August 16, 2016

Tuesday, Oh Tuesday!

It is a good day here in sunny and very hot, Phoenix. Yes, the weather bug app sent me an update today with the status of "very hot" next to the posted high of 109. Oh my goodness! This is so not our monsoon weather pattern for mid-August. Normally, our Augusts run in the high 90s to low 100s, with stormy skies and rainy days. This is just more of June and July -- unbearable heat -- and insufferable sun. Will this weather ever end? I sure do hope so, I sure do hope so soon. Selah!

I woke up early today, really early, in fact. I got up around 5:00 a.m. to use the bathroom, and then got back into bed, but couldn't fall asleep. I read my phone for a bit before settling down to pray some. My buddies, of course, came in and wouldn't let me rest any, so finally I got up at 7:00 a.m. to feed, water, and clean their litter box. Yes, it was my normal morning routine -- even on my first "day off" since school started! Oh well, such is life!

It's a really good day today, despite the fact that I don't know why I feel the way I do. Perhaps it is just because I finished my chapter one revisions over the weekend, and I am all caught up for my class prep at GCU and at Regent. I am ready for my semester, Jeeves, and that is such a good feeling. Also, it might just be that I have come to terms with some things lately, and these things formerly were weighing heavy on my mind. Now that I have put this worry to rest, I feel more content, more ready, and more able to tackle my very heavy semester. I am ready, yes Lord, I am ready. Let's do this dissertation and let's get it over! BAM!

Moreover, I am excited about my progress, and for the first time, I feel confident that I can do this level of work. I have been somewhat put off by the whole project, and I was worried that I was losing my interest. But, God be praised, that interest was renewed over the weekend, and I am excited to start this work. Part of this is due to my son's involvement, and his offer to write me a program that will assist me with data collection. I am so blessed to have a son who is technical, and who knows programming!

In all, I feel good about my next steps, and I feel really confident that this is the Lord's will regarding my project and my proposed plans. He has seen me through all the ups and downs, and now that I am so close to finishing, I can feel His power as I start to think more deeply about the nuts and bolts of the project. He has me so well-covered, so very well-covered. Selah!

Stormy Nights and Stormy Thoughts

Last night, I had another one of those disturbing dreams. I woke up at 5:00 this morning after a dream-jolt.  You know what I mean -- where some part of your dream just grabs you and shakes you awake? Well, perhaps not. In my case, this happens frequently when I dream.

In my dream last night, I was with my parents in New Zealand (of all places). We were on holiday, I guess, and we were driving to the airport. As we were making our way there, the traffic was backed up on this very narrow mountainous road. We saw all these people walking beside the roadway, like just walking in a long, long line. We stopped to ask them what they were doing, and they said that there had been some sort of "event" and everyone was being rounded up and taken away (to safety, I presume). As we moved along the road, we saw this bus (like a school bus) full of school children. They were not with their families, and it appeared that they were being kidnapped. We rescued them from their captors, and they said that they had been told that due to this "event," they had to be taken away from their parents and families. We told them and the people surrounding us that in the US, there was no such "event" on the news.

In fact, we believed that the news was simply wrong, in error, and meant to cause panic. The people thanked us, but they kept on walking. We soon were escorted into the line, and then we were taken underground into this place that appeared to be a camp or detention center. The people here, doctors and nurses mostly, were assigning rooms to families, trying to keep them together. I got separated from my parents, and I asked the person in charge if I could be moved to be closer to my Mom since she was not well. The person relented, and then he moved me near by, but not right next to them. I remember sitting in my cell (it was like a cell), and thinking that my phone wouldn't work in this place. Moreover, I thought that I wouldn't be able to read my Bible on my phone, and I wished I would have brought my own copy in my bag. Later, they handed out Bibles, but they were in KJV, and while I was thankful for a physical Bible to read, I really wanted to read another translation. It was at this point when I woke up from the dream. I can still remember thinking, "This is wrong, this is not accurate" as I was jolted from my dream.

