August 26, 2014

Thankfulness

Today is a good day, such a very good day. I am thanking the Lord for His marvelous provision!

I woke up feeling refreshed, which completely surprised me given the fact that I went to bed last night completely exhausted. Yesterday was my first full day of teaching. I had a good day, my classes went well, and my students seemed to like my content and style. However, teaching for five hours took its toll on me. My personality is introverted, but after many years of professional work, I have learned how to "turn on" the extroverted part of me (to get through meetings, presentations, group events, etc.) Small bursts of extroverted feeling do not bother me much, but long sustained periods drain me, literally drain me.

Last night, after I ate some dinner and sat down to check email, my eyes started to lose focus, and my head began to swim around. Just as I was ready to hit the sack, my son came home from school, eager to tell me all about his classes. He is a Junior at ASU West, and yesterday was his first full day of classes. He was all excited about his professors, his coursework, and the opportunities he will have this semester. So -- an hour later -- I was finally able to close my eyes and rest. I don't think I moved the entire night.

As I woke up this morning, the first words out of my mouth were "Thank you, Lord, for giving me T-TH's off this semester!" I remember back to when I was looking over the teaching schedule last Spring, and I was considering teaching five days a week (two classes on M-W-F and two on T-TH). The Lord kept pressing me to find classes on M-W-F. I was able to finally work out a schedule whereby all my teaching ended up on three days. At the time, I was thinking that this was to facilitate my Regent coursework (giving me teaching days and study days). Now, I see that it was to give me "down days" -- days when I could rest and relax, recoup, from all that extroverted expenditure. Yes, I will use these days for my Regent studies too, but I think in the grand scheme of things, I will use them more to recover from all that extra energy I expend on my days in class.

God is good, so very good to me. He knows me well, and He knows what I can and cannot do. I hear Him say this to me: "Carol, I have you so well covered. I know what you can and cannot do. Trust me and rest." Yes, Lord, help me to trust you and to rest in you.

After I spent some time relaxing this morning (aka -- drinking my coffee and watching the news on TV), I came in to my office and sat down to check my email. My pay email arrived from GCU along with some other junk messages. I didn't bother to open it up, knowing that it was just a breakdown of how I will be paid this semester (in 8-9 periods, usually every two weeks). I read some other mails before clicking on the pay period ones. I needed to add the pay days to my calendar and align them with ACU's pay periods (1st and 15th). As I was checking the pay breakdown, I noticed that my contracted amount was adjusted upward for my ENG 105 class. I knew that GCU did this for courses over 50 students (that class had 53 students enrolled as of last week), I just didn't think that they would adjust my contract (Why? I don't know. I guess I just didn't put two-and-two together). WOW! I was so blessed!! Once I calculated my GCU pay along with that of ACU's contracted pay, my bi-weekly payout is almost exactly the amount I was making when I worked at CVS Caremark last year. Grant it, this is only for four months, but still it is four months of solid salary, and it is about $600 more per month then what I was expecting.

To say that I was relieved would be a huge understatement -- I was RELIEVED!! I have struggled with adjunct contract work for a year now. The whole idea of working on contract scared me -- so much so -- that I quit GCU at the end of the fall semester 2013 to take a horrible full-time salaried position working for a company I had no interest in (content-wise, nursing services), just to have regular pay and benefits. I hated that job, I hated the commute, and I hated the feeling that I had run away from a God-given, God-ordained, and God-provided opportunity SIMPLY because of the nature of the work, the nature of contract work. It only took three weeks of being miserable before I turned around, before I made up my mind to go back to where the Lord placed me (yes, I did a Jonah for three weeks). Once I returned to the job of His choosing, everything fell back into place, and I had peace, such great peace.

Sure, the idea of not having money in between contracts bothered me. I still panicked over going an entire summer without any pay. In fact, I have had to trust the Lord this entire summer, resting in His provision each time I looked at my dwindling bank account. I would see the money going out, and my heart would race. Oh, Lord, when will this feeling of insecurity end? Then today I opened up an email and bang! -- the Lord showed me His provision. The Lord showed me that all along He had me so well covered. Oh, Lord, when will I rest and trust you completely?

I think about the Psalms, about all the times when David praised God for His provision and His goodness.

Psalm 84:11 - For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Psalm 34:8 - Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!


Psalm 100:5 -
For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.


Psalm 118:1 -
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever.


Yes, the Lord is good to us. The Lord watches over us, and He is faithful to provide for our needs, abundantly and sufficiently.

Philippians 4:19 - And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.

As I was praying this morning, I heard the word of the Lord: "Carol, rest in me. Trust me to provide for you." I responded with "Yes, Lord! May it please the Lord to do so!"

My prayer today is to rest. I ask the Lord to let me rest in Him, to completely rest in Him. I am at the end of my strength -- the thought of teaching this semester, completing my doctoral courses, ministering at Church, supporting my family -- is too much for me to bear. I am physically worn down, weary from the weight and the burden of it all. Yet, I am compelled, as if a force outside of me is pulling me forward, moving me toward some distant goal, some distant place. I feel myself moving through these "things," these tasks, often without any real doing on my part. I move through the days, I submit the assignments, I create the lessons, I show up, and I teach. I do all that is asked of me, yet I don't know how I do it. I just do it. I cry out to the Lord: "Lord, I am so tired. I am so very tired. I cannot do this anymore." The Lord replies to me, "I have you covered. I have you so well covered." 

The Lord is my Shield. He is my Buckler. He is my Strong Tower. I run to Him, and He saves me. He captures me and says to me with great joy: "I have you. I will not let go of you." I rest in Him because He is able to do all things through me, ALL THINGS, regardless of my skill, my ability, my talent. I am nothing; He is everything. I rest in Him, I look to Him, I trust in Him, and I rely upon Him. He supplies all my needs, and He covers me with His grace so that I can do whatever He asks of me. 

I rest in Him. I rest in Him. I rest in Him.

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