January 31, 2017

New Day, New Way

I woke up this morning thinking to myself, “Oh, it is so nice to be home!” I am so thankful that I have my Tuesday and Thursdays off. My Mondays are a grind. I guess it is because I have the weekend with two days to rest that cause me such pain. I mean, I love the weekend. I love having those two days off, but lately, I am finding that come Monday, well, I just dread getting out of bed. It seems that my Mondays take such a huge toll on my body. I drag myself around campus, and by the time I come home, I am wiped out. Sigh!

Last night, I came home, and after eating a quick sandwich, I crashed so hard, and I slept for three hours. When I finally woke up, it was going on 11 p.m., so I got ready for bed, and turned in. I slept until almost 9 this morning. What does that mean? I think it simply means that my life of doctoral student/adjunct instructor has caught up to me. I can no longer teach at so many schools AND complete my dissertation. The good news is that I sent my chapter five off to my professor for review, and we are scheduled to meet to “discuss” my progress next Tuesday. Hopefully, I will hear that I can defend in March, and then praise be to God, I will be on track to graduate.

In all, my life of working part-time at multiple schools, taking full-time graduate/doctoral credit, and dealing with the various issues at home is coming to an end. My body is recoiling now, and it longs for rest — a long, peaceful, and well-deserved — rest. I am giving God all the praise, the glory, and the honor this good, good day. He has made this possible. He has made a way. He has shown me how to navigate these stormy waters, and with His grace, He has enabled me to overcome incredible odds, difficulty, and hardship to do so. I am in awe of His abilities, and I cannot praise Him enough this day for His goodness, His kindness, and His mercy toward me. Selah!
My Next Steps

I titled this blog post, “New Day, New Way” because I am about to step out into the big, wide unknown, and with my “big girl panties” on, I am ready to take on the world. Well, figuratively speaking. I am ready to tackle the next big hurdle, my dissertation defense, and then embrace the future God has in store for me. This future, partly unknown to me, has at its end, a full-time faculty position with a good University. Furthermore, this future holds a career that I have worked tirelessly for, sacrificed for, and committed my time, my resources, and most of all, my life, just so I could experience it and enjoy it. Now that I am at the end of the road, so to speak, and I am about to make a turn that will lead me to the next step, the next place on my travel itinerary, I realize how everything in my life, all the details, the events, the circumstances, have prepared me for this exact moment. My entire life, in review, has served to bring me to this place in time.

In many ways, I feel as Esther did, that my life was appointed for this time and this place. I am right where God wants me to be, and in the next month or so, I will cross the threshold, and I will enter into His new phase, His new plan, His new way — a new way — that will take me to even greater heights. Yes, I am about to cross over to this next level, and in this way, I will begin a second-level journey that will ask me, no — require of me — more work, more effort, and yes, even more talent, than I have previously considered. I will be asked to do things I have never done before. I will be asked to trust the Lord in new ways, and I will be tasked with activities and pursuits that are beyond my capabilities, and as such, I will have to rely on His ability to accomplish them.

My faith, previous to this point in time, has developed from infancy to maturity, but now that I am about to embrace my destiny, my faith will be further challenged, further stretched, and further developed so that I can do His work, in His way, and for His praise. I am excited, filled with anticipation, and I believe that the plan He has for my life is significant. It is something that I cannot do, yet it is something that I desire to do so much. I am filled with His momentum, and I am ready to be moved, to be pushed, to be sent off into this next step, this next level of ministry and work, with His blessing and His provision. He alone is worthy to be praised. He alone is so worthy to be praised!

Some details still to process…

Although I am excited to get going, I realized that I haven’t crossed that threshold yet. I still have to defend my dissertation, and I have to graduate so I have my PhD in hand. More so, I have to be hired by the right school — for the right position — so that I can be placed in the path of His choosing. He knows what He wants me to accomplish, and He has a great plan for my life. Thus, I have to finish strong. I have to complete these next few steps, preparing me for the big push, and then with His pleasure and goodness at my side, I will walk on through and take the gift God is offering to me. I will walk on, and with His provision, I will begin to live, to work, to play, and to enjoy God’s great gift and blessing as it is showered over me and in and throughout my life. I will experience great joy, incredible blessing, almighty favor, and of course, His grace — His grace, blessed grace — in order to do what He is asking me to do.

