November 30, 2016

Last Day of School

It is a good Wednesday here in sunny and chilly Phoenix. I woke up early this morning, even though I didn’t need to do so. I guess I am just wired to get up before 7 a.m. these days. I made myself stay in bed for about 45 minutes before I roused myself and started my day. My boys needed feeding, as did Lenny (the Fish). I had a pretty sweet morning at ACU, despite the fact that I had only 4 of my 8 students show up today. Sigh! Such is the life of the adjunct at this small Christian college. Still, in all, my morning went very well. I am blessed, so very blessed, to be able to teach at such fine schools. I really give thanks and praise to God today for His amazing provision of good, practical, and satisfying work. He is good to me, so very good to me.

I am home now for my short break between schools. I had my second cup of coffee and a nice Boston Cream donut from Dunkin' Donuts. I am sitting in my home office, blogging and checking on students. In all, I am in such a sweet, warm, and wonderful place. I am happy. I am content. I am good. I give all the praise, the honor, and the glory to my God, my Savior, my King. He is good to me, so very good to me.

Thinking Today

As I was driving over to ACU this morning, I couldn’t help but think about all the good things the Lord has done for me recently. Of course, I am thankful for my doctoral program, and my recent blessing of software to complete my dissertation (more on that later). But, mostly, I am thankful for the jobs He has provided to me. When I first started to teach, I was thankful for one class. Now, I have a bountiful blessing in that I am teaching 6 classes at three different schools. The combination of classes has given me great experience, and my income is now in a good place, overall. The Lord has dealt bountifully with me (Ps. 13:6).

The past couple weeks, I have had the great pleasure to purchase some things for my room. In this way, I have been able to enjoy the blessing of working full-time, even though I am not full-time faculty at any of my schools. I am looking forward to that happening soon, but until then, I am very thankful for what I do have — which is — solid work, contracts for spring, and the HOPE of full-time work at the end of my PhD.

My life is good right now. I mean, it is really good. I was thinking about this again as I was on my way home from ACU. I was giving praise and testimony to the Lord, thanking Him for His bountiful blessing, His protection, and His constant guidance as I learned how to live on my own after so many years of marriage. More so, I was thanking Him for the years of my marriage, the long hard and difficult years, because despite the pain, the sorrow, and the unfortunate outcome, the Lord provided for me. He kept a roof over my head, and He always made sure I had enough to eat. My son was provided for as well, and while we didn’t have stability in the way we do now, we had enough, and the Lord covered us.

Today, of course, things are very different for me. I am getting to do my dream job. I have a good place to live, and I do enjoy living with my parents. I have enough, and in fact, I would say that I have plenty. My crops yield their produce and I am well-fed. In many ways, I have reaped what has been sown these past 10 years. I have spent a great deal of time developing my skills and the Lord opened doors to provide a job that would satisfy me. He also gave me good things to do such as school and studies. Moreover, He made a path that was clear and direct so that I could find a solid way of living.

Now that I am almost finished with my studies, I can see how my life will turn out. In fact, I can imagine it this way:

  • Teaching full-time at a Christian University
  • Earning my PhD (May)
  • Producing scholarship in Rhetorical Studies as well as Communication (Religious)
  • Mentoring and advising students
  • Mentoring and advising my son
  • Caring for my parents
  • Caring for my pets
  • Enjoying friends, fellowship, and family at my church
Really, my life is very simple now. I have a good job. I have a nice home. I have my family. I have friends, colleagues, and peers. I have purpose. My life has value, and I have a goal in mind for it. I can see my days as they unfold, as I mature and age, and as I develop new interests as the Lord leads and guides me. I am in such a good place, mentally. I have no stress, no drama, no pain. I live my life freely. I go where I please, and I do what I please (within the Lord’s boundaries for me). I enjoy everyday living because I am alive, and I am doing what the Lord has asked me to do.

Furthermore, right now, I have everything I need and want. I may not be married, but I am happy as a single person. I may not have a future husband, but for now, I have the Lord as my covering. I am in a safe place, and I am secure in my new found and created identity. The Lord has seen to it. He has given me the grace to become the woman of His choosing, and I am well-pleased with the outcome. Honestly, I can think of nothing else in this life that I desire, want, cherish, or need. He has met all my needs with sufficiency, and I am blessed, so very blessed.

Imagining a Different Outcome

It was just last night when I prayed to the Lord, and I asked Him to help me see my future for what it can be, rather than what it is now. I mean by this, I asked to see the possibilities of my life so that I could renew my hope, restore my faith, and begin to rest in His abilities to provide rather than my own. I know I am in a good place right now. I have a good future ahead of me (Jer. 29:11). I also have opportunities for success that could take me in many different directions. I am no longer seeking a job to solve my problems. I am no longer looking to a place to entertain or excite me. I am no longer hoping that a person will fill my needs, satisfy my longing, or even soothe my sorrows. No, I am 100% content with what the Lord has provided to me. He has shown me His goodness, and for that, I am so very thankful.

Sometimes, it is difficult for me to see the pictures of my friends, former friends from school and such, and to see their happy in-tact families. Sometimes I wish my life was like these pictures. I would love to see me face smiling as I post to Facebook that “Thankful for Us” meme that popped up around Thanksgiving. I have no “Us” to put in that picture. I have myself, my son, and my parents, and while I am thankful for my family, I have no “Us” to display for the world to see. I am single, and I am content to be so. I believe the Lord has called me to be single at this time in my life. He made it possible for me to handle the transition, to not be devastated beyond repair when my marriage failed. In many ways, He helped me cope with the transition, and in doing so, my life has become more than I ever expected. I am in this wonderful place where I have full authority and control over the outcome. I mean, not that there is anything wrong with the outcome of marriage, mind you. I still believe in marriage as the union between one man and one woman — for life. I still believe in God’s covenant of marriage. I strongly support marriage and family as God’s design for His kingdom, it is just that right now and for the next term (however long that may be), I simply see my life as evolving into full-fledged single personhood. I am single for a reason. I am content to remain this way, and unless the Lord chooses otherwise, I must remain as I am for this time.

