May 31, 2014
In other news -- my brother drove over from San Diego with his new car. He has been looking to get another car for several months, so he called yesterday saying that he wanted to take a drive (LOL!) He arrived last night, and his new car is lovely. I got to ride in it this morning, and it is a smooth ride for sure. We drove to Kohl's to do some shopping, and then had lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. Overall, it has been a nice weekend so far.
Nothing else going on...I am cleaning out Lenny's fish tank today. It is getting a little slimy, and I think poor Lenny needs some fresh water. My cousin, Deb, is coming for dinner. We are cooking out -- Salmon -- on the grill.
I am tired, really tired, but focused and dedicated to getting my work done today. I really would like to take a nap right now (perhaps after Lenny gets some fresh water). Oh well...such is the life of a school teacher, eh?
May 30, 2014
I am excited to be traveling to VA again this summer. I love Virginia, and as I have blogged before, I would move there in a heartbeat. I would move to VA and live out the remainder of my days -- it is the most beautiful state, from Blue Ridge mountains to sea shore. I am not sure if this is the Lord's will for my life at this point, but I am open to relocating to beautiful VA should He choose to move me there. Until then, I will stick out the heat in AZ, thankful for this desert place where the Lord has provided abundance for me.
As I consider the next few weeks and months, I see great changes ahead for me. I am confident in the Lord's provision for my finances. He knows my needs, and while I am struggling at the moment (letting go mostly), I rest in His security and wisdom. He is the faithful one, and He is able to provide for my exact needs. Moreover, He is the Lord of all financial wisdom, and He is the creator and generator of wealth. It is not that I am seeking wealth, I just use that term in a general sense. I believe that God is the One who controls my finances. He provides the work I do, and thus, the income I earn is a direct result of His provision and favor. I know that some Christians do not see financial matters this way. Some believe that God is not really interested in wealth-building. The Bible is clear on matters of wealth, and frankly, most of the OT people were wealthy (in land). Yes, the Bible is full of poor people too. Sick and dying people, widows and orphans, and lepers and the outcasts. The Bible covers every situation, every kind of event, and every type of person -- but the fact remains -- that God is the One who provides for them all. He is SOVEREIGN over everything, and that includes finances. I do believe in fiscal integrity, and I do believe in honoring God with everything that He provides. Therefore, the little I have is His. How I use it, spend it, is up to Him. He gives me grace to spend freely, within bounds, and He provides for my needs. I have enough. I would like more, of course, I would like a lot more (to stock up my savings account, my 401K, and my IRA). But, God knows, that I can only earn a teacher's salary, and right now, that is an Adjunct salary (pennies). I know He will provide for me in other ways, and that He has a plan for me now. He knows how much money I need to provide for myself well. He knows how He wants me to live, where He wants me to live, and how much I need to live in His way. I rest in Him. I trust Him for His provision. He is good, so very good.
Flying to VA is expensive. As is renting a car and staying in hotels in the VA Beach area. I have to use my credit cards to pay these costs, and I will not have the money to pay them off until I am working again in the fall. This bothers me, but I know that going to VA each summer is a requirement for my program. I know that it is a cost associated with my doctoral studies, and I have to go, I have to incur the debt to finish this program. I see the results of my work, my studies now, and I know that in time, I will reap the reward of being employed as an Assistant Professor. God will see me through until that day, and He will provide financially for me. I let this go, and I rest in His provision.
I am blessed and highly favored. I love this fact -- the fact that I can say with absolute trust that I am blessed and highly favored. God is a God of GRACE, and His blessing and favor are gifts that He bestows upon His children. To be blessed means that the Grace of God is flowing over your life. To be highly favored means that His provision is exact, it is precise, and that nothing that is needed or required will be withheld. I can rest in this fact, knowing that as a blessed and highly favored child of God, I don't have to panic or stress over the things outside my immediate control. I don't have to wring my hands, cry out, or slide into depression over my finances, my studies, or my circumstances. I am blessed and I am highly favored -- God's hand rests upon my life -- and through His marvelous fingers I see the future He has planned for me. It is awesome, it is amazing, and it too is blessed. I can see where I am going, and I trust in Him to show me the way. I walk on in Faith, and I give Him thanks for the provision of life, of liberty, and of love -- deep love for Him and for others. God is the maker and sustainer of my life, and it is on this GOOD FRIDAY that I give Him all the praise and honor due His magnificent and marvelous NAME.
May 29, 2014
It is difficult living with your parents. My parents are in their early 80s and as such they sometimes get overwhelmed by phishers, schemers, and collectors who call the house asking about other people. My Mom was raised during a time when phones where novel, and where the operator placed calls for you. In fact, in her home town of Meyersdale, PA, the Operator still assisted callers up until the late 1980s. You could call and ask for a person by name and the Operator would connect you to their house.
In rural areas, where both my parents grew up, the phone was a lifeline. It was a connection to help when you needed it. My Mom still uses a landline, even though she does have a cell phone. Her landline is her lifeline, and she is on the phone most mornings from 6-8 am. Because of her phone use, and the way she grew up using the phone, my Mom answers every phone call. She does look at caller ID, but no matter how many times I have told her not to answer calls from people she doesn't know, she still does it. My Dad is better, well if you call being antagonistic to unknown callers "better." Still, I often get handed the phone when Mom gets flustered by the caller like when the caller repeatedly asks for information or when they use a threatening tone. I don't like it, and I get upset when I have to tell the caller to stop calling the number. It frustrates me because it upsets my Mom and the calls usually have nothing at all to do with them or with me.
This morning, we had such a call. The call was for my ex-husband, and it was from a collection agency. The funny thing is that these callers always say that the person they are calling for "gave this number" as a reference. Yeah, lie. I know my ex and he wouldn't have had this number in his phone, and he wouldn't have given it out even if he did have it. I know that this agency is just doing their job, but when they are told "you have the wrong person, the person you are asking for doesn't live at this number, please take this number out of your records" and they do nothing at all -- well -- that just irks me. I know they are fishing for information about my ex. They wanted information on him: a better number to call, his current address, his work place number and address. Yeah, wish I could give that information out, but frankly, I don't have that information.
I did some research on the Internet and found out that secondary calls like the one we received are not fully protected under the Fair Debt Collecting act. We do get some protection in that we can say we don't know the person or the number is incorrect and ask not to be called again. The collector can only ask us once and call us once -- unless -- they think we are lying and then they can call again. I think this is ridiculous. I cannot tell you how many times I have received calls for someone who gave out my cell phone number. I have told that particular agency three times that the person they are calling has not had my phone number (I have had it for four years now). Still, they will call me once a year to ask for Emily Franklin. I am always assured that my number has been taken out of their database. NOT!
I am pleased with my progress this week. I have made some headway on my assignments, and PTL, I am in better shape then I thought. I still have quite a bit of reading to finish, but I am closer to getting the big assignments started, and that means, I will have them finished by their due dates! Hooray!
Today's checklist includes:
- Reading "Digital Ethnography" for my critical book review
- Writing my book review (3 pages)
- Beginning my research for my reputation management project
- Thinking about my proposal -- ethnography (slated for this weekend)
I also got an email reply back from GCC. I had sent over an email letting them know that I received the contracts for GCU (well, pending contracts), and that I would not be available to interview next week. I am pleased, really, because GCC is far away for me (35 minutes drive) and I was trying to figure out how I would get from ACU over to GCC in a timely manner. The way my schedule is now, I will have a nice break between classes, and I will still be able to leisurely drive over to GCU (20 minutes) and get to my classes with time to spare. God is good, really, He is so very good.
May 28, 2014
I am giving Him all the praise today as I rest in His security and provision for my life. The Lord has promised good to me, and He has faithfully kept His word. I am thanking Him today, and I am giving Him praise and honor. He is faithful, He is trustworthy, and He is so very good!
