February 9, 2016

Resting in Him

It is Tuesday, and I feel rested. Oh, I am so thankful for waking up (literally), and for feeling refreshed and for feeling so well. It has been such a long hard road to get to this place, and today well, I just feel so good. I am not sure why really. Other than to say that I am at that point in the process where I have relinquished all my control. I've done what I thought best, prayed over the rest, and now I am letting the outcome be as He directs. There is nothing more that I can do other than to keep faith and place my full and complete trust in His abilities to see me through. He is good, so very, very good to me. Selah!

Today is my day off, yet I have a lot of work to do to finish my study/prep for my test on Thursday. I need to write three remaining essay answers (6 hour limit), and then relax some so that I am not worn out come exam day. I have to write an essay on my research study, family/crisis communication, and leadership theory/org communication. I would say that of these three remaining areas of research, I am strongest on my research area and family communication. My weakest area will be leadership, but only because I already know that that question is an applied one and not theoretical. However, the Lord has me well covered, so I stand ready to write whatever He impresses upon me to write. I am not sure if I am doing these answers correctly, but I am going to follow His lead. Truthfully, and I know I have said this before, but at this point in time, there is not much more I can do. I have to trust Him that the past 16 weeks have been practical, applied, and that the outcome is secured. I rest in His sufficiency and in His abilities this good, good day. Selah!

Making Progress and Plans

As I mentioned above, I woke up this morning feeling very refreshed. I don't know why, I mean, I didn't go to bed until 12 a.m., and even then, I don't think I rested well. I tossed and turned, and my back ached throughout the night, yet I found myself waking up at 7 this morning feeling, well, refreshed. God is good. He is so very good.

I am thinking it is because my life has suddenly become narrowly focused, and I feel very settled in this path. I cannot put my finger on it, but there is part of me that thinks, "hmmm....perhaps I am right where God wants me to be?" I mean, I am in a good place right now. I have a job, several in fact, and I have benefits. I have a hefty refund coming my way, and while it is not the "perfect" solution to all my problems and needs, it is a nice way to fill some of the shortfall I have had for a while now. I feel well, and I am about to do something impossible without feeling fear or insecurity about the outcome. Now, that is weird in and of itself. I feel calm and in control, and I am experiencing this sense of peace right now. It is peace that says to me, "You are doing what I want, and I am pleased with you." Thank you, Lord, for helping me to do your work, and to rest in your abilities and not my own. Selah!

I was praying about the job front this morning, and I had this very sneaky feeling that the position at GCU might just be His provision for me. I cannot really say that this is so, but I started to think about it this way. I have asked the Lord to provide a full-time job for me that is "like" the one I have at GCU. I have asked the Lord to provide a job that has an environment "like" GCU. I have said over and over again that I "prefer" to teach at GCU. I really love this school. I love everything about it. I love the students, the campus, the faculty, and all the services, etc. Sure, it is not a perfect place -- they are building like crazy, and they have some infrastructure challenges still -- but overall, I think they are making strides and doing something phenomenal in the valley. Okay, so I had hoped to move east soon. I still want to do that, and I still believe it is the Lord's will for me. I didn't want to take a job here at this school and then leave it within a year's time. I felt that would be dishonorable so I asked the Lord for something else, a different opportunity so that I wouldn't have to do that to the department. I mean, when they hire you, they typically expect you to stay put. I understand this, and I wanted to be honest with them and say "Hey, I may not make this my long-term career." If the Lord chose to keep me in Phoenix, which I do not believe is His will, then I would heartily pursue this position. I still believe His desire is to move me elsewhere long-term.

