I decided I would miss church this morning since I am not 100% well. I may be coming down with something so rather than spread whatever this is to the congregation, I will just wait it out here at home. Hopefully, I will feel better after my first cup of coffee settles me, and then I will be able to make some good progress on my research revisions later today. My goal is to have the revisions completed by tomorrow p.m. I would like to send the changed document back to my professor on Tuesday. In all, I have to say that despite the cricket-y feeling and the general sensation that I am unwell, I can say that I still think am good. Overall, I am good. I am happy. I am content. I am relaxed and at ease. Yes, God is good. I am good. And, my life, the life He has provided to me, is so very, very good. Selah!
Today, I am thinking about being thankful and what that means for my life, my living, and my livelihood. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." I have come through a prolonged and difficult struggle, a wrestling match of sort, whereby I contended with the Lord in regard to my willingness to surrender fully to His will, His way, and His word as it lives and breathes life in me and in my life. Now, I am resting. I am at peace. I am feeling well in my soul as one who has come to their senses, who has finally come to understand the mystery of the One who says "I AM." I don't pretend to know everything nor do I think I have some magical or mystical oracle that helps me understand the deeper nuances of this faith relationship with our Creator God. Yet, somehow, I do know enough, just enough, to make me sit here today and give thanks, give praise, and give honor to His Holy Name. Yes, somehow whatever He has done in me and through me, I know who He is and what He intends to do in my life. The details have become clear to me, and the way, the blessed way, seems less shrouded in fog. I see where I am to go, and I know how I am to get there. This part of the grand mystery is clear now, in focus, and I can see it unfolding before my very eyes. I am ready to go, so very ready, and I am willing to go, so willing. Now, He simply must let me, permit me, provide for me, so that I can follow after Him and go where He is sending me this good, good day.
I feel as if I have awaken from a long sleep. Part of me knows that I have been active, working, progressing toward the goal, but there is this other part that has slumbered, slept, and now is starting to come back to life. I am invigorated, though still stiff and sore. I am encouraged, yet I still feel tired, groggy, and a bit unwell. I know that whatever He asks me to do today, I will do it. I know, though, that my strength is failing me, and I am only able to do the work He permits and provides for me to do. I am not able to accomplish what He asks of me so I must rest and let Him complete these tasks. I must rest and let Him work through the changes, the steps, and the process. I am completely dependent upon Him for His good will, and the work I do can only be accomplished through His strength and His determination. I am weak, fragile, and unable to stand today. I need Him to rescue me, to reach down and pick me up. I need Him to do this work, so desperately, because I feel unable, unwell, and incapable of completing the assignments as He asks me to do them.
In so many ways, I feel upbeat and happy, but in other ways I realize just how depleted I am, how empty I am, and how unaware I was that my tank was running so very close to empty. I feel as if I am in adrenal failure today. Every part of my body aches and feels lifeless and listless. Why can't I move today? Why can't I make strides, steps, and be successful in the work I need to do? I am thinking it is because I have finally realized just how much energy was drained all the while I was contending with Him. I think I see just how depleted I allowed myself to become because I was unwilling to yield, to give way, to surrender to Him. As a result, I am exhausted. My energy reserves are in the red, and the only way for me to move forward is allow Him to recharge my batteries, so to speak, and to allow Him to reset my status. I trust Him fully. I know He can do it. I rest in His abilities. I let go this day, and let Him do what He knows is best for me. He is good to me, so very good to me! Selah!
