December 22, 2015

With God All Things Are Possible

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about myself and my situation. It is a blessed day; December 22, 2015, and I am feeling positive that everything in my life is going to work out well. Today is a good day, a very good day, and I am confident that the plans the Lord has for me, well, they are good, so very good.

I am believing that all things, all good things are possible to those who believe in faith in God's abilities to provide, to meet, and to sustain their life. I am trusting Him to provide for me, even when it seems impossible or when the circumstances do not make sense. I am resting in His promises to me, abiding in His presence, and waiting patiently for His deliverance.

I am reminded today of the words of our Lord when he healed the young boy who was demon possessed. If you recall the story as it is recorded in both Matthew and Mark's gospel's, you will remember these words:

Mark 9:23 NLT "What do you mean, 'If I can?' Jesus asked. 'Anything is possible if a person believes.'"

The context of the story was this: a man brought his son who was possessed by an evil spirit to the disciples but they couldn't heal him. Thus, the man comes to Jesus and asks Him to cast the spirit out of the youth. The man questions Jesus' authority by asking if He is able, and Jesus replies with His answer that anything is possible if a person believes (in God).

We read in verses 28-29, the disciples were curious as to why they couldn't deliver this young man. Jesus replied that "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer." I think it is important to note this declaration because the Lord is specifically stating that the only way to deliver a person from this type of possession is by prayer. I think it is interesting to ponder if the disciples had prayed prior to seeing this young man the first time. Do you think they simply laid hands on him and "hoped" the evil spirit would come out? Scripture doesn't tell us what happened, only that the boy was not delivered, and the father had to come to Jesus directly for help.

Believing the 'Possible'

Today, I am thinking about "possibilities" and what that means for my future life. I have so many desires, wishes really, and wants and needs; but sometimes, I wonder if what I want is the same thing as what the Lord wants for me (KWIM)? I want to do His will. I want to live my life according to His word. I want to walk in His way, and by that I mean, to walk in a manner worthy of my calling (Col. 1:10).  I want to live my life so that God is glorified by my thoughts, my words, and my deeds. I want to do what I believe He wants me to do, and I want to go and live where He intends for me to live. My whole life is predicated upon His will for me, and that means that whenever I have a desire or a "feeling" about moving this way or that way, I always have to stop and consider, "Is this the way to go?"

A Case in Point

For the past couple weeks now, I've been feeling like the Lord wanted me to start applying for online teaching positions; part-time, adjunct or full-time instructor openings where I could teach from home. I know for certain that I am not to look for assistant professor positions at this time, and I also know that I am to stay put at GCU through the coming spring. However, lately, the Lord seems to be moving me toward some online teaching work in order to provide extra income and online teaching experience.

I've started looking for online positions, and while I have found a couple that might be possibilities, the process involved was either long, convoluted, or highly speculative. I haven't found anything that seemed like a good fit, so I have been patiently waiting for more confirmation from the Lord.

On Friday night, I started an application for an online teaching position that was based out of Georgia. The job was to teach English through Georgia Perimeter College. It looked viable, and I felt that the Lord might want me to apply. I went ahead with the application, but a quarter of the way into it, I stopped because the application process seemed overly time-consuming. After a little while, I started to wonder if this job was the Lord's will. 

The next day, after I had prayed over my morning, etc., I felt the Lord leading me to update my resume. I made some minor changes to it, and then I wrote a new cover letter. I thought perhaps the Lord wanted me to finish the GPC Online application, and that He wanted me to use an updated resume. However, as I was writing my cover letter, the language the Lord had me use was clearly "Christian." I knew that He intended to use it for an opening at a Christian college and not for the GPC position.

So after I had written my cover letter and updated my resume, the Lord directed me to visit Regent University's website. I logged into the online system, thinking that perhaps my financial aid package had been updated or there was some "school related" news I needed to read, but instead, the Lord sent me to visit their careers page. I scrolled through the posted openings before I stopped to see that the College of Arts and Sciences was looking for an adjunct instructor to teach English Composition and Literature. I read the job description with interest, and then asked the Lord if this is what He wanted me to do -- to apply to this job. I felt like He said it was okay to apply, so I did.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

Today, I received an email asking for my transcripts. I know that this is part of the evaluation process, but still, I think it is a good indicator of movement. I don't know if this is the solution the Lord has in mind for me, but I am hopeful and optimistic that perhaps this is what He intends to do in my life, in the short-run. I mean, I am content to teach at GCU, but I do need more income, more steady income, and I need benefits. This position, I believe, is salaried so it would be a blessing in more than one way. I am praying for the Lord to consider me for this position, and for favor with the faculty recruiter who will see my materials. I am open to teaching online, and I am open to doing this job now (in the Spring) should the Lord move that quickly. The most important thing for me is to know, to really know that this is His will and not mine. I mean, the last thing I want to do is put myself in a position that taxes me, keeps me from focusing on my studies and my dissertation. I love Regent University, and I would love to teach there. Only the Lord knows if this is His will for my life.

Moving Forward in His Will

The past couple days have been really interesting for me. I have been asking for the Lord's will, and I have been praying for confirmation of it. I don't know what will be, but I do know that His will is perfect and that it factors in all my needs. I don't want to be too excited about this potential job, but then again, I want to remain faithful to believe that the Lord is able to do this for me. He can open this door, and He can make this happen. Selah!

