May 27, 2013

Moved In

The weekend of  "dread" has finally arrived. I hate moving. I absolutely hate moving. No matter how much planning I do, how I "prep", and how I stage the weekend, I still feel overwhelmed by the process of moving.  It didn't help that I was in Chicago for three days last week - that took a big chunk of time and energy out of this move. Moreover, I am in the middle of a very large project at work, and I have extra responsibility now. Compound all of that with that fact that I am three weeks into my first doctoral class, and I have assignments due -- AGH -- I am stressed, stressed, stressed.

The good news is that so far everything has worked out well. The cats are transitioning to the new home, getting used to my parents being in the house, and finding that they like a house again. I have almost the entire town home emptied, with the exception of my son's room. I have one more "move day" and I should be able to move the rest of the house items in one or two trips.

We have a slight hiccup with the fact that my mattress and box springs are at the town home, and the mattress I am sleeping on is going to my cousin's house. The cats are currently under the bed, so they will be disrupted, and with the stress of the move, I worry a bit about them handling another upset. Hopefully we can bring my bed over, and do a "switch-er-roo" so they will hide in the closet and in 10 minutes, be able to get back under the bed again. They may find there way over to my parents room, which really would be the better solution. They could hide out there during the day, and move back to my bed once the dust settles.

Right now, I am trying to get my almost 20-year old to move. He made the plan for today, and we were supposed to be over at the house at 8 a.m. It is now 10 a.m. and I am here blogging instead of packing and moving. LOL!

I am tired, but I can see the light at the end of this tunnel. It has been a long road from 2011 when I moved from the home I shared with my husband to a rented town home. Now I have come full circle considering I left my parents home almost 29 years ago (in September) and I am now moved back in with them. It is a good feeling to be here, even though the down-sizing has been difficult. I see the value in my being a part of their lives in this way. I see the way they appreciate what I can do to help them, and I know that I can help make a difference in these remaining years of their lives.

Of course, work and school is taking its toll on me. I am praying that the Lord's Grace will continue to cover me, and that I will have time to rest and recover this summer. My trip to Regent should be a wonderful time, a blessed experience where I can rest and study with my classmates. I feel that God has provided this time for me to discover his purposes and plans, and that through Regent my worldview will be shaped and molded to meet his exact needs and specifications. God is so very good to me. He is so very good.

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. ~1 Peter 5:10 NLT

May 18, 2013

Rethinking the Past - Envisioning the Future

Good Saturday Morning! It is a good day to be alive!! God has been so good to me this week. Though I am burnt and beat (tired), I feel alive and I am good. I give him thanks today for his goodness toward me, and for his grace which covers me from head to foot.

It is hard to believe that it is almost June! My how this year has flown by!! The new year came and went quickly. My work at CVS Caremark has finally taken a turn for the better, and I am starting to get some work/life balance. Hooray! My living situation is in flux, but I am confident that the Lord will see me through the next couple weeks until I can feel settled and comfortable again. Healthwise, I am struggling still - not feeling 100% due to allergies (mostly), and stress/exhaustion. However, I signed up for Weight Watchers Online, and so far have lost about 3 pounds this week. With diet modification, and weight loss, I hope to be feeling more energized very soon.

I seem to be on a whirlwind path right now. My doctoral class is good. It isn't quite what I expected, but I think I will like it. The blackboard system at Regent is clunky, and the class is mixed (teachers, pastors, writers, artists) that it is hard to know whether I should just be friendly or academic in my approach. I don't know really - I tried the academic approach, which I don't think went over well on my first assignment. So I am going to try to be friendly in my writing style, and see if that gets more response. Oh well...

My family is in town this weekend for my mother's 80th birthday. She is excited to have all her kids here, though she had wished she could have seen all her grandchildren too. She is missing three of her LA grand kids (one is married now, the other tied up with work, and the third actually lives in Iowa and couldn't make the trip). Still she will have all four children, and three grandchildren to celebrate her eighth decade on this earth.

