August 14, 2016

Blessed Sunday!

It's official! It is my last day before school starts at Arizona Christian University. I am ready to get started. I think I have my class setup correctly, and I feel good about my teaching content. Of course, I tweaked it some from last year, so some of my power points and coursework will need to be revised prior to the day I teach it, but overall, I think I am in good shape. I am ready, praise be to God, I am ready.

In other good news, I finished my chapter 1 revisions yesterday. Yes, I finished my revisions (finally) and sent them off to my chair yesterday late evening. I am relieved, so very relieved. This chapter, in particular, has been such a bug-a-boo for me. It has been so difficult to write, and I still am not 100% happy with it. I will say that I like it a lot more than I did when I first sent it for review. It reads better, flows better, and I think, makes a lot more sense overall. I feel reconnected to the work, which is such a big deal, and I feel better about the scope of this project.

In short, the process of rewriting major portions of my chapter one was a good one. The process was good for me -- all the ick, pain, and complaints -- actually gave way to smooth writing and a good solid outcome (yay!) Now to wait for chapters 2 and 3 and the suggested changes for each of them, and then I should be ready to defend my proposal in September. I think I am on track for now, which is such a good thing. My professor says so, and I am trusting his timing. If I can propose my defense in September, I should be able to collect my data in October. This would leave analysis and writing for November-December. It is very possible that I might not be able to defend the final version in January, but that is okay. So long as I defend before March, I should be on track to graduate in May (my goal). God is good to me, so very good to me. I feel very confident that I am on the right track now, that this rewrite puts me in a good position, and that with these remaining edits to come, I will have a solid proposal to present to my committee come September. Lord willing, of course, Lord willing.

Plans for the Day

My plans for today include church at 11 a.m. (if I can get over there in time) and review/revision of my first week's power points for class. I also need to revise student essays so they can work on them this last week of class (at OCU). Other than that, I think I will rest quite a bit and enjoy the downtime (the last for a while). I am so thankful that I have two weeks in between ACU's start and GCU's start. I am ready for GCU. I set up my online classroom already so really I just need to review those power points and adjust the course dates (for some errors) before school begins on the 29th of August. All in all, I am good today. I am resting, trusting in His provision, and letting all this be. I am not panicking, yet, and I am setting my faith squarely on His shoulders and letting Him reign.

I still don't have any final confirmation on the job at ASU or on my contracts at Regent. I think it is odd that ASU hasn't let me know about the job yet. School begins on the 18th, and here it is the 14th, and well, I have no knowledge of whether I am still in the running or not. I am not sure what is going on with them, but praise God, I am sure it is fine. I am sure it will be fine.

My classes at Regent currently show the status as "closed." I noticed that school doesn't start until the 22nd, so I am holding out hope that perhaps those sections will be opened soon and I will have at least one class to teach. I need to reach out to my chair to ask if I should setup those classes since the status is closed. I think I will do that today, just to show my interest in them.

As of now, I am content to teach my normal sections on campus at GCU and ACU for the fall. I would have preferred to have these extra courses through Regent, just to have the experience and to have the extra cash on hand, but the Lord knows me well. If it is His will for me to not have the extra teaching duties so I can focus on my dissertation, so be it. In truth, I think teaching four classes and finishing my project is enough. I think it is enough.

For now, I will wait and see. I am struggling some with being patient. I am struggling with trust issues again, but overall, I think I am okay. I think it will be okay. My prayer is to be free from this cycle of poverty, and to move into a role where I can work full-time, earn a full-time salary, and have less stress and worry over money, especially over the summer. I knew it would be difficult for me to manage my summers, but this year has been especially difficult. I am really worried, more so than ever, and that stress combined with my "other" stress has really taken a toll on me physically. I need a steady pay-check, even if it means I have to give up my summers off. Yes, I need a full-time job in order to be at rest, to relax, and to stop this cycle of up and down, up and down, up and down.

It is funny how this comes about each year. In the past, I always had some of my financial aid refund to get me through to the end of the summer. But this year, I have had no extra. I am not sure why, but I think it was because of the way it was dispersed. Anyway, I went into the summer on low, and now I am scraping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. I really cannot take much more of this. I really cannot take much more of this at all.

Part of me wants to start looking for a full-time job as soon as my degree is conferred. I want to wait until I defend my dissertation in January, and then, I plan to start looking hard for a full-time job that will pay me an annual salary. I am still praying for the Lord to bring me a full-time teaching position, but frankly, at this point in time, I will do just about anything, any type of work so long as I get paid a decent amount to do it. Yes, I am thinking I will do any work the Lord provides to me.

