February 10, 2017
It is a good day in sunny and warm, Phoenix. Yes, the sun is going to be shining brightly today, and our expected temperature will be near 85. Okay, so a tad warm for early spring, but compared to the blizzard back east, I’ll take it. I will take it any day of the week, so to speak.
On top of the fact that it is Friday, I found out that my brother and sister-in-law are coming into town today. They will be here the weekend to celebrate my brother’s birthday. I will probably miss them today due to my classes, but I should be able to visit with them later in the weekend. In all, a little part-ee-ing is a good thing!
My revision work is going to take precedent this weekend. I have to make the requested changes for my dissertation, and frankly, I will have no time to spare. I need to get all my work done for the weekend so that I can be ready to finish my next chapter’s revisions by the following weekend. I am slammed, no doubt, but I have a sticky feeling that the Lord has something special planned for me. As my professor said today in his email — there will be great joy and celebration at the end of this project!
I am trying not to panic right now, but after seeing airfare prices for next month’s trip back to VA for my defense, I am starting to feel the pinch. Oh my goodness! I really need to have a date fixed so I can plan to defend. I need to book travel and hotel, and well, I would prefer not to spend top dollar to do so. Yet, I have no control over this process, thus I rest and let the Lord do the arranging for me. He knows the date, and He knows what can and cannot be. He is good to me. He is so very good to me.
It is funny, really, to stop and think about how many blog posts have been written that deal with my work and the plans I have for my work. I started to think about this fact today, and it made me giggle. I mean, talk about overload — obsession — and fixation! Still, I have to wonder why my mind is so focused on my work. I have been single-mindedly pursuing the Lord’s will for my life for the past 10 years, and in that time, work — daily and practical work — has centered prominently. I mean, in the beginning, way back in 2005, I started to feel this push toward changing my career. I was miserable as a website designer, and I was overworked and underpaid to boot. Furthermore, I was taking on designs that were too large for one person to handle, and I felt as if I was not able to do the work needed to justify the pay. Still, I begged and I pleaded with the Lord to release me, and instead of providing another job for me, He kept me in the profession for a good four more years. Little did I know then that the reason for that decision would turn on my then husband’s health condition and the need for me to finish home schooling our son. Yes, I worked in a job I disliked intensely simply so I could be at home with my son and take care of my ailing ex-husband.
Once my life was upended, as I like to say, I found that I had the freedom to choose a new career for my life. I thought a lot about the type of work I wanted to do, and for a time, I simply chose work that I thought I could “endure.” By this, I simply mean, work that I thought I would like enough to stick with it, but not work that would fulfill me or provide life satisfaction. I did what I had always done, which was to choose jobs that were readily available to me — no matter — how awful they might be as far as time, pay, environment, etc. Of course, I believed the Lord would provide good work to me, and I was thankful for each job He did provide. Still, there was a sense of simply doing work, and not really doing ministry or even work that was challenging or fulfilling to me.
In 2010, I returned to graduate school, hoping I would get the chance (someday) to teach. I really didn’t believe I would be able to teach, but I still hoped that, “Perhaps,” the Lord would permit it. I returned to school for a bigger purpose than teaching, and that was to fulfill what I believed was the Lord’s will for my life regarding ministry. My PhD, as I have blogged about it, was for His work alone, and not for teaching or to secure a teaching position. Thus, I worked at UOPX in Enrollment and then at CVS in Member Communications — all while I was trying to complete my Masters degree and begin my PhD. It wasn’t until 2013 that the Lord encouraged me to apply for work at GCU, and well, the rest is history as they say. I have been at GCU now for four years, and while I have not been offered full-time work, I do have steady employment as adjunct faculty.
Furthermore, as I have continued to pursue my education, I have picked up classes at other schools — four to be precise. I am well-employed, as they say, but none of these jobs are permanent, and they all could vanish in an instant simply due to low student enrollment. Yet, these are the jobs I have, and I am faithful to execute my duties. I am blessed to be where I am, and I love the fact that the Lord has given me such variety of experience.
Now, however, I am ready for that full-time position, but I know I have to graduate. I have to finish with my PhD, and that means, I have to be ready to take on this new level of work. I have applied to several positions, but as is typical, the doors never open. I receive that courtesy email that says, “Sorry, not interested.” I received an email from GCU twice this week — once for the full-time English position and then once for the part-time Social Science position. I was turned down twice in one week! Sigh!
I also was turned down for the position at University of Wisconsin, but that was partly my fault. My coworkers didn’t send their letters of recommendation soon enough, and well, they (the department) asked me to withdraw. I wasn’t upset to do it, but I felt that the constraint for staying put, the chain, so to speak, was tightening, and that I was being held here in Phoenix for a much longer time. As of now, I have enough work, temporary work to pay my bills, but only the Lord knows if this work will hold out or if I might be in dire straits in the coming months.
Still, I know that He is my Shepherd. He has me so well-covered, and by that I mean that He has this all figured out. He knows what I can and cannot do. He knows that I am able to move — meaning that I am willing and agreeable to moving. He knows that while I don’t necessarily like the heat in Phoenix, this is where I am, and for now, I can content to remain. However, He also knows that my hearts desire is to go elsewhere, but unless He opens a door for me, I must remain where I am. I guess, I am learning contentment, true contentment. I am learning how to live with chains on, the type that will not be loosed until the King comes and removes them. I am learning how to be settled, to be set and fixed, even if it is in a place I don’t delight or choose. Yes, I am learning how to say, “Yes, Lord,” and really mean it. I am learning what it means to submit and yield to the Lord — despite my feelings, my wishes, and my wants. In truth, I am learning what it means to do things His way, and in that lesson, I am learning that I can no longer go where I desire or want. I can no longer do what I think is best, and I can no longer drive this bus!
As I wrap up this short blog post so that I can move on to prepping for class, I realize that I am in this place for a purpose. You see, I am here in Phoenix because the Lord delights for it to be so. It is not a punishment, and while I chose this place initially, the Lord has used it for my good. He has grown me, shaped me, and molded me into this person, and I have developed skills, abilities, and even powers that I would not have had anywhere else. Thus, there is reason for the delay. There is reason for the forfeiture of positions that could provide a better income, a more steady position. Instead, the Lord has gracious held me back, and for this time, He has a plan for that restriction. I must let go, I must let Him lead, and I must accept His instruction — no matter what I think or feel — because it is good for me to relent, to recant, and to resist the temptation to pull at this yoke of bondage. In truth, I am His bond-servant, and as such, I can no longer walk my own path. I must walk along side of Him, and that means that I cannot continue to strain at the yoke, but I must let go and let Him guide me to the place of His choosing. In all things, I must walk and I must learn the gentle way of my Master, my Lord, and my Savior, Jesus the Christ and King.