God is so good to have helped heal her from that miserable pneumonia she had at the first of the year. She is recovering nicely, but she repeats herself a lot - something she didn't always do until this winter. I need to not remind her of it, but some times I just blurt it out. I know it hurts her feelings to remind her that she is repeating herself, but it is a point of concern. My Aunt has a form of dementia - it is called Vascular Dementia, and it was brought about by a long-time ago head injury. My Mom has similar signs so I am hoping it is just normal aging and not anything more serious. It is mostly her short-term memory, but I can tell her long-term memory is not as good as it was. She cannot remember when things happened or where we were living at the time. This is one of the reasons I am moving in with them. Mom's memory is failing, and my Dad is not able to care for her due to his disability. She doesn't need full-time care or anything like that -- but I am moving to be a comfort to my Dad and help carry the load so that Mom doesn't worry and Dad can rest a bit.

I digressed there - sorry about that.

My week at work has been good, busy but good. I am project lead on a project with our vendor. I will be travelling to Chicago next week for a meeting. I am excited about the opportunity to travel, and I am looking forward to being able to visit some other places in the country. I will be travelling in June to Regent so within the past two weeks and zooming forward into June, I will have visited St. Louis, Chicago and Virginia. Nice.

Home life is wearing down on me. My husband asked me for a divorce two weeks ago. I think he feels that since I am moving in with my parents, there is no return to our former married life. I was very upset about it initially - I mean - it has been almost three years since we started to fall apart. August 2009 was when I discovered that he had rekindled a relationship with a college girlfriend via Facebook  Though I don't believe that ever amounted to anything - there were other issues that surfaced that caused us to separate.

Counseling didn't help us stay together (it helped me personally), and in the end, I felt that I had no choice but to move out on my own. We still see each other at church, and make sure to have breakfast together each Sunday. He has not made one move toward reconciliation in that time, and I did patiently wait for him to return. I prayed for him to return, and I trusted the Lord to motivate him to return to his family. He never did anything. Not a word, not an "I am sorry" - nothing. He has told me how difficult things are for him, that he is suffering. He hasn't said "let's get back together, let's try to make it work." I don't understand it.

God asked me to be kind to him, to show him compassion and mercy. I have done this, and I still do it. I have forgiven him, and I do not hold any bitterness against him. I just don't get why he never said a word to me. He told me he didn't want our marriage to fail. He didn't want to be seen as a loser. Ok, I get that too - but marriage is more than that, much more than that.

I lived in a one-sided relationship for too many years, and I struggled to live under his authority - showing him respect, giving him love, and cherishing him. I held to my vows and I committed to love him in sickness and health, richer and poorer - the good, the bad and the ugly. I thought that was love - mature, Agape love. To love regardless of the situation. To hold on and never give up. To fight for what you love, to die for it, if need be.

I never got that kind of love in return. Even in our separation, I never got anything from him. There was no mention of love, of missing you, of needing you -- wanting you back. It was never spoken, never mentioned. I waited to hear the words, but they never came for me.

I moved on. I moved to where I believed the Lord wanted me to go. I enrolled in college, completed my Masters degree (now working towards a PhD). I started in the lowest of low positions - working retail until I could find a good paying job. I moved from University of Phoenix (Enrollment) to CVS Caremark (Analyst) and now am being considered for Project Management roles. I am moving up financially, positional, and authoritatively. My life seems to be moving in one direction, away from my husband, and towards some place in the distant future. I see the possibilities of where I might end up. I know that I am blessed, and I am favored at work. I am earning good income, establishing myself as credit-worthy. God has repaired my broken life and given me a new life, a new hope and a new future. I am going places now, and it is exciting.

My heart still yearns for companionship. I have strong desires to be married. I miss having someone near me, to hold me, to help me carry the load. I miss having a friend who knows me well.

God has stepped into that void. He is my companion, my travelling buddy,  my friend. He holds me up, he cares for me, and he carries the load. I look to him for my future, I rest in his security and I trust him to guide me each and every day. He is my life. He is everything to me.

Still, there is a whole in my heart where there used to be my husband. I still love him, I still care for him. I wish he felt the same towards me. I don't see it now, I have never seen it in the past, and I have come to accept that I never will see it in the future.

So I walk on. I walk into this glorious future that I believe the Lord has prepared for me. He calls me toward this bright light, he fills my heart with hope, and he sustains me when I feel so very faint. He has plans for me, I know it. He has a future shaped for his Name. I know I am purposed, and my life is focused on accomplishing his will. God is good that way. He is so very good to those of us who have been broken, who have suffered the anguish of a broken heart:

"He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds." Psalm 147:3 NLT

God has healed me. I am a very different person now, fully in control and fully able to make good choices and decisions. God has made me new, brand new - just like his word promises.

