March 30, 2016

Moving On with GUSTO!

It is a good Wednesday, and as I sit here at my home computer, I marvel at the fact that there are only four more weeks of school left. I am ready for summer break, so ready, but part of me feels the crunch of the time, the sadness at seeing this semester end. I have enjoyed teaching at GCU, and I feel that my last semester here has been kind of a let down for me. I am hopeful that I will receive a full-time offer soon, so for all intents and purposes, this could be my "last" semester teaching locally. Of course, only the Lord knows what will be, so there is always the chance that I will be back at GCU and at ACU for one more go-round come fall. My prayer, my hope, and my desire is to move on. I am ready to move on. I am ready to start living my life as a full-time faculty member and not as an adjunct/graduate student any more. I need the security of full-time, but also, I simply want to start living "de facto" as a teacher. Let me explain...

I think most graduate students understand my feelings on the matter. I mean, for many of us, we are in school to earn a degree that will provide a career path to follow. Take my nursing students, for example. They are in school to become RN's. Somewhere in between their sophomore and junior year in college, they will sit the NCLEX-RN exam, and if they pass, they will be awarded that coveted status of being a credentialed and licensed nurse. At this point, they could start working if they want to do so, but for those students in the BSN program, they will wait until they graduate after four years to enter the workforce. So for these students, moving on means not only passing their state exam, but also completing all the coursework required for a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing. Once they pass, they graduate, they will seek full-time employment as a nurse. The long hard path and wait will be over, and they will begin their career. No more part-time jobs. No more work as NA's or other health care assistants. They will be licensed and ready to take on their career choice.

In my case, it is very similar. I have been working as an adjunct instructor for three years. I am thankful for the opportunity to teach part-time in this way. It has made it possible for me to graduate at Regent with a 4.0 grade point average. Plus, I have had the time needed to complete all my papers, and even (hopeful) get one published or presented at a conference. Yes, the part-time status has served me well, but now that I am ready to graduate, I am ready to leave part-time work behind. Furthermore, part-time work is not sufficient for me to live on, so while it has been temporarily acceptable, it is not something I can do long-term. No, I need to move on into my career, and the sooner I can do that, the better it will be for me and for my family.

I have been looking for full-time work now for two years. I have applied for numerous positions, all of which would have been good starter places for me. Nothing has materialized, which simply says to me that 1) the job wasn't right or 2) the timing wasn't right. In some cases, it was both issues. The Lord has this worked out, so when He is ready to open that door, the door will open. Until then, I have had to learn patience. I have had to accept the limitations of my skill and ability and rest. I have had to wait for His leading, His guidance, and His provision. It has been hard at times, so very hard, but over the past couple years, I have learned to live within these boundaries. I have learned to accept the size of this box (as my son likes to say). Now, though, I am ready to expand my box, to add on to it, to grow and to change as the Lord leads me. I am ready to go, yet I must wait for His provision, His timing, His perfect solution to my needs.

When will the door open for me? As of right now, I would like to receive a job offer in April or May. This would be perfect timing and it would allow me to graciously exit out of my contracts for fall. However, should the job delay, then I would be hard pressed because I don't want to let these two schools down at the last minute. I know they would understand, but still, they have been gracious to me, so I want to be gracious to them. I want to give proper notice so they can find replacement faculty in time for the new school year.

The Lord knows me well, and He knows my heart. He knows that while I am still stinging from what happened a couple weeks ago when I was criticized regarding my grading, I am still thankful and grateful for the place I have at my schools. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn, to grow, and to develop my skill as a teacher. I am thankful to be where I am, so I want to finish strong. I want to leave on a high note. I want to pursue what the Lord has for me with a clear head, an open mind, and a willingness to go forth with GUSTO! I don't want to slink away or walk away with my head held down in shame. No, I want to go out with a bang! I want to leave feeling that these past three years were the best years of my life!! May it be so, may it be so!!

As I look forward to today, my classes and such, I am reminded that I need to finish strong in my teaching as well as with my own preparation and school work. I need to complete a chapter 1 rewrite this week/weekend, and I need to plan out my next steps for my dissertation. I need to get my focus together so I can move on. I can accomplish this last and final hurdle in this long-road through academia. I know His plans are good, so I look forward, not with intimidation or trepidation, but with faith, with hope, and with optimism. I look up, I look away, and I remember that He is always looking out for me! He is good, so very good to me!

Choosing to Listen and to Obey

The Lord commands and we are called to give Him heed, to listen and then to obey. If we do not, we miss out on hearing His voice, understanding His directions, and even receiving blessing from His hand. So often we become mired down in the details of our day that we forget to listen to His voice, we forget that He is ready to help us, to direct us, and to guide us through difficult passages along the way. I do this often. I forget to listen. Mostly, though I listen, but I choose not to obey.

Obedience is spoken about through the Word of God. We are called to obey His commands. Our Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples (and us by extension) that it is a good thing to obey the commands of the Lord. It is a good thing to listen and to heed His wisdom and His advice for our lives. Yet, obedience is such an old fashioned thing. It seems out of vogue these days. In truth, we see people walk in disobedience every day. Just this weekend, I read on the news how an Easter event was cancelled prematurely because parents didn't follow the rules, and instead, they cheated. The event promoters cancelled the event rather than allow these parents to win illicitly. We see people steal, disobey traffic laws, and even cheat on their employers as well as the government. We see lawlessness all around us, so for people of God, it is vitally important that we uphold the very words of God, and listen to them and obey them. It is for our own good, but it also creates a clear line of demarcation between those that love God and those that do not. Let us be people who obey the word of the Lord always! Selah!

I want to obey the Lord this good day. I want to take heed of His wisdom, His counsel, and His advice so I can enjoy the fruit and the blessing of living in communion with Him. I want to experience His goodness in every area of my life, and to do that, I must be 100% in faithful obedience to His commands and to His word in my life. I am ready, Lord. I want this, so let's do this thing...

Some Things to Consider Today

So here I sit, and I am thinking about this good, good day. It is Wednesday after all, mid week, hump day, and I have the sneaking impression that something wonderful is about to happen to me. Yes, I have this sense that everything is going to come up roses for me this good, good day. I am not sure why, but all of a sudden, I feel GREAT! I feel as though I am about to receive some precious honor, some good thing, some bit of news that will change my life in innumerable ways.

Perhaps it will be a request to interview. Perhaps it will be confirmation on my paper submission (to a national conference). Or perhaps it will be some tangible response to my recent and bold step of faith. I just don't know, but I feel as though the Lord has said to me, "Here you go, my girl! Enjoy this blessing and this favor! You have done well!" I pray that it is so, I do pray that it is so!

There are many things I am contemplating right now, but mostly, I am enjoying the blessing of my life. My days are routine and somewhat boring, but that is okay. I love my life. I love my schedule -- Tuesdays and Thursdays off -- with teaching days in between. I love being a teacher, I love going to campus, and I love the whole "teaching business." I cannot think of anything I want to do more than to do this job. I cannot imagine doing anything different for the rest of my days. I do want a good fit for my next position. I want to work on a campus that is just as lovely, just as nice, and just as accommodating as the ones I am on now. I would like to have an office on campus, for certain, just to have a place to meet with students. I would like to also have a solid schedule where I can be off my feet part of the day. Perhaps something where I teach a class, rest for a period, teach and then rest again. Or some combination, thereof, would work. I just need some downtime each day to offset the strain of standing on my feet.

Thankfully, with teaching, I have options. I have so many options. I can teach online (PTL!) or I can teach on campus. Or I can teach both. I am open to any combination that works for me. I am open to teaching at multiple schools -- teaching online at some, on campus at others. Whatever the Lord decides is good enough for me. He knows what is best, what He wants for my life, and what opportunities He has in mind for me. I am open to go and to do whatever He asks of me. He is good, and I trust Him. I trust His goodness this good, good day!

Lastly, as I think about my tomorrows, I realize that where I am today is the compilation of years of previous tomorrows. Yes, I am here today because of choices I made in the past, decisions I made, and steps I took that have all worked together to bring about this very good day. Thankfully, over the past six-nine years, the choices I have made have been washed through the Word of God and have been placed at His feet. I have not made any decisions that were simply my own. I prayed over every decision, contemplated the outcomes, but in the end, I trusted the Lord to show me the way to go. I followed what I believed were His directions, and the result has been a life that is blessed, so very blessed. It hasn't been perfect, per se, by the world's standard I mean, but it has been perfectly blessed by the very hand of God. I am not rich in material wealth. I am not favored with a powerful position in business. I am not a landowner of property. I am not privileged in any way. Yet, I am rich in spiritual blessing, favored by His grace and mercy, provided with abundant life, and privileged as a daughter of the King. I have all things today because of His grace and His mercy. I am good because He is good. I am saved because He saved me. I have a future filled with hope because He is my hope. I have plans for prosperity and abundance, but only because He is my provision and my abundance. I have everything I need today because I have Him -- I have the Lord -- and I need nothing else. He is my all in all, my sufficiency, my portion and my cup! Selah!

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this good day today. Thank you for your provision, your goodness, and your grace to see just how blessed and favored I am. I trust you, I rest in your sufficiency, and I look to your hand this good day for all that is to come. I know that I am right where you want me to be, and praise to God, it is such a good place. Thank you for covering me with your blessed wings, and for providing a good home, a good job, and a good life to me. May my day be blessed, but only as I obey your commands, your voice, and your word to me. May my life be a reflection of your character, your ministry in and through me. May my words be honoring to you, may my heart be one with yours, and may I go and do your work as you lead and guide me this good, good day. I ask this now in the blessed name of Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, Amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

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