January 12, 2016

New Starts...Good News!

It is a chilly morning here in Phoenix. I woke up feeling like the inside of the house was the outside of the house! Yes, the inside temperature was hovering around 71, but the outside temperature was just above freezing. Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do was crawl out from under my down comforter! Sigh!

Today is Tuesday, and yes, I will say it again, I am blessed to be at home. As I got my first cup of coffee this morning, I could not help but thank the Lord for my workday schedule. I am loving having these two days off each week. This morning, I woke up at 7:20, all on my own, without the alarm going off (it was set for 7:45). I got up and started moving without my normal achy and painful look (so says my Mom), and I moved on down to the kitchen with ease. I thought, "It is a good day today, chilly, but good."

As I came back into my room (to prepare for my phone interview in 20 minutes), I thought to myself, "I cannot believe that I am awake, feeling lively, and ready to go so early today." I heard the Lord say to me, "This is because you are well-rested." I thought, "Humm. How so?" You see, I struggle to rest, like physically rest. I work very hard during the semester teaching 3-4 college courses, and with the back-to-back schedule and standing on my feet, well, I barely make it home each day. I know that some instructors teach 5-6 classes a day, and they are OK. Well, perhaps it is my age or perhaps it is my physical limitations for standing, I don't know, but the course load I teach does me in every time. Yet, this semester, it seems lighter, easier in some ways. I think it is because I am teaching three sections of the same class, and the fact, that I know this curriculum really, really well. This is all helping to make my semester seem to flow better. Also, I am not in class (doctoral class) now, and that has helped tremendously. I am studying as if I was in class (every night and on T and TH and the weekends), so there is that extra pressure looming over me, but despite it all, I do seem less tired than I was last semester. God is good, so very good to me.

I began to think about how this has come to pass. You know, how did I get from point A to point B, and how am I able to manage the details of my life right now. I don't have any answer except to say that the Lord is clearly making a way for me, laying out tracks for me to follow. Yes, I believe that today like yesterday is a good day because the Lord has provided a way for me, a clear easy to follow way, and as long as I am following this path, everything seems to be working together for my good. Selah!

I found this quote today as I was thinking about new starts and what that means for my life. Seneca was a Roman philosopher, and I like this quote attributed to him. He allegedly said, "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." I think this is a great quote because it reminds of us of the fact that beginnings and ends are part of the circle of life. Just like the seasons which have definite starts and stops, so does life. We often experience beginnings (new relationships, new school years, new jobs), and though we never care for endings (well, school's out for summer was never a difficult thing to deal with in my view), we often recognized their approach, we see the end coming toward us. Whether we were looking forward to the change of season or the beginning or end of some special event or circumstance, our attitude toward the change itself often determined our behavior and our emotional state. In my view, endings are just as significant as beginnings, but often we appreciate new beginnings more than the closing door of some conclusion. Yet, like in story, endings can bring us that sweet sense of reward, a satisfying conclusion, a summary or wrap up of the preceding chapters narrative. Today, I am pressed to think about new starts, and I am also considering several endings to events, to relationships, and to circumstances in my life. Let me explain...
It is January 12, 2016. For all intents and purposes, this is the beginning of a new year, a new start for me. Yes, we are 12 days into the year, but still, it is brand new. There is so much to look forward to this year, so many new opportunities and blessings to experience. I am excited for what the Lord has in mind for me, for the plans He has for my life, and for my days and ways, and how He intends to use me to reach the lost, to serve others, and to love them in such a way that they see the very hands and feet of Jesus whenever they look at me. I am excited for this course, to see where it will lead, and how I will be changed through the process. God has provided the most amazing experience for me, and I cannot believe that I am so close to finishing one of the most blessed opportunities of my life. Yes, God has provided everything I need to be successful, and as a result, I am sensing that He is closing some doors for me so that other doors may open.

Open Doors and New Opportunities

This morning, I had my interview for an online adjunct position at Ohio Christian University. I think it went well, and hopefully, they will choose to hire me to teach regularly for them. I believe this is the Lord's will for my life as I need to add extra work to help me stretch my budget and make ends meet. The recruiter was super nice, and my prayer now is that she will put my name forward so that I can start sometime after I complete my exams. It would be good timing, for sure, but I am trusting the Lord for His timing since He knows my needs best.

As I think about this extra work and what it could potentially mean for me, I know this for sure: God has this all worked out. I mean, He is the one who is leading me to these types of positions. He is the one who says "apply here, skip this one, forget that one." Yes, the Lord is the One who is guiding me, leading me by the hand and providing extra work for me. I am blessed, but all praise, all honor, and all glory are His alone. I am thankful to Him for caring so deeply for me, for blessing me so abundantly, and for considering my needs in this way. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!

Right now, I cannot think about anything else but this fact: God has a plan for my life, and that plan is coming to pass, and that plan is good. It is so very good. I love Him, I love Him, I love Him. There is no one like Him, and I adore Him. And, I mean, not just because He is blessing me right now, but because He loves me so much, so completely, and with such tender affection and care.

As I look toward my future, I see hope again, possibility, and wonderful new starts. I stand in awe of His mighty hand, of His work, and of His provision for my life. There is nothing I need, nothing I cannot do in His Name, and nothing that is impossible for Him at all. I know that for me to be able to do what He is asking me to do, I must be focused, I must be diligent, and I must be ready, prepared, and trained. I must be willing and agreeable, but mostly, I must be available. I must be available to do His work, when He is ready, and when He needs me to do it. I am ready, Lord, I am so ready! Selah!

New doors are opening and I am excited to consider what may be. I mean, where will I go, where will I settle, and where will I end up. How will I get there? Yes, I am still thinking logistics, but I realize now that the Lord knows me best. He knows me so well, and praise be to God, He knows everything already. There is nothing for me to hide from Him because He has known me before my mother's womb. There is nothing for me to worry about or be concerned over because He already has seen my days, my beginning and my ending. He is writing the story of my life, and it is good, it is so very good.

Today, I consider all that He has done for me. I look around me, and all I see is His handiwork. He has made this way smooth. He has made this way doable, workable, and so wonderfully fulfilling. It is so very good. I am in love with the Lord, with His way, and with His will. I want so much to fulfill my calling, to do this very important and good work, and to find Him pleased, well-pleased with me when He returns. May it be so, Lord, may it be so!

Closing Doors on this Life

The more I see Him move, the more I realize that some of the doors in my life need to close. I cannot move forward without leaving something behind, and for me, that something is my life in Phoenix. I cannot go to where He is sending me if I am not willing to let go of the past, of the hurt, of the memories, and of all those things (people, places, and events) that tie me here. I realized this on Sunday, how I am still tied strongly to Scottsdale Bible Church, and how I am struggling to let go of this church, even though I do love it and enjoy attending there. But, now I see that my memories are so strong, so affectionate toward this place, that I cannot attend anymore because of the pain and the sorrow I experience every time I walk through the door. I have tried to let it go, to let it pass by, but I can't. My heart is there, and there are special memories that are so strong for me. It will always have a place in my heart, but I see now that I must let it go so I can experience a new joy in a new community surrounded by new brothers and sisters in Christ. I have to move on from this place, and I have to let God close that door.

The same thing is true for my life here in Phoenix. Today, I received an email from a service provider. This provider was someone my ex-husband and I used, and so the email was telling me that some products were up for renewal. I have been paying for these products even though they are not used by me. My ex-husband still uses them, so I sent him an email and suggested he transfer the ownership of the account to his name. I need to close these doors, all the doors that at one time were shared by us as a married couple. The Lord has been closing doors for a while now, so I think this was another reminder for me to be prepared. All strings are to be cut, and I am to be set free from the pain, the sorrow, and the memories that are tied to our life together. It is a difficult thing to do, and hard as I try, I am struggling to do it. But this is what must be, and I must move on. I need to let go of the past, and be free to walk forward into the life the Lord has in mind for me.

Lastly, there is the matter of my aging parents and my college-aged son. I love them, don't get me wrong, but I cannot move forward as long as I am content to remain where I am, living with them, and allowing our relationship to be as it is. Mind you, I don't plan on leaving my parents completely, no way. It is just that right now, I am seen as their daughter rather than as an adult woman, and I think it is time to step out on my own again, to go and live on my own, and to experience the freedom that comes from being fully responsible and fully reliant upon the Lord. I want the very best for my parents, of course I do, but I also realize that for me to go, I must let go of the past ties that hold me to this place. My parents will need specialized care in the coming year, and I know that I cannot provide that to them. So whatever the Lord intends to do, I must let go my hand right now and trust that He will care for them. He will provide a solution that will meet their needs and mine, and then this matter will be closed. I will be free to move on and they will be well-cared for in their remaining years of life.

My son, is a different matter entirely. He is ready to move, he has said so, but he still has one more year at our Christian university, and I need him to finish this part of his education. I know he will be okay, and that the Lord will provide accommodation for him. I am also thinking that at age 22, it is time that he experienced life on his own. I have prayed about this several times, so my hope is that the Lord will open a door that will allow him to experience dorm or apartment life for this last year of school. It would be really, really good for him to live with a friend, and he has mentioned it briefly (there are a couple guys at church who might be interested in sharing a place). I would love to see him do this, to be on his own, manage his own life. It would be good for him (LOL!) in more ways than one, for sure.

Lastly, my heart has been in Phoenix now for twenty years. This was the place of my choosing, a place where I thought my life would improve and that my marriage would be solidified. Instead, this place has been hard, difficult, and in the end, was one of the factors in the ending of my marriage. Phoenix has been a bitter place for me to live. I have made the best of it, as best as I could, but overall, my happiest times in life were not found to be here. My heart therefore has rested here, but it never was settled here. Phoenix, it seems, was part of the thorny growth process called life. I learned a lot from my time here, but now I need to go. I need to let this part of my life come to a close, to end, so that I can go and live in a place that will provide a new life for me. I know that we should never tie a place to our happiness, and while I agree with this sentiment in general, I do think that often we find joy in places that not only meet our needs, but provide refreshment for our souls. Remember this truth: Abraham left his family in Ur to go to the promised land of Canaan; the Israelites left Egypt for Canaan as well, going forward on a promise that they would find a land flowing with milk and honey.  They each left their homes and traveled to a new land, in search of the fulfillment of promise. They left unhappy circumstances (the Israelites) and family connections (Abraham) because the Lord called them to go. As the Lord calls, so He equips. When He calls us to leave our home, it is because the new land He is leading us to is filled with great promise, expectancy and reward. I leave this place, Phoenix, because the Lord has called me to go. I leave my family, my memories, and my former life -- all with the hope, the eager excitement and expectation -- that the new life God has for me is very good, indeed.

The Lord has promised such good to me. I feel it in my bones, so to speak, and I can taste it, so sweet, just like milk and honey. My prayer today is for the Lord to make my way straight, smooth, and as easy as possible. May my home-going be sweet, may I find new hope in this brand new land, and may I come to rest, really rest, so that I can begin the blessed work He has in mind for me. He is good, so very good, and He is so very good to me. Selah!

No comments: