October 14, 2016

It is Official!

Miracles of miracles - I have a date set for my proposal defense. As of this morning, I will be defending my dissertation proposal on mediated communication within the American megachurch. I am excited as all “get out,” and I cannot wait to begin my research phase. It is a little scary for me to stop and think that in less than two weeks, I will be on a conference call with three professors, and I will be defending my proposed research project. I have been working on this project for almost a year and a half, and here it is, just two weeks until I get a “yay or nay” to take the next step. If, Lord willing, my committee is pleased with my work, I will begin the data collecting phase of my research. I have no idea, really, of how long it will take to collect website data from 15 megachurch websites. The process itself should be really interesting, and regardless of what I find eventually, I think the whole experience will be phenomenal. I mean, after all, you only get to do a dissertation once in your life (well, most folks anyhow), so the thought of that fact just makes me go all “giddy.” The Lord has me well-covered, and I am sure everything will work out for my best. He has this in His blessed hand, and I am trusting Him to see me through to the end. Staying strong through to the finish line! Selah!

Preparing My Mind

It is a good day, then, to reflect on all that the Lord has done for me. I am in awe of His power and His presence, and I stop today to give Him my time (my worship time). He is worthy of my time, my attention, and my praise — so I stop what I am doing — and I lift up a sacrifice of praise this good, good day.

I am not sure if you have had to give a defense before, but it is a weirdly odd practice. In truth, unless you are a lawyer or you have been called to give a deposition at some point in time, you probably wouldn’t normally do one. A defense in argument is simply stating your proposed position and then making a clear argument as to why your position is valid. I teach my English students how to defend their position on various topics as part of the curriculum used for composition II classes. I love this format, and it is my preferred composition class whenever possible. I guess you could say that I love argument (not arguing, mind you), and that I love the logical and analytical way used to present a defense.

The dictionary defines the word, “defense,” as “the action of defending from or resisting attack” or as “the case presented by or on behalf of the party being accused or sued in a lawsuit” (Dictionary.com, 2016). Merriam-Webster includes “an argument in support or justification” as part of the definition of defense, and in my case, this last part fits my proposal well. In my proposal defense, I will be defending by argument (with facts and justification) my method for analyzing megachurch websites. I will lay out my case for my project, my research questions, my choice of population for study, and my proposed approach in order to be granted permission to proceed to the data collection and analysis phase of the research itself. It is very logical, ordered, and the process used, ensures that (1) I know what I am doing, and (2), my research is worthy of the time, the attention to detail, and the overall cost associated with producing scholarship. My prayer is that my committee will feel my preparation time in writing my defense has been worth it, and that I have made a strong argument or case for my research study.

Only the Lord knows the outcome, but my heart and my mind are convinced that I am doing exactly what He desires me to do. This means that my entire proposed project is of His design. I am trusting Him for the outcome, and as such, I am trusting Him for the presence I need to defend my projected research. He is good, so very good to me! Selah!

Thus, between now and the 25th of October, I need to prepare my mind for my defense. Mostly, this just means to get my little ducks in a row, to lay out my case in a very logical and ordered fashion, and then walk my committee through the entire process. I can do it; I know I can! He is good — He will guide me, lead me right on through it, and provide the “stamina” needed to finish well. I believe it in faith; I claim it in faith; and I rest in it — yes, in faith. He who is faithful will see me through to completion. It is so, it is so!

My plans, therefore, are to proceed with my project in a very straightforward manner. I am going to work my way through each step and make sure to thoroughly detail and take notes along the way. I am confident that He will help me to “dot the eyes and cross the tees” as the saying goes — so that I am covered — and not lacking any sufficiency in the method. It is a challenge, of course, or I should say, “it will be a challenge,” to manage my schedule. I have a lot of work to do starting in November, and with school in high-gear, well, my time is going to be “slammed.” But, praise be to God, I am endeavoring nonetheless and I will do this work. I will do it with His help alone.

He is my ROCK, my REFUGE, and my STRONG TOWER. He has me so well-covered, praise be to God, so well covered. In truth, I have November as a good month for research. In this month alone, I have the 11th as a holiday and the entire week of Thanksgiving off. This means that I will have one three-day weekend to collect data and then analyze it. I also have essays to grade, classes to manage, and the like, but somehow the Lord will prevail. He will see me through it all. I believe it. I believe it.

So with this in mind, today, I give Him thanks and praise. I pray,

I am ready, Lord. I am ready to do this work, and I thank you that this is the work you have chosen for me to do. I ask now that you will see to all the details, the dates, and the data collection. I need you to manage this project, and I give you all the praise, the honor, and the glory this good, good day. You alone are worthy to receive all praise, so I lay down my desires, my needs and my wants, so that you can be honored in this work. You will take the credit, not I. You will receive the praise, not my name. I give all things to you, and to you alone, for you are so worthy to receive recognition, honor, and praise today. I ask for your blessing, your provision, and your goodness over my project, my proposal defense, and my process as I undertake this final step in my PhD program. I ask this all now in the name of Jesus, Amen!

In Closing

As I close this blog post today, I am humbled at His mighty work, His provision, and yes, His goodness toward me. I cannot even begin to tell you how much it means to me to be at this final place, this last hurdle, and to know that I am so close to finishing what has been the biggest dream of my life. The Lord has truly granted me the desires of my heart, and praise be to God, I will give Him all the glory because of it. He is good, so very good, and I will shout out with the rocks and the stones in order to give Him praise this good, good day. Amen!

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