My praise today surrounds His delivered promise. The Lord has consistently told me that I would have a full-time teaching position for fall 2014. At first, I assumed that meant that I would receive a traditional full-time position -- with benefits and salary. However, later I realized that teaching full-time didn't have to be a regular contract. It could mean teaching four courses as an adjunct instructor. Consistently, the Lord has told me that I would remain an adjunct instructor until I graduated from Regent. It makes sense, really when you think about it. Adjunct instructors are part-time, and with part-time, comes inherent flexibility. I am able to teach different classes, at different schools, and experience different environments (class sizes, teaching approaches, etc.) Adjunct teaching provides a great way for me to build experience and become familiar in the classroom.
Furthermore, a full-time teaching position usually comes with additional responsibilities. Often there are committees that must be served, meetings to attend, and generally, extra duties that are part of the contract. It is better for me to go semester by semester especially while I have such an unknown schedule at Regent (not knowing what courses are offered each semester).
Yesterday, I received an email from Grand Canyon University asking me if I was interested in teaching this fall. I was surprised to receive the email since I had responded three times previously when asked by the English faculty scheduler to pick classes for fall. I sent in my request for classes, but I never got any response back. I did ask once, and I was told my email request had been misplaced. I assumed that the second and third time would be OK. I was a little peeved at the way the scheduling was being handled (during the semester), but then I reminded myself that this is GCU! It is not uncommon to fall through the cracks at times. GCU still continues to have issues with administrative tasks, and I should have known better. I should have taken the bull by the horns and just emailed until I got a response. Oh well! Praise God, as of today, I am back in the loop. The good news is -- I am scheduled -- which means that I will have four courses for fall (2 at ACU and 2 at GCU).
My schedule for fall looks like this:
11:30-12:20 COM 203 / Introduction to Communication (ACU)
12:30-1:20 ENG 101 / English Composition I (ACU)
Break for lunch and drive to GCU
3:20-4:30 ENG 106 / English Composition II (GCU)
4:45-6:30 ENG 105 / English Composition I (GCU) only MW
No teaching - reserved for Regent University courses
I am a little concerned about class size at GCU. They are expecting high enrollment again, so that means that I will probably have between 70-100 students combined. Right now, I have 26 in ENG 106, and 51 in ENG 105. The maximum allowed in 105 is 93. Hopefully, the size will remain as is and will not balloon up to 90 students! I am thinking class size at ACU will top out at 30, so potentially I have right now close to 100 students between all four classes. That, my friends, is a lot of papers to read and to grade. Oh, Lord, help me now!
I am feeling so guilty this morning, and rightfully so! Well, I don't believe the Lord wants us to feel guilt (guilt and shame were taken on the cross along with our sin -- PTL!) Guilt is a human emotion, the response we get when we feel sorry or ashamed about something we have done. It can bring us to repentance, and it can serve as a means to help us understand why we do certain things. However, I don't believe that as Christians we are supposed to remain guilty, feeling guilty, especially after we have confessed our sin to the Lord (1 John 1:9).
I am feeling this way because I allowed doubt to color my perspective and turn my faithful attitude into mistrust. I chose to mistrust the ONE is is always faithful to me. The Lord has been good to provide me with enough detail so that I can trust Him with the plans He has for my life. He has provided confirmation to me on jobs, on proposals, on events and on circumstances -- simply to help me understand that He is in control of the details of my life. Yet, with all the input from Him, I still fail to stand up in faith and remain still (trusting Him, resting in Him). My fallen flesh cries out and wails over what seems like unfairness, inequality, and injustice and I go limp in the knees. Instead of looking up, looking to the ONE who always stands before me, goes before me, and triumphs before me, I crumble like a house of cards. I sink down into the muck and the mire of despair. I do it, I confess it, and I accept the fact that I am weak willed and often unwilling to stand up when it counts most!
The blessed good news is that I am not alone. The Lord knows my weaknesses well. He also knows that I can be very strong when need be. I am not perfect, and I do act out and up at times. I stomp my feet, I get mad, I say things I shouldn't say, and I am fully human (in all those gross and undesirable ways!) He knows me, and blessed SAVIOR, He loves me. Yes, I can say that He loves me despite all the ICK and SOOT I carry around with me. He has washed me clean, and He has made me new. I still struggle with the old self, the old man, and is still behave at times like I did when I was first born again. I shouldn't do it, I do know better, but there are times when life just overwhelms me and I succumb to the fact that I am flesh, flawed and failed human flesh.
I know this, I know this, I know this is truth.
So with that said, I take up my shield of faith, and my sword of the Spirit, and I stand. I boldly stand in faith knowing that my GOD is bigger, bolder, and better than anything this life can throw at me. I stand in faith proclaiming His Name and holding fast to the truth of His WORD. He is good, He is good, He is good all the time. God is good, so very good.
Thank you for your marvelous provision of two more teaching contracts for fall 2014. I am overwhelmed by the fact that I received a call from GCU. I didn't believe that they would call me -- even after you told me that they would call -- and then they actually did. You promised me that I would receive contracts from them -- despite the fact that I never was evaluated by the COE last spring (a requirement). You told me to remain, to be faithful, and to trust your word to me. I didn't do this, I gave up and I gave in. Yet, you kept your word to me. Now I confess to you that you have been faithful in all things, and that your word is true. I believe your word to me -- spoken to me in all the other areas of my life -- and that as surely as this has come to pass, so will these other things, so will all that you have promised. You are indeed FAITHFUL AND TRUSTWORTHY! I thank you now for your provision, for your security, and for your will. I thank you that the plans you have for my life are good. I thank you that I can rest in the security of Your Mighty NAME, and that I can let go of the worry, the anxiety, and the stress related to my life. I confess and I commit to you this day -- my life to be lived out your way, in accordance with your will, for your Name and for your Praise and for your Honor. I confess all this in that magnificent NAME of Jesus now! Amen, so be it, thy will be done!
May 27, 2014
I have decided that I want to live near the ocean. Yep, I want to leave the desert and move to the beach. I am so ready for some blue water, warm sand, and the lovely breezes that come in off the ocean. Oh, I need this change of venue so badly...
Let's see -- I need a job at a University that is near the ocean. I need to live in a place where the cost of living is not skyrocketing high (considering I will be living on a professors salary -- which is not that much by most economic standards). Well, Cali is off the list as is most of the places in the Northeast. Perhaps the Mid-Atlantic region is better...did I say how much I LOVE VA?
Yeah, well, I am not sure if the Lord has that in mind for me. Still, I am open to relocating. I will go where ever He says for me to go. I am ready, Lord! I will go where you send me...
Today is Tuesday, and it is going to be smokin' hot in AZ. Yep, our high today is supposed to be 108. Funny, when you think about it, but yesterday it got up to 104, and I didn't even realize it. When the weatherman said our high was 104, I thought to myself, "really?" OK, so I have lived in AZ for too long, that is the short of it. I have been here 18 years and it is time to move on...
The hot weather simply means that I will spend my day inside. I am OK with that today because I have a boatload (ooh, I am on a beach theme today) of school work to do. I did finish my DQ for last week (yesterday), and I commented on my colleagues work today (hooray!) I have to read two books today:
- Writing the New Ethnography by H.L. Goodall, Jr.
- Digital Ethnography by Natalie Underberg and Elayne Zorn
This weekend is devoted to reading:
- Doing Visual Ethnography by Sarah Pink
Once these tasks are done, then I can focus on packing for Regent. I have to have my critical review posted by June 5 (week from this Thursday). My proposal is due on June 9, and my final projects for 653 are due June 24. I have a lot of work, research, and writing to do between now and the end of June.
Today is a good day. I feel good, I am in a good frame of mind, and I am invigorated toward completing my school work, and getting myself ready to fly to VA Beach! God is good, so very good. He has confirmed His plans for my life, and I am committed to following after Him. I have trusted Him with all these tasks and details, and I am in complete submission to His will. I will do what He thinks best regarding my courses, my assignments, my papers. I will write whatever pleases Him, and I will research whatever topics He chooses for me to research. He is good, so very good.
May 26, 2014
It is 11:12 p.m., and I am trying not to laugh too loudly. My parents have gone to bed, and I am sitting here at the computer, Face-booking with two of my colleagues from Regent. We are a study group, a girls group, and we have so much fun talking online. It always seems that we start talking to each other around this time of night. I think we get "slap happy" with all the work we have to do in our classes. Plus, we each have work and family commitments so the combination is just a killer most days. I love that I can laugh with them, cry with them, whine with them, and generally, commiserate with them! God has blessed me with a special group of friends, and I love them to pieces!!