It is just that I started to consider this position. I mean, GCU NEVER hires full-time faculty. They hire lots of adjuncts so I thought it was odd that the department I am in would be looking to bring someone on. When I heard about the posting, I thought, "Hmm. This is really odd." I applied after praying about it, and then I had doubts as to if this position is the Lord's provision for me. I haven't heard anything about it. I checked the status and apparently my application is awaiting disposition from the recruiter. There is nothing I can do about it other than wait. My Dean has the responsibility for hiring me, and he should be aware of my abilities. I have been at GCU for three years now, and I have very high satisfaction scores from faculty services and from students. We will see if this is the position God has for me. Until then, I will wait for His provision, and if it is here in Phoenix, I have to accept it as His will. If it is elsewhere, then I will watch and remain alert to see what God intends to do as He prepares a place for me. One thing is certain, He is moving ahead of me. I can sense that He is moving, and the weird thing is that His moving is different now.  I mean, in the past it seemed that He moved in such a way that my whole life "hiccuped" as He did it. By that I simply mean that my life would take a "hit" of some sort, and I would feel the jolt as He shifted gears and moved me from point A to point B. Now, though, that movement is far less intense. The shifting is smooth, and I barely feel the changes He makes. Perhaps it is because I am getting used to His way of doing things or perhaps it is because we are no longer making massive changes, and instead, we are making small adjustments. I don't know. I just know that what I sense and what I feel is "calm" and the waters appear "smooth." I am thankful, mind you, that we are no longer enduring the rough seas like before. I am thankful that for a time the sailing is smooth, pleasant, and relaxing. I am so thankful for His grace and mercy. I feel really good today, and I feel as though the path I am on is settled.

Does this mean He intends to keep me where I am at for a time? Perhaps, He does. It is not a horrible outcome, really when you think about it. I have some serious needs, and those needs will be addressed in time. The truth is this -- while I would love to be married again -- I would also like to have my financial life in order before that takes place. I know it seems odd to say it that way, but I guess it is because of my age, and the fact that I am thinking about financial security and a retirement that is not in poverty. I have been thinking about this for a while, and my gut tells me that it is wise to get my house in order. By this, I just mean, that I would like to have my debts paid off. I would like to purchase a home so I have low monthly payments and costs, and I would like to live in a place that affords a modest lifestyle. To accomplish this outcome, should that be the Lord's will, means that I can approach it in one of two ways: the slim way or the full way. Let me explain...

Fully Invested

Right now, my debt load is high. I have credit cards that need to be paid off. I have student loans that will come due soon, and those will need to be paid as well. Outside of my credit cards and my car loan, I have no other debt. My prayer has been to pay my cards off this spring (by June), and then either keep my car or trade it in on a newer model. My goal has been to build my credit so that I could one day purchase my own home. I am content to rent, but I would much prefer to have a place of my own long-term. My plan since I found myself single was to build my credit, establish myself in a professional career, complete my education, and plan for my retirement. This has been the driving motivator, along with His work and will, since 2010. Now here I am in 2016 and what has been accomplished has been most everything on my list. I am in a good place credit-wise, I have a good career as an educator, I am almost finished with my education, and while I haven't make progress on retirement planning, I am beginning those steps toward that end. My motus operandi has been to complete these steps, to process through them, and regardless of the time involved, to stay fixed and focused on accomplishing my goal of creating prosperity and success in my life.

I am driven. I am achievement-oriented, and I have goals, plans, and desires that I want to see accomplished in my life. I have fully surrendered my plans to His, and I have fully embraced the life He has for me. Thus, I have to believe that what I desire in financial prosperity is the same thing that He desires for me. I have never felt as if I wanted something different, rather there have been times when I felt like what He wanted to provide to me wasn't good enough or "enough" to satisfy my needs. I was wrong, of course, and throughout the past six years I have come to learn that what He provides is ALWAYS ENOUGH.

So, as I consider this job as a possible provision for my life, I think to myself that perhaps it is what the Lord intends to use to help move me closer toward His goal for me. I believe my life is to be about His work. I believe my life is to be fixed on His will for me and my family. Yet, I also know that practically-speaking He intends to use teaching to provide steady income for me. I have always said that I would "go" and do whatever work He provided, and for the most part, I have done it. I worked at Macys, UOPX, CVS, Nursewise, and now GCU -- all in order to facilitate His will for my life. I am settled on teaching, finally agreeing to it, and now I am looking for that full-time position to take me from adjunct instructor to instructor (possibly) to Assistant Professor. God has done this for me. He has made this way possible. Therefore, I must believe that He will do it, He will provide, He will continue to move me closer and closer toward this outcome.