I have no idea what this dream means or even if it does mean anything. Like I have said before, sometimes I do dream things that are related to my real-life. Mostly, I dream about tornados or other catastrophic events that seem to mimic the stress I feel in my real life. Sometimes I dream nonsense, and other times, I dream things that could be like visions (future events or scenarios). Most of the time, I don't remember what I dream at all. But, lately, like the past couple weeks, I have had these very vivid story-like dreams, and whenever this happens, usually it coincides with some major change in my life. Typically, historically, previously, I mean.

After I woke up from my dream, and I did my duty to my furry-boys, I settled back in bed to read and to pray. I asked the Lord what this dream meant, and I wondered (considered) whether it was prophetic or not. I still am not sure. I've never had a dream like this before, so really, I don't have any clue as to its meaning. One thing was for sure, I was there with my parents, and we were in a foreign land. My parents were not well, like now. I was caring for them and were were together as a family. This fact is true of my real life, so I have to believe that this dream had something to do with my current situation at home. Second, the Bible factored very strongly in this dream. I felt disconnected from my phone, no wi-fi as such, and I felt that I needed my Bible to be with me. I remember thinking that I should have memorized longer passages of Scripture, and how had I done that, I could rely on my memory to recall those verses to help me during times of stress and trouble. I too often rely on the Internet for Bible searches, for definitions, study, etc. Last, I remember thinking that the rouse that got everyone to this place was predicated on fear. The story people were being told was inaccurate and untrue. They believed it, of course, and as a result, they listened to the people in charge. I knew the truth, and while I tried to share the truth, tell people that what they were doing wasn't necessary, no one really listened to me. I felt like my words had no effect. Then, of course, we were scooped up along with everyone else and taken to this place of holding. This says to me, simply, that it is very easy to be pulled along with culture, with the voices that are shouting what is error, falsehood, and biblical inaccuracy. If you are not careful, if you are not on alert, you could easily get caught up in the fray and carried along to someplace you do not want to go.

In all, I think this dream was a good reminder to me that change is coming into my life. That while things may seem steady, simple, and sure -- change is about to come into my life -- and turn things upside down. I need to be ready, to be prepared, and my defense is the WORD of God. I realize this now, and even though this dream may have been clear nonsense, one thing is true. The Word factored significantly in my dream, thus I can be assured that the Word has something important to do with my life, the events (current and future), and that it is up to me to make sure I have the Word with me at all times (and not just on my phone or computer). Yes, perhaps the Lord was reminding me that where I am going, I will need His Word inside of me, and not just at my finger tips or via the Internet.

Drawing Conclusions

As an interpretivist, I spend a lot of time thinking about situations, and I consider their implications and interpretations. I am fascinated by the process of how we make sense of our world, our reality, and our own thoughts, feelings, and understanding (especially our Biblical understanding). I am captivated by the thoughts and intentions of the mind, and how we think, how we act, and how we communicate ourselves to one another. I am excited whenever I get to think deeply, to consider these very abstract and theoretical ideas and opinions. I get excited when it comes to theory, to theory building, and to the study of this type of thinking.

As such, I love to interpret dreams. I love to interpret most anything -- cartoons, comic books, and cultural artifacts. Yes, I simply love to make sense of my world and all the things in it. This dream has meaning to me. I created it in my mind, thus there must be some meaning linked to it. I believe that dreams are irrational attempts to clarify situations that have no rational underpinning. Thus, our subconscious mind works while we are asleep to try to help us understand our world. In this way, most of our dreams are bits and bobs of things that don't make sense to us when we are awake. Our subconscious mind, however, tries to connect the dots, and since pieces of the puzzle are missing, it will often just fill in the blanks with other bits and bobs that seem to fit. What we get in the end run is a movie that doesn't really fit together, but it conveys enough meaning for our conscious mind to deal with the theme or subject presented. In short, our dreams often help us to fill in the missing pieces in our every day life. They can point us in the right direction, so to speak, but they don't really contain all the answers or all the information for us to know the truth. Sometimes they just help us see that there is a problem, and that the problem is troubling us deeply. I consider them to be at times just an illuminating mirror. If we shine the light on what is really bothering us, often we can come up with a solid answer, a good solution, and workable plan to resolve whatever tension exists between our inner and our outer worlds.
Moving Forward Despite the Unknown

I woke up today feeling good. I mean, really good -- well -- in good shape, mind, health. I am in pain today, I should mention that fact. Yes, I have leg pain and ankle pain, wrist and elbow pain. Funny how the pain is all on my right side (woah!) Still, I know where this pain comes from, and I know that right now, there is nothing I can do about it. I can take Advil, I can use ice, and I can rest. Hopefully, the pain will subside so I can focus on the work the Lord has for me to do this good, good day.