Yes, it is a good day. I regret my rant from yesterday, it was a one-off post whereby I let my guard down, and showed the human frailty side of my personality. No matter how much grace there is on the inside, there is still that remnant of sin that remains, and when given a moment to shine, it most surely does!
Praise God that His grace is forever, and it is completely given freely and abundantly for without it, I would surely die. Yes, indeed, I am indebted to His marvelous and merciful grace. God is good, so very good. All the time, He is GOOD!
As I think about this good day, I am reminded of all that the Lord has done for me, even in my darkest moods, and unpleasant moments. Yes, His goodness is steady. His goodness is always available, always present, and always ready to meet any and all needs. He is Good, so very good.
Today is Memorial Day, and while I have the day off because I am not working over the summer, it still feels like a holiday/day-off (like from work). I have no special plans for the day except to read some more of my books, and perhaps begin a critical review (due June 5th). I also have to write up a short answer, 500-1000 words, on the VA Scandal for my Crisis Communication class. Perhaps I will get out and bike ride a bit or maybe I will just stay indoors today. The weather is going to be hot -- topping out at 102 today, 106 for Tuesday-Wednesday. Yes, this is summer in Phoenix. The humidity is only at 20%, which simply means it is hot, but not sticky hot. Just hot.
I have no other news to report except to say that I feel much better today, feelings-wise. I feel better, I feel more like myself, and less like a very disagreeable person (I hate the whole "disagreeable" part). Part of me wonders if I was experiencing some oppression yesterday. I didn't necessarily feel oppressed (like normal), but it was odd to go from my normal calm demeanor to being irritated and annoyed. Perhaps that is what prompted my outburst and my disagreeable moments.
So there you have it. No excuses, no rationalization. It is what it is, and that is all.
May 25, 2014
Today is just a bad day. I guess we can all have off days, bad days, days when we just don't feel like anything is going our way. This doesn't happen too often to me, but when it does, I generally find myself crawling into some hole and sleeping through it. It is my way of handling depressive news, these intense feelings, and the randomness of feeling this awful.
My bad day really started yesterday evening. I had a pretty good day up to about 4 p.m. I took care of a lot of business, and I was in the process of catching up on school work when my son came home from his day out. He said he needed power steering fluid, and I was hungry, so I suggested we go to dinner and then get the "said" PS fluid at the auto parts store. It wasn't 10 minutes into our dinner before the conversation just nosedived into this awful weird place. I won't go into details because I have asked him for forgiveness and he has said as much. However, the conversation was just awkward, difficult, and unlike conversations we normally have. Truthfully, I was on edge, I was feeling prickly, and it didn't take much to set me off. I normally do not get angry, well, not on the surface angry that is. I am one of those people who can go a really long time without getting angry. I simmer. It is not a good thing to do, but I am being truthful here, and the truth is that what gets me angry is annoyance. I get irritated and annoyed. It is like the burr under the saddle analogy. I can ride for a long time in an uncomfortable way, and then all of a sudden, the burr under the saddle just rubs me the wrong way and I explode. Last night, I exploded. Now mind you, I don't yell. And, I don't get violent. Nope, I explode with well-chosen words. Words are my weapon of choice. And it is not that I use bad words at all. I just use words really well, and I can wound with my words if I am not careful. In short, my honesty, with which I pride myself on as a good, Godly attribute, can take on a brutal capacity that can hurt others. I know this about myself. I have been this way since I was a child, and because I am aware of my ability, I work very hard to not get angry. I work very hard to decompress, to walk away, and to keep my mouth shut.
Some of my ability stems from the fact that God has called me, gifted me as a prophet. I have blogged about this before, but in the OT and NT, the Word tells us that God often gifts people in certain ways, for certain tasks, for certain ministries. Some are called as Apostles, some as Pastors, some as teachers, and some as prophets. I am the latter. I have been given the spiritual gift of knowledge and interpretation along with prophecy. This just means that among my spiritual and natural abilities, I am able to use words to convict people of sin. I can encourage, I can build up, and I can rebuke through the words I use. I mostly use words, the WORD of God to build people up. I am an affirmer, and I like to make people feel better about themselves or to help them understand what God is doing in their lives. The flip side is that I can also really make them feel bad about what they have done, are thinking about doing, or planning to do. There is responsibility that comes with how I use words, and I know this well. I know that I have to let the Holy Spirit guide my tongue, to keep me in check, and to speak His words in His way.
So anyway, I did my best not to be blunt, to be brutally honest, but I had been irritated and annoyed for a long while, and well, the words came out.
I woke up this morning feeling terrible about what I had done, what I had said, even though what I really said was true, and my intention was not to wound, but to redirect behavior, to teach and to instruct in proper living. Yep, it wasn't taken that way, and I felt bad about it. Nonetheless, I made the decision to apologize as soon as possible, and to ask for forgiveness, which I did.
But this all leads me up to why I am feeling this way in the first place. I need to get to the root of the anger issue because my unhappy spirit didn't just go away after I was reconciled to my son. No, I was irritated at the message at church today, and then I blew up at my Dad, when he told me to be quiet because the Indy 500 was on the TV (even though I was not talking with him, but with my Mom, who was interested in what I was saying). Sigh. I had had enough, so I said so, and I walked off and into my room, where I sit now typing on my blog.
At church today, we had a guest speaker. Dr. Michael Moore is a well-known speaker and he is a professor at our local state school. I was interested in hearing him speak today, but when he started his message, something was just not right about it. First off, as a professor, I expected a lecture. But as a minister/speaker, I expected a sermon. I didn't expect a lecture/sermon, which is what he gave. I had a hard time keeping awake, and all the while, I kept thinking that if this is what his classes are like, I pity his students. I know that at our state university, lecturing is the norm. I guess in some ways it was good for me to see because now I can firmly say that I don't lecture in class. However, this wasn't really my issue. Grace, God's Grace is what matters here, and I know that He came and gave his message and it was a privilege to hear what he had to say. The issue was that he made a statement that irritated me, just like that burr under the saddle. He said that Our Father should not be our last hope or our only hope. He was teaching on the Prodigal Son, and he made inference that we should never go to God as our only hope. I know what he was trying to say, that we are worthy because Christ died for us, but the way he said it was like God was not to be sought that way. I just about fell off my chair, literally. I wanted to stand up and say in no uncertain terms "Read the Psalms! Almost every Psalm teaches us to place our hope in God. He is our Hope. Jesus is our hope. The NT tells us to give account for the hope that is in us!" Yes, it was the prophet in me raising up and taking a stance against inaccuracy in scriptural interpretation. It is probably my do-or-die line -- of all the things I stand on or against -- it is biblical inaccuracy.
So I was simmering when I came home. I was not a happy camper, and I wanted to be a lone. I wanted to crawl into my hole and just be alone. Of course, the race was on, and my mother wanted to talk to me about church (they go to the early service, and I go to the later one). This lead up to the confrontation with my dad about keeping quiet while his precious race was on. He is a Hoosier, I know, but frankly, I really just wanted to punch him good. Instead of walking away, I did what I always do and I made a religious comment about today being the Lord's day and that the race was not more important than discussing the inaccuracy of Scripture. Yes, my hackles were up, and I was offended by what had happened, and to me, that was all that mattered. UGH!
I am now in my room sulking and thinking that I need to go apologize to my Dad for telling him that God mattered more than the Indy 500.
The crux of everything is my dissatisfaction right now. Yes, I am dissatisfied. Yesterday I realized that I do not like my courses at Regent. I have been happy thus far but this summer session, I am not thrilled with the classes I am taking. Granted, you have to take them, but still I am not engaged nor am I interested in the subject matter. On top of that, I have been struggling with some issues regarding the plans that the Lord has for my life. Plans that have not come to pass yet. I keep hearing Him say that I need to Trust Him, which just means to believe that He is who He says He is and to remember that His Word is true. I know, I know...
