April 3, 2017
More and More
Happy Monday! Yes, it is Monday, and I am ready to take on my new week. Praise God for the blessing of a new week. In all, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to go and bless my students, to work hard this week to achieve my goals, and to spend time with my family (whom I love). The Lord has provided a do-over week for me. I feel so refreshed today. I woke up without any pain. I slept really, really well, and I feel GREAT today! I am excited to get to class and teach my students, and truthfully, I feel so confident that the plans the Lord has for me today are going to produce wonderful outcomes! I am filled with joy, peace, love, and contentment this good, good day! Selah!
As I mentioned above, I woke up today feeling great. I slept well last night, thanks in part to some Advil and Aspercreme. My neck and shoulder were stiff when I went to bed last night so before I fell asleep, I got up and took the Advil and rubbed the Aspercreme all over my neck, my upper back, and my shoulder. I drifted off to sleep shortly afterward, and with the exception of waking up around 6:40 to use the bathroom, I didn't stir one bit. I am so thankful for a good night's rest. I feel fine, and I feel as if I have so much more energy today. Thank you, Jesus!
It is Monday, and with that note, I am on the countdown clock to graduation. Yes, today marks one month until I fly to VA for my 4-day graduation ceremony. I am excited, overjoyed, and thrilled to think that in just 4-weeks, I will be "hooded" in a formal ceremony at my school, Regent University. What is more is the thought that in that same time frame, I will be done with my on-campus courses (praise God!) I am so ready to enjoy my summer vacation. Moreover, as I still wait for confirmation on jobs (Grantham, soon; full-time, this summer perhaps?), I think to myself how blessed I already am, and how well in hand the Lord has my entire life. Yes, I am so well-covered. I am provided for, my needs are met, and I have everything in my life today to feel blessed, secured, and financially able to plan for my retirement. I feel so honored to have been given such blessing. I do not deserve it, mind you. I do not deserve one iota of His grace, yet I give Him thanks for it. I am so thankful to have been chosen for this task, this life, this plan. He has made a way possible when I believed there was NO WAY at all. He opened doors for me when I thought the doors were locked, and I was barred permanently from them. He said, "Trust me," and through hard fought tears, I said, "Yes, Lord, I will trust you." I am the recipient of His grace, His favor, and His blessing. I am the recipient of His marvelous mercy, and His goodness that flows from His generous hand.
The Lord peace, which surpasses my understanding, has come to guard my heart and my mind. I am comforted in knowing that He has made my life good. He has made all things possible, and for that, I lift up a sacrifice of praise this good, good day. He is worthy to be praised! He is worthy to be praised! He alone is worthy!
My day today is pretty straight forward. I have to prep this morning, and then I will go and teach on campus my three classes. I am thankful for these classes, and while I have struggled this entire semester, I realized this weekend that the Lord provided these classes -- He gave me these students to teach, thus I will go and do my best to love, to affirm, and to encourage them as I am able to do so. He is worthy! He is good! I thank Jesus for the provision of good practical work this good, good day!
It is funny, really, but yesterday was a turning point for me. I stayed home from church, as I mentioned in my blog post, and instead of attending physical church, I did virtual church (including communion). I've been missing out on church for a while, and since last fall (towards the holidays), I simply gave up trying to go each week. Instead, I did my own "home church" here, and while it wasn't the most satisfying, it worked as best as it could considering all the pressure I was under to graduate on time. In January, I made the decision to go back to SBC (a monumental decision), but the timing of my return simply didn't work out. I have been without a car each Sunday since that time. Still, I did my best, and praise be to God, I know I am not condemned regarding my lack of "fellowship" with the congregation.