I mentioned earlier that I came to terms with some matters that have been weighing on my mind lately, and I think some of the reason why I feel so good (mentally) is due to this fact. When you are uncertain, stressed, or afraid, it is very easy to become overwhelmed by each and every situation you encounter. I felt this way, so very unsure about my life, about where I was going, and about how I was going to get there. Now, I know that while the Lord has me covered (and He does), He also has made a way for me to partner with Him, to do specific and practical work to assist in His overarching plan for my future life. I have struggled with this fact, and yet again, I was strongly tempted to throw in the towel, to give up, and to walk another way. In the end, however, I stood my ground, and those feelings passed. I received good word the other day, a bit of testimony, and that testimony helped me refocus and remain steady -- remain right where He has me. It was good, you know, to be reminded that (1) I am producing good work, and (2) that other people notice this fact and that they are working with God to bring about good things in my life. Yes, He has His hand all over my life, and that means that nothing that I am going through today is outside of His control. He has this all well in hand, for sure.

Moreover, as I processed the death of my father-in-law, whom I loved, this past weekend (it was his memorial service), I realized that my life, my former life is over. That chapter has been written, and while I still struggle with accepting that I am divorced (I think I will always struggle with this fact), I came to terms with my life (past, current) and I accepted the truth of the situation. I gave it over to the Lord, I let it go, and as such, I accepted that where I am today is okay. I may not like the fact that I am divorced. I may not like what has happened to my family. I may not like the awkwardness of my status -- but what others meant for harm -- the Lord has used for good. I am where I am today because the Lord allowed it to happen. I am here for a reason.

This said to me that my life was not happenstance nor circumstance; rather, it was planned. Of course, my free will mucked the works up quite a bit, but the Lord has taken my life in new directions DESPITE my mess. He has made something beautiful come from all the ugliness of my choices, my actions, and my deeds. Yes, He has made something good out of something that was utterly flawed and failed. He is good to me, He loves me, and He cares for me -- so His Word says. I believe His word, and I trust in His WORD, and I know He has a great plan for my life. Selah!

All of this is to say that today, I feel released. I feel relieved. I feel as though I am ready to begin these next steps, to move forward despite not really knowing what the Lord has in mind for me. I am ready to walk on. I am ready to move, to go, to do, and to live where He is sending me. I am ready to let the past stay in the past, and to embrace my future as He reveals it to me. I am ready to be ME -- after a long, long slumber -- I am ready to embrace me, all of me, and that means that I am ready to stop trying to be what everyone else thinks I should be, and to start being the person God has made me to be. I am ready, Lord. I am ready.

Last thoughts...

As I consider the plans the Lord has for my life, one thing is certain. I know that whatever He is calling me to do, He has already created a way for me to do it. I also understand that time is key -- timing, I should say. Yes, the Lord's timing is perfect. He knows my time, my coming and my going, and He knows what doors will open and what doors will close for me. More so, He knows when these doors will open and close, and as such, He knows where I need to be (as in timeline) in order to be ready to walk through the open doors. I have asked the Lord to close and lock all doors that are not of His will for me. I have asked the Lord to show me the open door of His choosing, and then to give me the grace and the help needed in order to walk through it. I want so much to do His work, to accomplish His will, and to live and do all that He intends for me to do. Until He clearly articulates my next steps, I will stay on this path, continue to move in the direction of His choosing. I will go where He sends me. I will go where He has made a way for me. I may not know what tomorrow will bring, but praise be to God, I will go on and I will trust that He will provide for me. He is good to me, so very good to me. Selah!

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