February 27, 2017

Dissertation is Done!

I cannot believe I am saying this, but…my dissertation is finished. I spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday proofreading, editing, and publishing my dissertation in order to get it ready to send to my committee. The final copy looks lovely, and I think it is definitely a solid contender. I completed all the various to-dos on it yesterday, and by late evening, I sent a copy to each of my professors. I still need to print one copy and overnight it to one of my faculty members who needs to read a paper-copy rather than an electronic copy. My praise today goes to the Lord who has faithfully brought me through to this point in time. I give Him all the credit, all the honor, and yes, all the praise. He has done this for me. He has helped me, challenged me, and provided for me. He has made this way possible, and today, I can rest — really rest — in the thought that the final piece of my PhD is completed. Now, I still have to defend my work, and praise be to God, I will do that with His grace and favor, come March 13, 2017. Until then, though, I rest. I can say that today, I am 7/8 of the way to my goal, and within two weeks, I will be done. 100% done. Praise God for His goodness, His mercy, and His grace! He is good, so very good to me! Selah!

Getting My Groove Back

My Dad said to me that it will be good to have his daughter back. I know he meant well. He simply meant to say that the past four years, I have been distracted, and my life has been focused on one thing — graduating with my PhD. The funny thing is that my Dad thinks my life will change, but in truth, it will not change at all. Sure, I won’t have PhD work to do anymore, but I will still have loads of grading and course prep, and I will be actively engaged in other scholarly pursuits. I am not sure what he thinks will happen to me come March 13th, but I hope he will not be disappointed.

Right now, I feel like the next couple weeks will be a whirlwind for me. I have to prepare for my final defense, and then I have to fly to VA to sit that defense. Afterwards, I will have to finish my edits, revisions, and changes, get my copy to the proofreader and then submit my paper to the library for publication in ProQuest’s database for Dissertations and Theses. All of this needs to be done prior to April 15th. Then once this is all finished, I will travel my last time to VA for graduation. In all, the second half of this semester will be very busy, but in a good way. My teaching semester ends as well, so after May 6, 2017, I will be a free person for the entire summer. My plans right now include a long, well-deserved rest. I plan to rest, to sleep well, and to enjoy my summer. I also plan to get in shape — yes — all the posts about diet and exercise, well, with the stress and strain of doctoral study have come to naught. I plan on joining the health club down the street and to start working out so I can lose this weight and finally get into shape.

Long-term my plans are the same as they are now: work, work, and more work. I am praying for a full-time position, of course, but until the Lord provides me with one, I am happy and content to have the part-time work that I have now. In all, my life is going to slow down quite a bit. I am a little worried that I will be bored, but I believe the Lord has a plan for that as well. He knows that I need to be really busy to keep active, so I am sure He has some things for me to do up His glorious sleeves.

I am getting my groove back, as they say, but only in the sense that after some well-needed rest, I will be back to my old self, and that means more rested, more calm and contemplative, and more ready to engage with life — or with the people in my life.

God has provided an abundant life for me, and with His provision, I am able to move forward and take hold of the opportunities He has in store for me. I am able to see the future has He sees it. I am able to believe that what He is saying is possible for me is really POSSIBLE for me. I am trusting in His word, believing in faith that what He says is true, and then resting in that knowledge. What God says doesn’t contradict His word or His testimony. He is faithful, righteous, and good, and as such, His word stands throughout time. He is faithful. He is good. He keeps His word.

As I think about my future self, one thing is for certain. The person I see in 5 years is a stronger, more able version of the person I am today. I don’t see decline. I don’t see a darker, gloomier future. I only see health, vitality, and a bright, hopeful and opportunistic future for my life. I can imagine good things, only good things, and in this way, my life has zero chance of failure. There is no failure on the horizon. Yes, there are challenges ahead, some difficult ones too, but there is no failure. I believe Paul’s words to the Philippians in 1:6 (BSB) where he said, “For I am confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The work God has begun in me will be brought to completion. There is no failure in God’s rule book or design for life. I cannot fail. I cannot falter. I cannot lose hope. Why? Because my trust and my faith rest in Him alone. I do not look to my own hands. I do not look to my own abilities. No, I look to the finished work of Christ and the cross that reminds me that my debt has been paid, my failure has been accounted for, and as a redeemed child of God, I am set in a position of favor, of blessing, and of honor. I am counted among the redeemed, and I give praise for that fact this good, good day.

Psalm 107:1-2 (BSB) says, "Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary.”

I cry out with the psalmist, and I pay tribute and honor to the Lord, my redeemer. He has redeemed me from the hand of my adversary. I am set free. I am established. I am good.

In Closing

As I think more about my next few weeks, I realize that my life is about to turn, and with that turn, new avenues and adventures will appear before me. I will be ready to try them out, to test them, to experience them. I will be ready to do whatever good work He has for me, and I will readily engage in ministry and in life because this is His good will for me. I am beginning to walk in this way, to move toward the fulfillment of His will for my life, and in doing so, I am about to become something brand new. I am about to be transformed again. This time, not from my former sin life; rather, I am to be transformed to walk in a new way, in newness, and all of this is to prepare me, to ready me, for the work He has in store for me. This work is significant, and it is good practical work along with good solid ministry work. I must be focused, determined, and willing to do this work. I am not sure what this work will be, other than teaching (of course), but I believe it will be more than I had ever imagined. I believe it will be more that I have ever dreamed possible. He has a great plan for my life, and I am so excited to walk in it. I am so excited to see what the marvelous and good hand of the Lord will provide to me.

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