Then last night I had a dream whereby the Lord called to me and provided some details to my life. He does this at times. I am always in this weird half-dream state and I just hear His voice speaking to me. In this dream, He clearly told me that good things were about to come to me, but that I was starting a new level of faith. The way I understand it is that our faith is like a series of steps. As we move up the steps of faith, we are tested and tried. These experiences deepen our ability to experience His goodness, and they test us to prove our faith. In this way, our faith grows, and we become stronger, more resilient people. My faith walk has followed this pattern. I walk on for a while before I start to climb up. With each new step up, my faith is tested. So the Lord told me to be prepared for a season of testing, of trials, that would stretch my faith, deepen my walk, and strengthen my commitment to Him, to His work, and to doing His will.
In truth, I haven't had a major test/trial in a long while. Sure, I went through divorce, and that did strengthen me and my faith, but that wasn't the Lord's doing, that was just the result of sin and circumstance. No, this clearly was a call to me to prepare me for what lays ahead. I am about to enter into a time of testing whereby my faith will be called into question, and where I will have to stand strong. I know what to do. I know how to do it. I have done it before, and no doubt, I will do it again. I am just upset that I have to walk through the fire now. I mean, why now? Why now, Lord?
Yes, I have been whining today. I have been unhappy, and I have whined about it. Now that the whining is over, I can analyze what is really happening and get to the bottom of the matter. Lord willing, I will know what is going to happen to me, and I will prepare to handle it. God is good. He is so very good. I take comfort in the fact that He has me well-covered, and that whatever the test or trial, I will not be alone in it. Selah!
May 24, 2014
Lately, though, I have been waiting for a certain thing to happen. I have been told to be prepared for this change, yet it hasn't happened to me yet. I am not used to waiting for things like this, and I find myself being frustrated, feeling frustrated (I should say). It is not like waiting for something bad to happen, it is more so like waiting for something really, really good to happen. I know it is coming, but I cannot see it nor do I know when it is expected. There are no signs to read, no "heads up" to get me ready, nothing at all to let me know it is coming. So I sit here and I wait. The longer I wait, the more frustrated I become. The more frustrated I become, the more depressed I feel. I feel like I have been waiting for so long that now I lose hope that His word to me will come to pass. It bothers me. I don't like feeling this way. I used to say to the Lord, "Please don't change things on me because I cannot handle anything new!" Now, I say to Him, "Lord, change this, change this now!"
I think it is like boredom for me. I cannot stand to be bored. Right now, I am beyond bored with my life. I went from having so much work to do to having nothing to do. Well, that is not accurate because I actually have a lot of work to do, it is just not steady all-encompassing work. I am bored. I don't have work that is socked to me, covering me with a dense fog, to where I can barely breathe. I like feeling smothered, I really do. I like having so much work that I cannot function. I know -- weird, right?
There is something comforting to me about having a boatload of work, piles and piles of work, with no end in sight. I like to know that I have so much to do that my entire life will spin out of control if I cannot keep it under wraps.
AGH! How can I deal with an entire summer of this "no work to do" mode?
I need a job. I need a project. I need something to take my mind of this intolerable boredom.
The Lord knows me well. He knows that I function best under great pressure. I like to be pressed in on all sides. I complain A LOT about it, but truthfully, I would choose overbearing work to what I have today, which is a whole lot of nothing!
Lord, why do you put up with me? Why do you care for me so deeply when I am fickle like this?
I don't think I would make a good watchtower person. You know, the person who had to stand on the wall and watch for the approaching enemy? I would have gone off my rocker just standing guard, watching the sky for any sign of an intruder. UGH!
No, I like toil. I like hard work. I like to be challenged. I so need work to keep my mind engaged and my thoughts from running amok. This is why I am depressed. This is why I am frustrated. If I was busy, super busy, then I wouldn't have time to think about what I am waiting for, and instead, I would just let that be. I would let myself dive into some all-consuming work, and then whatever was to come to pass, would just come to pass. Then I would be surprised when it finally arrived, thrilled and overjoyed, at its presence. But until that time, I would be focused on pressing work, mind controlling and time consuming work. I so need work. I need work, Lord. Please give me work?
So what does this weird girl do?
Well, I have two choices really. I can choose to be miserable while I wait or I can choose to be active and engaged -- while waiting. I can find activities to keep my brain active, and I can apply myself to doing practical, good things, good work. I can choose this path or that, but the end result will be the same. The thing I am waiting for will come to pass in His time. I will arrive at that moment with one of two faces: a happy, contented and joyful expression or a miserable, depressed and frustrated expression. The choice is mine. The timing is His.
Sigh. It is always His way. No matter what I choose, my attitude will not influence His timing on the matter. It is more about my daily feelings and my countenance. Yes, I know what I must choose. I know that I must choose to be content in this matter. I must choose to find joy in it. I must choose the better way, His way.
So be it. So be it. I am not happy about it, but it is the right thing to do.
May 23, 2014
Let me explain...
I started the new year off with excitement and expectancy. I had my first ever teaching contract (whoohoo!) from Grand Canyon University, and I was heading into what I thought would be (and rightfully so) the most difficult semester of my life at Regent University. I was overwhelmed at working part-time, teaching one class, and completing my Quantitative Research course. In fact, the main reason I quit my job at CVS Caremark in August 2013, was to transition to teaching part-time. I knew then that it would be difficult for me to work full-time in Corporate work and complete my doctoral studies.
Still, the thought of working part-time, going to school full-time, and making ends meet, scared me. I have bills, you know, expenses and a part-time salary was not going to cut it. I knew that the Lord would provide for me, but I was shaking on the inside every time a bill came due. How would I pay it? Would there be enough money to cover the costs?
Friends and family questioned whether I was making the best decision for my life. They asked if I really thought going to graduate school, taking more student loans, and pursuing a PhD was "worth the cost and the effort." Would I get a job afterwards? What about my age? Would that be a factor? How would I pay off the high cost of doctoral studies working part-time as an adjunct instructor? Some even suggested I drop out of the program. Some said that it was part of my "breaking out, breaking away" from my marriage (sort of a mid-life crisis, a reconnecting with missed dreams and past opportunities). Some believed me when I said that it was the Lord's will for my life. Some just shook their heads, not saying anything, even though their look said everything to me. I did have some comments that were pejorative, you know, the "cloaked ones" where the words say "we support you," but the intention is clearly "you are crazy, dead wrong!"
I left that job in August and started teaching at GCU. I didn't think I would like teaching that well. I was panicked over my performance, and I thought I was out of my league when it came to knowing how to teach. Even though I had oodles of teaching experience -- in church mostly and in business -- I felt unprepared to teach college courses. Then came my chance to teach in the Spring, and I weathered that first course. I also completed my courses at Regent. I survived it all. I survived teaching and school work.
I wasn't sure what the Lord had in mind for me as far as teaching for fall, but I trusted Him to provide. I thought "how am I going to survive this summer?" I have no income, no money coming in to replenish what is going out. I panicked again thinking that this was a bad decision, a bad choice for me. I am going to be 52 this year, and this (teaching part-time) is something married women do, women who have a husband with a good job, good income, good benefits. This is not the job for a single woman who has responsibilities.
Then the Lord opened my eyes to new possibilities, to new opportunities, to new ways of thinking about my situation. I wasn't sure I believed Him at first. I wasn't sure I trusted Him to know that His plans were good, would cover me, would take care of me. My two greatest needs are financial security and physical protection. I have blogged about this before, but growing up the way I did, and then living the way I did for so long (in marriage), I learned to fear not having enough (of everything), and not being safe in my home. These two needs have ruled my life since I was a little girl. Now as a grown woman my safety and security rests with the One in whom I have absolute trust. He is my shield and my buckler. He is my strong tower, my refuge and my strength.
