January 28, 2016

Sensing Movement and What May be Next

It is Thursday, and I am at home resting. Yes, I am thanking the Lord for this blessed day. It has been a challenge for me lately, just to keep all my little balls up in the air and to do everything that "needs doing." I am struggling some today, just because I am faced with some choices that have recently come my way. As weird as it may seem, I am feeling uncertain about a couple possible "open doors." You know the saying that goes,

When God closes a door, He will open another.

Well, lately it seems that the Lord is opening doors for me. At the least, I think so. Let me explain...

Late last week, I received an email from Ohio Christian University asking me to complete their next step in the hiring process. I started Faculty Orientation on Monday, and I have until February 5th to complete it. After that point, I will assigned to a class with a mentor, and I will be reviewed as to my ability to facilitate online courses. I am happy to have this teaching opportunity, but now that I have been immersed in the online experience, I see how much work is involved in facilitating courses. I realize that the class structure is very specific to this school, and while I am thankful for this opportunity, I wonder if it really is a good thing for me (time-wise). Still, I believe God opened this door for me, and for that, I am truly grateful.

Yesterday, while on my way to my last class of the day, I received an email from Regent University asking me to interview for an online adjunct position. I had applied back in December, and it has taken some time for my materials to get to this point. I am ecstatic to think I might get to teach at my alma mater, and the opportunity clearly seems to be of the Lord's doing.

Then, earlier today, I received an email from my department mentor asking if I would be interested in applying for a full-time contract position at GCU. This is a job that hasn't been posted yet, but apparently it is for fall 2016. I would love to teach at GCU, but it seems odd that the Lord would be putting on my heart the desire to "go" and then provide a reason to "stay" put.  I am not sure what to do, or whether this position is of His choosing or not. It is very odd that they would contact me about it since they rarely have department openings in English. Still, the thought is warming to me -- I really do like to teach at this school, and I do enjoy the English department.

I guess the problem is that I feel so certain that God is calling me to move. I mean, I have felt this way for almost 10 years, and now it seems like He is asking me to stay for a while longer. There are many good reasons to stay put. I mean, my parents need me and my son has one more year of school. I can see positives to working full-time, after all, this is what I have been saying I wanted. Now, the Lord seems to be opening this door. Is He? Or is it just circumstance? I don't know, I just don't know.

Moving or Staying Put?

I have gotten used to the idea of moving, and I have come to look forward to the day when the Lord would choose to move me to another place. I have been hoping that place would be in the East, somewhere south or mid-central (not East coast), where I could experience a four-seasons climate. I also would like to live some place more moderately priced, where I could stay for the rest of my life. I don't want to up and move again, and the idea of moving several places has never really sat well with me. Now, I have to think about staying put, and well, I am not sure I am really happy about that at all.

I have said that I would go wherever He sent me, and I have always said that if He wanted me to stay here in Phoenix, well, I would agree to it. I have been here 20 years, and while the heat gets to me often, the truth is that it is not a bad place to live. Really, it is not a bad place. There are other places I would rather live, especially in the Midwest. I mean, I have a strong desire to live on a farm (a small farm), and to live in an older farm house. I am not a farm girl, per se, but I am open to it. I know that I need a job, and in fact the Lord has said to me very clearly, "Carol, you cannot move until you have a full-time job." He is right, of course. I mean, I cannot go anywhere without the resources to move. I need to take care of some business here before I could be in any position to move.

I was thinking about this very thing today. How for me to move anywhere, I would want to have my credit cards paid off, my student loan debt reduced, and some money in the bank. After all, if I wanted to purchase a home, my financial picture needs to look bright. I need a full-time job to cover me, and I need savings set aside (a down payment and some cash for expenses). Furthermore, if I did move someplace where there was snow, let's say, I would probably want to trade in my car for a small SUV. Other than these things, I think I could easily move to another state so long as I had a job there.

Lately, I have been feeling a pull toward the Midwest. I know, weird as it seems, the Lord seems to be putting Ohio on my heart. It is for ministry, not for teaching. It is where He would like me to do ministry, to build a ministry organization, and to minister to the "nones" that live there. It sounds weird, but I have this great sense of peace about going to Ohio. I know it snows there. I know practically no one there. I would be going to a place by myself where the Lord intended to start a ministry organization. Seems weird. Seems implausible. It sounds just like something He would do.

But my heart is tied to Phoenix and to Alabama, and how does Ohio fit into the mix. I don't know. My parents and son are here. My love lives in the deep south. Ohio isn't on anyone else's radar. What does this mean? Is the feeling, the sense of peace I have whenever I think about it, about moving there, wrong? I don't know.

I know that I need to complete my studies at Regent, and I know that I have wanted a full-time position for a long while. I mean, adjunct is great, but I cannot keep living on this low of pay. Still, I have to write a dissertation, so I thought that the full-time job would best come at the end of the process, in May of 2017, and not fall 2016. Yet, the Lord has been saying to me to consider working full-time this fall, so I have had in the back of my mind this idea that perhaps it would be August 2016 when He would start me some place as an Assistant Professor. I just didn't believe it would be in Phoenix. Now, granted, there is no guarantee on this job. In fact, I don't even have the spot on requirements so the job is a long shot. Still, it seems weird that the opportunity was advanced to me right now, right as I am starting to plan for next year. What are you up to Lord?

What I Want and What He Wants

My heart's desire is to be conformed to His image and likeness (character). My heart's desire is to do the work He has for me to do (to be of the same mind). My heart's desire is to always work unto Him, to bring Him glory and praise. Thus, the work I do is all about Him. All about Him. Now, I think that perhaps what I want is different. Perhaps what I want is to move to the dream-place of my childhood, to live on a farm in the Midwest. Why? Well, because that is what I remember most from my childhood visits to Indiana and Ohio. I remember what I thought life would be like growing up on a farm. I wanted that childhood, and while my own wasn't bad, it wasn't that dream of a place in the country, the white farmhouse with the red barn.

Now I think that perhaps the Lord intends to send me someplace similar, where I will finally have that dream, that desire. Yet, then I think how practical is it to think this way. I mean, I need to work, and I need a good job. I am blessed that today I paid my first premium for insurance. I am now covered with benefits thanks to Obamacare. I am not happy about the plan, per se, but I am covered, and Lord willing, I won't need to use it much. My prayer is to get real insurance through my employer some day, but until I do that, well I am at the least, safe should the unforeseen happen.

So in all, the Lord has opened a number of doors for me this January 2016. First off, I have extra work on the horizon in the form of online teaching. Second, there is a possibility of a full-time position locally. Third, I have benefits, praise be to God, and that means I can get to the dentist again for regular cleanings. Last, I should begin to pay down my credit cards, and start to make a dent in my financial portfolio soon. In short, it appears that whether or not this position comes to pass at GCU, the Lord is moving in my life, and He is preparing the way for me to go...to wherever He plans to settle me. I am trusting Him, and I am resting in His provision. He is good, so very good to me. Selah!

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