December 30, 2016

Moving and More

Good bye, 2016 — Hello, 2017! Well, almost. It is December 30, 2016, and I am sitting here at my computer, puttering away, and thinking that in less than four months, I will be finished with my PhD program. What is more, I have this confidence, this exuberance that believes — I mean — BELIEVES that God is about to do something amazingly wonderful in my life. I cannot put my finger on it, but there is this part of me that believes that He is about to move BIG TIME in my life, and with that move, some wonderful things are going to happen to me.

I think this sense of wonderment began on Wednesday, when out of the blue, I received an email asking me if I was interested in teaching part-time for our local public university. In truth, I have had a “love/hate” relationship with this school. I don’t know why this is the case, other than the fact that it is a massive university, and almost every person I know has attended it. I guess it is like when I was growing up in San Jose. There was this stigma attached to San Jose State University. No one actually CHOSE SJSU for their college; rather, SJSU was the last-resort, the “go-to school” when all the other schools sent rejection letters.

Our local school is a well-known public research university, and it is considered “highly favorable” in and among academia. But, locals know the other side to the school, the seedy underside to the school — the drinking, the partying, the public policy part of the school — that sort of leaves this bad taste in one’s mouth. More so, this school is such a big part of Phoenix, and as a result, it has major influence on just about everything that goes on here. In my view, this school is just so big, so massive, and well, so public (with all that goes along with a public school) that I really never thought it would be a good fit for me. In addition, I have heard mixed reviews from colleagues who teach out there. I’ve heard the stories about the “grind,” and how the school simply chews up its faculty and spits them out (so it is said at many, many major schools). I guess you could say that I was never really interested, excited or felt positive about opportunities to work or teach there. That is, until recently.

The Back Story

It was last summer when the Lord pressed on me to reconsider this school, and after some prayerful time, my mind and my attitude changed a bit. I don’t really recall what happened, other than to say that last year, I just changed my mind about working there. I think a lot of my mindset change was due to the fact that  I was pretty well panicked about how I would make ends meet teaching part-time, and how I would help care for my Mom’s deteriorating mental/memory needs. In truth, I was really stressed over my plans for fall, and I was worried about the details — mostly about how I would work outside the home — and care for my Mom longterm.

As I recall, I had been praying for an opportunity to teach online for a long while, since mid-2015, but nothing had materialized on that front. I had looked for online jobs, even applied for a few, but I either never heard back or I was rejected out of hand. Then in January 2016, two of my applications had nibbles (OCU and Regent), and by early summer, I had two online teaching positions lined up for summer and fall. I had this boost of confidence, and I felt very sure that “online” was my next step — and that the Lord intended to open more doors for me — perhaps even to provide a full-time online teaching position for fall 2016.

I believed that the Lord wanted me to teach online, but finding online positions had proven difficult for me. Most of the online positions were not listed on the major search engines, so unless someone mentioned an opening, often the only way to learn about them was to actually go to each school website and look through their external jobs list. As I mentioned above, I had been applying for online positions from about mid-2015. In early January, I applied to Regent and Ohio Christian. Then in May, the Lord showed me some online positions at this school.

In truth, I didn’t think I had the experience or credentials to even be considered for the open roles. The job posts were pretty intimidating to me, yet, I felt that the Lord wanted me to apply, so I took a step of faith, and I submitted my application packets.  There was a part of me that doubted anything would come to pass, simply because over the course of 10 years or so, I had applied to this school on at least 10 different occasions, and never once was I called for an interview.

Furthermore, their entire application system, and the way they process paperwork is very difficult — time consuming, wonky — and the rejection percentage on applications is very, very high. More so, when they say they have a competitive application pool, they aren’t kidding. I was told that for most of the open positions, there are hundreds of well-qualified candidates. The process for review and interview is competitive, and as soon as I would submit the application, I would receive the rejection email. I never really believed I would ever be called for an interview, let alone be hired to teach there.

Until this past summer, that is.

