

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