May 4, 2013

School Has Begun!

I am so excited to be a student at Regent University. Getting my PhD has been a dream of mine, a dream that I let go of and surrendered to the Lord over twenty years ago, but never really lost interest in pursuing. The timing was not right, that is all. I am a firm believer in God's timing of everything. I know that sometimes we (as Christians) do not like it when we are given the pat answer "It's not His time" or "It just wasn't God's timing for you." Yes, I have been in many situations where I was given that answer and instead of providing comfort, it just made the bee sting of disappointment hurt all the more. Sometimes, though, acknowledging His timing is the ticket to health and happiness.

I know that was true in my case. When I was in school all those years ago, I wanted desperately to prove to myself and others that I could succeed. I was not considered "smart" in those days. I wasn't a good student, and I didn't have a good academic record. However, I was interested in learning -- I just didn't know that learning for interest was something we could and should pursue. The point of education, as I was told, was to secure a good job -- not gain knowledge and through that knowledge -- find understanding and meaning. No, that was wasted effort. A good job -- that was the end result of a college education.

I wasn't interested in a good job back then. I had just left a very good job to go back to school full-time. I wanted an education, to be an educated person. This was my end goal, my planned outcome. In the end, literally, I achieved that result. I studied Humanities, and received a fabulous liberal education. I studied classical works of art, literature and music; I learned world history, and then I put everything into proper context. I received what was at one-time the "norm" for college education -- I broad liberal immersion into Western European culture and history.

I wanted to continue on, to get a Masters degree and a PhD so that I could become a college professor. Life intervened, as I have blogged about before, and I ended up following the path of marriage and motherhood. I don't regret that decision -- I am blessed beyond my imagination -- but there was something inside of me that suffered sadness at having to say good-bye to that dream. I believed it was a God-thing. I believed that God had permitted me to return to school to complete my Bachelor's degree, and to develop skills in academic pursuits. I was not a good student, but in my Humanities program, I scored off the chart. I earned A's and A+'s in all my courses, I was to be nominated for a fellowship award. I was on track to go on to graduate school -- Stanford, Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz -- for advanced studies. This was not me, it wasn't me at work, earning these grades and the recognition that came with them. No, this was a God-thing, a God-inspired, God-fused, God-lead opportunity, and I was just the recipient of His grace.

Giving up that dream was difficult. There were times when the desire would swell back up in my heart, and I would burst into tears. I recall one time when I was so down, so depressed, and so dejected. I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror and looking at myself. I was sad. I was miserable. I felt so defeated. I cried out to the Lord and I can remember the words I uttered to Him: "Lord, why doesn't this dream go away. Why do I still think about it, dream about it, desire it? I surrender this feeling to you. I know that you have called me to be a wife and mother, and that my focus is on raising my child, teaching him at home, and giving him the opportunities to become the person of your choosing. I let go of this desire now, and I trust it to you for your care."

I sighed, and I walked away. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that some five-six years later I would be accepted, enrolled, and have started doctoral courses. Here I am, I am ready to begin this exciting adventure, and I am filled with such appreciation of all that the Lord has done for me. You, Lord, are GREAT. You, Lord, are the KEEPER OF ALL YOUR PROMISES. I love you, Lord, and I praise your Name today, for you are Good all the time, all the time -- you are so very GOOD.

Here I sit today, thinking about all of this, and giving Him praise. I am here because of God's goodness -- His grace and favor resting upon me. Yes, I have lost much in my life to be here. I am no longer married. I am a single mother, raising a young man, and doing the best I can do to keep everything under control. I am about to move into my parents home to help care for them. I may be getting a promotion at work (Lord willing) that would offer me more money, more responsibility and more authority. I am in control of my finances, and I am starting to move out from the small circle of influence, and into a much larger pool, a much broader measure of community. I am in awe of what is happening, and I soberly reflect on what has happened in the past. I see His hand on my life, and I know that His timing is everything. I know that His plans are set and they come to pass in His own way, and in His own time. I rest in the knowledge that everything does work together for good -- and that I am called to work for His Name and His Glory. I am resting in all that He is in my life, and I know that no matter what comes today, I am good. I am so very good.

Praise be to God, the Father; and to the Son, Jesus the Christ; and to the Holy Spirit. I give the TRIUNE God-head, the THREE IN ONE all my praise, honor, and glory this day and forever more. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah (Pause and calmly think about that!)

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