March 28, 2017

Understanding

Today is Tuesday, and well, it is going to be a good day. I am making it so. Yes, Monday was a crash-and-burn day when I simply was off my game, suffering with feelings of insecurity and doubt, and in the end, I felt as if I wasted my day, failed miserably, and needed to chuck in the towel, so to speak. I was humbled. I was brought low, and in this way, I took one in the chops. The good news is that I have recouped, and after a good night’s rest, I feel better. In fact, I would say that I have a clearer understanding of what happened, why it happened, and what to do to avoid repeats in the future.

In all, yesterday was an eye-opener for me. I prayed as I travelled to GCU in the early afternoon, and in truth, I simply wasn’t ready mentally to engage with my students. I was overwhelmed, feeling downcast, and worried about my one class (middle of the day) where I am having issues with the class dynamic. I did my best, but in the end, I simply floundered. I simply floundered BIG TIME. I wasn’t able to show up and be in control, and instead, I felt like an utter failure the entire time I was in class. It was weird to say, but I felt so overpowered by a presence that it was difficult for me to remain in control or even feel as if I was in control.

I know the source. I know it well. And, the sad part is that this source has been a thorn in my side the entire semester. I have tried to overcome these feelings of doubt, unworthiness, but they simply do not go away. I am counting down the weeks to the end of the semester, and then for sure, I will be free. I will be free. I hate the fact that I have to be this way, to dodge the conflict. I could confront it, but I made the decision to turn the other cheek early on, and in this way, I made the choice to give God the control, the authority, and the glory — regardless of what I might experience day in and day out. I am sticking to my guns here, and I intend to end this semester with grace and dignity, and in doing so, I intend to bring Him praise and honor. After all, I work unto the Lord, thus whatever I do, I do it with this intention in mind. He alone is worthy to be praised. He alone is worthy to be glorified. He alone is worthy!

Learning from Our Mistakes

So yesterday was a great experience in what not to do — which is rush rather than rest. I learned a hard lesson in trusting the Lord, and while I scooted by fairly unscathed, I felt ashamed that I didn’t show up and do my very best. I gave a half-hearted attempt, and in doing so, I short changed my students. God be praised, I learned my lesson.

Today, I have a better frame of mind. Today, I feel more like myself, and I feel more like I know what is happening and how to deal with it. In short, I feel like I am in a better position to move forward and to experience His grace. I need His grace. I need His help. I cannot do this work on my own. I have done my best to manage this awfully tight, varied schedule, and I am losing my grip on reality. I am losing my hold.

Last night, I had a really good conversation with my son. He is a senior in college, but he has one more year of classes (well, really just a semester) to complete. He is making plans for his future, and he wanted to discuss some things with me. I appreciate this fact that he wants to discuss his life with me. I want to be available to help him as much as possible, but I also know that he needs to figure some of this out on his own.

As we were discussing some of these things, I said that I thought my working at ASU was directly a gift from the Lord and that it was meant as a blessing to my son as well. I am not sure what kind of discount I get as part-time employee, but I believe that my son can benefit should he choose to pursue a master’s degree at this school. I also said that I believed that my work online — all these contracts — were in direct response to some of his needs. I mean, he is beginning to follow the Lord’s will for his life and with that come opportunities to be planted, to be challenged, and to be matured. The Lord is working on him to bring him to maturity, for sure, but my role as his parent, has always been to be a mentor and a guide as much as I am able. I feel like one of the reasons the Lord has kept me here in Phoenix is for this very purpose. It is not as if my son “needs” me, per se. He is almost 24, and he is pretty responsible and able to care for himself. But there are extenuating circumstances, and he needs my financial support (in subtle ways). It is expensive to live these days, and without some support from me, he would not be able to do nearly half of what he does now — and most of this is ministry related. I simply feel that the Lord wants me to remain as a mentor to him, a support system for him — until He is ready to promote him to the position He has in mind for him.

It is interesting but I believe this is how God works best. If you recall from the New Testament, God always set the disciples in pairs. Usually there was an older and a younger or a more mature and less mature partnership. The two worked together, lived together, and learned from one another. In the case of the Apostle Paul, the Lord provided several mentees to him, and over the course of his life, he mentored these young men, trained them, and prepared them for their own ministry. Typically, the Lord puts men with men and women with women, but in some cases, a parent is called to serve in this role until a suitable companion is prepared. It was this way with Timothy, in particular. His mother and his grandmother were mentioned in scripture for their good work in raising him to be a Godly young man. Paul says that they did their work well by teaching him the scriptures. This suggests that parents, even mothers and grandmothers can influence their sons to lead honoring lives.

In my experience, the Lord tends to use parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, to provide support to those that are weak or young in their faith. He also uses people in the church or work who will encourage and build up the person, often finding like-minded individuals who share common interests. These friendships can become significant and can often be life-long.

My role has always been as a spiritual guide. Even during my marriage, I was the one who made sure that my son studied the Bible, did Awana, and participated at church. My ex-husband encouraged him in these pursuits, but never took an active role. He never studied the word with my son. He never counseled him in scriptural matters. He was an ineffectual spiritual leader, and because I believed that my son was given to me as a gift (from the time of his conception), and that God had marked him out beforehand for specific works, I was devoted to his upbringing. I gave my life to raising him, teaching and training him, all in preparation for the Lord’s work. I always felt that I was like Hannah, who was barren. I was given a child, and this child was to be dedicated to the Lord.

