August 30, 2015

Ready to Go...Again!

It is Sunday, and I am sitting here at my home computer blogging. Yes, I should be working on power points for the week, reading for my Theology class, and writing discussion board posts/responses. Instead, I am sitting here thinking about my life, reflecting on my week (last), and enjoying the blessed rest the Lord has given to me this good Sunday afternoon. In truth, I want to rest. I want to use today for rest -- like in the biblical way -- as a Sabbath rest. I want to spend this entire day doing nothing, but resting, restoring my strength, and renewing my commitment to following the Lord. Yes, I want this day to be a good day of rest, with no real worries, because as the Word says, ""So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today" (Matthew 6:34 NLT).

On this good Sunday, I am seeking peace from the ravages of the world, but mostly from the daily grind that shouts "YOU MUST DO THIS NOW!" I am so tired, so weary, and so ready to check out -- simply due to my work schedule and my coursework at Regent. It all seems so impossible right now -- you know -- making it through to the end of December. I know I can do it, but not in my own strength. I am resting in His strength, and I am trusting Him to see me through to the very end. I think the grind has caught up with me, and I know that if the way I feel today is indicative of my semester, well then, I am sunk. I do not have the strength, the resolve, or the fortitude to see this semester through, yet I know that I must see it through to the end because this is what the Lord has called me to do. And while I am ready to do His work, and I am ready to go where He is sending me -- still -- I stress and I strive to make sense of it all. I am trying to figure it all out so that I can be "ready" to go when He says to me, "Carol, it is time to go!"

Ready to Go

This past week was good. I mean, I survived my first week of classes, and I made it through in one piece. Like I said, I am really tired, but generally, I feel good -- upbeat, optimistic, and hopeful -- that the semester is going to end well.

I like my classes, and I am enjoying the readings in my Theology course at Regent. In all, I am in a good place -- ready, willing and able -- to take the next step as soon as the Lord calls me to it. I am waiting for His provision of a full-time position, and once that comes to pass, then I will move. Right now, that appears to be June or July 2016. I don't see how the Lord will keep me in Phoenix for another year. I had thought that my dissertation would take me to May 2017, and that would require another year of school and financial aid. Instead, I am now on a shortened timeline so if all goes as planned, I will graduate from Regent with my PhD in hand sometime around the first of September 2016. I will start applying again (for full-time) come October/November. This is the normal time frame when schools begin filling positions for the following year. Some wait until January/February, and some fill all through the year. I will begin looking though soon, once school is into full swing. I will find clarification on the place at that time too. Right now, I have been looking in several locations, but none have "felt" right. In fact, I would say that for the most part all the schools I have previewed have seemed closed to me. This is not to say that a door won't open for me later in the year, it is just that I have had the feeling that the Lord was not intending to send me to these places. Instead, He was allowing me to check them out, to get a feel for them, while I finished my courses and prepped for exams. I didn't know then (last year) that I would be finished early, but I had a feeling that the Lord would move me in time for a fall start date in 2016. I felt confident that this was His timing on the matter. I just didn't know where it would be, as in location or state.

It is really funny, I mean funny, how everything works out according to His will. For the past 10 years I have felt this pull toward the SE USA. I assumed it meant that I was to move to the SE at some point in time. Yet, no matter how I tried to figure it out, to determine where I would go, what I would do, etc., I ended up with this general sense that the SE was important to me. I focused on three places in specific: TN, GA and NC. These were the places where I felt a connection, an affinity, and a desire toward moving or, at the least, toward living there. Still, nothing materialized, and I remained in AZ. The Lord continued to prepare me, train me, equip me, and educate me right here in Phoenix. I was content to remain here, but the pull to move was so strong that I believed (and I still do) that the Lord intends for me to move elsewhere within the year.

Other places I have looked at moving to -- seriously moving -- have been IL, IN, and OH. Odd as that may seem, these are the places where the Lord has asked me to consider for relocation. I have been hesitant to embrace them, simply because of the cold weather, yet the Lord has had me check them out on more than one occasion over the last 5-6 years. For a long while, I believed that the reason why I felt the pull toward these states was simply because of childhood memories. I grew up in IL, but my cousins were from IN and OH, so I spent many happy vacations visiting family. I assumed that this might be more memory related than actual prompting by the Lord so often I just pushed the feelings aside.

Now, I am not so sure. I blogged about how I have come to terms with my job, my career as an educator, and how I am no longer worried about the "place" -- as in where I will end up. I realized this week that no matter where I go, I will go with the Lord, and the work I will do will be whatever He asks me to do. So whether I am sent north or south, it is up to the Lord. I will go wherever He sends me, for sure.

I think part of my struggle with place has been my recent relationship with my good friend who lives in the SE. At first, I thought that this must be the reason why I felt this strong pull toward the SE USA. However, I couldn't quite figure out how it could be since the place he is from is not one of the places the Lord has placed on my heart to relocate. How could the Lord provide a wonderful man to me and then not choose to move me to be near him? This doesn't seem fair in my view. I have struggled with this idea -- what if we never get together? I mean, what if the Lord moves me north and keeps him south? How can that be?

