April 20, 2014

He is Risen!

He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.
Come, see where his body was lying.
Matthew 28:6 NLT 

It is a beautiful Easter Sunday in Phoenix! I just went outside to snap a picture of the Easter lilies I brought home from church today and found them looking so very sad (they were in the sun). I am hoping they will perk up now that I have moved them out of the sun and into the shade. It is warm here today, almost 90. I am so not ready to have summer temperatures yet. It is not even May! ACK!

Today has been a blessed day. It started off rough with me over sleeping and missing the first service at church. My church has a breakfast brunch in between services and my intention was to go at 8:30 with my parents, eat breakfast with the church family, and then come home to rest. Instead, I barely made it to the 10:30 service (no breakfast for me). Still the service was amazing! Pastor Brent Kall gave a fantastic message, and the worship team was outstanding. The praise team performed along side the choir and the music was inspirational and wonderfully focused on the resurrection of the Lord!

After the service, my son (seen at the piano below) informed me and others that he had broken the piano today. Well, he probably didn't really break it, but something is wrong with the sustain functioning and now all the keys play as though the sustain pedal is down. Oh well, leave it to my son, the man of amazing talents to break the church's piano on Easter Sunday!

After church, I came home and logged back into the computer. I cannot believe I am actually admitting this, but after spending some 60 hours working on my research paper (finished it by the deadline last night), the very last thing I want to do is be on the computer. However, I have some small business to attend to with my Regent classes, and I have to grade papers for GCU. Oh, the joys and trials of being a doctoral student AND teaching college!

Mom has our dinner in the oven (Yum! The ham smells wonderful!!), and we have company coming over in about an hour. My cousin Deb, and our good friend, Barb, are going to be joining us for Easter dinner. It is sad in a way because this last year, Rich (Deb's husband) was still with us. I think Easter was the last time we saw him at our house (he passed in the summer). I know holidays are especially difficult for her.

Barb was going to bring Jim (her husband), but he is not well enough to travel this year. He is in an assisted living home near by and often is able to leave the home to come here for dinner. However, this year, he said he wasn't able to go. I know that it is hard for Barb as well. She and Jim have been married so long, and it has been four years since his stroke. The time seems to go so slowly when you are dealing with these kinds of losses.

As I think about my life today, I can only say how grateful I am that I am alive, I am well, and I am healthy. God has given such great blessing and He has brought complete goodness into my life. I am whole, I am healthy, and I am alive and well. Praise God for His Great Name and His Goodness this day.

I cannot believe that next Sunday will mark the completion of my first year as a doctoral student at Regent University. This year has been incredible as far as the depth and breadth of learning and the amount of relationship building that has taken place. I have met new friends, colleagues, and sweet sisters in the Lord, whom I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have been stretched to think in new ways, and to consider options in how digital communication influences our relationships (family, organizational, church, education, etc.) I look forward to starting Year 2 in May, and working towards the completion of my dissertation some day soon. God is good, so very good to me.

I am still waiting on confirmation of teaching contracts for Arizona Christian University. I am waiting to hear back on the two classes I hope to teach in the fall (COM Theory and ENG Comp). I am also waiting to hear whether Grand Canyon University will renew my contract for fall classes. I have asked for Literature (heard back already that they don't have any adjunct classes available now), and two Composition courses. I am trusting the Lord for His financial provision of these contracts. It is not a stretch to say that I need the money. It was so difficult to leave CVS Caremark last year and give up a very nice salary and benefits to transition to teaching. Yet, I see how this was God's will for my life. I know now that I could not have completed this semester and worked full-time as an Analyst. There is just no way I could have survived COM 702 and worked in that position. God knew what He was doing when He moved me out of CVS and into GCU. I give Him all the praise for He directed my steps and He provided a way for me. He is so good, so very good!

The other sort of "funny" thing (not as in ha ha, but just curiously thinking about it) is that since I left that job, I have found such great peace in what I am doing. On top of that, I have taken a lead role as a communications professional for my church. I have redesigned the website (using Word Press), and I am beginning to use my graphic arts, media arts, and analytical skills to help the church with their communication and outreach programs. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, and God opened the door for me to do it. I am seeing how my studies at Regent and my previous life as a website designer/graphic artists are intersecting for His purpose in my life. My calling as I state on this blog is to:

Communications professional who desires to use her gifts and abilities to help the Church build relationships and develop connections through intercultural and interpersonal communication.

This is the calling the Lord gave to me several years ago. At first, I could not see what He wanted me to do. I can remember telling my family and friends that this is what I believed the Lord wanted me to do. They looked "curiously" at me like I had said "The Lord told me to go to Mars!" I get it, I really do. I mean at that time I was still married and I was working as a website designer as part of my then-husband's business. I had done this work for nearly 12 years, and while I enjoyed staying at home to home school my son, I didn't really like the work itself. I kept asking the Lord for permission to do His work full-time, to "be about His business" and not have to have it be a side-line. I wanted to be in full-time ministry, but I didn't know how to go about doing that at my age.

Then my life took a nose dive of catastrophic proportions and I found myself single. I didn't have a clue as to what I would do with my life. I never imagined I would be single after 25 years of marriage. I thought my life was settled, and that I would do whatever kind of work I could do to help support my husband in his business.

God, of course, had other plans for me. I believe now that the sorrow I experienced prepared me for this work. I wasn't left alone to figure it all out. No, God provided a way for me to go, a plan for me to follow, and here I am today the recipient of His Goodness. I followed His steps and I went back to school and completed my Masters degree. I then enrolled in a Doctoral program focused specifically on ministry. I worked in a variety of jobs while I went to school, and I learned how to live as a single person again. Then when the timing was right, He took me from the corporate world and opened a door for me to move into academic teaching. I am right where I belong, I am where He wants me to be and it feels GREAT!

I still have a long road ahead of me with at least two more years of classes before I will begin work on my dissertation. I am using this time to build my teaching resume, to be prepared for His work, and to learn as much as I can about communication in the digital age. God has fulfilled His promise to me and He has made a way for His calling to be made sure, to come to pass. I am not there yet, but I am on my way. I am loving His way, and I am loving the changes He brings into my life each day. He is good, so very good all the time.

Dear Lord,

As I think about all you have done for me, I cannot help but give you praise. You are my King, my Savior, and My Lord. Your Word is true, and you are faithful to keep your promises. I thank you for your resurrection life this day, and I trust my future into your wonderful and amazing hands. I give you all the praise today! In Jesus' Name I pray this now, Amen!

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