July 9, 2016

Faith is Everything

It is a blessed Saturday here in sunny and hot Phoenix. Yes, our monsoon has been a bust! The weather forecast calls for sunny skies and high temperatures in the mid-100s for the next 10 days. This means that we are in a drying cycle, and any chance of thunderstorms will move to the north or stay far to the south. Effectually, the spinning high pressure area is killing the inflow of wet and humid air. I guess it is true when they say that a La Nina follows an El Nino weather pattern. Sigh!

I should be used to this type of weather, I mean. I have lived in Phoenix for now on 20 years, and of that period, we have had a handful of really strong monsoonal storms. In truth, we have had more hot and dry summers than wet and humid ones. Yes, I am so ready to move, so ready to go someplace else to live. I know the Lord's timing is perfect, and I am trusting Him to make a way for me, but for sure, it is getting more difficult to survive our hot and dry summers. And, they say it is a "dry heat!" UGH!

Nonetheless, and yes, despite the weather, I am doing well. I slept pretty soundly last night, and I woke up feeling good. I am not 100% today, still a bit stiff and sore, but generally, I feel rested. I feel content and at peace, so that is a good thing. Of course, I looked at my bank statement today, and after paying my credit card payment, I am feeling that awful pinch again. Yes, I need more income. Praise be to God, I will be getting paid for my 5-week class at OCU this summer. I should earn somewhere between $750-1000 for teaching this freshman composition class online. The money is welcomed! It will bring a little relief, at least until I can start school again in the fall. I should also be getting some money back from my student loans, and that will go a long way to paying down my credit card I used for my flight and trip to VA this past spring. In all, while I don't like floating this close to the "red line," I think I will be okay until school starts in August.

Faith in Decision

I titled this blog post, "Faith is Everything," because I feel like the past three years has been a season of decisions for me. It seems like my life has been one big decision after another since my marriage disintegrated and I became single back in 2010. As such, I have had to make significant decisions, many that required me to step out in faith, to trust the Lord, to believe His word to me. It has been difficult, and at times, frustrating for me. Yet, the Lord has been faithful to me. He has helped me understand, think clearly, and in the end, choose wisely. In all things, He has helped me become a person who can make good decisions consistently, and who can consider difficult choices and choose a path that pleases and honors the Lord. Selah!

Decisions and faith have been on my mind a lot lately. Yes, I have been wrestling with a major life decision as consider my future life, and I decide how I wanted to proceed. Thankfully, my future is held in His hands, so a lot of my decision-making effort was more to align with His will than to step out on my own, so to speak. I still wrestled with choosing to follow the Lord, to forsake other avenues, and to forge new paths that were uncertain and tentative. I had to walk by faith through a number of them, and in the end, the decisions I have made seem to be for the best. I am content today because of a number of them. I can say I am at rest also in my future, the plans I feel the Lord has for my life.

In hindsight, I realize that many of the decisions I have made have been fear-based decisions. I made choices based on the idea of the "lesser of two evils," thinking that I would choose the least uncomfortable option because at the least it would be less painful. This approach is not always the best way to go because it presumes that there is no "good" alternative, only a selection of "bad" ones. Yes, for many years I was negative in my outlook. I believed that no good thing was going to come my way, and that my life was going to continue on as a series of mistakes, always painful, always filled with suffering. Then, I came into this deep friendship with the Lord, and I came to see that He is good all the time. I came to see that many of the choices I made in the past were not His will for my life, and so the suffering I endured was not part of God's plan for me. He allowed it as a shaping tool only, but it was not His design for me to suffer in that way. The suffering and the pain I endured were brought about by my own hand, the decisions I made, and the paths I followed. Had I sought the Lord's will earlier on in my life, well, things would have been different, much different.

Now, I am very conscious of the choices I make. I look at each decision carefully, often scrutinizing it in such small detail that I become blurry-eyed. Yet, my heart's desire is to not make a mistake, at the least, not willingly or through error in judgment. I take my time, think things through, and only after careful consideration do I step forward in faith. Still, the Lord has been gracious to me. He has covered me well, and as a result, I have not suffered greatly since my life upended, and I became wholly dependent upon Him for my protection and my provision. He took center stage, and as a result, I started to look to Him alone for His advice, counsel, and best. In the end, my decisions have proved worthy, good, and promising. I am not where I hope to be yet, but I am on good footing, and the Lord, as my steady Companion, is good company for me. He leads me on, and I follow after Him. Our relationship works well.

In Closing

As I think about my life today, I am assured that God has a good plan for me. I know this, I believe it is so, and I believe that as "I AM" He is both author and finisher of my faith. Thus, whatever decisions I make today, tomorrow or into my future, I can take great comfort in knowing that His will be done in all cases and circumstances. I relent this good day. I let go of all my issues, concerns, and trials, and I embrace the life the Lord has for me. I let go of the negative influences, and I embrace the positive, the faith-fueled, filled, and active influences that believe God is able to do all things. He is able to do so because He is God. There is no other reason, excuse, or understanding necessary. He is God, and as such, He is able to do what pleases Him, concerns Him, and delights Him this good, good day. Selah!

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