January 8, 2017

Super Sunday!

WOW! My Christmas/Winter Break holiday is almost over. It is Sunday, the last day of my break, and well, I have survived! I have made it! Praise God, I survived the Christmas season, and I actually completed (almost — still a bit to do today) all of my research work scheduled for the month of December. I am ready to begin my spring semester, and God of all Glory, I have Him to thank. He has done this for me. He has helped me. He gave me the grace I needed to finish this week, and right now, I am giving Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory.

Yes, He alone is worthy to be praised! He alone is worthy to receive my praise! Selah! It is done!
Progress Report

This past week was crazy. I was slammed, and I was panicked, and frankly, I didn’t rest near as much as I should have done so. I did rest, I mean. I slept pretty well. I just didn’t rest in the “faith” department. I allowed myself to remain in a high-stress situation, and I didn’t do much to diffuse that stress. Over the course of the week, the tension, the pain, ratcheted up, so much that I thought I wasn’t going to make it through to the end of my research or even graduate. However, God is always faithful, and after a bit of time-out (yes, I gave myself a time-out during the week), I came back around to where I needed be, and that was to reaffirm my faith in God’s abilities, and not seek anything on my own. I needed to be reminded that “with God, all things are possible,” and that my research project, my work, simply would never be something I could do on my own.

In fact, just to pay tribute to His marvelous grace, as of yesterday, I was able to complete the visual coding part of my project. This part of my project was the most time-consuming of all the phases of research. I spent about three weeks visually — aka — hand coding PDF snapshots of webpages. I estimate that in total, I coded nearly 367 pages. More over, I also processed 983 HTML files that will be textually coded (automatically through the software I am using). Thus, in addition to everything else I had on my plate — caring for my parents, “doing Christmas,” and hosting my brother — I was able to complete this important phase of my research before school started again.

This means that, “For all intents and purposes,” I am almost on track to begin writing my chapter 4 data analysis section. I would prefer to be a bit further along, but in truth, I think I can begin to write this chapter on Tuesday. If all goes well, I should be able to send a first draft to my professor by the following week.

I stand amazed at the work the Lord has done through me. I never believed, and this is truth, that I would be able to do it all in such a short amount of time. Of course, the Lord knew what I could do, and in fact, when I had budgeted time, I originally had asked the Lord how long it would take to do this work, and His response was about a week (30-40 hours). I am glad I didn’t do it all in a week, but I did complete a significant portion of the work in a week’s time. Now, I still have to run the lexical search, address my research questions, process my statistics, etc., but the bulk of my work is done. Praise God! The majority of the “hard work” is finished!

What is more (if there could be anything better) is the fact that I have also managed to “prep” for my classes next week. I setup my classes for Regent and GCU the last week of December, but I still had some work to do to be ready for my FTF time in the class. I have since created my first week of lessons and power points, a reading list, essay instruction handout, and some other resources for my new class, American Literature 1. I have also created a welcome video for my Regent students (though I am having some issues with attaching the link through Blackboard). I still have to review my power points for my GCU 106 classes, but since I teach the same content, I simply need to make sure the dates are correct. Mostly, I am ready for school tomorrow.

With the exception of ASU, I should say. I am supposed to attend orientation tomorrow morning, and well, I balked on that one. I simply see no way to take care of my responsibilities at home, drive the 20 miles to Tempe for an orientation day, and then hustle over to GCU to teach my first three class days. Not going to happen — simply impossible. Furthermore, I haven’t received access to Blackboard at ASU. I haven’t even received any confirmation of hiring. I know that the Faculty lead is working on the paper work as we speak, but since I don’t have any “firm contracts,” I have to place my emphasis on what I do have set now. I am praying for a resolution, and if it turns out that I can be hired in for this first session, even a wee bit late, so be it. However, I have asked the Lord for grace to be considered for the second session which begins in March. This is a better fit for me, and it would provide a buffer for me to finish my dissertation. I believe I am meant to teach out there this spring, it is just so uncertain now as to when I will be hired. Of course, this is all out of my hand, so I am not worrying about it. This is between the Lord and the hiring folks out there. If it is His will, so be it. If not, so be it. I am okay either way.
Moving On and Praising God

So with all that said, I am moving on. I am moving on to this new and wonderful place the Lord has in mind for me. I have stressed enough this past year end, and now I am on the cusp of something new and exciting. I want to experience His goodness, and to do that, I must rest. I mean REST. I must rest in His abilities. I can do all things…as scripture says…but not in my own strength. No, I can do all things in His strength. I need Him to do this mighty work. I need Him to carry me over the threshold, to hold my hand all the way down to the finish line. I need Him to do this work. I cannot even begin to process what my semester will be like once the papers start rolling in. I cannot even imagine how I will fly to VA — TWICE — in order to graduate. Furthermore, I cannot even begin to imagine how I will finish in one piece. Yet, my Lord has this all figured out. He knows me well, and He knows what I can and cannot do.

I was watching a clip of Joyce Meyer the other day, and she said, “You may not understand what God is doing, but God knows what He is doing.” I thought about that and I guess it made more sense to me when she said it then when I tell myself the same thing. I mean, somehow her words simply stuck in my head and in my heart. I realized that what she was saying was truth. I mean, God knows what He is doing in and through my life. I may not “get” how everything will work out, but He knows the end, my end, I should say. He has my life already planned. I simply need to stop stressing, worrying, and doubting, and as Joyce says — “Start enjoying my life!” I need to REST in His abilities, in His provision, in His sufficiency. I need to REST.

A good point to remember is that today, as I was checking over my finances, updating my balance sheet for 2017, I realized that for the first time in three years, I have a prosperous year ahead of me. I will be making enough income to live “comfortably,” and even with my current bills, I should be able to live modestly and comfortably this year. This will be the first year that I won’t have to worry about my summer dry spell. In fact, I am praising God now for His provision of a full-time job. I believe, and I am confident that He will bring me full-time work at the university of His choosing for an August start. Yes, He will do it. I am confident of this fact.

My life is on the upswing, and that means that right now, though the path ahead is very difficult, I am in such a good place. I mean, I am in a very good place RIGHT NOW. God has made a way for me, and even when I doubt Him, He is so faithful. He is so very faithful. I can let go of the past, and I can embrace my future with a positive optimism that says, “The Lord will do it. He will keep His promise to me.” Yes, I believe He will keep His word to me.
In Closing

As I prepare for my day, make myself ready to check off the remaining items on my long, long, to-do list, I lift up a sacrifice of praise to God above. He has made a way for me, when in truth, I really didn’t think there was a way. He has made all this possible, and for that result, I am grateful. I am thankful today that my God is a God who keeps His word. He is faithful. He is good. All the time, He is good. Amen, so be it. Thy will be done. Selah!

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