October 5, 2014

Joy of the Lord

My heart is filled with joy and gladness today. The Lord is good to me, so very good to me. He cares for me, and He provides and meets all my needs!

It is a good Sunday morning, and I am at home resting. Yes, I am home. I am missing church because I am feeling a little under the weather. I have been feeling a little out of sorts the past couple weeks -- just struggling with a mixture of sniffles, sore throat, and sinus -- the result of the change of seasons and the start of a new school year.  I woke up this morning, and I just felt like I needed a day of rest. So many of my students are sick, and the last thing I need right now, is to pick up a cold or flu virus from them. I don't get sick time anymore, not since I started adjunct teaching, so I do not have the ability to take time off if I get sick. I get paid for every day that I am contracted to teach so if I need to miss a class, then I have to find a substitute teacher to fill in for me. The old axiom of  "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is my motto now. If I am feeling tired or overwhelmed, then I take some time off, even if it means missing church every once and a while.

So my morning is blessed, so wonderfully blessed. It is quiet this morning, the house is still, and I am enjoying the peace of being home. My prayer today is to rest up, finish up all my outstanding to-do tasks for school and work, and to enjoy some of the beautiful fall-like weather outside (perhaps just sit on the patio and appreciate the flowers and trees).

As I think about my life, where I have been and where I seem to be going, my heart soars with excitement and anticipation at what the Lord is doing in me and through me. My life has recently experienced such a blessed change. I am in the midst of watching the Lord do something that I never thought would happen, to open doors that I thought were permanently closed, to reignite passions that I had surrendered, and to restore desires that I believed were lost in past regrets. He has upended my life, so to speak, and He has placed me on a different path, on a different trajectory, on a different plane. 

Yes, I am still moving along in the same direction, focused on His will for my life, working toward the plans He has for me, and surrendering to His desires as He shapes and He molds me to His expressed purpose. And yes, I am still (practically speaking) right where I have been for the past two years. I am living in Phoenix, teaching college English and Communication courses, and slowly chipping away at my PhD program requirements. 

On the outside, nothing much has changed for me. I live with my parents and 20-something son, and I work at two Christian universities. I am active at church (media and website), and I am content in my status as a single person. For all intents and purposes, my life is running smoothly in drive. I am fixed, I am focused, and I am fruitful (bearing good fruit -- at the least -- I think so!) in doing what I believe to be His work, His calling, and His mission for my life.

On the inside, however, the Lord seems to have put my life into high gear, in overdrive, and I feel as though I am speeding toward something wonderfully blessed. I am feeling the intensity of a major life change, the possibility of such a change down the road, and the feelings I have right now both scare and excite me. The Lord has chosen (I believe this is so) for me to experience something more than what I hoped to experience in the third quarter of my life. I look to Him and I ask Him how there can be more to what He has already given to me? My life is full to overflowing. My heart wells up with love for the Lord, love for His Kingdom, and love for all of those who live outside the blessedness of grace. I have everything I could possibly want. I need nothing more. My heart is happy. I am content. My life is good.

I ponder the marvelous mysteries of the Lord. I ponder the depth of His riches and His grace. I perceive His mercy, and I experience His love for me. The Lord is gracious to me (Isa. 30:18) and He knows my needs well. He looks upon my heart, and He sees that there is something missing, something not quite right (in the midst of all that is right and good). Yes, for all that is good, all that is perfect, and all that is complete in Him -- the Lord sees that there is something missing in me. He sees that an additional blessing is needed to complete me, to make me whole. It is not that I needed anything to be complete because I believe that the Lord is my sufficiency, my everything. Yet, the Lord chose out of His goodness and His grace to consider my needs and to give to me that which He determined I was lacking.

Lamentations 3:25 - The LORD is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.

The Lord has called me to look up, to lift my head, to change my gaze, and to realize that there is something, someone, out there who needs me to bless them, to love them, to care for them. My heart is filled with joy today and I think about that thought, to consider the possibility, and to imagine (once again) what it means to love someone deeply, completely, and perfectly (in His peace).

God is good to me, so very good to me.

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