March 11, 2015

Happy Wednesday!

It is Wednesday, and I am feeling GREAT! Well, I am telling myself that I feel great because, in fact, I am feeling my normal so-so (somewhat yucky) self, but I am choosing to see the bright side of things! I woke up this morning after a fairly restful night's sleep. I am still a bit stiff, but overall, I feel okay. My pillow is working well, keeping my neck from getting strained at night, so at the least, I am thankful for that little blessing. Overall, I am feeling a little more positive about my life (as of right now), and I am looking forward to whatever changes the Lord may have in store for me. Right now, that means focusing on my school work and teaching duties, and not giving in to speculation about what might be down the road. Yesterday, I was battered around a bit, and by the time I left for school, I felt pretty confused about the job prospects, leaving AZ, and whether or not I was even on the right track. ACK! Of course, a lot of that was just doubt and fear creeping in and telling me (or should I say reminding me) that I cannot do anything in my own strength (yes, I already know that truth!) Still, I felt convicted and shamed into thinking I was doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons (the enemy got me good). It took a bit of time, but PTL, by the time I left for home, I was feeling more and more at ease with what I think is the Lord's plan for my life (in the next 6-12 months). Only time will tell if what I think and feel matches to what the Lord actually does in my life. Until then, I will wait and I will be patient. Selah!

Today, I am trying not to be too optimistic about the job prospects on the horizon. I have no real knowledge of what the Lord intends to do, only hopes and dreams, and the realization that when it all comes down to it, the Lord will win and will get His way in my life. I am surrendered to Him in all areas so that means that if He chooses to send me here or there, then I will go willingly. I am not going to be like Jonah and say I will go and then run away in fear. I don't want to sit in the belly of a giant fish for three stinking days until I agree to turn around and do as the Lord commands. I have done this before, and always, it ends in His favor. Yes, I will do what the Lord asks me to do -- no matter how I might feel about doing it.

Last night, I was praying about my life and about the changes on the horizon. I had been listening to the enemy quite a bit (not that I do that intentionally, it just happens). I kept having all these negative feelings and thoughts about moving to AL, about working at Auburn University, and about leaving my family here in Phoenix. I felt so oppressed and downtrodden as if what I wanted (a life for myself, a good career, a future with someone I deeply care about, etc.) was selfish ambition, lust, and personal desire. The Godly thing to do, so I was told, was to sacrifice all my desires for a home, a career, a family, a marriage, etc. and stay in this place, care for my parents until their end of life, and accept my lot in life (remaining single forever). The funny thing is that for the past 6-7 years, I was very content to do just that -- be single -- live here in Phoenix, etc. I was content to remain here even though the Lord kept calling me to consider moving someplace else. He would say "consider this place, Carol," and I would. Then when He would ask me "will you go?" and I would say "Yes, Lord, I will go" -- that is -- until something always came around to remind me of my duties and responsibilities here in AZ. Then I would ask Him if I could stay here, "Please, Lord, can I just stay here." This has been a repeated process, and over time, I have come to understand that my fear and my worry over going it alone, leaving what I know to go to what I don't know, was driving my need to stay put. The Lord was clearly calling me to go, but I wasn't willing (even though I said I was) to put hay to His command. Yes, I was half-heartedly agreeing with His will.

The Lord has been so patient with me all these years. I have known since 2007 that the Lord wanted me to go to the SE USA. I have known it, and I mean, known it. I couldn't figure it out, and I couldn't see how He would do it, but I believed He COULD do it, if that was His will. I wasn't ready to go, to let go, I mean. I wasn't ready to leave my parents, my life, and my little world (no matter how bad it was at the time) in order to go someplace else and do something else.

My son has been begging to move. He has tried everything in his power to get me to move. He says he wants to go anywhere, anywhere in the US. He wants out of AZ, and he has been patiently waiting to move. Granted, he is 21 going on 22, so he could really move on his own if he really wanted to do so. He is in college, and hopefully, will graduate next Spring, but he could up and move if he had the gumption to do it. I think he is like me in a lot of ways, a bit afraid to do that on his own. Plus, I think he wants to go with me or at the least have me near by him.