It was around the beginning of August when I received a call for an interview for one of the positions I had applied to earlier in the spring (April-May). I was shocked to even hear back from the hiring department, but what really concerned me most was when I found out that the interview was scheduled so close to the start of the fall semester.  In all honesty, I thought that there would be no chance of being hired. I was stressed over the interview, but I was more worried about the fact that I already had teaching contracts in place. How would I exit out of my contracts my other schools — should I be hired at this school? I really felt that the timing of the job, the interest, the interview, etc., was not right for me. In the end, when it was all said and done, and I was rejected, I was relieved. The funny thing is that as time has passed, I have continued to wonder why the Lord had me apply for this job, and why He would let me interview for it if this position wasn’t meant to be. I would often ask Him about it, but then I would tell myself that there was a reason, a good reason, and that perhaps the reason was to prepare me for a full-time position down the road. Like after I graduate from Regent. Once I have my PhD in hand. You know…once I am ready to teach full-time.

So as time passed and the fall semester began, I put this school out of my mind, and I focused on my studies and my dissertation and my teaching contracts. Really, I never considered even looking at more jobs or even seeing if the position I had applied for was reopened. I just pushed it out of my mind as I viewed that school as a closed door. Then I receive this email on Wednesday, and well, now I am almost hired, and I have to wonder what is really going on. I mean — what is going on?
Change is Afloat

I sit here today and I blog. I think about what may be down the road, and I wonder what the Lord is doing in my life right now. I mean, I am slammed. I am beyond slammed. I have more work on my dissertation than is possible to complete. I need to graduate in three months, and frankly, I am no where near being ready. But some things have changed already, and those things seem to be preparatory for my next steps. Let me explain…

Yesterday, I spent the better part of the day taking care of school-related business. I had to complete my exit counseling with the federal government, and I had to call Regent to find out about my transcript hold and why I am missing my scholarship. As I completed the exit counseling, I was encouraged when I realized that my student loan payment will not be a mortgage (as in size), but rather something much smaller and more doable for me. I was pleased, to say the least, and I see hope or light at the end of that student loan tunnel (praise God).

I also worked on my resume, and as I was updating it, I realized that adding this school to my resume gives me an advantage that I didn’t have previously. Yes, I have four years of teaching, but to add a major public university to my list of schools, well, it just looks good. More so, I realized that the curriculum design of this program so closely meshes with my communication study and my own research interest that I was overjoyed and pleasantly surprised. In short, I started to see some really big stars in front of my eyes. I know, don’t go putting the cart before the horse, but I cannot help but think that working at this school is all part of HIS PLAN. Yes, I believe that adding this school to my resume is part of His plan to get me hired full-time. Not at ASU, mind you, but rather at another school that will see that experience and will like it. I believe this is the reason why the Lord permitted me to go through the interview, and the disappointment of not being hired initially, just so that I could have the pleasure and ease of being hired part-time down the road (right where I am now on this road, I mean).

So what am I saying…

Well, I believe that the school the Lord has in mind for me for my full-time placement will look at my resume, the totality of my resume, and they will like what they see. They will snap me up, so to speak, and in doing so, I will be offered a well-paying teaching job (benefits and retirement) at the school of His choosing. Yes, my next steps include placement at the school of the LORD’S CHOOSING. Selah!

I can sense that this change is about to take place. I can feel it inside of me, and as such, I can feel that the Lord has opened doors for me that will bring me to a wonderful school where I will set down roots and put down stakes and teach for my remaining years. I believe He has already moved to make this come to pass, and between now and then, I have one job to do, just one job to complete. I must finish my dissertation. I must graduate. I must be honorable to all my contracts, and in the end, the Lord is going to reward me with His favor and blessing. He is going to make my life change drastically, and as such, I will be blessed, honored, and highly favored as a result. I believe it. I can sense it. I feel it. He is good to me, so very good to me.

In Closing

As I close this blog post, I cannot help but say that I believe everything that has been working together to this point in my life is about to be revealed to me. All of the hidden parts are to be brought into the light, and all that has been unknown will be known. I feel it. I sense it. I believe it is true. God has a great plan for my life, and I am about to step into His marvelous light and experience His goodness in a new and even more greater way. I think the next three months are going to be life-changing, life altering, and in many ways, mind and heart shattering. I believe that as a result of this passing time, I will be changed. I will become a new person (again), and in this way, I will be made ready to accept the work He has planned and prepared for me to do. I will be ready to wear His mantle and His garment and to go where He has called me to go. I will go and do His work. I will go and live where He tells me to live. I will do everything He asks of me — all for His name, His praise, His honor, and His glory. He alone is worthy to be praised, and He alone is worthy to receive our adoration.

I am ready, Lord! Lead me. Push me. Mold me. Make me. Take me. Use me. For your Name. Always, for your Name. Amen.

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