Now I am able to sit back and reflect on all that He has done in my life. As I consider my path, where I was and where I am now and where I will be --> over there (in the future), I see His hand print and His timing on everything. He has placed me in the position of His choosing. He has given me the grace to accept my situation, my circumstances. He has enabled me to step out of my former marriage and into the blessed peace of new freedom. He has shown me that He is sufficient to meet my needs, and to champion my cause. He has moved me, changed me, and grown me exponentially to the point that I am able to say "Yes, Lord!" to whatever He asks of me. If He says "go here" then I go to where He leads. If He says "trust me" then I trust in His Word. If He says "rest" then I know I have to let go of what I am holding on to so tightly, and let Him have control over the thing, the person, or the circumstance.
I am learning life lessons every day that I walk with Him. I am learning that He is worthy of my trust and that I can rely upon His Word to me. I am learning that I am not alone, that there are other people out there who love me, care for me, and seek my good. I am learning that I no longer have to live in fear of failure, of financial crisis, or of physical harm. Yes, I am learning that He is Sufficient, and that in His SUFFICIENCY there is completeness, abundance, and peace. He is my rock, my redeemer and my refuge. I am learning to rest in Him and to let Him lead and guide me into the life of His choosing, His purpose, and His plan. He is good, so very good!
May 22, 2014
A good friend of mine, who is an instructor at Biola University, told me that the student evaluation scores are critical for hiring people from adjunct into full-time teaching positions. I am not ready to take on the demands of a full-time position, but I feel confident that when the time is right, I will be ready and well-prepared to teach as an Assistant Professor.
In addition, I also feel that I will be able to speak with confidence about my teaching experience when I interview out at Glendale Community College on June 2nd. God has richly blessed me in so many ways. I am taking Psalm 20:4 as my special verse for this day because it gives testimony to what I believe He has done in my life recently. He has given me the desires of my heart, and He has made sure that all my (His) plans succeed!
Psalm 103:1 - Let all that I am praise the LORD; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Just Some Updates
There is not much happening here today except for school work (LOL! - Always!!) so I thought I would update my status on some issues/concerns/challenges, etc.
June 2nd is the 20-day mark when my former husband is required to file a response to the petition for divorce. This grace-period allows him to contend anything in the petition. He has already told me that he is agreeable to the terms, and that he didn't want to pay the response fee (to file those papers). I looked up the next steps, and as usual, they are not as clear and cut as the County Court Clerk stated. The process "generally" follows what I was told, but there are waiting periods embedded, and additional papers that need to be filed before I can get the writ signed by the Judge.
Basically, I can file the Petition for Default on June 2-3rd. This simply tells the court that my former husband didn't file a response and I am asking the Judge to rule in my favor. The default application has a waiting period associated with it. Once I file this application, I wait 10-court days before I can call to schedule a hearing with the Judge. Then I have to wait a full 60 days (plus the 10) before I can file the Motion to Default without a Hearing. Since neither of us have any property to declare, and I am not asking for spousal maintenance, we qualify for this option. The Motion papers cannot be filed until Aug. 4th. Once this motion is granted, then the court takes 4-6 weeks to sign the decree. By my calculation, that puts the finalization of my divorce some where in the Sept 22-30 date range.
All in all, the process moves pretty quickly. I am wondering if it is faster to go to court and stand before the Judge. I didn't want to do it previously. I thought it would be too difficult, too emotional, for me. Now, however, I am thinking that if it shortens the time to finalization, I will do it. I mean, really, what is there to be emotional about? I filed. I did the paperwork, and I set all this in motion. I think I had my good cry out a long time ago, and even when I went over to the court two weeks ago, I was only slightly emotional about the whole deal. In hindsight, I think I was more emotional over doing it -- filing the papers -- than being sad about the ending of my marriage. It was more like an emotional relief type of cry, a relinquishing control, a letting go, and letting God heal that little bit of hurt still in my heart. So with that said -- I think I will call the court to schedule a hearing -- just to see what date I get. If it is pushed way out into fall, then I will do the Motion and go the way of "mailing instead of appearing" before the Judge. Either way, I feel confident that my divorce will be final sometime in September (weird as this may seem -- my 30th Anniversary is Sept. 8 -- how appropos can this be?)
Weight Loss/Fitness Plan
I was doing really well on my weight loss plan. I had lost about 6 lbs total, but then I started working out, and my weight went back up 3 lbs (drats!) The good news is that I have lost inches, and I definitely have slimmed down. I can fit into clothes I have not worn for the past two years (Hooray!) I am continuing on my diet plan of eating very little sugar, moderate carbs, and healthy whole foods. I have been off the diet soda for over a month, and I feel great. I am also drinking a lot of water.
I started out walking/jogging, but switched to cycling last week. My Dad swapped out my son's seat for my seat, so now I have a comfy gel-cushion seat to use when I ride. I am using MapMyRun online to plan out my route, and so far I have biked 3.5 and 5.5 miles. My goal is to ride 7.8 miles, which is probably the longest route I can get without having to ride in busy street traffic. I have to cross some major intersections, but generally, they are not terrifying so long as I am riding with the lights. I calculated that my ride yesterday (5.5 miles) burned off about 360 calories (one hour ride at about 8 mph). I am not riding super fast, but a steady pace, without stopping. My goal speed is to get up to about 12 mph, but that might be difficult because I don't have any long stretches of road to ride on around my neighborhood. Still, I figure that riding is what matters, not so much the distance or the time.
Nothing new to report here except that I did get a hotel room and I rented a car for my trip to VA Beach next month. I got a pretty good deal, if you can call spending $1K on hotel/car, a good deal. Keep in mind that VA Beach is prime summer destination for many people in VA and northern NC. I have a good friend in Richmond, and she drives down to Hampton Roads (north of VA Beach) as often as she can. It is a lovely area with pretty beaches and a lot of shops.
I bought a new dress to wear for our celebration dinner. Mom and I were out shopping on Monday, and I found this really pretty dress to wear. It actually fit me (hooray!) and I am excited to finally have a dressy/casual dress in my closet. I normally wear skirts because I struggle to find dresses that can fit both parts of my body (top/bottom). However, I have wanted a short dress that is fitted (you know -- hourglass shaped) for a long while. My good friend, Marie, wears this type all the time, and she looks so lovely in them. Last summer at VA Beach, she had a dress on every day, and I thought she was so smart (good looking and brilliant -- the heat/humidity was horrible -- should have figured it out since she is from hot/humid AL!!) Anyway, I decided then that I wanted to get something similar for this year.
My friend, Heather, is planning a celebration dinner for everyone who completed COM 702 this spring. Of course, the entire cohort is welcome to attend, but those of us who did complete this class will get medals and certificates for overcoming the stress of that course! I wanted to wear something dressier than capris, and now I have this lovely little dress to wear. I still need to get some fancy heels to wear with it, but in all, I am excited about the style and the way I look in it (which is pretty great, IMHO!)
I started to panic yesterday when I realized that I had 20 days to complete all the required reading and finish papers/proposals. I am so in trouble for procrastinating the first two weeks of the semester!
Oh Lord, please help me to complete everything I need to complete BEFORE I fly to VA in June 7th!!
I had a good conversation (via email) with my COM 703 professor the other day. His research interest (among others) is conversion stories. I wanted to see if it was OK for me to write on faith stories/storytelling for his class this summer. He gave me good feedback, and he offered some suggestions for theory. I will be meeting with my mentor while on campus to discuss the possibility of following this topic for my dissertation. I am open to doing whatever the Profs at Regent think is best, after all, they are the ones granting the dissertation credit. I feel strongly that this is the topic the Lord wants me to pursue. I am willing to allow my teachers to guide me because I believe that I am at Regent University for this exact purpose. God opened this door because Regent is a school after His own heart. The mission and vision of the campus, the programs, and the faculty are so spiritually-driven that you just feel the Holy Spirit when you are in class, on campus, or in conversation with the professors. It is a wonderful place to be, and I love the fact that I can learn from these Godly and scholarly men and women.
Well, that is everything on my mind for this good day. I need to get moving here as it is 10:30 a.m. already. Today I am working on school, and I will probably venture out to Target at some point. I have to clean the litter box (wash it out), and I need to work on my closet (yes, yes, yes!) Overall, I am blessed, I am pleased, and I am content with what the Lord is doing in my life. I love every minute of it, and I praise Him continually because He covers me well. He makes sure I have everything I need IN ORDER to do everything He asks me to do. He is good, so very good to me.
