July 29, 2016

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday! It is July 29th, and officially, it is the last Friday of the month. Yes, in just one month, school will begin again at GCU. I am starting to get that "I am not ready" feeling. Sigh! It seems like I get this way every summer. I loathe my summers, simply because they are long, hot, and dry (literally and metaphorically). But, when the summer begins to turn toward fall, all of a sudden, I will panic. Yep, I panic. I sweat. I think, "I've wasted my entire summer," simply because I didn't do much of anything other than rest, relax, and pretty much "veg" out. It is true, absolutely true. I have binged-watched Netflix and Amazon to my heart's content, and now I am feeling the "burn" because I wasn't as productive as I should have been. Really? Oh well...

I guess you could say I have a case of the "normals" then. I mean, this is the pattern of my life. I am set on "repeat," for goodness sake. It is no one's fault but my own, and even in that confession, I don't feel overly convicted (ha!) I mean, I am where I am for a reason. My life is set on "routine," and there is not much I can do to change things up. I do have plans, and those plans are coming to pass quickly. In all, I am right where God wants me for this season of my life. I may not like all the prickles around me (ouch!) or the stress and strain of the trials and hardships I am asked to endure, but I know that crying only lasts for a short time (Psalm 30:5b). Yes, "Weeping may endure for a night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning."

Practice, Repeat, Practice

I remember when I was studying cello, and my teacher would tell me that the key to learning any instrument was to practice, repeat, and practice some more. I was diligent back then, really studious, and in three short years, I had learned enough of the cello to be able to play fairly complex pieces. I loved playing the cello (I still do), and the process of learning this instrument, learning to read music, learning how to perform, well it was challenging to me. It tasked my brain in ways that simply hadn't been tasked before. Now, all these years later, I realize that I am still in "learning mode." Just yesterday, I sat down to work on my proposal, to really work on my proposal, and well, I fell flat. I really did. I started to add in the references, clarify some unclear passages, etc., and all of a sudden I felt like a student who hasn't picked up their instrument in far too long. The whole process seemed foreign to me. I realized yesterday that I cannot stop learning, I cannot stop practicing, and that I must put the "time in" in order to see the results I hope to see.

A good friend of mine is into fitness. She lifts weights, does body building, etc., and she posts these motivational pictures (memes) to Facebook almost daily. In a couple of them, the meme said "You can't see results that you haven't worked for daily." The photo was of a very shapely woman, and she was lifting some big free weight (like the size that would double me over). The point, of course, was to say that if you want to look like this woman, you've got to devote the time and the attention to the pursuit of those results (big guns, so to speak).

I was thinking about this idea of putting in what you hope to gain from your effort yesterday. My love is about to take a dreaded math test. Yes, he is about to sit a test today that will determine whether he graduates from college. It is a test used to replace a math class, and since he wasn't able to take the class online as part of his studies (for many reasons), he has been studying during his free time (and not so free time) to prepare for it. He has put in so much effort, and the reward, should he pass (and he will pass) is going to satisfy the remaining requirements of his college degree. The nervous tension, his and mine, is up to here (imagine a line at chin-level). This is a big deal, a really big deal for him. I am simply suffering psychosomatic pains with him (LOL!)

Practice makes perfect, so the saying goes. I tell my first-year writing students that they will improve their writing and grammar ability if they practice at it -- daily. The more you write, the better a writer you will become. The same goes for other pursuits. Practice does improve the memory of muscles, tissues, and brain cells.

What about faith? Does practicing faithfulness increase one's ability to be faithful? Well, the answer to that question is a resounding yes! The Bible has a lot to say about faithfulness, and mostly it is about the faithfulness of God toward His children. In 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV) we read, "But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one." And, again, in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (NIV), Paul says, "Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it." God is always faithful, and even when we are not, His faithfulness never ends. In 2 Timothy 2:13 (NLT), Paul writes, "If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is." The Lord is faithful, He keeps His promises (His Word), and His precepts and statutes are true (always true).

Today, I am thanking the Lord for His faithfulness to me. I don't deserve His faithfulness. I don't deserve His goodness or His mercy. Yet, He has been faithful to me. He has given to me everything that is necessary to keep faith, to be strong and stalwart, and to remain firm even against the evil one. Yes, He is faithful to provide everything necessary so that I can keep faith with Him. For this, I am thankful. His faithfulness toward me is beyond measure, beyond scope, and beyond my comprehension. Selah!

