February 14, 2017

It’s All Good!

Happy Tuesday! It is Tuesday, right? Oh my goodness, some days I think my life is moving so quickly that I cannot even function. I don’t even remember what day it is or where I am supposed to be each morning. I am definitely near the breaking point when it comes to life, and generally, my work. In truth, the stress load has just zoomed into overdrive as I prepare for my defense, and I manage all my students assignments. I am overwhelmed, and I am panicked over the outcome of this semester. My mind races, my heart pounds, and I think to myself, “Will I make it? Will I finish this work? Will I graduate?” Yet despite the overload, panic, and stress, there is this sense of peace inside of me that says to me, “It is going to be OK.” Yes, my faith rests in the Lord, and in His goodness and mercy. His mercies are new every day (Lamentations 3:22-23)!

I woke up this morning feeling rested, despite the fact that one of my little boys decided to get up and play at 5:00 a.m. Yes, he was bound and determined to wake the entire house so he went from door to door, pounding for the occupants to get up! This is my older boy, aged 10, and still, there are mornings when he acts like such a little kitten. He was always filled with energy as a baby cat. He used to play hide and seek, and he would jump out at you right as you walked past where he was hiding. Some mornings, I wonder where he gets all his energy. I mean, after all, in human terms, he is like 70! LOL!  Needless to say, I did get up, after a time — just to keep him from waking the entire family. Thankfully, I was able to fall back to sleep fairly quickly.

After waking up a second time, I roused myself from sleep and my comfortable bed. I made my way to the kitchen where my parents had left me a lovely card for Valentine’s Day. It was sweet of them, and I was amazed that my Mom even remembered the day. I totally forgot about Valentine’s Day, and as a result, no one in the family got cards or candy from me. Still, it was nice to be remembered, nice to be considered.

I got my coffee (thanks to my lovely Keurig), and I settled back into my office to check email, blog, and do what I do most days — veg and rest. I love my lazy mornings, and even with my jam-packed schedule, I still have time each day to wake up slowly, to rest and to enjoy the blessed peace that God so graciously gives to me. I give Him all the praise, and I lift up my thanks for He has made all this possible. He has made all this possible. Selah!



I’m Good

Thus, as I sit here and think about my life, I realize that despite all the panic, upheaval, and general stress, I am in a good place. I am in this very, very good place. My life is turning out well, and even without a full-time job, I am doing OK. I guess that is what I meant at the top of the post. I have this feeling inside that everything is going to be fine, just fine.

Yesterday, for example, I received an email from ASU asking if I was available to teach in the second half of the semester. I had hoped this would be the case, and I am still hoping that I do get assigned a group of students. The pay at ASU is good, and the work is fairly easy, when compared to my other schools. In truth, the extra income will really help me have a less stressed summer. My prayer is that I can continue to teach for them 1-2 or 3 classes each full semester. Even if I don’t get hired full-time, I think I can earn a decent living through adjunct pay. As weird as it seems, I am coming to the conclusion that if the Lord chooses to keep me here in Phoenix, more than likely, I won’t have a full-time job; I will have several part-time ones.

I had mentioned a while ago that I was OK with this approach, but that I worried at the teaching load, and that I didn’t think I could make it work in the long term. Now, though, I see that once I graduate, I will be in this good place where I can work, make a decent income, and not have any of the stress associated with being full-time. The downside is benefits, and with the Republicans seeking to change/replace Obama Care, it makes for some uncertainty. Yet, I trust the Lord, and as such, I know He will provide a way for me to have affordable healthcare.

Today, is a good day. I feel confident that I can make progress on my research, and still make a dent in my student grading and feedback duties. I am mid-way through the semester, and I can tell you that when May comes, I will be dancing for joy. I intend to ENJOY my summer! Yes, I intend to finally enjoy my summer! I am so ready to be DONE, and that means to graduate and to finally move on.