Today is a great day! I thank you for your provision, your security, and your plans. I know you have me well-covered, and that you know what needs to be accomplished today. I accept your plans for this good day, and I trust you to provide for every detail. I know you, and I know that you know me. You know what is on my heart, and what is in mind. I am trusting you with all the SPECIAL plans you have shared with me, and I rest in your timing, knowing that you know what is best for me. May your will be done, may I follow after your way, and may I live in complete submission to you and your Holy Spirit this day. I ask all this in Jesus' majestic and magnificent Name, Amen. So be it, thy will be done! Selah!!
May 21, 2014
It is a good day today. It is beautiful today, sunny and warm, but not too hot. The high today is supposed to be 88, which I think is below normal for May. The temperatures are staying in the high 80s-90s through Sunday. I think we will be back in the 100s by the end of the month.
Speaking of the end of the month, I just realized that I have 20 days until I am in VA Beach for my summer residency. When I think about the fact that I have five books to read, and a major paper to write, plus several small papers to produce, I start to hyperventilate. I am not panicking just yet, but I am feeling that "overwhelmed" sensation start to bubble up inside of me.
Oh, Lord, please help me to complete everything I need to complete between now and when I fly out on June 7th!
Today is a MAJOR workday for me. I have a number of tasks that I have to complete and my to-do list is not getting any shorter (thanks to my procrastination the past couple weeks). I have to stick to my plans and get these tasks done today -- or else -- I really will panic over the looming deadline! God is good. He is good, and He knows me so well. He knows what I can accomplish today, and He knows what I will need to accomplish this week. I am trusting Him to complete everything that needs to be completed. I am resting in His sufficiency, His planning, and His ability to guide me through each and every task. May He receive all the praise and honor for everything I do this day. May His Name be praised continually, and May He receive all glory for my efforts and for my attempts. He is good, He is good, He is so very good.
My List of Stuff
- Update the church website (add sermon video)
- Finish fixing the audio files from Easter and upload to church website
- Work on some client edits (website stuff)
- Read "Writing the New Ethnography" and write a short reflection (today)
- Begin research on ethnography project for Qualitative Research (COM 703)
- Begin research on scholarly proposal for Crisis Communication (COM 652)
- Ride my bike -- 2 miles (goal)
Most of the reading I have to do is related to COM 703. I have already read one book, and with the second book scheduled for today, this will leave me with two smaller texts to complete between now and June 7th (the day I fly out). I have a large text (600 pages) to read before June 9th, but I think I will skim it for content, and then read selected sections on the plane and on June 8th (Sunday). My good friend and colleague, Heather Hamilton-Stilwell, is presenting on this book, and she will do a phenomenal session so I don't feel I have to try to read it completely before class begins.
For COM 703, I have to write a reflection (today), and then write a book review on a secondary source (I need to purchase ASAP). I also have to write a proposal for my ethnographic project. Right now, I am thinking about focusing on faith stories, and the Lord has suggested I interview a couple people from our Celebrate Recovery ministry. I need to get approval from my professor, but I think that this would be a good start for me. I want to pursue narrative communication for my dissertation, and I want to focus on faith storytelling. I am praying for receptivity from both my professor and the folks at CR. I need to decide how to interview, what types of questions to ask, etc., so that I can frame my project correctly. I am starting to get excited about it, and I think the project will be well-received once it is finished. God is good, so very good to give me this opportunity to learn, to share, and to minister to others through my scholarly research efforts at Regent University.
So that is my story for this happy and wonderfully blessed Wednesday. I pray your day is blessed as well and I ask the Lord to cover you (all my blog readers) with His favor today so that you can tackle your To-Do list and "get-er-done!"
May 20, 2014
Unless it happens to be waking up to an argument. Yeah, not my choice for a "good morning" wake up call. So after I dragged myself from bed, hanging my pounding head into my hands, and walking straight to the kitchen for the biggest cup of coffee I could find -- I walked right into my parents loud argument over something having to do with her being on the telephone for an hour and my dad needing to use the phone right that moment (like he couldn't use his cell phone?) ACK! It wasn't even 7:30 and I didn't even get my cup of coffee! Oh, the joys and trials of living with your 80-something parents!
Lord, I need a change in my life, a BIG CHANGE, right now!!
Yep, it is funny how that prayer seemed to be answered without me even knowing about it. It was like before I could utter the words, the Lord had something wonderful in mind for me. In fact, now that I think about it, I recall Him saying something to this point last night. I was drifting off to sleep when I heard His voice. This happens to me often -- I am in that quiet place between being awake and asleep, and I hear Him speaking to me. I only recall a brief word or two, but I remember Him saying to me that something wonderful was going to happen to me. In truth, it might have been Paula White saying this on Facebook yesterday. Perhaps I was just thinking about it last night right before I drifted off to sleep.
"It is about to rain...God is dispensing seasons...The delay is over! There is a SUDDENLY!"
Yeah, weird, I know. The point is that I was reading her posts, and this one jumped out at me. I heard in my Spirit a similar word, and that was that something wonderful was going to happen.
OK, so there you have it.
Later on in the morning, while I was checking email and doing my due diligence online, I received an email from Glendale Community College. I had applied for an adjunct position way back in January. I remember applying to the county district, and then I sent a personal email to the Chair of the English Department. Just a "hello" email with a request to be notified of any openings they may have for fall 2014. So today, I get an email asking if I was still interested in teaching adjunct for them. I said "Yes!" and after a few back-forth emails, I have an interview setup for June 2nd at 1:00 p.m.
I know this may seem like it is not a big deal, but really it is. Getting into the adjunct pool at the community college is really difficult here in AZ. They normally do not hire without 3 years teaching experience. The positive for me is that GCC is located about 17 miles away (about 35 minutes cross town). I think they may have trouble getting teachers because they are so far away. I don't mind the drive -- so long -- as it is not on the same day I will be at ACU.
I am really excited for this opportunity. Getting into the CC is a huge deal and it will help me secure a full-time teaching position down the road. I feel that this is what the Lord was telling me to be prepared for and that this is His "wonderful" blessing. I am not sure how many classes I could teach, but I am wanting four total (two at ACU and two at another school). I have asked for two classes at GCU, but they won't get back to me until mid-summer. I really want to have all my teaching contracts settled for the fall so that I can use the summer to prepare for them.
I am amazed at God's blessing and His favor on my life right now. He has moved, and with His movement, blessing has rained down on me. I know this is true -- whatever He promises to me -- comes to pass. Therefore, if this is His will, it will be. I am happily content knowing that He has promised me full-time work, and He is moving to make that happen. God is so good. He is so very good to me!
May 19, 2014
Mondays are usually treated as the most negative day of the week. You know how you say, "Oh, it's another Monday!" when you are beginning your work week. Mondays are always rough. The work week starts, new projects begin, old projects never seem to end, and you muddle through thinking "only four more days until Friday!"
I do it all the time. In fact, I prefer Tuesdays to Mondays, weird as that may sound. I usually feel better on Tuesdays, and I usually have a better view of the work week (what needs to be accomplished and such). My Mondays tend to be days when I face stacks of work left over from the previous week, loads of new tasks set for the new week, and the realization that I allowed myself to procrastinate far too often (LOL!)
Today, however, I am changing my habits, and I am embracing Monday as a change-day. This is the day when I look over my little world, and I make decisions that will influence outcomes. I will choose to engage in behaviors that will bring positive results. I will choose to be proactive instead of reactive, and I will choose to be fully engaged in every activity, every relationship, every moment I am given. Yes, Mondays are going to be motivational days for my life, my new life. I am going to treat them as special days, given as gifts from God, and as opportunities to experience GREAT things in my life. Mondays are Good.
This is the day the Lord has made -- I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)
I love Psalm 118. Every time I read it, I am reminded of the Goodness of God. Imagine if we treated each day as a gift from God? How would we speak to others? How would we treat others? If our minds were focused on the Goodness of God, and on His blessed gifts (life, grace, mercy, etc.), then our whole attitude would be different, we would be different. Just think -- other people would see us as different (John 13:35), and as such, they would know we serve a very different God!
