February 2, 2017

Groundhog Day!

One of my favorite movies is "Groundhog Day," with Bill Murray and Andie McDowell. I still try to watch this movie at least once each year. I love Bill Murray in it, and I love the fact that his character is redeemed by the end of the story. I think what stands out to me most is the fact that this movie simply reminds me of how much I need a "do over" day. Sure, I don't want to be stuck in a perpetual loop, always reliving the same moment, but there is something wonderful in the thought that when we really "goof," we can take a day to simply do it over, to make the changes we should have made, to be nicer, more thoughtful, or even more considerate in the situation we faced. "Do over" days are the special blessing of God because He has made it possible, through Christ's death, burial and resurrection to enjoy everlasting "do overs!"

Grace is the Best Do-Over

Yesterday was a good case in point. I had a good day, but things didn't work out as I had planned. I had to observe my mentor at GCU, and while I was out of class, my IA accidentally let my students leave early. It was my fault, not his; I had left a slide in my power point that said they could leave, when I didn't intend for it to be there at all. This, of course, messed up my student's day and my teaching program. I felt awful, like I had failed my students in letting them out when they needed to be in class to write. Still, there was nothing I could do, so I had to let it go, and just accept it and move on. The day ended with such a thud, and what is more, I spent the entire night and overnight, rethinking my courses, my teaching approach, and even if I was in the right profession. Yes, I needed a major do-over BIG TIME.

This morning, I woke up feeling better, and I remembered that God already gave me a major do-over seven years ago. I was praying to the Lord this morning, and I said, "Lord, I feel like I have really messed up." He responded in His typical way, reminding me that I am right where He wants me to be. As I thought about His words, I was reminded that when I found out that my ex-husband didn't want to remain married, I was devastated. I was depressed, and for a long while, I felt so helpless and hopeless. My faith was in God, of course, but I felt as if someone had come along and kicked the stool I was standing on out from beneath me. I was left holding onto a thread, and while I teetered back and forth, I really felt like I was going to crash and break into pieces.

The Lord didn't allow that to happen to me. Instead, He gave me a new path to follow. He provided training and opportunity, and after a lot of hard work and effort, He brought me to a career that I love, and I think, I am good at doing. I still struggle, mostly with fear and doubt, but the days come and go, and for the most part, I find that I am more able to handle the ups and downs that go along with my profession.

It has been seven years of hard labor, and now I am about to move into a new way, follow a new path. I am not sure where this path will lead, but what I do know is that I have been given new life, new direction, and a new focus that will take me from where I am today to where He wants me to be tomorrow. I am anticipating that the next seven years will be just as difficult. In fact, I would say that they will probably be even more challenging for me. The experiences will be different, I should say, but the effort and hard work will be the same. I will be asked to do difficult things, take on challenges and projects that seem too much for me. In and through it all, He will reign. He will open doors that no man can shut, and He will close doors that no man can open. I will rest in His sufficiency and abilities, and as time draws near, I will come to understand that from this point forward, I can do no good work outside He strength. I am not able to do what He is asking me to do. I must rely on Him 100% for the outcome.

Today, in particular, I am thinking about the past, how I have made it through in one-piece, praise God. I didn't fall off that stool, and I didn't break into pieces. I was rescued by my Lord, and He took me and my shattered esteem, personality, and soul-self, and He remade me. He repaired me. He reestablished me as a person, whole and healthy, and He gave me hope, hope for a future, and hope for a place where I could finally feel productive, good, and as if I belonged.

My life has been transformed by His majestic hand of blessing. I am in this very special place today, whereby I know the truth and it has set me free. I have met the One who has saved my soul, and I know Him intimately, deeply, and foundation-ally. I have been settled to the core. Deep within me exists this sense of wellness, wholeness, and complete satisfaction. I am deeply, completely, and wholly devoted to Him and to all that He has planned for me. I rest in His abilities. I rest in His sufficiency. I rest in Him alone for He is so worthy to be praised, He is so worthy to be praised.

Moving On After Doing-It Over

In many ways, my do-over came to me seven years ago. I walked away from the shards of my marriage, and though I didn't divorce my husband (that came mutually after four years of separation), I walked out of the home we shared and into the brand new world that existed outside my door. I embraced change, change that scared me, exhilarated me, and in the end, defined me. I took what the Lord offered to me, and with His gracious gift, I stepped out of my cage, and I began to fly free. In flying free, I felt the wind as it lifted my spirit and my soul, and I began to experience rebirth. I felt the chains of years and years of abuse fall off me. The weight of bearing another persons' burden was loosed. I let go of people who had treated me poorly, people who were toxic in their personalities and their demands, and I stepped into the blessed grace that would sustain me as I came to understand my own hurt and wounds, and then began to process the work needed to be healed, to be made whole again.

