August 12, 2016

Making Sense of it All

It is Friday, finally! In some ways, I am happy to see this week end, but in other ways, I am sad to see my summer come to an end. Monday is my first day at school (at ACU), and that means, my life will begin to take on a regular routine of sorts. Yes, it will be good to get paid again (PTL!). I am looking forward to that benefit, for certain. However, there is part of me that is still wounded or should I say, "winded," over losing my contracts at Regent for semester A (the first 8 weeks) of school this fall. I sweated bloody bullets yesterday, panic stricken over what will or wouldn't be, and finally as I laid my head down to rest, I let it all go. I released it to the Lord, said my "do" about the blessing of it all, and closed my eyes for the night.

I actually slept well, really well. I crashed about 10:30 p.m., and I didn't wake up until close on 8:00 a.m. this morning. I guess there is something to be said for a solid night's rest, eh? Now, I am in a better frame of mind, and while I am still stinging a bit from the income loss, I realize that this change is one of those where "I can do nothing to change the outcome" events. You see, I didn't lose these contracts through anything on my part. No, I simply didn't get them because there weren't enough students enrolled to need my services this semester. Consider it the curse part of being adjunct. There are times when the money flows, and other times, when it doesn't. I could have done nothing to change the outcome, so rather than be all upset over it, I had to let it go. I had to trust the Lord, say "Oh well," and move on. The good news is that it doesn't mean I am not faculty there; no, not at all. It just means that this sub-semester (half of a full 16-week semester) is not going to work out for me. That is all. It is not life or career ending, it is just "what it is." So be it.

I have to consider the following as part of this overall picture. First off, the Lord is my Scheduler, and by that I mean, He is the One who oversees my teaching contracts. If He allowed these to wither away, it has to be because He needs me to do something else. Perhaps it is my dissertation or perhaps He has another job in mind for me. Either way, my time is not wasted. It is being put to good use in another area, as per He directives and His provision. I have to believe that the Lord is a capable and fearful Manager, and as such, He knows me well. If He chooses to take me off a case, well, it is for my own good. If He chooses to give me more work, then He knows I can handle it. Until then, I have to place my faith -- my complete and utter trust -- in His knowledge, and not my own.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take." Thus, if I lean on my own understanding, I will find that the path I take or the course of action I choose to take could move me in the wrong direction. Instead, I need to remember that my Lord knows my needs better than I do. He also knows what tomorrow will bring, and He knows where He intends to move me. Therefore, I cannot try to determine why this has happened or what it will mean for me; rather, I simply must wait. I must trust. I must be patient, and I must rest in His abilities, His sufficiency, and in His provision for my overall welfare. He is good to me. He is so very good to me. Selah!

Counting the Costs

Now that I am painfully aware of my income loss, some things have come to my mind. First is my need for a regular and substantive pay check. Yes, I have blogged about it incessantly, but the fact remains, I cannot keep on "getting by" with the income variability of adjunct pay. I need a regular job. I need it soon, very soon. In fact, I would say that I need it now.

Yet, what can I do about that fact? Not much. I mean, I have applied to numerous positions, but none have come to pass. I have not heard a peep from ASU, and I really doubt I will at this point in time. They said they would be making a decision before 8/17, and well, that is now only 4-5 days a way. This means, IF, they wanted me, I would have to be hired and start working in a day or two's time frame. It seems odd to me, but I don't know if this is their regular process or not. God be praised, regardless, if this is His fit for me, then it will come to pass. If it is not His choice, so be it. I am ready to do this work or to let it go -- He simply needs to do whatever He decides is best for me at this time in my life. He knows what is best, therefore, I rest in His judgement on this matter. Selah!

Outside of the "full-time" faculty status, one of the other things I need is a reduction in teaching load. Most of the full-time faculty I know of only teach a 3/3 load. Pretty much they teach what I teach at GCU. But, they get paid for being full-time. It is crazy to think that an adjunct has to teach 5-6 or 7 classes just to make a decent living these days. Crazy, indeed.