As I consider my life today, I am reminded of all the blessing and favor God has poured out upon me. I am blessed. I am highly favored. God has enriched my life, and He has given me such good gifts. I often squander the time He has given to me. I often procrastinate and I put off the things I know I should do. I get lazy, and I allow fear to control my thoughts. In doing so, I often miss the blessing God has ready to give me -- simply because I didn't do what I KNEW I was supposed to do. There is great blessing in obedience, there is great reward in following through on the Lord's commands and special directives.
So today, I am picking up my cross, and I am following after Him. I have tasks that are waiting to be completed. I have jobs that need to be finished. I have responsibilities that need to be handled. Yes, God has given a good portion to me, and I have work to do. I will do it, and I will honor the Lord with my faithfulness (Eph. 6:7). He is Good, and He is faithful. He will support me, encourage me, and strengthen me. I can do all the things He has assigned to me this day. I can do everything on my to-do list, and I can enjoy the sweet sensation of satisfaction in knowing that I have achieved my goal, completed my tasks, and finished the job. I am ready to hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant!"
Yes, Lord, yes! Give me the grace to do what I need to do this day. May your name be praised through the accomplishment of each and every task you have assigned to me this Good day.
May 18, 2014
Worship the Lord with gladness! (Psalm 100:2)
I give Him all the praise and honor this day, and I lift up my voice to worship Him. Only He is worthy to be praised, and only He is worthy to receive our worship!
My joy today is overflowing, and I am experiencing such wonderful peace inside my heart and my mind. I am in that place where God controls every aspect of my life. He is my leader, my maker, my provider, my Lord and my Savior. He covers me, He sees to my every need, and He ensures that I am favored and blessed. Everything I do is blessed. Every word I speak is favored. I cannot take any credit for anything good in my life because He is the source of every good thing. I live today because He lives within me. I experience blessing, and honor, and praise because He is worthy and He is GOOD.
As I consider my past, and I look forward toward my future, my heart soars with excitement and expectancy. He is able, more than able, to do what He has promised me. He will see to it (the Lord provides) and He will not fail me. I know this is true, and I believe with my whole heart that He is good, and His love for me is never ending.
May 17, 2014
Often this is how we wait for God to deliver His promises to us. We don't wait with expectancy and eager anticipation, instead we wait with human negative thoughts that say "This is really not going to happen, so I won't get my hopes up, and then I won't be disappointed." I am guilty of these kinds of feelings -- I do it so often -- and while I have tried to keep optimistic about potential outcomes, my habit is to prepare myself for the worst. I think it is because I spent 30 years believing in the "hope" of something better only to have the outcome prove otherwise. You learn to condition yourself for the "other" and then it becomes very hard to believe or to hope for something better.
As I think about this today, I realize that I am doing this now. I want so badly to believe that what the Lord has promised to me will come to pass. This is what I want, and I tell the Lord it is so. However, my habit is to protect myself from the "other" and in doing so I believe with a tentative faith. I am not using the power of my faith, which says, "I believe you, Lord. Your word is true!" I am using the weak faith that says "Well, I will believe it when I see it." This second-kind of faith is not the kind of faith the Lord wants us to have. No, we are to have strong, confident, boastful faith -- the kind that says to the mountain -- "Move" and it moves (Mark 11:23)!
Yes, I am not practicing what I preach, and with that, I am convicted of sin. For me, to know what is needed and not do it -- that is sin (James 4:17).
I confess to you today that I have believed your word to me with a weak faith. I know the truth, and I know that your word is always true. Yet, I have chosen to believe only what I can see, and in doing so, I have been stuck in this waiting place, this holding tank, so to speak. I confess now that I know better, and that I have seen your power in answered prayer time and time again. I thank you now for your Mercy, and for your Forgiveness. I know that I am set free, and I know that you have given me spiritually the power to believe (great faith). I ask now that you forgive me, and that you create within me the desire and the power to believe you, without fear and hesitation, so that I can receive this gift into my life this day. I ask all this in the blessed Name of Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah! (Pause and calmly think about it!)
Now with that bit out of the way, I can focus on today, and on what I need to do. It has been a good day thus far, notwithstanding my crisis of faith. I am strong, and I am secure in my faith. I believe the Lord, and I trust Him. Yes, I am flawed, human flesh, and as such, I fall down often. I goof up, and I retreat when I should stand firm. I let my guard down, I forget to lift up my shield of faith, and my sword of the Spirit. I stand bare before the enemy, and I quake in my boots. Then, thank the Lord, He reminds me that I am completely covered by His mighty amour, and that I have everything I need to defend myself against attack. Sigh!
How long will it be before I stop being this way, and I start to boldly stand up against the enemy and take my victorious and righteous stand? May it be NOW, Lord, may it be NOW!
Today is a good day. Yes, it is a very good day. I have a lot on my plate for today (due to my procrastination this week), and I am bound and determined to complete it all. I am taking control, taking authority over my tasks, and I am going to succeed today in accomplishing everything the Lord has in mind for me. There is no time to waste, and no time to slack off. I can do this, I can do this.
God is so very good to me. He is good all the time, and His promises never fail. I know this, I know this is true. I have seen Him move in my life, bring about something wonderful out of nothingness. I see the results of His power every single day, especially in my weakness, and in my human failing. He overcomes, He achieves, and He brings glory to Himself through my fallen and horribly failed attempts. He is good, He is good, He is so very good to me.
My brief to-do list today looks like this:
- Complete my homework for COM 652 (DQ for this week, responses to last week DQ)
- Plan my projects and papers for COM 652 and 703
- Bike ride at some point
- Take my Mom to dinner (Dad too)
- Pick up a gift card and birthday card for Black Angus
- Clean out my closet
- Study plans for a special project the Lord has placed on my heart and in my mind
The Lord knows me well. He understands my needs. He knows what I need today, and He knows how best to accomplish His will in my life. It is a weird thing to be known this way. I say weird because that is the only word that I can think of to describe what I mean. The Lord knows me. He knows my thoughts, He knows my feelings, and He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He knows when I will fall down and when I will forget to stand against the enemy's attack. He knows how I run in fear, and how I choose to hide whenever I am faced with a GIANT in my life. He also knows that when push-comes-to-shove I will pick up my stones and face that GIANT. He knows that I am bold, and that I have great faith. I run often before I stop and remember the ONE who empowers me. Then I turn around and I stand firm -- I do not move -- and I throw my stones with a mighty power. Yes, it is His power that works in me and through me. It is always His power that accomplishes everything in my life. I can do nothing with out Him, and I can do all things through Him (through Christ who strengthens me!) He is my sufficiency, He is my strength, and He is my power. He does it all, and in doing it so, He brings praise and honor and glory to His Name. He is Good. He is Good. He is Good all the time.
Now is the time to stand, to take a stand, and to be faithful. He is Good. He knows me well. He has promise good to me. There is no reason to believe that He will fail in His promise. There is no reason not to believe Him today.
I trust in your Name. I rest in your Power, and I believe in your Presence. I am not alone, and I am not waiting on my own. You are with me. You are here today, and You are ready and able to do what you have promised to me. I look to your Power, your Presence, and I let go my need to control events, timelines, and details. I say "Let it be your way today, Lord" and I release everything to you. You are my shelter, my hiding place, and I rest in your Provision and Security. You are my God, and I look up. I look up, and I rest in You. May your Name be praised today and forever more. Amen. Selah!
May 16, 2014
It can be hard to be still and listen for God's voice. I know this is true because I struggle with stillness. I am a person who likes to be busy, to be active. I want to keep moving, keep walking, keep achieving. There are times, however, when the Lord asks me to be still, to sit quietly and listen to His voice. In these times, I find refreshment and peace. I need these times to learn what He wants me to do, and how He wants me to go about doing "it" -- the thing He is asking of me. When I do not sit still and listen, then I tend to run off in the direction I ASSUME is best. If I would only stop for a moment, rest in His presence, and LISTEN to His voice, then I would know for certain which way to go.
