March 11, 2016

Thinking Some More

Happy Friday! Yes, it is Friday, March 11, 2016 and it is the end of the week! I cannot believe that it is the middle of March. Time has sure flown by quickly. I was just thinking about how it was one month ago when I was nervously starting my comprehensive written exams. I was so unsure of myself, of what to expect, and of what the outcome would be. And now, here I am, one month later, officially ABD, and I am thinking how quickly my time at Regent University is coming to an end. God be praised, I am thankful for this wonderful school, the professors, and the program because I have been changed as a result of my participation in it. I wonder about my tomorrow -- my future tomorrow -- and I think about where the Lord intends to "plant me."

So many things have changed over the past five to six years. I mean, when I think about it, I cannot even remember how scared I was to step out in faith, how unsure I was about trusting the Lord, and about how panicked I was over the big unknown of my future. The amazing thing is that the Lord has graciously cared for me throughout this time of trial, testing, and transition. It has been six years since my husband and I separated, and nearly two since we were divorced. So much water under the bridge, so many new experiences, new chances, and new opportunities since I found myself at the brink of that decision. Yet, despite all the challenges, I have overcome. I have found good success in this new life. I have come to depend on the Lord for every need, and I have come to rely upon Him for His good judgment and His deliverance. I thank Him today for all the good He has brought to me, for all the blessing He has showered upon my life, and for all the hope that lives within me -- for my future -- and the plans He has for me. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!

Thinking About Changes

This morning, I woke up feeling well. It is so nice to feel good again. I am not sure what has changed, but my guess is that it is all the stress from the previous semesters and the past 16 weeks of study that have drained away from me. I woke up feeling refreshed, really refreshed, and I feel so positive, so sure, about my direction. It was just the other day that I blogged about my life, how my car problems and the cost of repair started to nit away at my resolve. I started to think I needed to make some changes to my life, mostly in the jobs department. I started to think that I should take the helm, take control away from the Lord, and take matters into my own hand. Thankfully, those feelings, those anxious thoughts melted away, and my steely resolve returned. I ran to the ROCK and I regained my strength, my focus, and my determination to see His way through the fog of my current situation.

I have been thinking more about my Mom's care, how she may need memory care, and frankly, how we are not prepared for that cost. In truth, neither I nor any of my brothers have the funds to pay for long-term care for my Mom. My Dad doesn't either, so the hard light of this situation is bearing down on us -- we must make some hard choices soon -- and those choices may not be comfortable for any of us, especially my parents.

My future is about to open up for me now that I am ABD. I need to make some decisions soon as to where I believe the Lord is leading me, guiding me, and intending on planting me for the rest of my days. My parents and their care are first on my mind, of course, but I must also remember that God has a plan for my life too, and that unless He calls me to forgo moving elsewhere, teaching, etc. to become a full-time caregiver for my parents, I have to remain disciplined and reliant upon His provision for these unfortunate needs.

Today, I spent some time online looking at the area surrounding the school where I most recently applied. I have applied to a couple teaching positions, one of them is online, and two are local campuses. One is here in Phoenix, at GCU, and the other is in the SE USA. I have received confirmation on the GCU position and the SE USA position only. I have not received any word on the online teaching position, other than to say my application was received last month. I am not concerned, of course, so really until the Lord opens the door for me, I must patiently wait for someone to contact me. For now, my heart seems to be pulled in one direction only and that is to move to the SE USA. However, the timing of the move may be open -- as in -- perhaps I am feeling the pull, but the timing is for me to remain here for a "time" (some shorter duration, 6-9-12 months, for example). I just don't know, I honestly don't know.

The area I am looking at is very nice. It is semi-rural (my term), which just means that it is located midway between two major cities (about an hour each way), and that seems really practical. Furthermore, the Lord has always put on my mind that I needed to be within an hour of a major airport (hub), so this location fits that bill perfectly. The city where this school is located is smaller than what I am used to but still offers all the important services necessary (hospital, bank, shopping, etc.) I like that the city is small, and that it is surrounded by rural area. I like that, should the Lord open this door, I would be able to live within 10-15 minutes of work, but still be in relative "country." This has been my dream for many, many years, and while I have always been open to living in the city too, my heart's desire was to have a country home instead.

The cost of living seems relative, so that is a good thing. Housing is much cheaper than in AZ, and I would assume utilities would be less expensive too. Overall, the hardest part for me will be living in a rural area. I've never lived in a rural area so the whole "demographic" might take some time for me to get used to it. Also, I am not sure what salary comes with this job, but I would hope it would be moderate (what I expect locally) so that I could live comfortably and plan for retirement. My trust is in the Lord, and not in the money I earn -- yet -- He is the one who provides for me through practical work, so I am trusting that He will provide a good income with retirement benefits (401k, etc.)

Some Ideas

I've been thinking about the type of house I would like to purchase in this new place, Lord willing. One of the things I have realized is that in places like this, rental homes or even apartments are hard to find. There are some apartment complexes near by, but part of me thinks that I could live more comfortably in my own home. I have studied, observed, and pondered the type of home that would best suit me. I would love to live in an older home. I would love to have a white farmhouse on some land. Yes, I would love to live my Aunt's farmhouse in the middle of rural Indiana! LOL!! This is true -- really -- my heart wants what I remember from my childhood, even though this memory is an unrealistic dream for me at this point in time. Still, there are lingering thoughts, and for a time, I gave in to them. I spent the past two months studying the quaint little homes that dot the landscape of rural communities thinking that perhaps this would be the Lord's will for my life. In the end, however, I realized that I have to go where He sends me, and that may mean to a place where the life I envision and the options that are real do not align. Thus, I have shifted my search to more practical options, to places, cities and towns, where there is potential for work and for a modest style of living.

Now that I am where I think He wants me to be -- as in -- in the right mindset and frame for pursuing His work, I know that what must come next is a job offer. Then, I will need to hunker down and find a place to live that fits within my modest budget. Finally, I will have to figure out (as He leads) the details, the logistics of moving from where I am currently to where He has pointed out for me to go. The in between time, the here and now, I remain focused on what I know, on what I have to complete and accomplish. But, my mind is ready, is prepared for the "going" whenever He determines the time to be right.

Honestly, I have been preparing to move since 2005. I have been in this "I am going to move" mode for 11 plus years. It seems that the Lord put the intention in my heart, but the time to completion, the time to get me ready to go has been a long-time in coming. Yes, I regret that I didn't have the faith to go when He called me forth in 2007. I repented, yet when He called me to go in 2009, I again faltered. Now, it is 2016, and I am finally ready, really ready I mean, to tackle moving.

I appreciate the Lord's graciousness, His willingness to let me tarry while my "head" got hold of His vision for my life. It wasn't easy, mind you. It wasn't always a bowl of cherries, but it was life lesson worthy. I lost much in my slowness to agree, my unwillingness to let go, and in my refusal to be moved (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and finally, physically). Yes, I have lingered in the wilderness for far too long, and like Moses and the children of Israel, I have lost forward momentum simply because I refused to trust and rely upon Him for my every need.

Now that I am reformed (LOL!) from that perspective and heart condition, I am more ready to obey. I am ready to go because I believe and trust in His word to me. I see the possibilities, where before, I saw nothing by emptiness and void. I was scared, unsure of myself, whether I could even take care of myself. In the end, I have come to learn to be very self-reliant, very self-controlled, and very self-directed. Yes, He has helped me recover my identity, my sense of self, and in that way, He has given me the opportunity to explore this life in its fullness. I am free to move about the country (as Southwest Airlines says on their commercials). I am free to go wherever He chooses, for whatever purpose He designs for my life. I am free to settle, to be settled, and to enjoy the blessing of this life as He leads and guides me.

The only road block or hindrance in my way right now is my lack of a full-time job. It is a minor inconvenience, but praise be to God, I do think He has this well in hand. I know He will provide a place for me to work full-time, and that place will be good. He will provide a home for me to live in, and that home will be good. He will provide a way for me to get from here to there, and that way, yes, it will be good too. In everything He does, it is always GOOD (for He is good, so very good!)

I pray today for the Lord to lift the roadblock, to open the door, and to move me where He intends. If the Lord causes me to tarry in the wilderness a bit longer, so be it. I will wait. I believe, though, that the time is nigh, and that I must be ready, I must be ready.

Lord, open that door! I ask in the Name of Jesus that you make a way for me to go to the place of your choosing, to do the work you have prepared for me, and to live and minister exactly where you desire. May your will, all of it, come to pass today, and I may I experience great blessing, prosperity, and good provision as you lead me forth. Your word, your will, and your way -- it is all I want, I need, and I desire. I confess to you now that I am ready, I feel ready, and as such, I want, no I need, to do your work. I ask this now, trusting you to do whatever is necessary to make this happen. Thank you, Lord, for your provision, your goodness, and your plan because I know everything you are doing in and through my life is to accomplish your will. You are working out all the details for my good, to benefit me, and in return, I will turn out all my blessing to bless others and to bring you praise.

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