March 30, 2013

Looking Up (Again!)

Ok, so once again I have found myself looking down at my feet while walking on this path the Lord has laid before me. Oh, how I wish I could be like the little child who looks up, up into her daddy's face, with complete trust and faith (assurance of His good intentions!)

I have been struggling these past few weeks, trying to gain perspective on my life, trying to understand where I am at today and where I am going tomorrow. Yes, I know that my path is firmly set and that I am walking towards Regent University and a PhD degree in Communication. I also know that I am where I am supposed to be on that path -- that I am not heading off the mark, down a rabbit trail, or over to another alleyway. No, I am where I belong, but something just didn't or doesn't feel "right." It took me a while to put my finger on it, to come to terms with some truth in my life. Thank goodness that the Lord takes His time with me, that He is always gracious to me, and that He never gives up on me. He has all the time in the Universe to patiently wait for me to "get it," to come to His way of seeing things.


Yes, God's perspective is far grander and far reaching than our own shortsightedness. I am reminded of this verse in the Bible where it says:

"My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine." (Is. 55:8 NLT) 

God's ways are beyond our imagining, and often we forget that He knows everything, in our time and outside of our time. He is ever-present, ever-knowing, and always in control.

Our little snapshot of the world looks like this - like we are holding it in our hands. This is our viewpoint. Everything is exactly as we can see it. If we want to see another side of things, we flip it over, and then "voila!" it is clear to us. 




However, we are thinking with such small vision, such small eyes. God's view is from the Heavens and He can see all of time -- our past, our present, and our future.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Heb. 13:8 NLT)

Our future rests in His hands, not ours. Our past, and our present are always in His view. Nothing is hidden, nothing is out of bounds to His purview. He is God, and we are flesh. Psalm 33:13-15 NIV says:

From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth—
he who forms the hearts of all,
who considers everything they do.

Oh, how we stumble around, how our flesh yearns to take hold and be in control. Yet, the God of Heaven sees all, and considers everything we do. What a comfort to know that our God cares about us, that He sees us and knows us. God is so very good, so very good indeed.

Regent and Beyond

As I consider my education, I have come face to face with the truth of the situation. I have received two grants to attend this school. Neither are what I had hoped for -- a full scholarship -- so I would not have to take anymore financial aid. I have had to consider the fact that I will have to incur more debt to complete my education, and this bothers me, it bothers me greatly. I was deeply disturbed, and felt as though the Lord had not been truthful to me. I thought He would provide a full scholarship to me, and instead He provided some funding, but not enough to cover all my expenses. 

I had already expected to need some aid for this summer residency. After all, I have to fly to Virginia Beach and stay a week in a hotel near campus. I knew that I would need more money than I had access to, and I was praying for some financial aid to assist me. Well, I got my aid, but it comes at a cost. I will have another summer loan to add to my already large debt. 

Furthermore, there will be more expense over the next three years. I was disappointed, and I believed that the Lord had let me down. I stewed over it, even after I felt the Lord saying to me to go ahead and accept the financial aid award, grant and all, for this summer and fall tuition. I trusted Him, I believed His word to me, and I felt that this was His provision. I was just upset that He didn't provide all the funding to me like I had believed He would do so.

In truth, the Lord provided what He promised me -- He provided a grant to me and financial aid. I have my tuition, expenses, air fare and hotel/car, and everything covered -- just as He said it would be. It just didn't come in the package I expected. I didn't get a letter saying, "Carol - here is $20,000 for you to cover all your educational expenses, and guess what? You don't have to pay any of it back!" LOL!

Housing

I moved my parents into their rental home this past week. I couldn't have done this without my brother's help, and he was a God-send to come the week before the move, and be available to do so much heavy lifting. We got everything moved over, and the moving company came on Tuesday, and brought all the furniture. Thank goodness we spent time the previous week moving the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry room, etc. This made for a very easy transition so that my parents could rest Tuesday night in their own bed, with their home almost completely unpacked. They are settled, and while very tired, they are very, very happy.