This feeling of being drained started yesterday. I woke up feeling unwell, and later in the day, I started to have these sharp shooting pains in my lower back and right side. The pains would come on as if someone was stabbing me. They didn't last long, thank goodness, but they were sharp enough to take my breath away for a moment or two. By nightfall, the pain had subsided, but I felt weak and drained. I spent the evening laying down, and finally by bedtime, I drifted off to sleep without much effort. I slept well, I think, though I had recurring dreams that were unsettling. In two of them, in particular, I dreamed I was in bed or a bedroom. In the first dream I was asleep in a bed with my parents, though the man and the woman were not my real parents. I was a child, a pre-teen, but from my perspective, I was an adult. It was like I was sleeping in my parents bed (I often did this when I was frightened or had a nightmare), but I was looking at them through adult eyes. I had a conversation with my Mom while my Dad slept soundly. I don't remember the conversation, just the fact that we were all together in that way.
The second dream was similar, but I was in a room, a bedroom that seemed like it was my own. It was pink (my favorite color), and I had been sleeping in the bed. I woke up to the sound of a man speaking to me. I had my phone with me, and I had my headphones on. The man was asking me about the music I was listening to and I was talking to him. The man was asking me to let him help me with my phone, to adjust my settings, to improve the performance or the way I accessed the music on the device. I remember talking with this person, whom I did not know, and then I started to pack. There was a suitcase near the bed, and I was making up the bed, and getting ready to leave. I remember trying to make the bed, and I pulled out two plastic bags filled with items. I didn't recognize the items in the first bag. I thought they didn't belong to me. The items in the second bag held some of my clothes, dress clothes like my black work pants and a green/blue patterned shirt. I thought it was odd that these items were in a plastic bag and not hanging in the closet.
As the second dream ended, I woke up in a third dream. This time I was in England. I was at a school, and I was talking with a librarian/lady whom I had met. I was telling her about my school, Regent University, and how I have come to Oxford three times as part of my program. I remember telling her about my education and what I was going to do with it. Then I recall her showing me a Time magazine article that mentioned me, and she said that she would send me the copy once I went home. The funny thing is that I have never been to Oxford. I had the opportunity to go to Oxford for my summer residency at Regent, but the details never meshed nor could I afford to go there. Instead, I took my residency on campus each summer. More so, in this dream, I was telling the lady librarian that I never had the opportunity to explore the countryside when I was there (in Oxford) because I was always in class. This actually is true for Regent, I mean. I would go to Regent each summer with these plans of visiting all the historic sites in and around the region. I never did anything other than go to class.
As I think about these dreams and their meanings, I can identify several key points in each of them. First, the dream where I was sleeping with my parents simply is an accurate indicator of my current life. In this dream, I was a child sleeping with my parents. Although I was a child, I was looking out as an adult. My parents see me as this child, and perhaps I do as well. Yet, I am an adult, grown up, and now able to handle my own life without their protection. Second, the other dream was a reminder of my life now as well. In this dream, I was in a child's room, a pink bedroom, and I was an adult living there. As I was packing, my work clothes were in a plastic bag and not on hangers. This says to me that my work clothes are no longer needed. They are put away, so to speak, packed because the work I do now will not require dressy "office" attire. Third, the last dream simply showed me that the previous years of schooling at Regent were significant to my life. Although I never made it to Oxford, I always hoped I could go there some day. The Time Magazine article mentioning my name was interesting. Perhaps the Lord has some honor in mind for me, I don't know.
I think the big take-away from all three dreams is that the life I am living currently is not the best for me. I am living as a child in my parent's home when I should be an adult who is capable of living on her own. Moreover, as that child is maturing, growing up, it is clear that I don't belong where I am. I need to move out. I need to be my own person. Lastly, my schooling has changed me, shaped me, and prepared me for a life as a scholar. Though I don't think of myself that way, clearly the Lord sees me as such. I am a PhD candidate who conducts scholarly research. This is my life now, and I have to start living it.