It does leave some questions to be answered, of course. I mean, staying here in Phoenix solves two central needs: caring for my parents and seeing that my son gets what he needs to be settled in his own life. It doesn't, however, take me closer to the man I love. It doesn't seem to facilitate that end at this time. This bothers me, and makes me scratch my head and wonder how the Lord intends to resolve that issue. I mean, I do feel confident that my relationship is His will. I do believe we are meant to be together, to do ministry together, and to be together (in a permanent) way. But how? When, Lord?

I have realized that life is complicated and messy. My life is complicated as is his, and thus, the Lord must work out the details in each of our lives so that we can eventually be together. Until that happens, we patiently wait. I believe this is so, and I think he agrees, though I do wonder how long he is willing to wait for me. I understand if he chooses otherwise, and I have always said that I would not hold onto anyone who didn't want to be with me. I did that for too long, and I won't do that to anyone ever again. No, I believe we are to be together, but the Lord knows His timing, and of course, His will is perfect. Thus, I must believe that if the Lord chooses to keep me here, to provide this position to me, then well, this is His will for this season in my life. I must accept it, and I must let it come to pass. Selah!

Dear Lord,

I cannot thank you enough for your provision of peace in every area of my life. I feel peace as it streams through my soul, and it is radiating outward into all aspects of my life today. Thank you for bringing your peace to me, and thank you for helping me to accomplish so much work in such a short amount of time. I ask now that you would care for this day, guard it, and keep me focused on the tasks at hand. Show me your plans, Lord, so that I may know where to go and what to do. I trust you, and I am relying on your provision this good day. I love you, Lord, and I rest in you alone. You are God, and you have me so well covered this good, good day! Amen, so be it, thy will be done. Selah!


Anonymous said...

Carol, I want to congratulate you on all that you've accomplished. I feel as if I know a lot about your personality from reading your blog over the years. I say that so that I can say this: you have succeeded in all that you've put your hand to since separating from your husband. You are wise, you are intelligent, and most importantly, you seek God's will first. Like all of us, fears cause you to doubt at times, but you always seek God's will. This is why you have been successful. I love reading your blog and watching you hash out 'the next move'. I get to see you struggle with your natural tendencies and then let go little by little to allow God to nudge you where He wants you. Even in the missteps you have learned, and because of that, I have been encouraged in my very similar walk.

I can see your past few years from a perspective removed from all of the emotion, so it's a bit easier for me to see the bigger picture in some respects. I recall how scared and timid you were with every move in the beginning. I remember *my* feet aching as I read your entries when you were working at Macy's and had to work those long shifts. Still, you kept seeking God and moving forward as He led.

Thank you so much for sharing all of this online so that I could read. Little did I know when I began reading your blog that I would walk a near identical path to yours. [It still amazes me how eerily similar our stories (throughout married life) are, down to our boys.] I cannot wait to see what God rolls out before you over the next few years.

I want to say, too, something that I know you know: if your love decides to move on, God already knows this and has the perfect plan for *you*. I don't recall you ever writing of how your love feels about his part in you two coming together; I've only read of your struggles and desire to try to make it work out so that you two can meet. Is he willing to offer to pay for you two meeting? Half of the cost? Earn extra money so that you can meet? God calls men to pursue women, even if they have a ministry and a busy life. Don't be offended by these direct words, please. They are said out of a place of sisterly love. I just want to remind you to step back and let things happen in this area, too. A man is to love his wife as Christ loves the church. That means he sacrifices himself, and makes sacrifices, for her.

Few women are able (or willing?) to let go and learn to fully trust God. Lilias Trotter comes to mind now as I type this. (I would love to see the new movie which is supposed to show one-day-only this week.) She gave up everything --even fame --for the Lord. Carol, keep God number one, just as you have all along, and you will have no regrets in any area of life. I know that you know these things, and I know that you will ruminate over them until you have them all sorted out in your mind. I just want to be a reminder that God has brought you so far, and He will safely lead you home. :-) Blessings!

Carol Hepburn said...

I am always amazed how God uses people to speak words into and over my life. Today I am feeling so spent, just road-weary as I near my final destination. I am so in need of rest, and your words to me today, lifted my spirit, and gave me such great comfort. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me today. I definitely needed it! May the Lord bless you in your journey, and may He continue to use you in mighty ways to strengthen and encourage the people He places in your path this good, good day!