I have stewed over moving in with my parents since the idea first came up back in January. Mom was sick, and my Dad was overwhelmed with her care. He needed my help, and he was worried about their financial situation. He wanted us to move in together, and I said yes. 

Since that day I have worried and fretted over this move. How will I tell my dear landlord that I am leaving six-months short of my lease agreement? How will all my things fit into two tiny bedrooms? How will my cats get along with my parents? Will they behave and not claw at their lovely furniture?

Yesterday, I was over at the house and Mom and I were working in the back yard. There are garden boxes near a brick patio on the yard. The owner had planted vegetables for her family, and Mom and I decided we would use this space for a flower garden. My mother has not had a garden since she moved to Arizona in 2000. I have not had a vegetable garden since 1996. 

We had gone over to The Home Depot to pick out plants for the garden and Mom was pulling weeds. I was hoeing the dirt, getting it ready for planting today. My mind was blissful as I hoed. It has been a long time since I worked in the garden, and a flood of memories came back to me. Happy times when I worked hard to produce four square plots of vegetables for my family and others. I loved my garden. It was my sanctuary. It was a place of peace, and a place of rest for me. I worked full time then, but I would come home every evening and go out in my backyard to prune the grapevines, pull weeds, water, etc. It was my pride and joy, to see the fruits of my own labor.

As I hoed the dirt I heard these words bubble up in my head:

"Oh, Lord, how I miss living in a home."
"How I would like to have a garden again - to work in and to enjoy."
"Oh, I do miss being in a house."

It was not long ago when I utter those words -- several times over -- in prayer, in conversation, and in thought. Yes, my Father in Heaven sees and hears everything we say, and He knows us, knows us well.

My Lord has provided a home to me. It is not the way I thought it would be, of course. I had wanted to purchase my own home, and then have my parents move in with me. I thought it would be a big home, a two story with plenty of room for all of us. I wanted space to separate us, so that my parents could have their own quiet area, away from the cats, the noise, the drums!

Instead, the Lord has provided a lovely home to my parents. It is 400 SQFT larger than the home they sold -- it has no pool-- but it does have a fourth bedroom. It is a good layout for both of them -- all tile -- which is good for my Dad (should he need a power chair in the house). It is in their neighborhood, across the street from our church, and it has a three-car garage (big enough to hold all my Dad's stuff and my things).

Again, my shortsightedness only saw one part of the picture, one aspect of the provision. I was happy to have a home, but I only saw the negative part. I missed the blessing because I was focused on the difficult aspects -- the telling my landlord, the moving from a larger town home into two small rooms. I didn't see the blessing of God's provision, and the beauty of the possibilities that lay with the future.

Job

Lastly, and probably most importantly, the Lord has provided a job for me to do. 

I have been miserable to say the least with regard to my current work at CVS Caremark. I have come to hate my job, hate the work I do, and loathe having to go there each day. The environment has become oppressive, and I wanted out. I prayed about it, I started applying for other jobs, and I looked for any way out, any way at all.

This past week was the death knoll for me. I simply couldn't take any more, and with moving my parents, and the stress and strain of the physical work, I was overwhelmed and undone. I cried every day, and the fact that I was already emotional due to my monthly cycle didn't help. I prayed to the Lord -- "Please release me, please provide something else for me to do?" The Lord would calmly reply to me: "Be patient. Remain where you are. I have you covered."

AGH! Whenever He tells me to be patient, I squirm. I don't like being patient because it means that I have to wait, and waiting for me is like a trip to the dentist. I loathe it, I fear it, and I literally hate doing it. 

Not my will Lord, but thy will be done. Yes, I repeated this mantra over and over again. Confessing and confirming that I would patiently wait for Him to move, to do whatever He had in mind to do.

Thursday was a blow-up day at my job. I had taken two days off to help my parents move, and then I worked from home on Wednesday. I was beat. I needed to work from home, and while I was glad to have the time off to help Mom and Dad, I came back to a boatload of work, and very little time to meet deadlines. My boss tried to be helpful to me, but her help was not wanted.