One of my good friends and colleagues at Regent is studying to get her real estate license. She says she has to do both -- teach and sell real estate -- in order to provide a solid income for herself. Of course, she hopes to move to So. CAL soon, and well, a teacher's salary will not cut it there, for sure. In my case, I have thought that perhaps I have to do multiple things, teach and do some other work, but I simply cannot fathom that at this point in my life. I am too tired right now to consider doing multiple lines of work. No, I think teaching is enough. If the Lord has other plans in mind, He is going to have to convince me that what He desires is doable for me. I don't doubt His provision -- it is more so -- that I doubt my abilities. I cannot do much more work.  I just cannot do much more work.

Other Costs in Focus

So as I think about the costs associated with living, I am stumped as to how I will make ends meet this fall. I know He has me well-covered, and I assumed my teaching contracts at Regent were going to "seal the deal" so to speak. Now that they have not come to pass, I am thinking about my next steps. What do I do now, Lord? How will I pay my bills?

Of course, as I have said already, if this is His will, then He has a way. I am confident of this fact. I am confident in knowing that He has a way for me all prepared, planned, and ready to be prospered. I simply must walk on His path, and follow as He leads.

Some needs that have recently surged forward include the need for another mode of transportation to accommodate my son's school/work and life. We are sharing my car, but frankly, this is going to get old really, really soon. Secondly, if I am to travel to Regent this spring (January), I will need money to do it. My cards are maxed, as I have said previously, so I have to figure out how I will get there for my defense. I need to get there, it is required. Thus, the Lord has to have a way in mind for me. Praise God, He has to have a way.

Other needs are simply health-related. I am struggling with this weight loss. I seem to do well, drop a pound or so, but the next day, it is back on again. I am cycling up/down, and this has been going on now for weeks. I cannot break the barrier, so to speak, to get back down to where I was a year ago. It is very frustrating for me. I need to do this -- for my health -- but also for my self-esteem. I hate to say it, but when I am 10-20 pounds heavier than I should be, I simply struggle to keep the depression at bay. I need this struggle resolved.

Lastly, I am sitting here feeling guilty over my attitude and my responses to my Mom's actions. Her dementia is a struggle on good days, but when I get to feeling depressed, as I was yesterday, well, sometimes I say things I should not say. I get angry with her. I don't keep my countenance. The sparks fly. I need this living situation resolved as well. It is only going to get more difficult for me. It is only going to get more stressful. I just am about to flip out, and I don't want to do that. It is not fair. My Mom cannot help herself, and I have compassion, pity, and love for her despite her condition. But, I am being pushed in difficult ways, and my attitude needs an adjustment. I think a need a break. I think I need a long, long, long break.

Right now, my most pressing need, if there is one, is to finish this month and keep my checking account from being overdrawn. It is close, so very close. I know He will cover me, keep me from sinking low, but I am so weary over this process. I hate being this low, this close to the bottom line. I pray He does something to resolve this, to help me, but until He does, I must wait patiently. I must be patient.

Moving On in Faith

What can I say? I am exercising my faith. I know that the little mustard seed of faith that I have can produce big results. I stick my seed in the ground, and I water it. The Lord causes that faith to grow into a mighty tree. It is part of His plan, the way He does things in and through us. I have to water that faith, I have to actively tend to it. The seed of faith is a gift of God, it is a gift from His precious Holy Spirit. But, since He gave it to me, I have to tend to it, take care of it. And that means that I must actively care for it. If I let it lay by the side of the road, let the harsh sun bake it, that little seed might die. No, I must protect it, cover it, and care for it. God will cause it to produce results, but I have to do what He has asked me to do with it. He will do His part, and I will do my part. I will believe. I do believe. I believe His word, His will, and His way are true (John 17:17b). I believe He is who He says He is. I believe in Him. I believe.

In Closing

I am no more closer to knowing what the Lord intends to do with me today than I was yesterday. I am in the exact same place, wondering and wandering, hoping that some new information will come my way and illuminate my path so I can see my way out. I ask for a way out today. I ask for His will to see me through and to help me understand. I ask for His hand of blessing to flow down to me, to help me, to carry me out of this mess. I ask Him now for His grace, His provision, and His will. In all things, I ask for His will in my life. Yes, Lord, your will be done. Selah! Aways, your will be done. Amen, so be it.

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