I have felt the need to move for a very long time now. I have wanted to move for a number of reasons, but mostly to "get away" or to "change scenes." I have wanted to move to run away from the difficult parts of my life, and I hoped that moving to a new place would change the situation I was in. Of course, I was wrong. I left San Jose hoping that Phoenix would bring me happiness. It didn't. I wanted to move to the midwest, back to where I was a child, hoping again to find happiness. I wanted to move to the mountains as well, but in all cases, my desire was motivated by "change," the need to change my life as I was currently living it. Now, I realize that I must move for one reason only and that is to do the Lord's will and His work. I am to go no where but to the place of His choosing because this is where I will do His work. I finally understand that I cannot move for any other reason. I cannot move for a job, a better quality of life, a chance to buy a house, or even the weather. No, the only reason I will move is because there is work for me to do in this place the Lord desires for me to go. Furthermore, in going to this place, the Lord will provide everything I need. I don't have to worry about living there, working there, existing there because He will provide for me. I don't have to worry about how I will get there either. He will provide. The work I do is paramount, significant, and I can only do it with His permission and provision. Thus, I cannot move to this place until He permits me to go. It is not up to me to try to change, to manipulate, or to orchestrate how to get there. I simply rest and let Him plan, prepare, and then provide. He has it all under control.
Moreover, I have felt the need to be on my own for several years now. I moved in with my parents as a temporary measure, to help me with graduate school and to help them as they transition into this phase of their lives. But, I need my own space. I need my own life. I need to be free to come and go as I please without worry about my parents needs or their care. I have spent too much time devoting to their personal care. Not that I shouldn't care about them, no that is not what I mean, but in many ways, I have returned to the role of a child and have seen to the daily care of my parents. This is not the Lord's will for me. I am to be an adult, ready and able to do His work. I cannot remain with my parents and live in this way and do His work. I have to go. I have to be free to go when He says "Go, my child!"
Lastly, I have remained where I am to help my son finish his schooling. While this is a good thing, a practical thing, I have allowed his schooling to dictate the timing of this move. The Lord has promised me that He will see to my son's education, his welfare, and his care. Yet, I have remained in this place because I didn't want to go where He was moving me without my son. I didn't want to go by myself and move and be settled alone.
I realize that my hesitancy has caused me to tarry far longer than I should. I need to go now, and I need to make this change as soon as the Lord permits me. I must rest in His sufficiency and in His ability to provide care for my parents and my son. I must not worry about what they will do or how they will live. I must simply step out in faith and go and let the Lord provide for them as He provides for me. I cannot try to make our lives mesh anymore. I cannot hope that we will remain together forever, but rather I must let their lives end as the Lord determines best, and let my son's life develop as the Lord leads him. I cannot have what I want. I must relent, yield and surrender to the fact that the plans the Lord has for my life are for me only. They are not for my parents or my son, but they are for me.
Taking a Leap of Faith
This move requires a leap of faith. Right now, I see no way to move out. Yet, I feel the Lord saying to me "Go, my child!" and that means I must trust Him to open doors, provide a way, and then make it happen according to His word. I must rely on Him to provide, to make a way.
I have spent so many years planning to move. I have looked at places, towns, cities, and homes for now on ten years, and yet I haven't made one move toward going at all. I have moved locally, for sure. Twice now I have moved from one place to another, but I have never gone to any of the places the Lord had in mind for me. I am ready to go, so ready, but I have not understood His movement. I have not understood that going was part of His work in my life. I had to let go of the people who mattered most to me and trust Him to care for them. I had to trust the Lord enough to follow Him.
Leaping without a net is scary, yet this is what the Lord is asking me to do. He is asking if I trust Him enough to provide a new life to me. Do I believe that He will keep His word to me? Do I believe that what He has said to me is truth? The answer to both questions is yes. I believe His word to me is truth. I believe His word will come to pass. I have seen it time and time again and I believe it now. He will do as He has promised. He is good to me. He is faithful to me. He will keep His promises to me.
Now I am ready. I have come to the end of this battle, and even though I am weary, I am at rest. I know my Savior will care for me and for my family. I know that He will make His will and His word come to pass. I must rest in His abilities, trust Him to see me through, and rely on Him to provide for each and every single need. He is able. I believe it. I am ready, Lord, send me!