In this way, I have had to learn how to shift my role from Mom and parent to spiritual guide. I have done my best, but since college, the Lord has graciously provided Godly men who have become part of my son’s life. These men served in the church in various roles: pastors, teachers, worship leaders. These men encouraged, befriended, and counseled him, and as a result, I believe helped him learn how to grow up and be a young man.

Now, he is on the threshold of manhood. He has a part-time job as a worship minister, and he is thinking of completing a masters degree so that he can teach adjunct at his current school. He is already teaching as a teaching assistant, and he feels that he will have more opportunities to do so in the coming semesters. More so, he is performing (his first love) and he has hopes to have more opportunities for mixing/mastering (studio work) this summer. In this way, I believe that the Lord has used all of these experiences to bring him to this very point, this very place in time. My part has been to be a steady influence, a constant friend and mentor, and to stand back (often) and encourage from the sidelines.

As I ponder how my life and his have developed and intersected, I realize that God has appointed me to this role for a specific reason. I am to continue in it for as long as the Lord desires me to do so. I am to do this work because it is foundational and necessary. I must not be sidelined or buy into the thought that my role is not needed or wanted. I must remain in this position until the Lord says, “You are released from this responsibility.” Until that time, I will be content to mentor and to encourage as I am able, to support and provide as He leads and guides me, and in all things, to be the gracious and loving parent that every young man needs, wants, and desires.
Taking Hold of What Is Mine

Thus, as I think about my role as mother, teacher, and daughter, I realize that the Lord has provided everything I need to be successful and happy in life. My marriage failed, and as such, I lost a companion and a friend; however, the Lord has enabled me to look past this sorrow and to consider other ways to be satisfied in life. I have a good job, which I love. I have a hopeful future predicated on my educational goals. I am positioned well for success and prosperity. I have opportunities to expand or enlarge my territory, and I have the freedom to go wherever the Lord desires me to go. In all, I have been given everything I need to succeed in this life, and with the Lord gracious provision and His good plan, I am in such a very good place, a very good spot, and I have a very good outcome waiting for me —> just over there.

My life belongs to the Lord, and that means that I am no longer able to control where I go or what I do for work. In this regard, I remember this scripture in John 20 where Jesus tells of Peter’s future life. He says verse 18, “Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus was foretelling of Peter’s end, and how he will be led away to be crucified like His Lord. Now, I am not saying this is what the Lord has said will be my end, rather, I am simply saying that there comes a point in each believers life when they accept the fact that to follow the Lord means they will have to give up full control over their choices, their actions, and their options in life. They will have to surrender fully to the Lord’s will, and that means no longer being able to make decisions on life choices. They will go where He sends them. They will live where He tells them to live. They will do the work He provides to them. They will not say, “I think this or I want that,” but they will be fully agreeable and willing to do as He leads, guides, and provides for them.

This is where I am at today. In fact, I have been in this place for many months now. My final push toward graduation required a full surrender of my will, my intellect, and my abilities, and as such, I let go of the desired outcome — graduation — in order to receive His grace and blessing and finish on time. I have finished, and praise be to God, I am ready to be used by the Lord for His work. I am ready to go where He sends me. I am ready to be fully employed in the role He has in mind for me.

As of now, I believe this role will be as faculty at a University. I have several applications in process, but I have not heard back on any of them. I am settled with my adjunct contracts, and I know that the Lord will provide for me, but I also believe it is His will for me to be settled into one permanent position. This door hasn’t opened yet, but I am resting in His choice, and in His blessed provision. He knows the timing, and He has the power and authority to make this position come to pass. I have to trust in His abilities, believe in faith that He will do what He has promised, and then rest in the knowledge that for all intents-and-purposes His will is “done.” Yes, selah! His will is done.

Now, my plan is to rest, to let go of the worry, the doubt, and the fear, and simply trust that the Lord has me well-covered. He has this all wrapped up. He knows what will be, and as such, I can let the matter rest.

Knowing My Place

I have come to know my place well. I have come to understand what I can and cannot do, and in this way, I am content to remain where I am and do this work until He says it is time to move on. I am happy to be settled in this role as teacher. I am happy to be ready to be full-time employed. But, I am very happy to know that my future is set and that the plans the Lord has for my life are well in hand. My life is unfolding according to His desires and design. I am able to rest, to relax, and to know that no matter what comes my way today, my Lord is with me. He is able to handle it. I can trust Him. I know Him well, and I believe His word to me is truth.
In Closing

As I close this blog post today, I rest in His marvelous name. I rest in His abilities as Lord to cover me, to provide for me, to protect me from harm. Though I may be battered and bruised, and at times, I will fall and fail to succeed, the Lord has me covered. I will do all things to honor His name, and that is in humility I will place my faith, my hope, and my dreams and desires under His most blessed grace. I am a child of grace, and the Lord has me covered. I don’t have to be afraid anymore. I don’t have to worry or fear. I don’t have to overthink or doubt. I can trust in Him. He is good to me, so very good to me. He is my Shepherd, my King, my Lord, and most of all, my Savior.

No comments: