March 12, 2016

Sunny Days Ahead

What a blessed morning today! God has provided abundantly, and His mercy is new every day!

Today is a good day, a very good day. It is Saturday, and I am awake and feeling so refreshed. Yes, I slept well (Praise God), and I am feeling as if everything is right with the world (LOL!) The Lord is good to me, so very good to me, and one of His great mercies is when He permits me to sleep well. Oh, how I love to sleep in and to wake up on my own (no alarm clock). I love it when I simply wake up -- without any noise or fuss in the house. The Lord knows how much I need my sleep, and how hard it has been the past several years for me to rest and relax. It seems that I am finally experiencing true rest -- the kind of rest that refreshes the soul -- and that reminds me of all His beauty and blessing. He is good, so very, very good to me! Selah!

It is a beautiful day here in sunny and warm Phoenix. The sun is shining and the temperature is hovering right around 60 degrees this morning. Our high is only forecast to be in the mid-70s, so this truly is a blessed day. Soon it will be hot again, and our daily average will be 100 or more, so to say that today is blessed, I mean it is REALLY BLESSED!

My heart is soaring today, and my mind is clear and in control. I cannot explain it, other than to say, I FEEL GREAT! Yes, I still have some cricks, some aches and pains associated with being older. The hot/cold flashes are my worst experience thus far, but overall, as I am transitioning into this next phase of my life (menopause), my symptoms seem to be mild. I am thankful to the Lord that He has covered me well in this area. I don't seem to be suffering as much as some of my friends are presently, and for that I am grateful. He is good, so very good to me.

Today is a new day, and I am recounting His mercy. Lamentations 3:21-23 says,

Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

As I think about His goodness, I cannot help but remember His faithfulness. I love these verses because they remind me that God is faithful, and that day in and day out, no matter what our earthly experience may be, nothing will ever change Him or His nature. He will always be faithful. Today, tomorrow, and every day henceforth -- God's nature is the same. He is faithful, and His mercies are new every single day. What a glorious reminder to us all that the God who loves us, saves us, and cherishes us -- is faithful to demonstrate His goodness, His mercy, and His love to us every single day! Selah! Praise God, He is good, so very Good!

Moving Forward with Ease

His faithfulness is a reminder to us that whatever we do, wherever we go -- He is always with us. When He says "I will never leave you or forsake you" we can take assurance that He means what He says. The glorious truth of our Lord is that His Word is certain. When He says something, He means it. There is no shadow or turning, there is no untruth in Him. If we could only come to trust His word, to believe Him, what mighty wonders might we experience? I have been a laggard in this area, and there have been many times when I have chosen not to believe His word to me. How foolish I have been? How reckless? I mean, when the God of Heaven speaks -- shouldn't we listen to Him? Yet, time after time, we read in Scripture where the people refused to listen to His voice. How sad that the same is true today. So many people, good people, God-fearing people, refuse to listen to His voice. They go their own way, attempt to make their own mark, and refuse to heed and to obey the guidance and counsel of His word.

I think about this now, and I wonder how my life might have been different had I listened -- really listened -- to His voice years ago. I think, "Oh, if only I had repented, turned around, and followed after Him!" I can only imagine how my life would have turned out, would have been better. Yet, here I am -- the product of my own making (often, my own hand). Still, I can say that the person I am today, the woman I have become, has in many ways been the product of His own hand. He has shaped me, remade me, and refashioned me in such a way to make something beautiful out of something that was, well, not very pretty or perfect due to my own willfulness, stubbornness, and yes, sinfulness. I have changed. My life has changed, and today, I am able to give Him thanks and praise for the work He has done in me and through me. He has made my life beautiful.

As I stated in my opening remarks, I am not really sure why I feel the way I do, other than to say that I have "recognized" His goodness today, and perhaps that is why I feel this way. Perhaps.

In Reflection

This past week has been interesting for me. It started with a thug and a bang, but it ended on such a wonderful high note. My Monday and Wednesday were tentative, uncertain, and even scary. After I took my car into be serviced on Tuesday, I suffered a mild panic attack when the bill came due. I thought, "Oh, Lord, how will I pay for these repairs?" Yet, the Lord provided, and praise be to God, I paid for my car. Thursday was a good restful day, yet I was still so unsure about my path, my progress, and the plans the Lord had for me. I had a somewhat stilted conversation with my Dad mid-week, and that caused me to doubt the Lord's provision and His plan. But, then Friday came, and well, the Lord showed up and did something marvelous for me. He showed me, once again, how valued I am when it comes to teaching, and how my students love me and need me. I cannot say it enough -- God is good, so very good to me! 

Friday, it seemed, was a day filled with student encounters that simply reminded me that I am right where He wants me to be. Sure, I am not producing work like I once did, and I am not earning nearly the same income as when I worked in business, but I am shaping lives, making a difference, and creating blessing wherever I go. I was permitted to experience it, to see it, and in doing so, I learned, really learned that I am in the job of His choosing. I am doing exactly what He wants me to do.

I left Friday on this "high," feeling as though everything is coming to pass just as He told me it would. I still have plenty of big unknowns, but I am convinced that His timing is perfect, and whatever is holding back that full-time job, well, it is of His doing. I can rest in His sufficiency, and in His abilities to provide for my needs today, tomorrow, and every day into my future. He is good, so very good to me!

Some specifics:
  • I learned that my teaching style works well and that my students like my classes
  • I learned that one of my strengths is to encourage students in their path, their plans, and their future dreams
  • I learned that as I mentor students, I experience great joy inside and I come to see His gift of exhortation active and present in my life
  • I learned that even though I falter (and I do), He covers me, He keeps me from doing any great damage to my students or to my work, in general
  • I learned that when I rest (let go), good things happen -- He shows up, and He does such marvelous work
  • I learned that there is only so much I can do, but with God, nothing is impossible. The more I let go, the more He GOES!
  • Lastly, I learned that while I don't have everything figured out, what I do know is "enough." I know enough today to get me through today. Tomorrow will take care of itself. 
Oh, how I love it when God shows up, and He helps me to see the truth in my situation, when He opens my eyes, and shows me just how blessed I really am! He is good, so very good to me!

Today, I realize that my life is the culmination of many steps, many choices, and many decisions. Some of these choices and decisions were not in my best interest, yet God has permitted me to walk through them, to experience the consequences of each action, and as a result, I have learned what not to do in the future.

Furthermore, like Joseph, I have come to see that while some of the decisions I made caused me great pain and discomfort, God used them to bring about good in my life. Although I made some pretty disastrous choices, God covered me, and turned what was meant for harm, into something meant for good. He is good, so very good to me.

Lastly, as I consider my life today, I realize that I am a work in process, and that I am not to my final destination yet. I have to walk on, and I have to walk worthy of His calling. I have to listen, to pay attention, and to give heed to His Holy Spirit as He guides and directs me. I want to be smart, and that means to listen attentively to His Spirit as He helps me make good choices. I want to lessen the impact of negative actions, so the best approach is to remember that He is God, and that as God, He does indeed know best. I also want to ensure that my future life is not a repeat of my former life. Thus, to ensure that I don't make the same mistakes twice, I must reflect and learn from my mistakes. This way, I will be better prepared when situations present themselves, and I am tempted to react rather than act. Moreover, as God permits it, I realize that my steps are ordered by Him, and that I am responsible for the things that the Lord has entrusted to me. I must be responsible with the good gifts He has provided. I must use my time wisely, I must act responsibly, and I must remember that my time is in His hand now. Everything I do is predicated on His word, His work, and His way -- thus -- I must make sure I am always about His business, doing His bidding, and ensuring that I am active and present in the blessings of His mighty will. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!

What This Means to Me Today

As I process this all, I am ready to understand His work, I am ready to begin these next steps and to transition from this life here in Phoenix to the next phase of my journey elsewhere. I am ready to take on bigger challenges, more difficult work, and yes, even harder circumstances -- all with the assurance -- that the work they produce in me is fashioning me, changing me, and remaking me into the thing of beauty He has determined for me to be. I am blessed to be a blessing to others, and my heart and my mind are ready to let Him transform me into that vessel -- a vessel that serves to bless and to minister to others -- rather than a vessel that simply contains the blessing but doesn't share it readily. Yes, I am ready to become a blessing, to be poured out as a blessing on others, and to be used by God for His work.

My thoughts are now ready to be aligned to match His heart, and by that I mean, that my heart and my mind are settled on this one thing: I must do His work, no matter the cost or the time involved. I must do His work. I feel it deep down inside of me, and I cannot escape the hold it has on my life. Whatever He desires of me, for me, from this point on will be solely predicated on His will and His work. He has a great plan for my life, of this I am sure, so now I am finished with the preparation and planning, and I am ready to begin, to step out in faith, and to start this new and exciting journey He has in mind for me. I am ready, Lord. I am ready!

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