God is Faithful

So while I was writing this blog post and praying for my good friend as he prepares to sit his exam, I received an email from Arizona State University asking if I wanted to interview for a full-time faculty position. Okay, back the bus up a bit...and explain. Yes, I know. This has come straight out of the blue, and frankly, I was befuddled by the email I received today. I applied for this open position earlier in the year (in May, I think). I never heard word regarding it so I reapplied in July, thinking that perhaps my paperwork didn't make it through their online system. I actually applied for several positions with this school, but two were of interest to me. Both were teaching online classes, and well, that is the "ticket" for me. The first position closed without hire, and really, I just forgot about the other two that I had applied for, thinking they were "no go's." This position, I think, is to teach online first-year composition courses. My prayer is that it is so. I am also praying that it is a work from home position and not a "go sit in an office on campus" position. It is at the Polytechnic campus, which is in downtown Phoenix. Not my preference, but better than working at the main campus in Tempe. Sigh! Suffice it to say, I appreciate the offer to interview, and I am hoping it is both: online and work from home. Selah!

The funny thing is that just this morning, I said to the Lord, "Lord, if it is your desire for me to teach full-time, so be it. If it is your desire for me to teach at multiple schools, well so be it as well." I have been seeking full-time employment over part-time for the past couple years, but it seems that the Lord has chosen to provide adjunct positions only. Now, here I am interviewing (on Tuesday) for my first full-time position as an Instructor. It would be a sweet deal should it come to pass. If not, I understand, and I will accept the Lord's provision of part-time work to me. Thank you, Jesus, it is enough. It is enough for me this good, good day.

I marvel at His faithfulness today. I marvel at the fact that He keeps His word to me. He said that I would receive notice on a second job in the near term. I assumed it would be notification from Colorado Christian University since that is the only other position I had in play at this time (well, besides these local ones). I never assumed, thought, dreamed that He might choose to place me in an online teaching position at a major public university, but there you have it. I mean, who knows the mind of our God (Romans 11:34)?

I am not sure what this means, but my hope and my prayer is that I would get to work from home AND get paid a salary to do it. God be praised, may this be, may this be! First off, the regular income, no matter how small would be a blessing to me. Second, my son could use my car to get to school, thus saving us $$$ on buying another car right now. Third, well, it would relieve my burden a bit, and give me some breathing space. Fourth, it would allow me to do my research for my dissertation and get it DONE so I can graduate in January (Praise be to God, make it so, make it so!) Last, it would boost my profile, my resume, etc., and it would help me make the transition from part-time adjunct to full-time faculty. Yes, it would be a very good thing.

I won't know for certain, and I am a bit stressed at the lateness of the call. I need to let GCU know I won't be back, and that leaves them in the lurch this late in the game. Yet, I cannot turn down full-time work, no matter how inconvenient it is. I have to move on, to go where the Lord is calling me to go, and that means even to teach at a public university. I shout aloud with Paul and say, "He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it" (1 Thessalonians 5:24 ESV)! Amen, amen, amen. So be it, thy will be done. Selah!

In Closing

As I head into the weekend, I am in awe of the goodness of our God. I mean, who would think that the Lord would do this for me, now, of all times. Surely, He would have provided sooner for me. But, nay, this is His timing, and while I may not like it, if this is His will, then it will come to pass. He has begun this work, thus it is up to Him to complete it. I may be a partner with Him, but I am not God. I cannot do what He can do, and I cannot make something appear out of nothing. No, I am unable to effectually change my life, my situation, my circumstances right now. I am stuck as I say, like a duck out of water, and the only way to change my life is to let the Lord's will come to pass. Selah! It is done. He makes the rules. He provides the provision. He leads, guides, and provides for me, and His provision is good, always so very good. Today, I rest in His will, knowing that it is perfect, complete, and good. If this is what He has chosen to provide for me, then it will be good. It will work out as He needs it to work out, and I can be settled, contented, and happy to do this work. I ask the Lord to provide, and He does. I ask Him to give me His peace, and He does. I ask Him to cover me, to keep me safe, and He does. He is faithful to me, so very faithful to me.
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 4:8b-9 NLT)

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