Today, I am sitting still and listening to His voice. I feel that He is telling me to go a certain way, to do a certain thing, and my heart's desire is to obey Him. I struggle because I don't understand what it is He wants. I know His voice, and I know He will lead me. I don't have to struggle, I can rest and be assured that what He is asking me to do is the truth. God's WORD is always true.
It is hard, though, because I want to make sure I am doing the right thing. I want to make sure that I am not making a mistake, and that I am really hearing His voice. How do you know? How can I be certain? I have asked for clarification, and I have asked for confirmation. Now, I wait. Yet, the longer I wait, the less certain I am, the less confirmation I receive. What does this mean? I think it means that I am tarrying when I should be moving. God has told me to do something, and I agreed. I obeyed Him and I said "yes" to His voice. I haven't moved, though, and He is waiting for me to take that next step of faith. He is waiting to move forward, but He will not move until I start moving. It is up to me to start the process, it is up to me to get things moving forward.
This is the "rubber meets the road" part of faith. Sometimes God asks us to do something and He gives us His promise to help us do it. We struggle with what He is asking because we don't get it or understand it completely. It is normal, it is human, but it is not faith. Faith tells us to walk on without full knowledge of what will be, without confirmation of the outcome. Faith says "I AM enough. Trust Me, and I will lead you."
I am choosing to obey His voice this day. I am choosing to go where He sends me, to live where He tells me to live, to do the work He has called me to do. I am choosing to obey, to walk, and to be faithful to Him.
God is good all the time, and His mercy endures forever. Amen.
May 15, 2014
It is another beautiful day in Phoenix. The sun is out, and the skies are clear. The temperature is supposed to be in the low-mid 90s, which really is not hot (like Midwest hot-with-humidity hot). We should have mild breezes which will blow warm, dry air -- the dry part is key -- because this is what acts as an evaporative cooling mechanism to help cool the body when outside. In all, I love this time of the year -- PRE 100s -- when you can still get out side and enjoy the beauty of the desert!
Today is a good day (isn't every day a GOOD day?) for me. I am looking forward to tackling my school work and to getting scheduled (finally) so that I can begin making headway in my courses this semester. I have been LAZY, and I have not read as much as I should be reading. I am PROCRASTINATING, which is never a good thing, and especially not when it comes to doctoral study. It is not too late, I have not passed go yet, and there is plenty of time to get caught up. Today is my "getting caught up" day! LOL!
I don't have much else planned besides school work. I am thankful that I have this time off (Oh can I really say that?) I mean, I was panicked over not working this summer, but frankly, I am enjoying the blessing of having the downtime, and being able to do my school work in this way. Last semester, my schedule was jammed packed, and I rarely had time to rest during the week. I have (so far) caught up on a slew of recent movies (thanks to Netflix and Amazon Instant Video), and I have been able to get to bed before midnight (hooray!) I feel better thanks to my new diet/fitness routine, and I am getting plenty of sleep. I am doing well, feeling good, and I have a lot more energy! God is good, so very good to me!
Hard transition: This morning (just an aside) as I was reading Facebook this post came up on my feed:
You are the answer to someone's prayer! Someone is asking God to bless them with a relationship and you are everything their heart desires!
I thought to myself, "Yes, may this be true!"I would love to think that there was someone out there asking God for a relationship with me. Wouldn't that be sweet?
It is not that I am looking for someone, per se, it is just that the "thought" of there being someone out there asking God for a relationship, and God deciding that I am that perfect person for that relationship -- well -- that just makes me smile.
God is good, you know that, right?
God is good, so very good. He knows me well. He understands my needs, and He longs to meet my needs. He meets all my needs with sufficiency, and so while I am not seeking a companion, I am open to meeting one should the Lord facilitate such a relationship.
I know it seems weird to even consider a relationship at this point in my life. I am in the divorce process, and I will not be "free" to date anyone until August or September (depending on the court system). I don't think I am ready to "date" anyway (in a traditional sense), but I am open to a friendship that would work into a more significant relationship. I would like to meet someone eventually, this is for certain, and I would like to be able to have a partner, friend, companion, so on with whom to share my life. I used to say that I wanted to spend the rest of my life alone. In fact, if you read back on my blog (2010-11), this was my firm stance. Never getting married again. Never. Never. Never.
Over the past couple years, God did something in my heart and in my mind. He changed me. He put right everything that was wrong, and He restored me to a place where I am functioning properly. It wasn't that I was dysfunctional really, I think it was more that I was living a life outside His will for me, and I was having to compromise to keep that life going forward. I was making decisions that didn't align with His plans, and while I was faithful to my former husband, I wasn't being faithful to God (if you know what I mean). I was doing what I thought was right, and not what God said was right (Is. 55:8).
Once the crash came, reality sunk in that I was to be divorced, etc., God gave me time to decompress from my marriage, to come to terms with being a single person, and to learn to enjoy my life as a single person. I think He gave me plenty of time to focus on rebuilding my life, and He worked to challenge me with school, jobs, etc., so that I didn't really think about my "single status" much. In many ways, He kept me preoccupied with the business of living until such a time that I could reasonably and rationally consider the next 40-50 years of my life.
I am not young. I am going to be 52 this October, and with that fact, comes the recognition that I could live another 30-40-50 years depending on His Will for me. Do I want to spend the next 30 plus years alone? Do I want to give up the good things that come with marriage just so that I can be alone? In truth, the answer is no. When I think about it from a very logical perspective, I realize that while I long to be alone, to have "my space," I also realize that God did not create me to be alone. He created me for fellowship and "fellowship" comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. The WORD says that it is not good for Man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). God created Woman for Man (and vice versa). God knows that deep inside of each of us there is a desire to be with another person. We long for this type of companionship, this type of intimacy, and this type of relationship. God knows this because it is His design.
I believed for many years that God had made me to be single. I believed it, and it made sense to me, given my marriage experience. However, as I now consider the past 30 years of my life, I realize that in some ways I was designed to be single -- my personality lends itself to being alone -- and I enjoy quality alone time. Yet, I have always enjoyed single friendships, if that makes sense. I am not the type of person who has boatloads of friends. I have lots of acquaintances, but few real friends. It has always been this way, and I think this is why I tend to find myself flying solo a lot of the time. I am solitary, but I don't always want to be alone.
If I look back over my life, I have always had two or three close friends. I love my dearest friends. They are more like sisters to me than friends. I love them, and I cherish the time we spend together. And, while I love my friends, my sisters in the Lord, there is a part of me that longs for and aches for the satisfying companionship of someone closer than a friend. I want to share my life with someone who will be with me, near me, and beside me all the days of my life. Yes, I want to be emotionally connected to one person, the one person who God brings to my life, so that I can have that desire satisfied. I think this is the missing element in my life. I think this has been the missing element in my life for the past 30 years. I think this is the one thing I long for, but until recently, couldn't express it or accept it as fact.
Maybe walking through the divorce process, giving my ex-husband (ooh, I said it -- I said "ex") his freedom, allowed that need to percolate up to the point where I could face it, own it, and accept it. Yes, I think that God knew in His time, I would come to understand these deeper needs, and that I would accept the fact that I need close friends (sister friends) and that I need a husband.
I have accepted both, and in fact, it wasn't until last year, that I confessed to the Lord how much I needed close friends. I can remember the day when I cried my heart out before His throne, and I acknowledge my loneliness. I prayed and I asked for a friend, just one, who would support me, love me, and be close to me. The Lord provided abundantly for me. He gave me a circle of friends through Regent University, with whom I will cherish and remain close until my dying day. He answered my prayer in abundance, and I am blessed every day when I chat with them on Facebook, call them on the phone or Skype with them so we can do 'face-time!' God has graciously and abundantly met my need for friendship.
So now I am asking Him, in His time, to bring me a husband. I don't know when this will be or if it will be, but there is this part of my heart that knows He will be faithful to provide for me. He will do it, and the man He brings to me will be the man of His choosing (of this I am certain). I will wait, of course, and I will patiently follow the Lord until the time of His provision. I will trust Him to provide, and I will rest in His decision as to the person, etc.
Until then, I am good, I am good, I am so very good.