"and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Eph. 4:24 NIV

I am new. I am living my life with new purpose and new devotion. God has set my feet aright, and I am walking towards Him and His Glorious Heaven. I am blessed. I am good. God is so very good to me all the time.

May 11, 2013

INTJ Versus the World


Ok, so I crashed and burned yesterday. I didn't mean for it to happen, but it did. My buttons got pushed, and I pushed back. I was tired, I was sleepy, I was not feeling well -- and Wham! Bang! I reacted with intentional ATTITUDE!

I hate it when I do that, when I just let my inner turmoil boil over. I am one of those people who simmers, simmers, and simmers. Most of the time, I can turn the heat down, diffuse the situation, calmly and rationally uncover a way to go to avoid a major blow out. Then sometimes, on some days, the heat gets turned up, I get distracted from watching the flame, and the kettle just POPS!

I am so sorry for lashing out at the person I  lashed out at yesterday. I didn't mean to do it, and I didn't control my anger. I regret it, and I wish I could take it back, but the words are out, the intention was clear, and the pain real.

On the bright side of things (if there can be a silver lining behind every cloud), my Father in Heaven knows me well. He knows that the person who pushed me has a certain way of pushing people, that this is a character flaw and something that this person has always known how to do. This person unintentionally meddles in people's lives, and under the guise of care and friendship; worries, frets and fears about things that are not hers to worry, fret and fear. She should not do it, but she does. She has been doing it her whole life, and still she hasn't learned that it causes her far more pain and suffering that necessary.

I don't want to fight, and I don't want to cause this person harm. Sometimes, though, I want her to back off a little bit, just a bit. I want her to stay out of my business, even when I am overwhelmed and stressed. I want her to step aside and support me as a friend, and not be in the middle, making thing harder for me to handle.

Sigh.

I know that the Lord understands people well. He knows me. He knows how hard I work to control my anger, and how I try not to upset or offend people.

My son likes to point out that typical INTJ personalities are like those in movies and thriller books -- the evil mastermind who is determine to take over the world. My son looks down on the fact that INTJs are super controlling, planners extraordinaire. He overlooks the fact that without Masterminds (good ones), much of this world would not function properly. LOL!

I happen to be this personality type. I am a classic INJT (on the Meyer-Briggs personality profile assessment). I admit it, I know it, I am content to be it. Yes, I have my life planned out for the next 50 years. I have goals, and I have steps outlined to get me to my goals. So be it. I am thorough, and I am a big picture person who takes control of her destiny, and makes things happen.

My son, conversely, is an INTP which is often called The Thinker. He stews and thinks things over. I am extroverted in my thinking which is why you will often find me talking out loud (to myself, and to others). He thinks inwardly and rarely shares his thoughts. It bugs me at times because I would really like to know what it going on inside of that head of his. Yes, there are times when I want to knock that head silly and tell him to start planning his life!

God has given me the restraint to let him go. I can no longer plan his life for him. He will be 20 this year, and I have had to let him go, and let him learn from life. This was the point of the blow up yesterday -- I was stating the fact that this is how things are now between us. The other person, a Caregiver, views my reaction as unsympathetic and harsh. I am intolerant, and not caring about the personal side of the situation.

In truth, I am caring and very tolerant. I am also just pragmatic about the situation. My son has to grow up, and he has to take responsibility for himself. He cannot be a baby forever.

I know, I know - the differences in how INTJs and other personality types view the situation is really at the crux of it all. My views are rational, and at times, harsh. I am tough and I am black and white, with very little gray area. I have mellowed, of course, due to the graciousness of God. I am compassionate, and I am understanding. I tend to focus on the reality of the point -> and as always -> the end goal.

Sigh.

There is a reason why God called me to be this way. There is a reason why my brain and my personality are meshed together to produce INTJ characteristics. I believe that my calling, my vocation, and the plans God has for my life coincide with my character make-up. There are key characteristics that set an INTJ apart from the other personality types. God needed me, a very classic INTJ, to be used for a specific purpose. Yes, and thank goodness, He is conforming me to the personality type of Jesus, otherwise I could desire to take over the world (LOL!) God knows that I need the Grace of Jesus to temper my flawed and somewhat harsh and pragmatic personality. I need to be a perfected INTJ and the only way that can happen is to have the Lord live through me, work through me, and accomplish his will through me. Yes, I need to be an INTJ washed in the blood of the Lamb, and functioning by the power of the Holy Spirit, to accomplish his work, in his way, and for his name.