Moving On

Move on…to what? Great question. I had assumed that once I graduated I would move into a full-time position somewhere else — somewhere — in a different state. Yet, this doesn’t seem to be what the Lord has in mind for me, at the least, not now. I don’t know if I will remain where I am indefinitely or if I will move this year, next year, or in two or three years. The uncertainty of it all gets me down, but I know that the Lord has me so well covered. He knows my needs, and He understands how stressful the “not knowing” part is for me. Sigh!

So while I trust Him for the outcome, I have yet to fully rest in it. It is hard to rest in an unknown outcome. I mean, how do you do that? How do you rest in something that you have no knowledge of or that you are completely uncertain whether it will come to pass. A good case in point is my life, in general.

As I mentioned above, I am in this good place right now. I have a good job (three-four, to be precise), and I am finally making a decent salary. I am almost finished with my schooling, and once I defend (in mid-March), I will be Dr. Carol Hepburn (woohoo!) I will have achieved my life-goal of earning a PhD, and I will have moved through some mighty powerful and difficult terrain to do it. In fact, I will have scaled a mountain so high that I nearly passed out from extreme exhaustion. Yet, the Lord sustained me, and here I am today — almost finished — almost done.

I have a good life, a nice home, and a happy family. My parents are not well physically, but we get along, and praise be to God, we are able to live together pretty successfully. My son is in such a good place with his life too. He is growing spiritually. He is enjoying his last year in college, and he has a bright future ahead of him. More than likely, he will go on to graduate school to become a professor (like his Mum). I am so proud of him, of all he has overcome, and how well he is doing right now. We get along to boot, and for all intents and purposes, we are in this learning and growing phase together. God has been gracious to keep us together as a unit, and while he is getting ready to move out on his own (with friends), he is still dependent on me for some care. In all, my life has value, purpose, and there is such hope in and through it. I give all the praise, the honor, and the glory to God. He has done this for me. He has made this way possible! Selah!

But…notwithstanding, I still have doubts. I still struggle with some aspects of my life, and even though I am not conscious always of these feelings or thoughts, they do tend to show up in my dreams — when I am most vulnerable — to persuasion. As such, I have been having a lot of dreams lately, dreams that are odd, weird, and just plain mystifying to me. In most of these dreams, I am either waiting for my ex-husband to show up or waiting for him to do something. Sometimes I am in our old house and other times I am in strange places, odd places, places where I have never been or where we have never been together.

Last night was a perfect example. I had some mighty weird dreams all night long, but early this morning, I had this one dream where I was inside a home (one I didn’t recognize), and I was waiting for my ex-husband to get home. It was early evening, and I was looking out the window. I was watching for his car, and thinking he was late arriving home. I went down to the door (the house was a Midwestern split level) to open it. I remember seeing all these slug trails — all over the door, the screen, the porch. We do not have slugs in AZ, so the house was definitely in another part of the country. As I was looking out, a car drove up and parked in the driveway. I remember thinking that it was a pretty snazzy car. It was yellow with big racing stripes — sort of a muscle car — and two men got out. The first was young and very handsome. He had black wavy hair. The second man was older, fair skinned and bald. They both got out and came in the house. I remember asking them who they were and why they were in my house. The first said, “I live here,” and the second said, “This is my house.” I argued with them, even saying I would call the police, but they persisted. The police came and I remember the officer saying to me that these men actually did live in the house. I was in the wrong place, the wrong home, and I was so embarrassed.

I woke up after that dream, and as I rolled over, I asked the Lord why I also seem to dream of (a) houses and (b) my ex-husband. I mean, we have been separated for seven years, divorced for three. It just seems like I cannot move on yet. I might not consciously think about him, but in my dreams, I still have issues with the fact that I was betrayed and abandoned. It stinks.

