Saying Goodbye to a Loved One
In other news, I received word that my dear father-in-law, David Hepburn, went home to be with the Lord yesterday morning. His home going was expected, but unknown as far as when it would be (as is typical). He had been moved to hospice care nearly five months ago, and in that time, his condition deteriorated rapidly. He passed "gently into that good night" (Thomas), and for that, I am thankful to the Lord.
He was a Godly man, honoring to the Lord, and a good father and husband. I loved him dearly. He was so good to me and to my son. He had a wonderful personality, always cheerful, always laughing, and always sharing a special word of admonition. He served the Lord with gladness all of his days, and up until the end, he was still blessing people he met.
I am sad that he is absent in the body, but so glad he is now home with the Lord. In 1993, just six weeks after my son was born, he suffered from a massive stroke that left him paralyzed and unable to work. Yet, for nearly 23 years, he "worked" as the Lord would guide him. His stroke occurred while he was still young (at 62), and as a result he had to leave the love of his life (teaching music) and his school (he was principal) to "retire." He kept active in church, singing in the choir, but in later years, the stroke took more and more of his speech and cognition, and finally the physical demands of living became difficult. My son and I will miss his laughter, his good sense of humor, and of course, his love of music. He was a good man.
It is a good day to praise the Lord! I am well, and I am doing well. I know the two thoughts seem to be similar, but in my case, I mean to say that I feel well, and my life is going well. Yes, God has blessed me beyond blessing, and today I am celebrating by giving Him all the praise. I am lifting my voice to sing to the Lord a new song. I am remembering His goodness in the sanctuary. He is good, so very good to me. All the time, He is good. Selah!
It has been a long, long summer. As I opened this post today, I mentioned the fact that our summer has been a bust as far as the monsoon is concerned. The weather has been hot and sunny, with no rain for months now. My life, it seems, has followed suit. I have felt like I have been in a long dry spell, a spell that has lasted for months, and all without any hint or drop of rain. My life was, for a time, running on empty. Then, all of a sudden, God opened the heavens and rain fell on me. It refreshed my weary soul, it filled my cup, and I felt restored, healed, and ready to move on. It has been a long time coming, and I am thankful for His blessed rest and provision while I waited for His perfect timing.
Now, I sense His movement again, but this time I feel His rush of wind as it comes behind me, readying me to take flight. I think about the words of Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV) today:
Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.I am feeling refreshed and my spirit is well. I am in a good place today, ready to tackle the work the Lord has set before me. My to-do list is shorter than normal for it only contains one item: my dissertation. My prayer today is that I can do the work assigned, the work necessary, and the work of His choosing. May my efforts today be blessed as I spend time finishing the chapter revisions so I can send them off to my professor early next week. God be praised, I know I can do this. I can do this.
Preparing to Go
As I prepare for this next phase of my life, several things are on my mind today. First, I am thinking how different I feel today versus how I felt just a couple weeks ago. Let me explain...
I was offered a teaching position at Regent University on Thursday. It was a welcome relief for me, simply because it will provide another avenue of consistent income from this point on. For a long time, I felt stuck in my options for teaching. I was working part-time on campus, and while I loved my schools, I knew that if the Lord wanted to move me (and I believed He did), then He would have to provide a job that would 1) allow me to relocate (as in be in the state of His choosing) or 2) enable me to relocate (as in a work-from-home position). I have been working on the assumption that His plan would be for me to be hired as faculty at a school in another state. So, I started applying for any position I found where I thought there was a realistic chance of being hired. I also applied locally, just in case the Lord intended to keep me here in Phoenix.
In all cases, these jobs never produced any results. I assumed for a long time that the reason was that I didn't have enough experience, I wasn't published, and I didn't have my conferred degree. I knew that these three reasons were "part" of the overall reason why I was not considered as a viable candidate. I also assumed that I wasn't "ready" and that the Lord's timing wasn't ready for me to work full-time (as in I needed to finish my dissertation). With all this said, my contention was to "cast my net," so to speak. I kept active and I applied to any and all positions that seemed like a good fit for me. In truth, my actions of "stepping out in faith," only served to depress me. Time after time, I was rejected, overlooked, cast aside. After a while, I gave up, and then I started to think that there was no possible hope for me at all. As a result, I started to look for jobs outside of higher education. My efforts were thwarted here as well, and even most recently, was rejected as a candidate for hire because of my education. Thus, my attempts to find full-time faculty work came to naught.
God's Way Versus My Way
While my search for full-time work proved unsuccessful, my efforts to find part-time work seemed fruitful and blessed. Yes, earlier in the spring I had a couple new opportunities open up for me, each promising some more "adjunct" work. These were for part-time work only, but rather than being campus-based, they were for teaching courses online. At first, I was hesitant to apply, thinking that I wouldn't really like online teaching. But, after I felt the Lord prevailing, I obeyed and applied to three Christian schools -- Ohio Christian, Regent, and Colorado Christian University.
In a short time after applying, I was called to interview. I was hired at OCU back in January, and I am set to begin teaching a summer class next week (woohoo!) I interviewed at Regent during my qualification exams in February, and was just hired this past week. I will begin teaching online classes in August. In addition, I interviewed at CCU, but haven't heard back yet to see if I will be offered any additional online work. My application is with the department, which simply means I was selected to move through the process, but not formally considered a candidate yet. In all, the Lord seems to be opening doors for me to teach online.