My heart flutters some when I see happy families and loving couples. I do thank the Lord for their love, their devotion, and I pray that their commitment to one another and to their children remains strong. It is just that I don’t see that as part of my future now. I did, for a time. I really hoped it would be so, but with my life and its complications, frankly, I see myself as remaining as I am indefinitely. I am not ruling out all hope, mind you; it is just that I am in the very good place right now, and I see all the advantages of remaining as I am. I see great possibilities for ministry, for movement, and for missions — all because — I am single.

In some ways, I am like Paul, I guess. I am a scholar, a teacher, a student, and I love academic life. I love my role as a professor, and I feel now more than ever that this is role I was destined to have, albeit rather late in life. Now that I am a professor, I see how wonderfully satisfying it is to have this particular role. I am absolutely in love with my role, and I love that I learn from my students every day. I am not a super professor at all. I make horrible mistakes, and I say things I shouldn’t. But, God has graciously covered me, and I see how wonderfully fulfilled I am right now. It feels good to be me today, and for that blessing, I give Him all my worship and praise. He has done this for me. He has made this way possible, and I give Him all my thanks and my praise.

Second, I relish in my freedom. I cannot really say this without sounding too boorish, but the truth is that I have this amazing sense of freedom. I guess when you have believed you were caged up for so long, unable to live your life as God was calling you to live, and without any sense or thought of rescue, you begin to lose the desire to fly free. The Lord gave me my freedom, and I intend to use it. I mean, it is not like He caused or wanted me to be divorced, it was just that He didn’t do anything to prevent it from happening. The result of sinful choices brought divorce to a head, and I was given a choice to either continue to accept those choices or stand for what the Word of God said about them. I chose the latter, and through a difficult and hard fought battle, I ended up with divorce as my only option. I put it off for years, but in the end, I made the awful decision to bear the stigma of divorce, to walk away from the sin, and to start over. The Lord was there for me. He redeemed me, and He gave me a new life. He opened that cage door and said to me, “Choose to stay or choose to fly,” and I said I would fly, but only with His help. He has helped me, graciously, completely, and without hesitation, I have trusted in His power and authority over my life. In many ways, I returned to my parents home as would have been the case 100 years ago, and I accepted the fact that my life would be single from that point on.

Third and last, with that new found freedom, I have come to see the benefit of being alone. I think, again as Paul so eloquently expressed, that there was blessing in remaining as you were called. I am single, and as a single person, the Lord has far greater ability to move me, to send me, to take me wherever He delights. He doesn’t have to stop to think about others, a husband, for example, who may or may not be “free” to go. He can simply say to me, “Carol, I have need of you to go here,” and then He will up and move me. I am free to go, and that thought excites me and terrifies me all at the same time. Could He send me overseas, to Paris, to Berlin, or other unknown places? Yes, He could do this, if this was His will and wish and desire. He could also keep me right where I am today, and simply plant me, water me well, and let me bloom in this desert place. I am able to go and to do His work and His will without any hindrance, whereas a married couple or family with children, often cannot up and move without a great deal of logistical planning. I am free, and I have limited “things” that attach me to this place. I have no possessions (relatively few). I own no home. I have my car, and my personal things, but truthfully, I have about 110 square feet of “stuff” to pack. The rest doesn’t belong to me, so in reason, I am really able to be moved quickly and without a lot of fuss.

God has made a way for me, and this good, good day, I am beginning to see the blessing of it. I am in a perfect place, doing a perfect job, and living a perfect life. Granted, when I say “perfect,” I don’t mean perfect by the world’s standard; rather, I mean “perfect” in the sense that it is perfectly designed by the Hand of God, and in this way, it suits me, fits me, is tailored specifically to my needs, my desires, my wishes, and my wants. I am where I belong, and I have finally found my sweet spot. I know who I am, where I am going, and what the Lord intends to do with me. I have finally figured it out, and in that way, I am fully, completely, and utterly at rest in His goodness, His good Name, and with His good provision. I am finally the person God designed, ordained, and predestined to become all those years ago. I have arrived, and yes, this means, that in a short amount of time, I am going someplace wonderful — with His provision, His goodness, and His grace.


In Closing

As I close out this blog post, I realize, perhaps for the first time, that my life has been perfected crafted, and it is now perfectly executed. Everything leading up to this point in time has been planned. I know this now, everything has worked out for my good. Yes, it wasn’t all fun and games, and the difficult parts were very difficult, indeed. But, I survived childhood trauma, physical and sexual abuse, manipulation and control, and long-suffering hardship while I waited for my savior to rescue me. I have been rescued, redeemed, and restored, and now I am ready to take on the responsibility of the life the Lord has perfectly created and crafted for me to experience, to walk in, and to enjoy. He has made this way possible, and I stand in awe of His blessing, His provision, His security and safety, and I say, “YES, LORD. I WILL GO!” I am ready to say these words with full faith and confidence that the path the Lord has for me to walk on will be blessed, highly favored, and good. I believe His word to me is true. I trust Him as my Lord. I am ready, Lord. I am ready to go where you send me this good day. I am ready, so very ready to go.

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