I make no bones about the fact that the Lord intends for me to do good work. I make no concession here because I have known for a long while that my PhD was the open door by which I would assume  a ministry position — a full-time — life long ministry role. My degree was not to be used for work, but was to be set aside for His work only. I have often confused my work with His work, and while I realize and I understand that in my work (teaching) I do minister to others, I do nothing special nor extraordinary outside of what any other Christians should do. I love my students as Christ loves them. I listen to them, I pray for them, and I encourage them. I do nothing special or out of the ordinary. Yet, my ministry, my real ministry exists for the benefit of His blessed Church, and my communication PhD was designed for this expressed purpose. Thus, while my degree helps me get a good faculty position, and it positions me for worldly work experience and promotion, it is the ministry work, the work of communication, that will bring my Father in heaven praise and honor. I do all of this for His name, and to bring Him praise and honor, so as I transition from student to full-time faculty, I remember that I am called for one purpose and that is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

God is my point of glory. He is my focus, my entire delight, and as such, I seek no other but God as my fulfillment and my joy. He gives me His peace. He helps me understand difficult and complex concepts, and He leads me along the way so that I am never alone. In all of this, He is my steady companion and my friend. He shelters me, provides for me, and protects me. I, in turn, adore Him. I honor Him, I worship Him, and I give Him my time, my attention, and my very best effort. Thus, all my work, practical, spiritual, and ministerial, are sacrificed for His praise. I give Him my life, and in return, He helps me. He gives me gifts, blessings, and provision that enable me to hang on, to overcome, to endure, and even to triumph over the challenges and circumstances in my life. There are times when I am overwhelmed, so undone that I cannot think or feel or even respond. Yet, He is with me, and He helps me process the details, make choices, and take turns whereby I am reprieved. Yes, He is my confidant, my defender, and the champion of my faith. It is my hearts desire to do work that honors the Lord, that brings Him praise so whether I am teaching English to students or working on my own research project, I am giving Him praise. I am honoring Him through my efforts, my attitude, and my willingness to sacrifice to do good and practical work. In the end, as He is lifted up, He lifts me up as well. I am lifted, built up, and given what I need each day to do this very thing — to bring Him praise. He is my King, My Redeemer, My High Priest, and My Father. He is my everything, and in Him, I find my life fulfilled and brought to fullness and satisfaction.
In Conclusion

As I wrap this post up, I cannot help but give my God praise. I look up, and I wait for His blessed signal before I go. I know that soon, very soon, a job will surface that will be His choice. Until then, I rest. I wait for His word, and then I go. I will submit my resume, my application materials, and with His favor, that door will open and no man will shut it. I will walk through the application, the interview, and into the position because God, my Father, and Jesus, my King, will ordain it to be so. I will be released to do good practical work, and He will guide me. He will help me transition to this work, to produce good quality scholarship, and I will find peace and rest in this work. Furthermore, where He plants me, I will bloom. I will bloom in the midst of a secular University, and I will mentor and encourage students, many of whom do not know Christ. I will preach in season and out of season, always giving reason for the hope I carry within me. In this way, I will lead others to Christ, through my words, but also through my deeds. I will love them as Christ loves them. I will listen to them, pray for them, and encourage them, whether they desire Christ or not. I will be His minister, hands, head, and feet, and I will simply live my life in a way that brings honor to His name.

And as a reward, He will champion my cause, open doors on my behalf, and He will guide me as I navigate difficult waters. I will rest in His security, in His sufficiency, and I will trust that He will carry me through all the days ahead of me. I will know Him more deeply, more intimately, and with His mandate and call, I will go into the Church and preach communication — teach communication — so that His people can understand how to ministry in this difficult and dark age of postmodern philosophy and spiritual apathy. I will do what He asks of me, and in this way, He will have freereign to move me, to settle me, and to equip me for the work He needs me to do. I set aside all hindrances, as the writer of Hebrews states, so I can run this race of faith. I run it, casting off family, friends, doubts, and insecurities — everything that seeks to hold me back, to confine me, to restrict my forward movement — and with His grace and sufficiency, I will boldly go where He sends me. I will go, I will do this work, and I will seek one thing only — His praise. He alone is worthy, and today, I lift up a sacrifice of praise as I surrender my life, my needs, my wants all for His glorious good name.

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