The more I tried to wrestle with this thought, the more distraught I became. I mean -- what if, what if we never get together (permanently)? How would I feel about that? Well, I can tell you that I would be miserable, for sure. Furthermore, I honestly do not see how that can be because our relationship has grown very strong -- and not diminished in any way -- over the past 14-15 months. This seems to say to me that our relationship is good, solid, and deepening regardless of the fact that we are separated by many states.

This past week, I started to let go of my desire for "place," meaning that I let go of my desire to live in a certain place. Instead, I embraced the idea that no matter where I go, the Lord will be with me. Furthermore, I accepted that if I was meant to be with my love, then the Lord would do something to bring us together -- even asking us both to move some place else than our current home states. Perhaps this is the Lord's will. I don't know, I don't know. I just know that He is Sovereign and that my trust exceeds my need to "know." I can go wherever He sends me, and I know I will be provided for and happy (content and filled with joy). I can live here or there, and as long as I am doing His work, in His way, and through His will -- then I am good, so very good. God is good, so very good to me.

Taking The Next Step

I am ready to begin the next phase of the Lord's plan for my life. I feel it, I sense it, and I think He is getting ready to do something amazing. I hope that He will provide some clarification to me, but until that happens, I will rest and I will trust in Him, and in Him alone. I feel good about moving forward, and I feel this settled peace right now, peace that says to me "you are well, you are doing well, and you are heading in the correct direction." I feel that I am going to find out soon, and once I know where I am to go, then everything will start to fall into place. More so, I believe that if the Lord desires for me to remarry, then He will put this same idea, sense, and feeling into my love so that He knows too what the plans are for his life as well as my life. I want us to walk forward together, not separately, and I want to spend the rest of my days working alongside this wonderful and Godly man. I believe that the Lord has put us together, and I see testimony to that fact every day. It is just a matter of how the plans work out, how everything works out right now. I can only trust and rest in the Lord -- for He knows best -- for my life and for his life. I rest, I rest, I rest.

The more I consider this thought, these feelings, the more I wonder how the Lord intends to take two people who live in very different places and put them together in one place so that they can live their lives together to His glory. I know the Lord is able to do this, and I am sure He will reveal His will to us in His perfect timing. Still, it does seem weird in a way. I mean, I am here in Phoenix, but I don't want to remain here. I have longed to move away from Phoenix for now on 15 years. In fact, I never wanted to come here in the first place. I have always wanted to live some place else. My son feels the same way, though I think he has finally come to terms with the fact that we are here for a short time only. My timeline for moving has always been 2017, at the latest. I have known this since 2010, and I have accepted that this is the deadline -- I will be out, gone, and some place else -- by 2017. I assumed that this coincided with my graduation from Regent. However, it wasn't until just recently when I remembered that my original time line for doctoral studies was 2016 and not 2017. I changed the date when I didn't start at Regent in 2012. Yep, once I knew that I couldn't start in 2012, I assumed that my graduation date was bumped out to 2017. The funny thing is that Regent has always maintained that their COM PhD program was a 3-year program, 3 years. So even though I assumed the date was moved, the truth was that the Lord had intended me to graduate and relocate in 2016 -- 3 years after I started my studies.

So 2016 is my move date. I feel it, I am confident of it. I tried to move earlier last year, to attempt to move this summer, but that wasn't in the cards. No, for whatever reason, I am to remain here in Phoenix until May 2016. After that, I will go wherever the Lord leads me to go.

My son and my parents have caused me concern, of course. My son will not graduate from ACU until 2017, and that means he would have a year here in Phoenix without me living near by. Still, I know that the Lord has him covered, and that he could live on campus for a year, should that be in the Lord's plans for him. My parents are another story, but as my Mom's condition deteriorates, one thing is certain -- we cannot continue to live in this house -- forever. My parents don't want to move from this house, but I cannot remain here, and they cannot live on their own. This means that they will need to move, to move some place else so they can live out their remaining days. I believe that the Lord will care for them, provide a place for them, and for now, we are together because it suits the Lord for us to be together. However, my Mom will need assistive care sometime soon, perhaps by next year. My Dad cannot care for her full-time so they will need to move to assisted living at some point soon. Assisted living in AZ is atrociously expensive. I believe that if the Lord moves me, He will move me to a place where assisted living is reasonably priced, where my parents could go so that we live near one another, but not together in the same home. I know that this is not my parents first choice. They want to live with me, but with Mom's memory care issues, I cannot see that happening at all. I think this means that the place I go will be one where we can all live reasonably well, near one another, but not sharing the same home. At least, this is what I think. I will wait to know what the Lord decides is best.

In the End

I will go where the Lord sends me. I am confident of this, that the Lord has a good job in mind for me, and I will go and live some place where this work will provide a good quality of life for me. I am trusting the Lord for His provision, shelter and care -- not just for me -- but for my parents and my son. God is good, so very good -- and He has a great and wonderful plan for each of our lives. He is good, so very good.

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