God is good. God is good all the time.

He knows me, and he knows that as an INTJ, I am able to accomplish a lot of things. I am told this often "You amaze me, Carol. I don't know anyone who is as productive as you are." I will hear, "I don't know how you do it all, Carol. I don't know anyone who could do all the things you are doing now, and hold it together." It is true, it is true. I have always been able to do more than others. I am better organized, more efficient, and highly skilled in ways that others are not. I can do a lot, and I can understand complex things, theories, tasks, etc. I get it, I just get it.

There is a down side to all this of course. My highly developed ability for efficiency and productivity comes at a cost to some of the other personal sides of things.

  • I am driven to succeed and will not stop for anyone or anything (values driven versus monetary or possessions). This can put people, important people in my life, on the back burner. I can leave them in the dust, trailing after me, and wanting relationships when I prefer to focus on the task at hand.
  • I am intolerant of other people's unwillingness to take charge. I do not desire to lead because it slows me down, requires too much effort to be extroverted and play politics, but when faced with a choice of leading or being without a leader - I will step up and take charge. This can cause others to feel that I am running over them, making choices without consulting them, and being an overly aggressive, overly harsh leader.
  • I don't take time to understand weakness, and often, consider it the result of poor planning, or a lack of foresight. This attitude often comes across as being arrogant, and that puts people off. They see me as overly confident, bold and at times brash when in reality I am not. I simply am trying to get the job done in the most efficient and productive way.
In short, I leave people out of the process, and I leave them sitting in the dust as I zoom forward, taking charge, and taking control. I make things happen, I get things done. I am not always a good team player. I am an INTJ who has been tasked with a responsibility, and who will see that responsibility through to the end - even if it kills me.

God knows that my personality is a plus. There are characteristics that I have that others do not. In fact, less than 3% of the population share my personality type. Very few of that 3% consider themselves to be religious, and very few would say they are born again Christians. In fact, most INTJ's are atheist's. Most are pragmatic realists who think religion is "Hokey" (quoting Han Solo):

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."

In some respects, you could probably say that I bear an unusual testimony since it is rare for INTJ's to accept the possibility of an all-controlling "force" directing our destiny.

"I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny." ~Han Solo

Yes, it is hard to believe that this INTJ was personally invited to share in the sufferings of Christ, to worship at His feet, and to come into His presence and enjoy the sweetness of His fellowship. It is magical, mystical, and mysterious - and I am thankful that He reached down and plucked me from the error of my way, and set my feet on the solid rock, the solid path.

He is my God, and I am not ashamed to admit it.

In all probability, given that there are less than 3% of the population who are INTJ's, the reality is that there are very few of us who are Christian. We make up less than 1% of that 3% - and not being the mathematician, I would say that we are somewhere in the range of .00001 percent.

Why is this important? I guess it is just fun to think about the fact that God has called some of the hardest headed people to Himself. He has work for us to do, and He needs us to learn to be a part of His kingdom. Yes, we need to learn from the Master - and probably this is the point of everything. INTJ's do not accept training and teaching from people unless they meet their exacting and high standards. In my case, this means that I fall at the feet of the Teacher because there is no one higher than Him. He is God, and for me to learn from someone worthy to teach me - the only One who fits that bill - is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Weird to think about it in those terms, but it is true. I love to learn from the Master Teacher, and while I have come to appreciate my human teachers, I take everything they say with a "grain of salt." Even my Christian teachers (Pastors especially) get washed through my lens and their words are stripped (parsed) for clarity and truth. Yes, I am a harsh critic when it comes to those who sit above me. I don't verbally criticize them, of course not, but I do consider their words carefully. I don't always believe what I have been told - no matter the source.

The only exception is God. I believe the Bible, and I believe the Holy Spirit as my Master Teacher. I trust the Word of the Lord over the word of man, and I rest in the knowledge and understanding that He alone is perfect, and that He alone has the position and authority to tell me what to do, and how to do it.

