November 20, 2015

More Thoughts on Next Steps

What a beautiful day today! It is so lovely outside, still chilly,but bright and sunny, and oh-such-a-blessed day! I am blessed to be at GCU this morning. I finished my early morning class, and now I have my long mid-morning break, and then I will wrap the week with my two back-to-back English classes before I head home for a long, and mightily deserved break. Yes, I have an entire week free from school (both schools), and I am blessed, so blessed to have this down-time. I need the break, for sure, but I also need to take time to recalculate, to reorganize, and generally, reorient myself toward finishing my Ph.D. My colleagues who are studying with me feel the same way. They are trying to finish out their last class or classes, and teach, and prep for exams. It is a bug-bear to say the least. But we are committed to finishing strong, and to trusting the Lord for this outcome, this blessed end. My life next week is going to be all about writing my Abelard paper, and it is going to be  dedicated to cleaning up my teaching (LMS) system so that I have all my student's grades up dated. I hope to spend some family time too, but frankly, I think I will be busy with school (mine) and I will be rather hit-or-miss most of the week. Sigh! #PushingThroughtoExams

God is so GOOD to Me

This past week has been interesting to say the least. I have become more convinced of His plan for my life, and while I say it that way, the truth is that I have been reminded more so than anything else that His plan for my life is specific, unique, and designed just for me. You see, I have known for the past half-dozen years what He wanted me to study, to learn, and to do, but I haven't had the entire plan placed before me. I don't know all the details, but certain key "check marks or touch stones" have been shown to me, and I was reminded that these were non-negotiable as far as His will for my life. One of those things, of course, was my study at Regent. The Lord has prepared me for this work, and He has orchestrated my way through this advanced coursework, the papers, the presentations, and now the exams and dissertation. It has been a long, mighty and difficult path, but I am here at the "end of all things" (to quote Frodo from LOTR). Yes, I have made it to the end of this journey, and I am excited to be finishing strong -- all A's in my coursework and a 4.0 GPA! I am also so happy to have taken this path through graduate school. You see, I had a choice of schools, and I chose Regent and Communication because I believed (and now know for sure) that it was the Lord's desire, preference, and will for me.

In the beginning, I had two schools that were strong contenders. One was Regent, and the other, Old Dominion University, were both acceptable paths for my PhD. Regent was the clear favorite, and I believe, was the Lord's preferred choice for me. ODU, has always been in the back of my mind, simply because I really, really liked their English program. However, I was hesitant to go there simply because I didn't think I was ready to study English at this level. But now that I am at the end of my Communication journey, I am thinking that "perhaps" this might have been His will too -- just not for me to study first -- but for me to study as part of His overall plan for me.

As I have transitioned into teaching college courses, I have come to settle on teaching English rather than Communication courses. I chose this path because of my Masters degree in English and the fact that most teaching positions required that you teach in your discipline (your Masters degree or where you have 18 credits). I struggled to teach Communication courses because I didn't have a communications background nor did I have 18 credits completed. Of course, now I still am finding it a challenge because my Masters isn't in Speech or Mass Comm. It is weird, but just one of those "higher education" hoops teachers must jump through to be hired. So now, I have three years of teaching -- mostly English -- and while I have been blessed to teach fundamentals of communication twice, my experience says "ENGLISH TEACHER" all over it. As weird as it may seem, I am strongly considering applying to ODU to do postdoctoral work and complete a second Ph.D. in English. My focus would be on theoretical and applied rhetoric, which is just a fancy way of saying that I want to study the theory of rhetoric as well as the applied approach to teaching rhetoric. A second PhD seems overkill at this point, but I considered a second masters degree and frankly I feel like the time would be better spent toward a doctorate -- simply because I am teaching now -- so I would benefit from it directly.

The thought of another 3-4 years of study is tough on me, but I truthfully think it would be practical, worthwhile and interesting to me. I won't be ready to tackle this degree for a couple years so for now it is just a distant thought. But I think it would be interesting, and it would keep my mind involved in scholarly study and research. I think it would also help me in my career. Communication, the study of it, was not for a career (as I have found out), but rather it was for the Lord's work (which is what I believe He told me). I believe the Word I received back in 2010 has come true. My PhD has prepared me for ministry more than for teaching. I have used my Masters degree to get work, but my PhD has been simply designed to prepare me for His work. For now, of course, I have to do one thing, and that is to focus on my studies at Regent. Only the Lord know what He has in mind for me, so until He releases me to move in this direction, I will stay put, stay focused, and do what the Lord desires me to do this good day.

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