September 1, 2016
He is Faithful
I am actually doing pretty well today. My Tuesday-Wednesday were miserable, hence my lack of blog posts on those days. I wore sandals to work on Monday, and after teaching for five hours, my legs were on fire, burning like I was standing on hot coals, and my feet and hips throbbed from the pain all night and on into the next day. I am still sore (muscles), but I am feeling better (finally). Yes, lesson learned. Do not wear sandals to work.
I slept soundly, praise be to the Lord, and I am feeling refreshed today. I have struggled with some doubts and my enemy hit me hard with condemnation all yesterday and throughout the overnight, but this morning, I am feeling more at peace, and definitely, more at ease. Today, thus, looks to be a good day all around. I have already tackled some grading, and met student needs (online), so really the rest of my day is open. I have plans to work on my big paper some today, and to take care of some online business, but other than that, I am going to REST! I am going to simply relax and enjoy this blessed day.
The Lord, My Provider
It is September 1, 2016. Officially, it is the start of the new school year. My schools started back in mid-August, and this week, GCU returned to class. In all, my summer has been long, long, long, and while I appreciated the time off, the long dry season (with no pay) has been very difficult to endure. I trusted in my God, my Savior, and my King to see me through to the end of the summer, and once again, He has proven Himself faithful to me. He has seen to it that my bank account did not run dry. It came so close, so very close, and there were times when I thought for certain, my accounts would be overdrawn. Yet, the Lord sustained me, and He provided for me. Today, I am praising God for His marvelous provision. I am safe now. I am sound again. My financial picture is no longer bleak. I can rest in His provision this good, good day. I can place my trust in Him, believe in Him, and rest in Him. He is faithful. He keeps His promises. He is a PROMISE KEEPER.
I cannot tell you what it means to me today to have peace once again in this area of my life. Just yesterday, as I was driving home from GCU, I was praying and I asked the Lord for peace in every area of my life. I asked specific for my enemies to seek a truce, to seek reconciliation so that there would be no tension in my life. I have been praying specifically for His countenance, for His supernatural ability to be filled with His grace, to walk in His grace, and to extend His grace to everyone I meet. I desperately needed His grace to flow over me, to cause my enemies to set down their weapons and to reside with me in harmony and not discord. I prayed and I asked the Lord to make whatever changes He knew were best for me, and I said I would do whatever He asked of me in order to bring peace into my home, my work, and my study.
As I consider peace, the necessity of peace, one thing comes to mind: the Lord desires us to be at peace, at peace with Him and at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Psalm 133 is a psalm that the Lord generally brings to my mind often. In it, we are reminded how much peace among the brethren delights our Lord. We must strive to be at peace, always seeking peace, and always desiring peaceful relationships (whenever possible) with all people. I realize that this is not always possible, but still, the desire is there and the need for peace is great. How contentious a people are we? I mean, just take a look on social media and you will see how we rail and rant against our brothers and sisters. We must not be this way, and peace, must be a way of life.
I struggle with peace here in my home. Though I would say that for the most part, I do live in peace. Yet, there are tensions that rise up, and those tensions cause concern for me. My prayer for my home is for there to be no more tension in it at all, and for my life, by extension, to be filled with peace. I want to live in such a way that there is little contention, little distraction, and little discord -- when possible. I realize I desire a fantasy of solidarity, but I do believe as Christ followers, we are called to live peaceably among the nations. We are not to be people who cause discord, especially among the church.
I think about peace, and I think about the things, the matters that cause us to lose our peace so easily. One of biggest factors is financial matters, the lack of wealth or the pursuit of wealth, and another is the tenuous relationship dynamics that often are strained as a result. Let me explain...
I live in a home shared with my parents. As such, I am responsible for half the rent and utilities. I also pay for a portion of food. In all, my part is reasonable, but with my summer lull in pay, this has caused tension to escalate as I was unable to keep my part of the agreement toward the end of the summer. Money and money matters can cause great contention between family members, and while I am blessed to live with my parents and to have a good relationship with them, the constant stress on financial obligations has caused a rift between us. It has been difficult at times, and as the years have progressed, it has become even more challenging. Now, I am in this weird place, quasi-dependent yet still very independent. I am my own person. I am my own manager, and yet, I struggle with the role and the responsibilities I have to keep.