The rest -> well, I struggle with daily. I do my best, and in my flawed and imperfect way, fail to live up to the standard He has set for me (all of us). I fail miserably, and I use my words in ways to hurt people when I should be building them up. I make choices and decisions without considering others, and I forge on ahead, often blinded by what is taking place on the sidelines. I am boastful, arrogant, confident to an extreme, and dedicated to the pursuit of perfection and achievement. For all intents and purposes, I am a menace and a difficult person to get along with well.

Thank goodness the Lord knows me and He loves me. He has taken all that is nasty about my personality type, and softened those rough edges. He has given me His heart, a heart filled with compassion, and a deep longing in my soul to build up the church. I desire His way, and I let Him lead me - willingly now. He moves me, he shapes me, and he is making me into a possession of his own choosing.

God is good. God is good all the time.

For more information on the work of Carl Jung and Isabel Briggs visit: http://www.personalitypage.com/html/home.shtml

May 9, 2013

Fulfilling His Plans


WOW! This has been a whirlwind week for me. First off, I had a good time in St. Louis. Yes, it was cold and rainy, but overall it was a good experience. I enjoyed visiting our print vendor's facility, and learning how to fend for myself on the road. I am blessed beyond measure that God provided a unique opportunity for me to travel last week. Moreover, I found out that I am now to go to Chicago for two days next week. I am blessed, truly blessed. God is a GREAT GOD and His Mercy endures forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

As I sit here today, I contemplate on all that the Lord is doing for me, and through me. My life is complicated, to say the least, and I am overwhelmed and overcome by His marvelous grace. I stutter, and I stammer when asked to account for the goodness in my life. I simply cannot utter enough praise for the Lord Most High to sufficiently give testimony for His great preparation and planning my life.

While I am overwhelmed at the tasks assigned to me, His grace covers me and provides me with peace. I am no longer afraid. I am no longer worried. I am not panicked. I am good, and God is good all the time. I know Him, and He knows me so very well. He knows what I can and cannot do, and He knows that I need him now more than ever. I need you, Lord -- Oh -- how I need you.

Today was a good day for me. I spent the morning working from home so that I could take my sick son to his final exams at college. He needed a ride, and wouldn't be there long, so I just stayed home to accommodate his schedule. God has provided a job that allows such freedom, and I am thanking Him now for this gift and blessing. You are so very good to me, Lord!

I marvel at His will and the plans He has for me. I magnify the Lord, singing within my soul to give Him the praise due His holy name. I know He is worthy, so very worthy, and I sing for joy at the salvation of my soul, and at the provision of his mighty hand. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Not everything is perfect. Not everything is running smoothly as planned, but what is moving forward seems to be in "full steam ahead" mode. I am excited, and I am filled with eager anticipation of the fulfillment of the Lords will for my life. What will he do next? How will he amaze me further? Can I handle more goodness from His hand? Yes, yes, yes. I am intrigued Lord, and I wait upon you to see what you have in mind for me next.

So far this week, I have:

  • Traveled to St. Louis on business
  • Received a major project assignment with potential for career advancement
  • Given plans to travel to Chicago on business for next week
  • Received a Corporate AMEX card to use for business (PTL!)
  • Started my doctoral program at Regent
I can barely contain my excitement because of what has transpired this week. I am confident that the plans the Lord has for me are good, and that they are coming to pass. I wait with expectation, O Lord, and I rest in your Name. You are GREAT, you are GOOD, and I praise your Name now and forever more!

May 5, 2013

It is good to remember all His Benefits


"What joy for the nation whose God is the LORD, 
whose people he has chosen as his inheritance."
Psalm 33:12 NLT

Today is a GREAT day! I am choosing to Praise the Lord this morning for He is abundantly merciful to me.

It is a good Sunday morning, and I am ready to offer up a sacrifice of praise to the Lord. Although I am feeling a little unwell, and I have decided to miss church this morning due to jet lag and my business trip last week; I am still feeling the need to praise and worship God.

God has been so very gracious to me. He has blessed me beyond measure and He has provided me with every need I have or will have under His glorious SUN. I am blessed. I am good. And, I see the providential hand of the Lord upon my life. It is good to be alive today, and it is good to remember all His Benefits (Ps. 103:2 NLT.)