As I was praying over this dream, I started to think about my life, about the choices I made early on that set me on this path.  I am where I am today because of those choices, and for good or bad, those choices were the founding stones that determined the outcome I live with today. This means that I cannot change my past. I cannot remain in my past, but I cannot change what happened to me. I have to accept it and move on. But how do you move on from such a deep hurt?

In many ways, I have moved — from where I was — to where I am now. I have made great strides forward, and in doing so, I have moved from the place of hurt, betrayal, and abandonment, to a place of safety, security, and healing. I am healed, for sure, and I have forgiven my ex-husband. However, in my mind — in the deeper recesses of my mind — there is lingering hurt that simply will not go away.

I was thinking about it this way. I am an INTJ personality, and as such, I tend to be extremely loyal. I don’t give up, and I don’t walk away unless I absolutely see no purpose or value in staying. When it comes to vows, I keep them. I am not perfect, mind you. I do sin. I sin a lot, but I also don’t go back on a serious promise. I keep my word. This means that in my mind, divorce was never acceptable. It never was for me, and no matter how many times I wished my life were different or better or not filled with such sinful behavior, I would not accept divorce. I would do whatever possible to prevent divorce, and I would seek help, openly and honestly to try and repair whatever rips and tears were present. I believed, and I still do that — failure — specifically in marriage, was not an option. Yet, when it came right down to it, I chose divorce. I still cringe at the thought, but in truth, I was faced with two choices, neither of which appealed to my sense of justice, fairness or righteousness. I could stay in a marriage bed for three or I could stand my ground, take offense (as in a position), and hold onto the Word of God. The latter meant that I would choose God over man, the Word over my husband, and righteous behavior over that of sin. In the end, I chose God, and that meant that I had to accept the outcome of that choice. Separation followed, and then later, after a time, came the divorce. I never wanted divorce. I never wanted the stigma of divorce, but this is what happened, and I had to sign my consent to it.

In the scope of things, I stand today as a divorced woman. I hate it still, and I hate the thought that I accepted this as one of the alternative choices presented to me. It was the lesser of two evils in my mind, and I took the way that said, “I cannot abide by infidelity” thus I will live alone. I walked out of my marriage, intent on learning how to live singly. I made my way into the world, slowly at first, but after a time, I dove in with all my might and gusto. I achieved many wonderful things, and in time, the Lord clarified my way. He provided a path for me to follow, and I have stuck to this path. I have not deviated from it, but I have followed it and it has brought me to this place in time.

Now, I sit here, blogging and thinking how the day as slipped by. It is almost 11 a.m., and I am still sitting at my desk, resting, contemplating, and thinking about what God wants to do through me. Who were these men in my dream, and why did them come to my house? I mean, I didn’t recognize either of them, but I felt as if they knew me. Oh well…

I guess what is clear is this — if the Lord intends to move me — He will move me. However, whether I physically go, as in relocate or not, I am responsible for spiritually, mentally, and emotionally being ready to go, and that means that I must prepare my mind, my heart, and my body for whatever the Lord has in mind for me. Right now, I think that I am most stressed about the unknown details. I am most stressed about feeling as if I might not graduate, I might not finish this spring. Other than that, I am content in most of the other areas in my life, save one. I don’t know what the Lord intends to do about my heart. I mean, what do I do with my heart? How do I deal with the broken part of it that simply refuses to heal?



In Closing

I am thinking more about this fact, about how I am refusing to accept the Lord’s blessing and goodness, and that I am trying so very hard to control the outcome when in fact I am unable to control much of anything these days. Thus, I look up, and I say, “Oh, Lord! How dare I say to you, the giver of all good things, that I am not willing to accept this blessing, this gift of love?” I pray now that you forgive my arrogance, my foolishness, and my attempt to control the plans, the outcome, and even the blessing you intend to give to me. I ask this in Jesus’ Name, and I say with my whole heart — I RELENT! I give up, and I give in. I accept your full blessing, your full provision, your complete goodness as you determine it because you know what is best for me. You know what is best.


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