The Lord has graciously provided for me. He has kept me in good stead over the past 8 years. He has kept my little ship afloat, and as a result, I am able to manage my own home, my own needs, and my own way with care and regard. Now, though I am finding it difficult to keep peace, and that simply is to say, that I am unable to keep the tension at bay without altering my life to such an extent that I would walk outside the Lord's will for me. As such, I am feeling more and more strained to find a permanent solution to my living situation. I am ready, of course I am, but I am now feeling the desire, the need, and the emphasis necessary to push me to move out on my own. Yes, I am feeling the need to make a change in order to bring peace back into my life, and to make my home as peaceful as possible.
Right now, I know that the Lord intends for me to remain where I am for a time only. I have tentatively set my departure for next summer (2017). I believe that the Lord intends for me to have a full-time position in ministry as opposed to teaching now. Weird as that may sound, it really isn't that far off the mark. Technically, I teach full-time. I am just not employed as such. Most of my friends who are full-time faculty teach 3 classes each semester. I teach five at present, but I teach 3 at GCU, and then 1 each at two other schools. This means that I am full-time, but without a full-time salary and the commitments that come from full-time.
The more I think about my life, pray about the options, the more I see the possibility of working full-time in ministry, using my communications education for the Church all the while I continue to teach as part-time, adjunct faculty (online). It is doable, and I can see myself being happily employed at a church and also teaching students. My prayer, of course, is to wait and see what the Lord provides for me to do. I need a full-time position soon, and while I have sought full-time teaching positions for the past couple years, nothing has really materialized on that front. Furthermore, I have sought full-time positions in industry, but I have not made any headway in that direction either. The only direction I have not moved is toward full-time ministry so that is my next quest. If the Lord desires it, I believe it will come to pass. If the Lord wants me to pursue this as a career path, a direction, I believe He will show me the way to go. For now, I am trusting in His provision. He is Jehovah-Jireh, and as my provider, it is up to Him to direct my steps, to lead me toward His promised provision.
One thing I am sure of is this: the Lord has a plan for my life, and that plan is for my good. It is designed and it is directed toward one end -- fulfilling His will for my life, and bringing me to the place of completion, helping me to finish this race of faith with strength, with honor, and with discipline. I am His to do with as He pleases, and that means that wherever He sends me for work, I will work unto Him to bring Him praise, honor, and glory (1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:23).
I have known for a long time that I am to use my education for ministry and not for a job. By this I mean that I knew I wasn't to become a communications teacher at the end of my PhD. I was to focus on the church, and on issues affecting the church. My focus throughout my time at Regent has been critically narrowed to this end. I have written papers on various issues within the church, and my dissertation is also along these lines. Thus, I know that God intends for me to help the church communicate faith more effectively, and that means that I must be positioned within the church or in a position that would afford me access to the church in order to do that work. I guess I didn't think of working in a church as an option. It was in the back of mind, but not the forefront, per se. I simply figured the Lord would provide a way for me to serve in communications (like as a volunteer), but in truth, now I see that He has something else in mind. Well, I think this is the case. I feel it may be the case, I mean.
The weird thing is that for me to be able to do this work, I have to be hired full-time at a church. Yes, I have to be hired in a communications role, and with my age, and previous experience, I wonder what church would want to hire me at all. Churches tend to hire professional people, young and energetic people who will work hard for little money. I am pretty set in my ways, and while I don't mean to use that as an excuse, I simply mean to say, I speak my mind and that could get me into trouble. Still, I feel like if this is the Lord's will for me, He will open a door and make a way.
For now, I am content to remain where I am. I have enough work through December to pay my bills. My prayer is for a full-time opportunity to come to me soon, perhaps in the next month or so, just in order to get ready for a transition come January. I honestly do not think I can survive another summer like this past one. I mean, I know I cannot do it. I cannot go into summer 2017 without full-time employment. My body cannot take the stress. I have to have my life resolved, and I have to have my life ordered so that I no longer suffer this way.
My prayer today has been to let the Lord lead me in this new unchartered direction. I am content to remain as I am, and by that I mean, to remain as a professor. I love what I do, but the uncertainty of the field is a worry. My prayer is to have this discord removed, and for a full-time position that would allow me to teach part-time (as I am at present), come to pass. The extra income earned from teaching will provide what I need to save for retirement as well as to help pay my debt. My hope is to be able to be debt free within the year, Lord willing, and then to remain debt free on through the course of my life. I know this is His will for me, so I have asked Him to provide a way for me to do this now.
Today is a good day. I am at rest. I am at peace. My hope and my prayer are for the Lord to do whatever He desires in and through me today. May His word and His will come to pass, and may I surrender fully to His commands, His directives, and to His will in every area of my life. Selah!