This work wasn't easy for me to do. I had to close doors and not return through them. I had to say good-bye to people who had formed my social and family circle. I had to gain strength to say "no" to people who had always manipulated me and forced me to accept their way. As I learned how to be gracious and kind, and yes, that was the Lord's approved way, I realized that I was empowered to let these people go. I was able to forgive them, and to accept their failings and limitations, and let them go. I was no longer controlled by them or had to abide by what they wanted, said, or did. Instead, I became my own person, free to choose my road, my way, and in the end, I became free to follow God with all my heart, my mind, and my soul.

I moved on. I closed the door to my marriage. I move into my own place. I took whatever jobs I could find, even ones I didn't really like or that weren't the best fit for me. I went back to school to get my master's degree. I transition through career options, testing out several before deciding to commit to teaching as a profession. I started doctoral study, and now I am graduating with my PhD. I learned the skills needed to be in this profession, and I have become adept at study, scholarship, and speaking to students (and the public as a result). My life is now that of a professor, and I love it. I love it, and I cannot think of any career I would rather do in its place. I still doubt my abilities, of course. But, the doubts come and go, and for the most part, I can say that every day I am happy to be where I am at and happy with my future goals, aspirations and dreams. He is so worthy! He is so good to me! Selah!

It has been four years since I started this last leg of my education. It has been a long, long process. It has been difficult, beyond description, and right now, I am ready to finish. I have some more work to do, but I am so close to finishing my degree. My prayer now is move to the next step in the process, to move to the next place where the Lord will use me for His praise and honor. I am ready to go, waiting to go, and looking for His signal to go. In all, I am positioned, prepared, and provided for, thus as soon as He releases me, I will go.

I do not know what the future holds for me, but I do know that where I am going, it will be good. I will be in a place of security and safety. I will be provided for, and I will have good, practical work. I will be able to do my work in relative obscurity, without fanfare, and without much oversight. I will be able to work heartily unto the Lord, even in the middle of a hostile and degenerate population. I will walk on, worthy because He has called me to be worthy, and I will find my life, my purpose, and my soul's satisfaction in Him alone. Money is not my master. Position and fame are not the idols I worship. I seek no glory for myself. I seek not the praise of men, but rather I seek the pleasure of my Heavenly Father. It is in His Name that I go and do this work. I go with His promise, and His permission. I seek to please Him in all things, and in this way, I seek only that which He has provided to me. He knows me well, He has my needs well in hand, and I am able to rest from the pursuit of all idolatry. I no longer need a certain type of home, a certain level of income, or even to live in a certain place. I see all places as fortuitous to His calling. If He desires it, so be it, I will abide. Thus, my Lord guides me, He provides for me, and as He leads me on, I can know for sure that where He goes, I will follow. I go because He leads me. I go because He says, "We must go here." In this way, I am no longer my own person, my own master; rather, I belong to Him. I am His handmaiden, His bond-servant because I have been bought with the precious and costly price of His blood.

In Closing

As I close this blog post today, I am reminded of this truth. Where I go now is not of my choosing nor my will nor my wish. I go where He has called me to go, and I work where He has opened the door for good and practical work. This means that whatever the course, wherever the college, and with all means, I am to do the work He has set aside for me to do. I am to do His work, in season and out of season, and without grumbling and complaining. I am to do this good, good work, and I am not to seek any profit outside what He provides to me. I am not to seek recompense of any sort that would lead me to become ambitious or self-promoting. I am to humbly accept the provision as He releases it to me, and in this way, I am to remain humbled before my God, and my King, Jesus. This is about His blessed Name and not my own. This is about His abilities, His power, His authority, and His rule. I am simply His chosen vessel, and as the Potter molds and shapes the clay, I simply let Him have His way with me. He alone is worthy; He alone is good.

Today is the beginning of the next seven years of my life. I don't know why February 2, 2017 is the day the Lord has said, "Today, you will see my glory," but this is how I feel inside of me. I feel that today will bring big change to my life, and that today, I will begin to see the path He has called me to walk on. I will come to know my purpose, my place, and in all things, I will come to see my future as it is laid out before me. I will know where to go, what to do, and how to do it. He will show me. He will provide for me. Today is the day He has chosen to reveal His will to me, and for that, I am excited, eager, and enthusiastic. I know today will be a great day for He has said it is so.

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