July 22, 2015

Preparing for Fall

What an amazing day it has been! And, it is only 1:30 p.m. here in sunny, hot and humid AZ. Yes, the Lord is good to me, so very good to me. First off, the Lord has once again pressed upon me to get myself prepared, to make myself ready, for the plans He has for my life. Proverbs 19:21 says, "You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail." The writer of Proverbs is stressing the idea that the plans we make, while good and fine, will not take the place of the Lord's purpose for our life. Of course, this presumes that the man or woman of God is diligently seeking the Lord, and is willingly obeying Him as He leads and directs their steps. In my case, this is exactly true. I am seeking the Lord in every area of my life, and while I may not always know exactly what He is doing (behind the scenes), I do believe that His purpose is always first and foremost in His mind. Thus, the plans I make, and I make many of them, are all focused on this one thing -- on seeing the Lord's will, His expressed and precise will for my life -- coming to fruition, coming to pass.

It excites me to no end when the Lord moves in my life. For a long while, I used to panic whenever He moved. I sensed change, great upheaval, and in His movement, I always felt as if I was being jerked forward, clearly out of my comfort zone, and into some great big UNKNOWN. It hasn't been until recently that I began to realize that His movement, no matter how small, always was for my good. There is nothing the Lord does or allows in my life that doesn't further His plans and purpose for me. Consequently, He may cause some circumstance to come to pass or He may permit some hardship for a time -- all in order to prepare me, grow me, equip me -- for His work, His service, His name and honor. I have come to rest, to recognize His movement, and while I still hunker down a bit, making myself "ready" for the jolt, I know that it is all for my good, for my best, and for His will.

Today is a good example of such a move. I have felt the Lord moving in my life the past couple of days. I think it started this past weekend, and it culminated with my blog post on moving on (letting go) from my past. Yes, I think the Lord placed on my heart the importance of letting my past go, and while I had done that before, many times before, I hadn't gotten to the place where I could "walk away" from it, no longer discuss it, or allow it to remind me of past hurt. The last few days, however, have been freeing for me. I have found such peace, such comfort, and such amazing grace as I walked away from everything that was before, and I embraced everything that lays ahead. I picked up my cross, so to speak, and I started walking on. Yes, I know that I have done this before, like I said many times before, but this time somehow it was different. I was intentional about it, I guess, and in being intentional, I realized that I had made a choice, finally a choice, of where I was willing to go. Let me explain...

I have blogged about my situation recently, well for eons, really, and in doing so, I have spent an inordinate amount of time reflecting on the past, looking backward for hints and clues to behavioral patterns and interactions that caused me to make certain choices. I thoroughly analyzed my childhood experiences, my teenage romances, and my marriage -- studying it through a microscope at times -- so that I could really grasp the significance of the decisions I made, and I could understand the motivation for them. It was a good thing, really, it was a very good thing. I learned a lot about myself, mostly what not to do in the future, but in total I came to respect myself and to accept the person I am (warts and all). Yes, I was able to say "I accept you, Carol," and that is a big deal, a very big deal. As God has helped me deal with past hurt, He has also enabled me to see my part in how everything came about, the good and the bad. It has helped me maintain a realistic perspective on my past, and as such, I feel that I have a better handle on my future. As Martha Stewart says, "it's a good thing!" Yes, indeed, it is a good thing!

Turning a Corner

So today has been interesting, with a lot of potential change on the horizon, and some very positive opportunities potentially opening up for me. I am excited to say the least, and I feel that perhaps this is the Lord's movement in my life.

1. Just yesterday, my son and I had a good chat about his upcoming school plans. He has changed colleges, thanks in part to a major scholarship from the school, and some prodding and encouragement from some of the pastors at our church. He is enrolled in a BS in Music program, and should now graduate in 2017. In the end, he will be in school for a lot longer than most kids his age, but he is on track to graduate and praise be to God, his degree is something that I believe aligns with the Lord's will for his life. My son got a full scholarship to study music, and on top of all that, just was offered a position at our church to work part-time starting in August. This is such a praise because he has been applying for a while without any interest. This position pays well, and it should provide for him. I am so blessed, so very blessed.

2. This morning I received an email from GCU asking if I was interested in applying for a contract position as a facilitator for CIRT. This is a short-term opportunity, as needed really, but the pay is excellent. It would be such a blessing should they choose me to facilitate this summer. I really could use the extra income between now and when school begins. Furthermore, this might be something I could do throughout the year as needs arise. What a blessing for me!

3. As I was praying today, the Lord placed the idea of applying for some extra work on my mind. The Lord directed me to GCU (praise be to God), and I noticed that they were hiring for adjunct Online instructors to teach several communication courses. This is a rarity for GCU, so I applied just to see if they would consider me. I always have trouble making it past their HR screener so we will see what happens. I would be blessed for this opportunity, though. I believe this would be for 8-week classes, and that should make it possible for me to do a couple of these classes, and still keep my fall on campus class schedule. I would welcome the online classes -- just to build my resume in that way -- but it will be up to the Lord to convince the HR person to interview me.

Now, I am not saying that I have everything figured out yet, but it does seem that things are happening again, and for that, I am so grateful. God is good, so very, very good.

Preparing for Fall

So what does this mean for me? Well, right now, not very much, other than the fact that my son is set for fall, and with a job, that means I will have to pay for less and less of his keep. I love my son, don't get me wrong, but it has been a challenge and a strain for me to pay for his schooling this past year since he lost his job. He has been very thoughtful and careful, but in truth, I simply cannot afford to pay for his upkeep and my own.

Furthermore, as I begin to prepare for fall, one thing is for sure. I realize that I cannot bear the responsibility for caring for my parents anymore. I love them, surely I do, but their care has taken a big toll on my finances, and while the Lord has not placed me in this position directly, I have felt responsible for their care. Mostly, it is my Mom, as she wants things (like Starbucks or Chinese) and I have been seeing that she has what she wants. My Dad started this off when Mom was diagnosed with dementia in January. He was very tight with the money at first, but since June, he has simply given in to her wishes. Now, I understand this thinking, but I am not in a position to do that and it sort of just happened to me. I made the decision yesterday to let this go as part of my closing the chapter on the past move. I love my parents, and I want the best for them -- but -- I am not their primary caregiver nor am I in the position to pay for their needs. My father, Lord willing, is the one calling the shots for Mom's care, and he is managing their remaining years. I support them, certainly, and I do care for them physically, but I can no longer purchase items or pick up the tab for them. I have tried to exit out quietly, to turn down dinner offers and such, just because I don't have the money to splurge. It is difficult for me, but I also realize that this is part of life, and that I have to be responsible for my own care first, and my son's care second.

Thus, as I turn toward fall, I am confident in this one thing -- God has a great plan for my life, and He is working out all the details to prepare me for my final year at Regent, and for relocating me closer to my love. I believe this is the Lord's will for my life, but I cannot up and move until the Lord opens that door. I am patiently waiting for His grand move, and until then, I am focused on the work I must do now. I have courses to teach, classes to prep for, exams to study, and of course, a dissertation to write. There is a lot on my plate, but praise be to God, it will all be done in His time, and with His overall blessing. I am sure of it.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

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