Instead of helping me with my already heavy workload, she walked into my cube and pronounced that she was giving me a new implementation - a new client to work on. I looked at her and right then she could tell I was not a happy camper. I didn't cry, but I was upset. I didn't want a new implementation. I didn't want more work. I wanted to leave, to run out the door, and to leave CVS Caremark as quickly as I could do so.

She could tell I was stressed. She could tell I was upset. However, she did try to ask me what was wrong, but I wasn't in any mood to tell her. I just wanted her to leave me alone.

Later that day, while I was driving home, I cried out to the Lord - "Lord, what is happening to me? Why am I still here at this job? When will you provide something new for me to do?"

I was supposed to have a one-on-one meeting with my new Director on Friday. It got pushed back to Monday, so I was really bummed. At the least, I thought speaking with him might help me out. He was sympathetic to me, and frankly, he is on my side. He was the Director I interviewed with last September, and he offered me a job to work in his department. I chose to work in Onboarding because I thought it would be an easier transition. Now, this same person is my Director -- so I was hoping that perhaps he would help me, he would step in and take some of the work off me or at the least move me into a better job.

Yesterday, I went to work as usual. I did my work, finishing early. I had a sinus headache, and with the holiday looming, was getting ready to go home early. My Director stopped by my cube to ask if I could meet with him for ten minutes. I did, and I was surprised by what he said to me. 

He told me how much he valued me, and that he wanted to make sure I was happy in my job. He was putting me on a special project starting Monday, and he wanted me to know about it. He also said that he wanted me to be candid about what has transpired over the past eight months when we do meet on Monday.

I told him about my schooling, and how I felt that CVS Caremark might not accommodate my need. I told him I was looking for other jobs because I couldn't take the work load. I wanted to be honest. I wanted him to know that I was overwhelmed and I wanted out.

He assured me that he would help me, and that he would work with me and my schooling.

So I left yesterday thinking, once again, that I was stuck in a terminal situation. No hope, no way out. Yes, I believed that God would provide a different job for me, a different place to work. In a way, He did just that -- He opened a door for me to potentially move into a new role, with the understanding that my schooling comes first, and that I have to have the freedom to go to Regent each summer.

I thought I would receive a call on another job, and that I would leave my current place of work and start over. Instead, I am potentially looking at staying put, but moving into a different role, doing different work.

Conclusion

As I sit here this good Saturday morning, I am thanking the Lord for His provision of Grace. It is His Grace that has made all this possible. And although I don't fully understand His plans, and how He has determined them to come to pass, I do know that my God is firmly in control of all the details in my life. He has plans and ways to make things come to pass to suit His needs. He considers my ways, but in the end, He always chooses the way that suits Him best. He knows me. He loves me. And, He only desires my good, my best.

Dear Lord -

Thank you for your provision this week. Thank you for helping me to see that you are moving in my life, changing and turning things that "seem negative" into positive outcomes. My view is stunted by my own flesh and willfulness. Your view is perfect, and all encompassing. I rest securely in your view of my future, taking confidence in the truth that You are God, and that as God, you have everything in control and predetermined to accomplish your will for my life.

Thank you, Lord, for your Grace. May your Name be praised today and forevermore. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and calmly think about that!!)

March 16, 2013

Registration for Classes

I am still waiting to hear if I received a scholarship for graduate study. I am hoping that I receive some award in addition to financial aid. I really don't want to take more student loans (UGH!) I know that God has got me covered, and He is working behind the scenes to make this come to pass. Personally, after having worked at a University, and been a graduate student -- I know how special it is to be selected for Doctoral studies. Not everyone who applies is accepted; therefore, I know that God is IN this and that He will provide a way for me to pay for my education.

I logged into my student account, and I have been awarded more student loans. I accepted them - with hesitation - as I wait for the awards committee to complete their work. I have a high enough GPA, so I cannot think that I wouldn't receive some assistance. Academic Scholarships pay out up to $5850. I am hoping to receive this award or one of the school's tuition waivers, which would alleviate all my tuition.

For now, I am content to know that I do have my tuition and expenses covered. I am still not sure about summer nor how I will pay for my trip to Virginia Beach. I am excited though to think about taking a trip to VA! The last time I was in Virginia, I was ten, and on a summer holiday with my parents. We visited our friends in Richmond, and then spent two-three days at Williamsburg (the start of my love affair with all things Colonial). I was determined to grow up and work at Williamsburg. I so wanted to wear a Colonial outfit, and pretend to make butter or serve in one of the lovely restored homes. Oh, the indulgences of youth!

I am thinking now about my plans for summer and fall. I have registered for one course, Introduction to Doctoral Studies. I thought about taking six credits this summer, but now think three credits is good enough. I have so much to do, what with moving into my parents rental home, and getting DJ ready to attend school. This course will be enough -- and will give me the time to get settled into my new home, and my new routine.

I am also considering job options. I received a call from our Privacy office last week, probing to see if I might be interested in applying for an upcoming position in Government and Privacy (Legal). I said "yes," though I am not really sure whether I want to stick around at CVS Caremark. I don't want to look a gift-horse in the mouth, but truthfully, I am burnt out on the workload, and the stress. I would welcome doing something less intensive.

I have a couple options, but so far nothing has materialized. I considered applying for adjunct positions at our local schools. I considered going back to UOPX and working in some other capacity. I have applied numerous times to GCU and ASU. Nothing seems to be opening up to me, and I am not seeing any movement on those fronts. What does this mean?

I know that God has a very good plan for my life. I see His hand moving in certain areas. I see good things happening for me. The problem is that I am not seeing everything fall into place, just odd items, a little bit here and there. I think this is His way. I don't think He always fixes everything at the same time. I think He moves here, and then there, and in the end -- it all miraculously works together -- it fits. I am short-sighted, and I am often wrong in my understanding and interpretation of things. It is not a mystery why I have "big picture" vision, and short-sighted ability when it comes to details. I get the IDEA of things really well. This comes to me quickly, and I see it - I get it. I struggle in the muck and mire, the down-and-dirty, the nitty gritty of the details. I lose my control, my confidence, and my faith when I am forced to consider the details. I so want to understand, I so want to see the whole puzzle.

Alas, I must be content. I must let this be, and let go of my need to control the details. God knows I am not good with details. I am such a big picture person, and details are confusing to me. I get confounded, and I must control them -- I must hold on tightly to them or else fear losing something of value. I understand now that my need to control is based on my vision, my inability to see the forest due to the trees. I stumble blindly about, seeing everything so clearly in overhead view. I walk into trees every day, and to avoid the hurt, I stare down at the path, and follow every rock and boulder to make sure I don't fall.

I get it, I so get it. I have been struggling to control the details because this is what I do. In every area of my life, I live by the list, the post it note, the must-do or die approach. I cannot let go because then I would get lost, I would lose my way. I have trained myself to be thorough, to be disciplined, and to be focused. I have used my mind to memorize factual details so that I wouldn't forget anything important. I have become so obsessed with details that I cannot function without a daily to-do list.

The funny (ha ha) thing is that my natural state is to blissfully walk through this life with a somewhat spacey look on my face. Yes, as a child I was that "lost" little girl who played with imaginary friends, who spent hours digging in the dirt, oblivious of the time. I was always late, always behind, always last to get in, to accomplish anything. I was out of step, out of time, and I never could remember anything important.

I learned how to be in control once I started working. I had to be on time each day, I had to have a system of organization to make sure the daily tasks of my job were completed. Truthfully, I never was a very good worker. I always showed up late, and I always missed the cue.

God has been gracious to me. He has helped me be organized. However, I see now how much I hate the work I do at CVS Caremark. I sit at my desk every day and think to myself -- "I don't know what I am doing." Partly this is because of the volume of work. I see my colleagues with their spreadsheets, their organizational systems. They are always entering data, checking this or that. They plod on, they accomplish much.

When I am asked for details, I can barely recall. I have to resort to my steno pad and look up my notes. I cannot answer quickly, and on calls, I stumble and bumble about. Yet, when it comes to understanding issues, to seeing how to resolve problems, I can listen and then formulate a plan. I can think through scenarios quickly, and produce plausible paths to follow. I am very quick at solving problems, very quick at seeing issues, roadblocks, or hazards.

Yes! This is because of my overarching ability to see the whole picture. I am a visual-spatial person, and I am working in a nuts-and-bolts type job. I need to be working in vision, working in a position where I can use my abilities, my strengths and not my weakest areas.

UGH! I understand now. I am always choosing positions that focus on my weak areas. Perhaps this is God's will, to help me build up those areas. Yes, this is very possible. However, I believe that I tend to choose these kinds of jobs out of habit. I tend to look for work that is purely mechanical because in many ways, these kinds of jobs are easy for me to do. Yet, my strength is not here, not in this kind of work.

Hmmm...why Lord? Why have you chosen for me to grasp this today? What plans do you have for me that require my understanding of my key abilities and strengths?

Dear Lord,

I ask that you help me to understand what you want me to know this day. May your will be done, always -- first and foremost -- and may I reconcile myself to the truth of who I am, and what I am best suited to doing. I know you have a good job in mind for me, and I know that my studies at Regent are all part of your plan. May your will come to pass, and may I receive the blessing you have in mind for me this day. I ask all this in Jesus' Name, Amen! So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

March 11, 2013

Reflections

I stayed home today. I was not feeling well when I woke up, and I decided to call in sick. I am at the very end of my rope when it comes to my job at CVS Caremark. I think I have passed the "go" mark and now I am no longer willing to tolerate the job or the responsibilities that go along with it.

I don't mean to complain - AGH! I actually blogged a couple weeks ago, promising that I would not complain anymore. Oh well, so much for good intentions, eh?

I guess I am just down to the frazzle point, the nub, you know -- that place where there is not much left to rub anymore. Now it just seems to me that I am irritated all the time, frustrated, and feeling as though nothing really matters. I mean, really - does it matter? Hardly. My job is a good job. I am thankful for it, but the workload is unbearable, and the unending demands are becoming annoying. I so want to shout out "Just go away!"

I am funny this way. I think about shouting that out, but in reality, I trod on. I just pick up my ditty bag and walk on. I am tired of walking on, and I so would appreciate a good long rest. I know that the Lord has me covered and that He is well aware of my breaking point. I am trusting Him for His provision, and I am thanking Him for each new bouquet of hope. He is so very good to me, so very good to me.

Today is a new day. I saw this cartoon posted by a friend on my Facebook page. It made me smile, so I thought I would share it here.


Isn't this how it should be? As Christian's we are supposed to be rejoicing in each day the Lord gives to us. Rain or shine, happiness or sorrow -- we are to rejoice. Always rejoice.

"Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again--rejoice!" ~Phi. 4:4 NLT

Yes, I need to remember that every day is a gift from God, and that as His child, I am blessed to receive it. With Joy and with Thanksgiving, I receive His gift to me. I rejoice -- am filled with joy -- at the gift, and I give thanks to the Giver of all Good things.

March 9, 2013

I am Officially a Regent Student

I received an email from the Director of Admissions reminding me to pay my enrollment fee for Summer studies. It was the first communication I have received from Regent since a short welcome letter arrived a couple weeks ago.

As a former Enrollment Advisor with University of Phoenix, I was a little put off by the fact that this very nice, and very expensive University doesn't seem to go the extra distance to welcome doctoral students to their program. In my view, there is a difference in how students should be treated based on their level of education. I believe that all students should be greeted warmly, but that for those who make the decision to go on to higher levels of studies, extra time and attention needs to be paid to them. After all, most graduate students are full-time professionals, who are balancing life and work, and education. There needs to be some hand-holding and some direction to make sure that the busy graduate knows exactly where they are going, and how they are going to get there. I wish Universities would have a better grasp of important it is to take go that little extra mile, how it would make graduate students feel more comfortable, and welcome. Leaving them to guess what is next is the worst feeling -- and for those of us who are footing their own bill -- it is like paying $30k  for the privilege of getting  to do all the work yourself.

Oh well...just a little miffing this morning. I am blessed to be accepted and blessed to be able to attend this school. I am letting this pass, but I so wish that I could convey just how important it is to make a good impression with your self-paying graduate students.

On another note, I am working from home again. It is Saturday, and while I don't want to be stuck working at all, I would rather be working from home. I have three major tasks that have to be completed by March 15, 2013. All have deadlines, and all are visible to my senior level management. I have tried to get this work done during my normal 8-5, but I cannot do it. There is simply too much work for one person to complete. The upper level management team doesn't seem to get the volume of work, and is not moving to bring on more people to help us overcome the load. In fact, we are losing people, and they are not getting replaced - which is really a shame. We have lost one analyst in January, and our temporary contractor has just resigned this week. This puts a crimp in my plans, because the latter directly supported me, and I am still not in a position where I can do my own work.

I am committed to finding another job, now that I have my priorities straight regarding Regent. I am thankful for the work at CVS Caremark, but I am not seeing any light at the end of my tunnel. I was hopeful that we were making that turn and that the workload and volume would be decreasing. This is not the case, and after an internal staff meeting on Thursday, Sr. Leadership gave us no inclination that the work would improve anytime soon. I feel that my drop-dead date for moving out of this job and into another is May. I have to be fresh and ready to start classes in June, and I don't want to be working overtime at the same time. Moreover, I have already given notice to my boss that I would need a full-week off in June. Now that there is no planned change in the status quo, I am concerned that I could get to May, and be told that I cannot take the time. My required residency is June 10-15, 2013, and I am not going to miss it!

I have applied for a couple positions, but have not heard anything yet. My gut tells me that the jobs paid less than what I wanted, and that I need to keep looking. I don't mind doing that though I would rather find something and focus on getting it than to keep applying and applying. I am looking at moving back to higher education administration since the work load expectation is manageable. I have applied to University of Phoenix for an Editor position, and to Grand Canyon University as a Faculty Scheduler. I am open to either -- so long as the pay is good, and the work load is a normal 8-5, M-F type position.

I am trusting the Lord for the next position. I am open to staying put as well -- I am just not seeing that as a viable option. I cannot work extra hours and S-S each week. I need to clock in 40 hours, and then be free to devote 20 hours per week to my studies.

The Plans as of March 2013

For now, my plans are to keep looking for a less intensive job. I found out that my landlord is thinking about selling the unit I am in -- unless I want to buy it -- at some point in the near future. This works into my plans to move into a rental home with my parents. I was worried that I would be breaking my lease, but now see that this is part of the Lord's will for me. My landlord was over last week to review the damage to the outside patio wall (my older neighbor drove her card into the wall on Wednesday). He casually asked me if I wanted to buy the unit. I wasn't prepared to say I was moving out, so I just gently said "no, not at this time." This is good news because I believe he will not have any issues with me getting out of my lease in June.

So with that said, here is what I have on my future forecast list for the remainder of 2013:
  • Register for my orientation course at Regent, June 10-15, 2013
  • Fly to Virginia Beach, VA (approx. $2k budgeted for the week stay)
  • Move from my townhome to a 4BR rental home near where my parents live now (May 2013)
  • Change jobs in April-May so that I am settled for June school start
  • Register my son for courses at ASU (April 2013)
  • School starts August 22 - so buy a used card (May 2013) for him to get to school
  • September will bring full-time study - need manageable job, settled into the new home
My biggest concerns right now are my son letting go of North Park University for his schooling. He has finally been accepted (after they lost his application). The problem is cost and travel expense, and factoring in my needs above, I just do not see this as a practical nor Lord permitted choice. My son needs to go to ASU for his next level of studies, but as of right now, he is just not 100% set on it.

My second, lesser concern, is transitioning from CVS Caremark to another job. I hate starting over. I hate changing jobs, learning new routines, waiting for benefits to kick in, etc. I am so tired of the rig-a-ram-role. I want a job that I can do for the next 3-4 years while I complete my online studies. I don't want it to take over my life, consume my focus, nor where me to a frazzle. I need enough to live on, and with my parents help, this should be possible (the fact that we are sharing rent and costs).