It seems like the Lord has honored my prayer. I am feeling more confirmed in His will, and I am feeling more directed than ever before. I don't have all the details, but I do have confidence that what I know, really know, is His will, His plan for my life.

Some of what I know for sure is this:
  • I am to stay put in Phoenix for another year. I had hoped to move in 2015 and 2016, but in truth, I have always known that my d-day for moving would be 2017. 2017 is the year that coincides with my graduation from Regent and with my son's graduation from ACU. It makes sense, it is reasonable, and it does factor in a number of considerations (like my parents care).
  • I am to stay fixed on this path, and my career progression will be to move from adjunct to instructor to assistant professor. Furthermore, I am to stay put in English because this is where the Lord wants me to focus my attention and energy in teaching writing and argumentation.
  • I am to use my communication study for ministry only. This has always been the case, and I am now understanding how the Lord intends to use me in this way. It is good, and I am excited for this special work.
  • I am to teach face-to-face whenever possible because this forces me to get comfortable speaking in public, builds my presentation skill, and gives me ample opportunity to mentor and encourage students (using my gift of exhortation).
  • I am to move to the Southeast USA. I have always known this would be the case, but I have struggled to figure out where I would live. I have come to terms with the fact that I might live here temporarily and not permanently (new development), which does clarify some of the mystery and inconsistencies I have observed.
  • I am to continue my education past Regent. I have waffled between options, looked a number of programs, but now believe that my next "task" will be to study rhetoric and to use what I learn about classical rhetoric for ministry. Again, my graduate studies outside of my master's program appear to only be for ministry training. My Masters of Art degree was practical and provided the transition I needed into teaching full-time. Selah!
  • I am to remain as caregiver for my parents. This has been the most difficult thing for me, but now I see it once again. The Lord has asked me to care for my parents. Although my brothers do care, they are not present nor active in that care (on a daily basis). I am here, and that means that I am the one who has the burden to care for them.
  • I am to remain wholly devoted and dependent on the Lord. I am not to use my career for profit, and in fact, the Lord has made it impossible for me to profit from my work. I will make a moderate income, live modestly, and do good practical work. Any provision that is above what I make is to be used for ministry. 
  • Lastly, I am to be content in this way. This is the Lord's way for me, and while I struggle at times because it seems like my finances are out of whack and my needs are high, the truth remains that the Lord has me well-covered. He knows my needs, and He is providing for me as He determines each step in the process of His marvelous way. I am resting now. I am content. I am okay with this plan. Selah!
Now, I have to wait. I am waiting for the following items to come to me. I pray they will come soon, but I know that His timing is perfect.
  • A full-time job teaching English online while I complete my studies at Regent and work through a second graduate program in Rhetoric.
  • The income I need to be solvent this coming year. I need some influx of cash soon and I need to be fully funded going into summer 2016.
  • The skill and experience necessary to be considered for full-time employment down the road as Assistant Professor (tenure) at some college or university.
  • The ability to prepare for a move in 2017 and the direction needed so that I can be confident in His choice of city and school.
  • Completion of my PhD and acceptance of my application materials to Auburn University (if that is the Lord's will) for a fall 2017 start.
The funny thing is that I am actually excited about starting a second doctoral program. Weird, I know! I really do love school, and I love studying and learning new things. I also love achievement, and school is the one thing that fits my need to achieve. I don't necessary look at school as a means to an end, but rather, I look at it as a way for me to have consistent study time, systematic and progressive study time. I like that there are benchmarks and points for achievement along the way, and that the end brings a certificate (a diploma). I also like that I can research at this level, and I can produce good work, good practical work. I like that I can use what I am learning in practical ways. In truth, I just love being a student, and I look forward to the next program just as much as I looked forward to this one. God is good, so very good to me! Selah!

Today the Lord has shown me the way to go. Today I am resting and trusting in His provision for my life. Today I am believing that He can do this -- He can open this door -- and He can bring me the perfect fit I need for my life. I believe that this fit will comfort me, care for me, and create provision that will enable me to worry less and stress less. Moreover, it will help me to focus more on my next steps (graduating from Regent). What is more...I believe that the Lord has made this way possible and that for now this is what I am to do: work at GCU for another year and then move to attend school elsewhere.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for providing such a good way for me to go. Thank you for caring for me enough to keep me from other paths that would not be in my best interest. Thank you for opening doors and closing them so that I wouldn't be distracted, pulled from your path, or put on a by-way that would cause me to miss out on your perfect will for my life. Furthermore, thank you for helping me to be patient, to wait, and to watch as you performed this miracle. Thank you for showing me how you desire me to go, how you intend for me to go, and how you prepare and train me to go. I am excited to be doing your work, and I am eager to begin whatever I need to begin so that I can move forward in your will, your work, and your way. Selah! I ask now that you would open this door of blessing, that you would pour out your provision to me, and that you would make it possible for me to do this work, this good practical work for your name, your honor, and your praise! I thank you, Father God, and I ask all this now in the matchless and merciful Name of Jesus, Amen!

No comments: