February 8, 2016

Post Burn

Today is Monday, February 8, so that means that I have approximately 3 more days until I go over to Arizona Christian University to start the first of two days of testing. I am feeling confident that I will do well, even though I am so mind-weary at the present. My prayer, of course, is that I will be ready to tackle whatever questions my professors send to me. I have studied, I have reviewed, and I have practiced answering essay questions within the time limit given. So far, I have been able to write four essay's (on my core subjects) with 10-20 minutes to spare. My prayer is that I will be able to do the same thing come Thursday and Friday of this week. My head is about to explode, and I am feeling as though I really don't know my subject well enough to do an essay justice. But, then I think, "Oh well!" I mean, at this point, what can I do? I can only continue to write and review for the next two days (only review on Wednesday), and let the rest go. Furthermore, I am even stating that if I have to retest any sections, so be it. I just want this to be over. I am so ready to move on.

One of my cohort is finishing her dissertation already. She took her exams in the fall, and she plans to graduate in May. I cannot believe that she is almost finish, but then again, she did work very hard to complete everything in the shortest time possible. I plan to finish mine in December, but that doesn't mean that I will graduate. I hope to write my dissertation proposal in March and April, and then give a defense of it in May or very early June. Then, Lord willing, I will write through the summer, and defend it sometime in October or November so that I can "graduate" in December. This is my plan, anyway, and of course, it is only through His effort, guidance and grace that I can even hope to accomplish it.

I am feeling the pinch today of time slipping away from me. The funny thing is that I am not nervous at all. I mean, last week, I was so undone, so tense and stressed. This week, I am like, "Oh, okay, so now we have to go through the fire...I will put on my fire suit and walk on!" I mean, God has given me this super sense of peace. It is not that I feel absolutely certain I will pass or fail, but rather it is like I feel I will do well, but that the process that remains will be challenging for me. I know what lays ahead is difficult. It is just that I am not panicked or fear-stricken. I am like "Okay, Lord, let's do this and get it over." It was kind of like when I confronted my ex-husband to agree to the divorce. I didn't want to do it, but then again, I did. It needed to be done, and I knew it. I had to pull up my bootstraps and go and do the "deed." The longer I avoided it, the harder it was to focus, to move past it, so in the end, I prayed, and I took a very deep breath, and I just "did it." The Lord gave me His grace, and well, everything went well. This is how I feel now. I don't want to spend two days writing exam answers from memory. I don't want to sit in a chair in a lonely little room with no one to keep me company for 16 hours, but I must do it. I wish I could have my notes, my books, or access to the computer, but I cannot. I have to do this by memory, and my memory is just not as sharp as it used to be. Lord willing, He will stand in the gap, stretch between my deficiencies, and in the end, I will hear His words to me, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." My prayer is that come February 26th, I will hear similar words from my professors when they say to me, "Congratulations, Carol, you passed!" Praise be to God, I do hope I hear those words!

My hope and my prayer is that today and tomorrow are used to finish up my studies and to bring this matter to a close. I am ready. I am as ready as I can be. Of course, my issue is that I cannot remember all the details of the theories I chose nor can I recall their exact order, but I am going to do my best. I feel most comfortable writing about history and theology of communication, which I consider to be my two strongest subject areas. My weakest is theory, though that is just because the nature of the assignment is to discuss 14 theories as they fit into their respective traditions. I haven't tried to write on Family, Crisis, Leadership, Organizational and Church communication yet, but hopefully, I will do okay when the time comes to write about these subject areas.

As I consider my day today, I look up. I realize with all certainty, that the thing I am about to do is not for me, for my credit, or for my educational attainment. It is for His work. Everything I have done thus far has been for one purpose and that is to be prepared, trained, and educated (yes, educated) to do His work. God called me to Regent University rather than another school to study Communication. It was His expressed will for me, and I didn't have a clue why He would choose this path over what I thought was the logical one, English. But, the Lord pressed into me the idea that Communication would serve His work, so I obeyed, took the plunge, and applied to a program that I had no knowledge of or familiarity with at all. I can remember my family saying, "why Communication?" My brother is a communications major. My niece is a communications professor. I have been in marketing communications, but not speech, public relationships or mass media. I was a Humanities and English student in my earlier schools, and I worked in ministry and in design as an artist in my professional career. It made no sense, yet this is what I believe God wanted me to do. I followed His leading, and here I am today, ready to sit these comprehensive exams and advance to candidacy. This path has been His choice all along, and therefore, it is up to Him to see me through to its completion. The work I do in studying, in preparing, and yes, in sitting the exams is all predicated on this one thing -- it is for this purpose that I have been created, called, and anointed. I am to go and do His work, and communications is central to it. Thus, when I think about the days ahead, I remember that it is for this very thing that my life has been turned upside down, my path altered, and my future determined. I go because He calls me to go. I do the work because He has said to me to do it. I cannot go and do without His grace, so I take no credit in this process, this outcome. It is all of Him, and as such, it is all of His grace. God is good, and He has a great plan for my life. And, that plan includes my graduation from Regent University. I know this, I am sure of it.

Today then is a good, good day. I will go and teach my students how to begin a causal analysis, and I will rest today. I will return home, and I will sit down and write another essay tonight. If possible, I will try to write two essays, Lord willing. This gives me the freedom to review tomorrow, write my final two essays, and then rest. I will review my notes, study what I can, and then let it go because Wednesday is simply a day when I will need my rest. I will need to rest well, and wake up refreshed and ready to go come Thursday morning. My prayer, of course, is that I will miraculously receive His grace so I can do this thing. God knows me, my end, and what I can and cannot do. I release all my work now into His marvelous hand, and I wait for Him to "show up" and do this thing. Yes, Lord, let's do this THING.

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