This is a weird holiday month. The media said this was a "short season" because of the short span between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I am sure that has something to do with the feeling that the year is zooming by and that it will be 2014 before anyone blinks!
I am home today, PTL, and while I was supposed to trek over to GCU for a faculty workshop (Effective Writing), I have some tummy bug that has me sidelined. I am so glad that I am home -- home, home, home!
If things had not changed at my old job last week, I would have been in St. Louis on a business trip. I do not know how I would have completed all my assignments, and prepped for a comprehensive exam. In truth, God has delivered me from the "beast"-- the beast of working full-time and going to school "full-time." I know many students do it, but I can not. At the least, not in a PhD program.
This program, a PhD in Communication, is the most difficult program I have ever attempted. The workload is significant, and the reading volume, intense. In addition to taking 2 classes each fall/spring, and 1 class in summer -- I am also working and I am helping to care for my parents. It is crazy to plan out the semester: all the readings, discussion posts, and papers. Still, the program is wonderful, and I am enriched beyond measure. I am learning so much from the classes, and I love the work, the actual work involved.
What I don't like, of course, is the pressure to perform, and the feeling of being "pinched" when schedules conflict, and due dates loom ahead. I am blessed, so very blessed. God has provided this opportunity to me, and I am richly blessed to be able to attempt it. It is a weird thing to think about how God has opened this door for me. It is even weirder to consider that right now I am "technically" unemployed and without benefits. I have a signed contract for Spring teaching, just one class, and that brings me excitement and some anxiety. I am looking forward to my first teaching job, but I am also anxious about doing it well, and meeting the criteria for assessment (my teaching ability).
I was on my way to GCU yesterday and I thought to myself, "God, how I love being home in the mornings." The words just came out of my mouth and I thought "oh, Carol -- that is so selfish of you to say that today." I was thankful for the work I had, and I hoped I would like my new job. Then everything seemed to crash and burn, and I found myself out the door. God provided a teaching contract (PTL) and I have something to plan for in January. So in reality, I have a whole month off of work. It is nice to think about it this way, even though I am a little apprehensive about the money (income and outgo).
As I pulled into the parking garage at GCU, I said "You know how I detest this garage, Lord." Yes, this is true. I cannot recall how many times I prayed as I drove up the ramp to the 3-4th floor each day. I prayed that my new car wouldn't get dinged or worse, hit, but another student driver. I was so happy to be out of GCU and that awful garage in October, and here I was, driving up the ramp yesterday, praising God for the opportunity to park there again. This is weird, so very weird.
After the workshop, I left the campus and I drove home. It was chilly out and windy, so the leaves were falling off the trees. As I drove through central Phoenix, I couldn't help but enjoy the drive. The leaves were clustered on the ground, falling down from the trees that hang over Bethany Home Road. I thought how lovely it all was, and I remember thinking to myself "this is like fall back east." I had mentioned it to the Lord yesterday while walking off the campus as well. I had said "how lovely everything looks, all the leaves on the ground," thinking that the campus looked like a school back in my hometown area of Chicago.
My heart thumped as I drove home. I thought "Lord, I have always wanted to be a professor and to work on a college campus" and then I realized that I was well on my way to accomplishing that goal. There is no turning back, I thought. I am on this path now, I have made the decision to work as an instructor while I complete my PhD program. When I am finished with the degree, I will look for full-time work as a Professor, and Lord willing, I will find a job where I can settled down and teach until I retire. Until then, I will teach part-time, and the Lord will fill my coffers with His collection, His provision. I will rest in Him, and I will trust Him to provide for me. He knows my needs, and He knows what is best for me.
I think what amazes me the most is the fact that I was given a huge DO-OVER this past week. I went from a corporate job that I loathed to a teaching job I love. I don't have everything I need right now (in the scope of the work/benefits aspect), but I have rest and relaxation, and I have time to do my school work. I have been given a different path to walk on, and while it seems that there is not enough provision at present, I see the bounty of what is there, the bounty of blessing that is not counted in dollars and cents.
- I have free time
- I have the ability to plan and schedule my days
- I have plenty of time off
- I have time to complete my school work
- I have time to rest
- I have time to spend with my family
- I have rest from the weariness of business and projects
- I have peace that says "I am good"
- I have hope that says "there is good in my future plan"
- I have joy that says "I am happy today, I am content with what I have been given"
- and mostly I have a sense of fulfillment that tells me I am where I belong, I am right where God wants me to be
The Lord has done this for me. He has made a way (as that Don Moen song says) when there didn't seem to be a way. He has given me rest, and peace, and joy, and hope. He has filled my life with possibilities and the opportunity to dream again. I am no longer tied to a way that dragged me down (but provided well). Instead, I may be poor (oh so very poor), but I am happy and I am free to be my own person. I can work hard, very hard. I can be diligent, and I can be tenacious. I can be used as God has need now. I don't have to ask anyone for permission to go and serve the Lord. If he says "Go here," I can go where He wants me to go. I don't have to wait for time off, for vacation, or for sick leave. I don't feel well today so I stayed home. PTL - I stayed home. Yes, God has given me total freedom to rest and to rely on Him, and for that gift, I shout His Name and I give Him all Praise! God is good, all the time, He is GOOD!