So here we are, two odd ducks who desire to move to another place, but who haven't taken a foot near the door to get going. Until now, that is, until now.

The Lord has been calling me to move for 7-8 years, but He has chosen to keep me planted in Phoenix until the time was right for me to go. I know this now, I see it, and it makes sense to me. It hasn't been until now that I had enough smarts and experience to consider moving on my own. Let me explain...

In 2007, when my world started to crash and burn, I began to hear the Lord speak to me, to call me to a different life in a different place. I shared this with my then ex-husband who was against any such move or calling. He wasn't interested in going anywhere, and he certainly wasn't interested in relocating to the SE USA. I assumed this is what the Lord wanted for us as a family, that it was His intention for us all to go and start a new life in this new place. But, that didn't come to pass. Instead, my marriage crumbled, and I found myself single and then divorced. I also found myself on my own without any financial resources -- no job, no car, no credit, no nothing.

In 2010, the Lord began to prepare me for what I called "being established." He began to rebuild my identity and my self-esteem. He gave me some plans, some direction, and He provided a course for me to follow. I got my first car (second in my life), and I got a part-time job at Macy's. It wasn't much, but it was a good start. I got my own bank account, and I started to build resources (again, really small, but they were all mine). Then He opened a door for me to go back to school to get my Masters degree. I did that and I graduated in 2012. He moved me from part-time to full-time, and then on through two different jobs. In each one, I gained more experience and I was able to earn more income, build credit, and develop confidence in money matters. I bought a second car, and then a third. I rented my own home. I started a 401K and a retirement account. Then He opened a door to lead me to a PhD program where I am currently ending my second year and beginning my third (almost finished). He moved me from a rented place into a shared home with my parents, and He took me from full-time work to part-time work so I could complete my hardest doctoral classes. Now, He is calling me forward to prepare for full-time work again, and to move away from my parents, from Phoenix, and to settle in the SE just as I heard Him say some 8 years ago.

In the mix, He has brought me companions, friends and colleagues who live near by. He has helped me see that I will not be alone. Furthermore, He has given me a special friendship with someone whom I have become close to and with whom I can imagine sharing my life. I wasn't expecting this bonus, but it seems the Lord had it planned along with every other step along the way.

Now, I am ready to go. But there are some things that don't seem to perfectly line up for me just yet. First off, there is the issue with my parents and their declining heath. It is a big issue because my Mom is suffering from memory problems, and my dad has physical needs/limitations. My son is in college, and needs another year to graduate, and he is very involved with church and music. I am working part-time, but in desperate need of a full-time job. I have mounting debt, and I need steady income and a solid future. No matter how much I would like to be a SAHM, I cannot do this anymore. I don't believe it is the Lord's will for me anyway, especially since He has taken me through graduate school to become a professor. Still, I have these duties -- as a Mom and a daughter -- and I struggle to know what to do.

Trust me, He says. Trust me, Carol. I know what I AM doing. I know the plans I have for you. I know what I am calling you to do. I have you well-covered.

Yes, Lord. I will trust you. I will rely on you. I will abide in you. And, I will rest. You are my God, my Lord, my Source, my Provision, and my All-Sufficiency. You are everything to me. I will let these fears go, and I will hold onto your promises, and look to your hand for your provision. You are God, and I am not. Selah!

As I sit here today, this is what I now know:

  • The Lord wouldn't call me to leave Phoenix without considering my duties and responsibilities here as Mom and daughter.
  • The Lord wouldn't ask me to leave my family without any provision for their care.
  • The Lord wouldn't call me forward to a new life without provision for a job, a house, a future.
  • The Lord has been faithful to me, to establish me, and He will continue to provide for me in order to establish me in this new place.
  • The Lord has a good plan for my life -- a GOOD PLAN -- which means that it is GOOD. Every part of His plan is for my good, my welfare, and for my betterment. It is GOOD. He is GOOD. I can rest in His GOODNESS and I can know for certain that no matter what He plans, prepares, and promises -- it will always 100% of the time -- be GOOD!
Lastly, while I don't know what will be (as in job -- I have applied for several) nor do I know where I will live (Lord willing), I do know that His ways and plans are sure, they are certain, and they are good. God is good all the time, and all the time, He is good!

No comments: