November 6, 2016

Round Two

It is the morning after, and I am alive! Yes, I survived my first day of research, and frankly, I am overjoyed with my process and my progress. I was so unsure of what I was doing yesterday, but after I found a new tool (hooray), I realized that I had hit “gold.” Yes, I hit the jackpot, and now I am feeling so much more confident about my entire data collection process. I have to give all the praise and honor to the Lord, however. I mean, I would not have found this software had I not trusted Him to guide me to it. I really believe He did just that. I mean, I know there are naysayers out there who say it was circumstance, happenstance, but I can tell you that it just “ain’t so.” I believe I was divinely guided to a program, that after purchasing and downloading, has simply jump started my research, and more than likely, saved me at least two-three weeks worth of work. Yes, I am jazzed. I am so excited, and like I said, I am giving God all the glory and the honor. He is good. He is so very good to me! Selah!

The amazing thing is this: I knew that starting yesterday, my life would be kicked into overdrive. I am down to 5-6 weeks of school, and that means, that I have more work now then before. I have over 180 student essays to grade between now and the end of the semester. I also have tests, quizzes, exams, and discussion board posts to keep track of as well as the general grading required when teaching 6 college English courses. Yes, I am slammed. Then I have this project, my dissertation research, and since it is on a narrow timeline, I was absolutely panicked about sticking to my schedule.

Yesterday, I had so much work to do, and despite the odds, I accomplished everything on my to-do list for the week (see right). This is my week-at-a-glance. Every week this semester has looked similar. I mean, I simply have so many tasks to accomplish over the course of 5-7 days. It is wonderful when the Lord comes alongside of me and simply gives me a helping hand. I was going to say, “push,” but that is not how He does it with me. I don’t need a push, I need an extra pair of hands. I need help, and this week, in particular, the Lord really provided it. I was able to finish everything listed, and while I still have a few things (see the star at the bottom), I am so close to wrapping up this entire week. Today will be another data collection day, but if everything goes as well as it did yesterday, I should have half my data downloaded by the end of this day alone. Praise God! He is good, so very good to me!

Being Prepared

These past couple weeks, the Lord has been speaking to me about being prepared. I have heard Him say, “It is time to prepare” in more ways than one. I mean, I sleep and I hear whispers. I wake and I find I am thinking about preparation, being prepared. I write about it on my blog, and I create lists and task sheets all with the intention of getting myself prepared. But, prepared for what? As weird as it may seem, I simply feel like I am to prepare myself for the next phase of my life. I don’t have all the details nor do I really understand what the Lord intends to do, but I have this sense within me that says I need to “heed” His still small voice and obey. Yes, I need to obey.

So today, I woke up with thoughts of preparation again. What does this mean? How can I prepare if I don’t know what I am preparing for? Yes, my thoughts exactly! In truth, I sort of do know what I need to prepare for and that is to make myself ready to physically move, to change jobs, and to leave college life behind and embrace my new life as a full-time faculty member. Moreover, I also know that part of my “preparation training” includes some personal items. I need to lose weight and get fit. I have been blogging about these two things for now on 8 months, and well, I am no where closer to my goal of 20 pounds down than when I first mentioned it back in March of this year. I understand that part-and-parcel with my preparedness is getting myself physically ready to move, and that means, to get into better shape, and to build some muscle.

Lastly, I also realize that I need to make some financial preparations as well. I am doing much better financially now that I am teaching at Regent University. The Lord has graciously provided work to me, part-time, online, and in that way, I have come to earn a nice paycheck twice each semester (Regent pays 1/2 and 1/2, in arrears). It actually works to my favor because I don’t look for this money to arrive, but it comes at a most blessed time. The Lord has helped me manage my finances well this semester, but I have to make some changes and that means cutting back in some places and expanding in others. For example, my son will need a car come January. We have done the ride-sharing for a semester now, and while it has worked well, next semester he has classes starting at 7 on MW. My classes do not start until 1:55, and I am on campus until 6:30. We could make it work, but truthfully, it has become inconvenient for both of us. I am praying for an open door whereby I can purchase a second vehicle for him very soon.

Steps to Change

As I think about what needs to change, several things come to mind. First, I need to get my routine fixed. It has been a good routine for me to work on MWF and then take TTH off while I have been in school. Now, though, I realize that what I need more than a flexible schedule is a truly open schedule. I need a job where I can teach online, permanently, full-time. My fatigue issues and fibromyalgia and other structural complaints will not go away until I have a schedule that permits me maximum freedom to work when I can work. By this, I mean, to work in the morning, afternoon or evening, as I feel well enough to do so. I want to work, don’t get me wrong. I love working, so I am not looking to quit or to scale back. No — absolutely not! If anything, I see a free schedule permitting me to do even more work. I simply need to work from home, full-time, whereby I can manage my schedule on a daily basis. I need to be able to make the decision of what work to do and when based on how I feel. So if I sleep really well, wake without pain, I can spend the entire day working on the computer. But, if I crash in the afternoon due to sleeping poorly the night before, I can take a nap and not feel guilty about it. The truth is that I have needed to work from home since I first started working full-time back in 1985. I have struggled with CFS and Fibromyalgia for years, and while I have mild symptoms compared to others, my symptoms are still, at times, incapacitating. I know what works for me, and that is low-stress and lots of rest.

Second, with working from home, I will have flexibility to do other work, to write articles, to study theology and languages, and to start a ministry. I need to work from home in order to develop the ministry the Lord has placed on my heart. I know this now, and I think this is why the Lord has been pressing on me the idea of working from home. It took me a while to come around to it. At first, I didn’t like online teaching at all, but since I started at Regent, I have really come to enjoy it. I really like the freedom, the flexibility and the way the program is taught there. I really like being an online faculty member at this great school. So, I know that this is the Lord’s will for me, and while I can see how teaching online also benefits my family (especially my parents now), I also see that this provision is not simply to allow me to be a full-time caregiver, but rather to allow me to engage in the Lord’s will and His desires for my life.

Third and final, I feel like with this new found freedom, I will be able to take better care of myself long-term. I need to care for myself better, and while I certainly could do that like most people do — eat better, work out, and so on — because of my physical shape — I simply cannot do the 6 a.m. gym run, then work all day, and then come home to more house work. Yes, that type of life would do me in right quick. I know that what I need most is freedom and flexibility, freedom and flexibility so I can incorporate working out into my day without overloading or over-stressing my already taxed system.

With all this in mind, I see that my first step to change is to open up the door to a full-time, teach from home, position. My prayer is that the Lord will bring me this opportunity very soon. Once I am teaching full-time online, then I will be able to reduce my stress load because I will be able to sleep more, rest more, and relax more — all within my control — and not limited to evenings and weekends. Of course, finishing my dissertation and graduating from Regent is critical to this next step, so my focus for now and for the next 4-5 months is to complete my research. I must graduate before I can move on to the next job. I know this, I believe this is true. I rest in His provision of this critical and important need in my life. Selah! It is done!

Until this time, I continue to press on. I know that my Lord has me well-covered, and that He will provide for me. He has met all my needs with sufficiency, and for now, I don’t have to worry, fret or fear. He has me well in hand, so to speak.

In Closing

As I close out this blog post, I am reminded that while my needs seem great, they are minor in comparison to His glorious power and authority. I have tiny little needs, and yet my God, my Savior, and my King, is more than able to handle them this good, good day. I don’t ask, I confess. I don’t beg, but I proclaim. It is in Jesus’ Name that I pronounce these needs as fulfilled. He is able and willing, and I rest in His sufficiency, His ability, and His desire to bring His will to pass in my life this good, good day. Amen, so be it. Thy will be done!

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