My heart is fixed on teaching. My heart and my mind are settled in this way. Yet, I think I cannot make enough money to live on comfortably, and I cannot get by in this life on just my own salary. I think teachers who do well are those that are married, where they have dual incomes, and both spouses contribute to the families needs. In my case, it is just me. It will be just me. This means that I have to handle everything. Of course, the Lord is my provider. He is my provision. He is the One who brings me rain and food and shelter. Still, I think that perhaps I need something different, something that would pay a better wage long-term.

I don't want to go back into that "who will hire me" line of thinking again. No, I don't want to struggle to find work. Yet, I do think, I wonder about it. How will I survive? How will I go where He is sending me?

I know that the Lord doesn't send us out without provision. This is a certainty. Thus, wherever He intends to send me, He must have a job in mind for me. I have been thinking about working from home for a year or so now. At first, I thought it would be the perfect fit for me. I was so tired, you know, and standing on my feet all day just doesn't do it for me. Now, I am thinking that perhaps I need a regular office job, working for a good company where I can enjoy my daily work, and where I can simply relax and do mindless work. You know, the kind of work where you leave it at the office at the end of a day's shift. I would like to have my evenings and my weekends free again. I would like to travel, and I would like very much to be able to do what I want to do. I know I am picky about things. I know I am particular about what I like and I don't like.

So here I am thinking to myself, "how will I make it through to the end of the month?" Personally, I hate being in this position. I absolutely hate being in this position, yet I know I am where I am for a reason. The Lord has me here, and until He releases me to move in another direction, I have to stick to my guns, stand my ground, and plod on. I must keep on walking. Perhaps there will be a door open down the road, just a bit farther than where I am today. Perhaps if I just wait for another couple weeks the skies will appear so much sunnier, clearer. I know He has me well-covered, and for now, I am where I am because this is the path I have chosen. He allowed me to walk this way, and this is the way in which I will remain, in which I will stay. Lord, be praised. God be willing. He will see me through, He will see me through. Selah!

Leaning on and Trusting in the Lord

So it all comes down to this fact: either you are leaning on the Lord or you are leaning on your own self. Yes, it is one way or the other. You cannot have it both ways. I know I am leaning on, abiding in, and resting in the Lord. Yet, I still worry. I still fear. I still panic. I want to be strong, steady, and to no longer go willy-nilly one way or another. I want to be fixed; I want to be in a permanent situation where I no longer have to worry anymore. I don't think I am wrong in wanting this to pass. Honestly, it is not like I am asking for a million dollars to drop from the sky -- no not at all. I simply want to be settled, to have a plan that I can work from so that I know where I am going. I think not having a long-term plan is what bothers me the most. I want a long-term plan, you know, like one that is farther out than say December. I really would like to know for sure where I will be in 5, 10, or even 20 years. Granted, I am not asking to know that I will be living in x, y, or z place; rather, it is more like knowing whether I will be teaching.  Lord, will I be a professor? I really would like to know that my future is secure, and that folks, is the final rub of the matter.

What I want and what the Lord wants are two different things. I hear Him tell me this, and I think, "No, Lord, I want what you want!" But in truth, what I want is to know the future, and what He wants is for me to trust Him FOR the future. See the difference? I want to know now what my life will be like down the road, and the Lord says to me, "I've got you covered, Carol. Trust me." I want to know if I will be stuck here in Phoenix for another year, working part-time, struggling through another summer, etc. He says, "I have a plan and it is good. Trust me." I say, "Lord, I am trusting you," but then I don't behave as if I am trusting Him. I worry. I fret, I panic, and I start to get antsy, wiggly, and will not sit still. Yes, I am such a child. I am like my own child who begged and pleaded to be let out of his carseat while we were on long drives. I knew it was best, safest for him to remain restrained. He just wanted out -- NOW! After a time of his screaming and crying, I relented -- but only for a short while  -- when we stopped to let him run and play. A child's length of patience is limited, and no where near as long as that of an adult.

In so many ways, I am like that child. I want out NOW. My Father in Heaven is the best judge of when it is time to run free. He says remain still because it is best for you, safest for you. I scream, I wriggle, and I attempt to get out of the harness, but the Lord doesn't relent. He says "stay still until we arrive." In the end, I have to let go. I have to say, "Yes, Lord," and mean it.

Lord, I mean it today. I will rest in this matter. I will stop straining at the harness and let you drive me to our destination. You are good, you are God, and you do know what is best for me. I give you thanks, praise, and honor this good, good day. You are good, and I trust you. I rest today, I rest.

"Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world."
Psalm 46:10 NLT

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