Dear Lord -

I need you to provide a way through this maze of change. You know how much I struggle with change, and how much I don't like to start over. I am not the most outgoing/social of people, and starting a new job means meeting new people. I ask now that you would provide a job to me that will fit with your plans for Regent. Clearly, you are orchestrating all these details. There is no way that all these unrelated events would fall into place without your hand being involved. I know you are making my paths straight, and that you will deliver on your promises to me. I am trusting you today to bring me a new position within the month, and I am believing whatever concerns me today has already been washed through your generous and kind mercy and grace.

March 3, 2013

Sick Again

I am not certain what is going on here, but I am sick again. It all started with a head cold three weeks ago. I assumed I had picked it up after my mother came down with bronchitis and then pneumonia. I never developed a severe cold, just an annoying stuffy head, constant blowing of my nose, and the drip of my nasal cavities draining. UGH!

I recovered mostly, but I have suffered on with the stuffy head, sinus pain and pressure, and the post-nasal drip. Friday, though, I suffered an ulcer-like attack. Sometime in the afternoon, I took some Aleve to relieve a back ache and the ever present headache. I noticed that I started to get that gnawing sensation in the pit of my stomach, but I hoped it would go away after I had some dinner. No such luck. I had invited my parents over to watch a movie and have pizza. I was nauseated the entire evening, and by the time they left, I felt pretty miserable. Saturday proved no better -- I was exhausted from a sleepless night, and I felt worse every time I ate anything. By evening, I was in such horrible pain that I thought seriously about going to the emergency room. Thankfully, the pain subsided and I was able to fall asleep and sleep soundly through the night.

I woke up this morning, feeling crummy, but at the least, with less pain. I stayed home from church, slept most of the morning, and then finally was able to eat a banana and a bagel later on. I dozed again this afternoon, finally waking up around 2 p.m. I am still not 100% better, but I do feel like the worst is over.

I prayed throughout my ordeal. I am not sure why stomach pain seizes you and forces you to be unable to think, do or sleep. It seems to radiate throughout your entire body, and there is nothing you can do or take to make it stop. As I prayed, I considered the worst - of course - that I had appendicitis or a gallbladder attack. I googled the latter, but really think my symptoms are a peptic ulcer and not an attack of gall stones.

Stress has played a role, and I am certain that the changing weather has not helped. However, I believe also that my feelings of general un-wellness stem from other sources, namely my unwillingness to allow the Lord to freely move in and through my life. I know -- some of you may be thinking that this is a crazy and unfounded excuse for not feeling well. I know, I know. It does sound sort of like I am making up reasons why I am feeling unwell. I don't expect you to believe me, side with me, or even consider what I may be saying as true. That's OK - I get it. It does sound kind of far-fetched.

The Bible does clearly speak to this point, though. We are told that Jesus often healed people from diseases that were the result of choices they had made in their lives, of generational sin and curses, as well as of the general spread of illness and disease due to environmental factors (lack of hygiene, clean water, antiseptic, etc.)

"The definition for sickness is to be in a disordered, weakened, or unsound condition. In other words, when one is sick, there is something that is within that individual that is out of alignment, lacking strength, and the internal infrastructure is fragile.1"

I know that for the past two-three years I have been unwell. In truth, I believe that I have been unwell since the first day I chose to disobey God and desire my will above His. I didn't understand fully what I was doing, and I did suffer greatly for many, many months before I confessed my willfulness and repented. I found healing, temporarily, until once again, I chose to follow after my own desires. This yo-yo cycle of healing followed by sickness has lasted throughout my adult years, and now that I am fifty, and looking at the second-half of my life, I have come to realize that I am literally 'sick and tired' of being sick and tired.

I have cried out to the Lord asking Him to heal me from all my infirmities. I know He has done so, yet I still find myself ill, feeling worn out, and under such duress, that often I don't think I can go on. I pray over it, asking Him to release me from whatever curse seems to be bearing down on me, and keeping me from feeling well again. This healing, the permanent state of feeling well, has alluded me thus far.