Clearly, I had my signal's mixed up. I was heartily looking for full-time work because that was the avenue that made the most sense to me. Never did I think the Lord would choose to provide part-time jobs to me on a consistent and steady basis, yet this appears to be what He is doing. Furthermore, I had overlooked online teaching initially, believing that it was better for me to teach face-to-face. Now, though, I see the way the Lord is moving me, and I realize that in order to prepare me to "go," I must go His way and not my own way. This means that if the Lord has mapped out that I am to teach online as adjunct, then He has a way to provide for and meet my daily needs. I cannot be concerned about the how or even the why, but rather I must accept His provision as it is provided to me. Only the Lord knows what my tomorrows will bring, thus I must rest in His complete sufficiency and provision. Selah!
Now, I see that in less than two months, I have come to the place where I am almost ready to go. I have good practical work (online), and while I still need a second "part-time" position that would pay about what Regent pays, I feel far more confident to know that the Lord has me covered. I am free to let go this worry, and I feel as though His plan makes sense to me. I see how part-time work could be beneficial to me. I see how much freedom part-time work provides to me, and how I could be easily movable simply because I am not tied to one particular school. I believe that the Lord has this well in hand, and that through His efforts, I will be offered a second part-time position soon. Perhaps it will come mid-year or perhaps it will come ready for fall 2017. I just do not know right now. What I do know is this -- the Lord knows what He is doing -- and if this is His path for me, His provision, and His protection, then it is good enough to satisfy my every need. He is good to me, so very good to me.
I am resting now. I am letting Him lead, guide, and provide for me. He knows what I will need in my pocket every day, and He knows what my future holds. For now, I am able to let the worry, the fear, and the doubt go. I can let this go, and I can sit at His feet and rest. I can rest. Praise be to God, it feels so good to rest! Finally, to be at rest!
For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am ready to set a plan of attack. I mean, I am ready to start writing down a plan that will form the foundation of my future, His future goals for me. This means that all of my pondering, musings, and guesswork are now ready to put to the test, so to speak. I am ready to start considering moving as a reality, a real thing. I am ready to start laying the ground work and to begin to make the plans that will take me from Phoenix to this new and wonderful, "Promised Land."
I don't do anything without proper planning. My son will tell you that I plan everything out in "years" and not in months. It is truth! My personality is such that I am so detailed-oriented that I plan out the tiniest steps, just to make sure that my plan will succeed. I don't do things "willy nilly," and I don't run off without my head. I am steady, stalwart, and very stoic when it comes to my plans. I stick to them, if they are important, and I accomplish them with great effort and focus.
My plan of attack is split into three parts: part one is job-oriented, part two is house-oriented, and part three is ministry-oriented.
Part One: Job
I've been focused on the job now for three, almost four years. I have been content to work part-time because I was focused on my program at Regent University. Now, I am at the end of my time there (as a student), and my emphasis has shifted to finding that permanent position. As I blogged earlier, it seems the Lord is content to keep me as adjunct, and for now this is where I am to remain. This means that for all intents and purposes, part one is completed. I have enough work to satisfy my needs through the 2016-2017 school year. I believe that the remaining position, another online teaching position, will fall into place sometime this year or at the latest before I move next summer. As such, this part of the plan seems to be completed.
Part Two: House
For the past three years, I have lived with my parents in a rented home in Phoenix. We are happy together (as families can be), but our living situation is not a permanent solution. My parents will need more care down the road, and since the Lord is pressing on me to "move," this means that I will need to be thinking about finding my own place soon. If it was His determination for me to remain in Phoenix long-term, then I would start looking for apartments or rental homes that would be financially available to me. Since I do not believe this is His will for me or my son, I have been stuck in that I really couldn't make any changes to my current situation. Furthermore, without the "job" settled, there was no way I could even consider moving or finding another home to live in. Now, however, with the job partially settled, I can begin to think more clearly on my next home. I am still waiting to see what the Lord intends to do with my parents and their long-term care needs, but for now, I can at the least, start to think toward moving "house."
This excites me because I have felt the need to move out and be on my own for a long time now. I really miss being my own person, living on my own, and having my own space. I have enjoyed this time with my parents, but as a 53 almost 54 year old formerly married woman, well, I really need to be in charge of my own life now. I need my freedom, and that means having my own place.
My plans for now are to rest in this area. I cannot do much at this time other than to accept the fact that the Lord does intend to move me, and that He will reveal the where and why very soon. Until then, I simply must let Him pick and choose for me. I must let Him provide as He sees fit. I must let go my wants and desires (oh, that is so hard to do because I long to decorate, renovate, and restore homes, things, possessions). I must let Him have full-control to provide the type of home He thinks is best, and to show me where and when to purchase it. I believe I will not rent any longer. I believe it is His will for me to purchase a home with land, and to take advantage of some of the special financial incentives available to low-moderate income families, and especially, to women. This seems to be what He intends to do, so I rest and let Him lead me.
Part Three: Ministry
As for now, my ministry efforts are situated around my teaching alone. I don't have time to do any other ministry efforts, even though I have felt the push to return to some sort of serving capacity. I need to rest in this area, trust the Lord, and let Him provide for me in His time. I believe in short order I will be very busy with ministry, but for now, I must attend to part one (teaching) and part two (moving). Part three will come when the timing is right and good. Selah!
As I close this blog post today, I am thankful to the Lord for His goodness. I am thankful for the work He has in store for me. I am thankful for His provision, which meets my needs with sufficiency. I am thankful that He is good to me, always so very good to me, and that today He has a great plan for my life. I am thankful for what He is doing today, and for what He intends to do tomorrow. I am thankful for His love, His grace, and His mercy. I am thankful today that He is my Lord, and as such, He cares for me. He is my everything, and today I give Him all praise, all honor, and all glory. He alone is worthy to be worshiped this good, good day! Selah! Amen, so be it. Thy will be done.