As I reflect on this past week, I am reminded of how much the Lord cares for me. He not only provided an opportunity for me to travel on business, but He also gave me the experience of travelling on short notice, and having to get up and get moving quickly. I am not a quick mover -- I am a slow mover. The Lord desires that I be comfortable with travel, and I am all for travelling - I love it! However, I prefer the slow, planned approach. I don't want to move to quickly, to go from one place to another, or to be uncomfortable while I am away from home. The Lord needs me to be ready to go when He determines it is time to go. This is what Jesus wanted from His disciples as well -- to be light travelers  to go when the moment called for travelling, and to be willing to go when asked.

I had a good trip. It was a nice experience, and it helped me be better prepared for my week stay at Regent University this June. I have already learned what not to do when travelling by plane. Security went fairly smoothly, but I had too much to place into bins to be scanned. I also lugged my carry-on with a second bag that didn't really stay put all through the airport.

My Regent trip will include a checked bag along with my laptop case. I see that I need to have one case only - so I have to come up with a better plan for a purse. I am thinking of a purse/wallet - something small that I can slip into my laptop case. I am used to bringing a purse with me, but really all I need is my wallet. 

I also need to dress better.  I was only gone for two work days and the clothing I brought was fine. However, I wasn't really comfortable in the clothing. I was sitting on a plan for four hours each way. I was at the office all day, away from my normal desk and routine, so my clothing was not suited to the work I was doing. I also need better shoes. My shoes were OK and they are the ones I wear every day to work, but for travel, they were not the most comfortable to wear for long stretches of time.  Yes, I need to revamp my wardrobe, and I need to come up with some better solutions for professional/business casual dress as well as holiday travel.

All in all, I had a good trip. I am glad to be home, glad to have time to rest up before the work week begins again.

School Update

My first courses at Regent start on  Monday. I was able to login and start them last week, but so far, I have just read the assignments, downloaded the syllabus, and read the introductory chapters. I have to have all my books read before I get to campus on June 8th. I don't see this as a problem - I just need to plan for reading each night, and I should be good.

I have booked my airfare and car already. I took care of my hotel today. This stay is going to cost me, but it will be worth it. This will be the first trip I have taken without my parents or my husband as travel companions. Yes, my business trip was my first as well. I did have my manager travelling with me, but I went on my own for the most part. I have never really traveled alone, so this is a big step for me. I am comfortable going on my own, and now that I have taken a short business trip, I am comfortable with the ins and outs of airport/rental car check in/check outs.

I can do this - I can do this!

It is a strange thing to consider that I am about to embark on a life as a solo traveler. When I was married, my husband and I did travel some of the time. We took a lot of short driving trips, longer vacation/driving trips, and some trips by air. Once our son was born, though, we didn't go as much just due to expense in flying/hotel/food, etc. I miss those trips. They were highlights of my year, and often gave me the downtime I needed to get away from the difficulties at work, at home or within my own self.

Now that I am a single adult, I am looking forward to flying and visiting countries. I haven't been out of the USA since 1991, and I am looking forward to potential travel to Africa, the UK, Canada as well as other domestic locations. I would like to plan some trips for vacation/holidays, but for now, my focus is on Regent and my schooling. I do not think I will be traveling quite as much for pleasure in the next three to four years. Oh well, I can wait. I can wait.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the provision for my schooling. Not only have you paid for my accommodation at Regent, but you have also provided for my tuition and books. I have been able to use my credit cards wisely, purchasing what was needed, and then paying off the charges quickly. You know how much I fear debt, and I thank you for providing a way for me to use what I need to use to make travel plans, and then take care of the back end business of paying for the costs associated with my program and/or those requirements for on-campus stay. You are amazing, and I thank you for everything you are doing in my life today. I know the plans you have for my life are very GOOD. I know that you are moving mightily in and through my life, and that you are making changes so that my life will continue to conform to your desire for my growth and vitality. You are arranging ways for me to make more income, to take on a larger burden of care for my parents, and continue to be a mentor to my son. I am trusting you to do all this in your Name. I believe your Word, and I trust in your Name. I am looking to your Hand of provision, and to your constant shelter and protection from the unknown, the enemy, and the distractions of this world. May your Name be praised today and forever more. I pray this now in Jesus' Name, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah ~ pause and calmly think about it.

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!)