Yesterday, I really felt the pull to watch the live service, so I did. Our former pastor, Dr. DelHousaye preached since our regular pastor was in the Holy Land. I like Darryl a lot, but his jokes are getting old, and his manner is stale (compared to what it was when I attended some 20 years ago), still his message was rock solid. He spoke about money, and he gave a wonderful and moving message on giving. It was framed from 2 Corinthians 8-9, and while the scripture was familiar, his message wasn't. He really laid down a case for God's provision of sowing and reaping. I know the biblical precedent, but I really didn't grasp it as well as I did yesterday. Darryl explained that in order to be financially free one must understand that God gives seed to sow and bread for food. Our intention and our attitude are critical for financial blessing, but it is important to understand that bread for food is our daily provision, and God always gives us enough to eat and to provide for our families. The seed for sowing, however, is dependent upon our faith, our heart motivation (as a cheerful and generous giver), and so forth.
He said something that stuck with me, and even today, I am still feeling his message as it sinks down deeper and deeper into my mind and my spirit. I have plenty of bread right now. The Lord has blessed me provisionally with good practical work. As such, I have food to eat, and I have enough supplies to make sure my family (my son and my parents) are covered. I have bread, so my needs are met. My seed, however, that which the Lord has provided for me to share with others, is still limited. I don't always share my "extra" because I am still in the mindset of the hoarder. What I mean by this is that for so many years, I lived without. I lived in famine. I had very little "bread" to ensure my family was fed each week. Thus, any extra was stored away to ensure our needs were met on the "morrow." My life hasn't been this way since I was separated from my ex-husband. So for the past 7 years, the Lord has given me plenty of bread to cover my needs. But, my mind still behaved, reacted, and acted as if I was always on fumes (like it had been for 20-30 years prior). It has taken time for me to see that I am covered, that my needs are met, and that I am safe. Now, that I am in this place, I can begin to see how my hoarding practice (out of a psychological trauma) caused me to be greedy with God's provision. I wanted more, more, more simply to avoid the pain of having less, less, less. My trust was not in God, but it was in my ability to produce and to save.
I have spent the better part of the past 7 years learning how to trust God, and in doing so, I have come to this place of peace. I experience His Shalom daily, and in His presence, I have found my sufficiency. I need nothing more save Jesus Christ. Thus, as I begin to develop my life as a professor, I earn more income, I have to put on the mind of Christ in financial matters. My desire is to be debt-free, to live at my means, and to sow my seed in order to reap a harvest of God's blessing. I am determined to be generous and to be a giver who cheerfully acts as a solution to some unknown person's problem.
I was overwhelmed yesterday by God's grace and mercy. I was totally overwhelmed by His Spirit as processed what the Lord was saying to me. You see, the Lord has promised me great provision for my retirement. I see the potential in my future, and I see how I can earn and retain wealth. I have this wealth-building capability in my hand, so to speak, and as such, I know that very soon, I will be financially well-set. I will not only have "bread," but I will have significant seed to sow. The Lord intends for me to sow a lot of seed, thus I have to finally let go of all the control when it comes to His blessing of finances. I am a good steward. I am responsible. I am careful with my expenses. I care about money matters, and I understand how to manage my money well. Now, I am ready to receive the blessing, the influx of provision -- but not for me to hoard -- rather, it is for me to share. I cannot wait to begin sharing what God has blessed me with and to become a "Shalom" to other people. I want to shower His blessing, His peace, His goodness on those I meet. I want to bring hope, encouragement, and goodness into their lives so that they too will know that God lives, reigns, and that He loves them so very deeply. I have asked the Lord to help me be a generous, kind, good, and giving person. I have asked the Lord to bless my efforts, to teach me how to minister financially, and to provide seed for me to sow into the lives of others. I am ready to do this work, and I am ready to see the Lord's glory as I go and sow deeply the seed that God gives to me.
As I close this blog post and begin to prep for my classes, one thing comes to mind. I don't know how to bless others without His grace. I need my heart to be transformed to be like His heart, to love others, to see others as He does. Thus, today, my prayer is to be transformed into a person who spreads His peace throughout the territory. May my borders continue to be enlarged, and may the provision of your Hand, Lord, be used to satisfy the needs of those in my care (here and abroad). May I do all of this to bless, to honor, and to praise my Father in Heaven. I ask all of this in the matchless and merciful Name of Jesus, my Lord and my Savior, Amen.