Today, I woke up feeling so very unwell, and I said to myself (and the Lord) that I had really had enough of it. I mean, not only am I preparing to tackle doctoral studies, but I am also getting ready to help my parents move, pack my son off to school, and then move myself -- how in the world will I do it all with these ailments weighing me down?

I know that there is something else happening in my life, something that is causing me to feel so poorly all the time. I googled reasons for feeling unwell, and this is the list that I came up with:
  1. Poor diet
  2. Dehydration
  3. Vitamins
  4. Minerals
  5. Stress
  6. Allergies
  7. Sleep Deprivation
  8. Excessive Sugar Intake
  9. Lack of Exercise
  10. Pollution / Chemical Exposure
Yes, I can say [x] to numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9. These are all factors for me, and most of them can be easily addressed and eradicated by changing the way I live, the way I think, and the way I spend my time. I can make small changes that will have a positive effect upon my health - I know this, I most certainly know this.

I guess there is part of me though that wonders if the root cause of my unwellness stems from a spiritual issue more so than these physical reasons. I know that I have been struggling with following the Lord, and with trusting Him for His provision in my life. I am certainly doing better on both accounts, yet, I know I could and should be farther along than I am. I still doubt, and I still tend to get bogged down in the details. I allow the enemy to gain footholds with my doubt, and I often sit down, feeling so unwell, that I am not willing to get up and get moving.

I need to get control over my health and well-being. The Lord has promised that He would heal us - I believe this is true.

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." ~Isaiah 53:5

Jesus has healed us through the finished work on the cross. He has taken our diseases and infirmities upon Himself, and we (believers in Christ) have access to health and well-being through His death, burial, and resurrection.

I know this, I know what the Word says -- but often I do not believe that it is true in my case. I know other people receive healing and well-being -- I just don't think I deserve it. Somehow I must suffer. Wrong! Oh, how wrong can I be?

God is impartial when it comes to His blessings and cursing's. There is a right way, and a wrong way. There is His way, and there is our way. The way of Life - through Jesus Christ - is the right way. The way of Life through the inner workings of the Holy Spirit of God is His way. It is pretty simple when you lay it all out.

My way leads to death.
His way leads to live.
My way brings about disorder, weakness, and unsoundness in mind and body.
His way brings order, strength, and sound mind and body.

There is a clearly defined and marked way in life, and the way we choose determines whether we live in order, with strength, and with a sound mind and body (wholeness). Does this mean we will be free from disease and illness? Yes, and no. Our bodies were not designed to resist these things, but we can follow good rules for best health. We can give our bodies the best possible chance for remaining healthy by treating it with kindness and feeding it with good whole foods. I know this will only help me and not hurt. Ultimately, my health is something the Lord covers over for me. I trust Him for health and well-being. I work in partnership with Him to ensure that I am doing everything possible to keep myself well. I feed my body good food, and I feed my mind good thoughts and ideas. I feed my soul with the Word of God. I take care of myself -- physically, mentally, and spiritually -- and the rest I leave to God.

Dear Lord,

I understand now that my  un-wellness is symptomatic of my lifestyle choices as well as my inner struggles with obedience to your Word. I have contradicted you many times, wanting my way over your way, and not following when you have clearly told me to get going. I see now how a little disobedience can have markedly large impact on our health. I am choosing now to let go, to rest, and to let you be - to have your way. I surrender to what I know to be true. I am trusting you for your provision, and I am getting out of your way. I want your choice for my life, my home, my family. I want to know that I am not being stubborn or willful, and as a result, I will feel that peace and wellness that has seemed to allude me. I ask now in the Name of Jesus to be healed from this infirmity. I ask to be released from the oppressive curse of generational un-wellness that has been a part of my family. I ask to be set free from the illness and the pain that I bear in my body due to choices I made when I was younger, disobedient acts and the times when I willfully walked my own way. I am yours from this point on, and I am resting in your Name, and in the Power of your Resurrected Life. Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah - pause and calmly think about it.

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