April 19, 2017

Only 3 More Days!

It is Wednesday, April, 19, 2017 — and that means — that I have only three more teaching days at GCU. Yes, I have three more teaching days until I am officially done for the year — the YEAR! It is a long closure for the school year, and I would have to say that the final push from spring 2016 through to spring 2017 has been the most difficult period of my life (notwithstanding the years leading up to my divorce). I should say, most challenging, and certainly most intellectually stimulating. I devoted more time to my studies over the past 17 months than at any other time in my higher education career. I mean, I studied to pass doctoral exams, and then I worked non-stop on my dissertation. I finally capped that off when I went to defend said dissertation last March. In all, I have worked tirelessly toward this one pursuit, and now after 7 years of study, I am finished. I am finished!

My graduation plans are in place. I have my air, hotel, and car reservation set. I’ve RSVP’d for the ceremony, and I’ve ordered my regalia. I am in the waiting mode now, just counting down the days until I leave for VA. I cannot wait. I mean, I CANNOT WAIT! My good friends and colleagues are still trying to wrap up the final items — submitting to the database, getting an outside reader — but they are well on their way to being finished too. It is exciting to stop and think that I will be back on campus for one last visit on May 3-7, 2017. I am weepy at the thought, but praise be to God, I am so ready to be released so I can move on to bigger and brighter horizons! God be praised, I am ready to begin His next blessed adventure!
The Next Adventure

So this morning, while I laid in bed, cringing from a migraine headache, I heard the Lord speak to me. He always seems to call to me when I am in that half-dream, half-wake place. I was restless due to the pain, so I had gotten up around 4 a.m. to take some Advil. I knew that if I didn’t get up then, I would be down for the count today. And, since this is my last full week of classes, there was no way I could be sick or out for the day. I rustled myself from bed, downed some Advil, and then crawled back into my nice warm and comfy cocoon. The Lord spoke, and I listened. I know that sounds weird to say, and many people would take issue with what I am saying now, but in truth, it was just as if He was speaking to me. I digress.

I was half-sleeping, half-waking, when He began to tell me what will be over the course of the next couple weeks. Most of this I already knew — waiting mostly — but there was confirmation in the mixture, and with confirmation came a sense of great relief. I don’t recall most of it, which is unfortunate, I just know that during that time, my headache disappeared as I drifted off into a very deep, deep sleep. I woke up around 9 this morning, headache free, and with a deep sense of peace inside of me. I feel confident, bold, and ready. I also have this wonderful peace in my heart, and a sense of calmness as far as my next steps are concerned. I cannot really explain it other than to say that I feel good, like really good. I feel like the weight of the world is now off my shoulders, and I am at rest.

Like I said, some of what I heard this morning was old news. It was confirmation of sorts on what would be. I knew, for example, that I had to wait for my degree to post before I would find that illusive full-time job. I have been looking, by the way, and I have seen nothing available that meets what I believe is the Lord’s guided direction for my next job. I know I have to wait, and I have known that schools hiring PhDs will want proof — a transcript — and that proof will not be available to me until after May 6, 2017. But, there were other words that I didn’t know, some dealing with my current experience here in Phoenix, and some dealing with my teaching abilities at my present schools. These are things that I will watch for — to look for — confirmation. The Word clearly says that if we receive testimony from the Lord and it doesn’t come to pass, well then, it wasn’t from the Lord (Deut. 18:22). I will wait for the confirmation to come to pass, and then I will know that what I heard was really from the Lord. I should say that there have been a number of times throughout my life where I have had similar experiences, where I heard specific things, and in time, they absolutely were proved true.

My passion and zeal, excluded, I know that I must be patient and wait for the Lord to demonstrate His power, might, and authority over these particular areas of my life. I must wait for the Lord, and in doing so, I will see His glory. With this in mind, I have this sense that what I heard was true, but again, I will wait to see it come to pass. My prayer today is for the Lord to confirm to me in other ways so that I can see His revealed will for my next steps. I am asking the Lord to do what He does best, and that is to keep His Word, and to make His promises come to pass. He is good like this, all the time, He is good.

Fit for a King

Today, thus, I prepare for my third of five remaining teaching days. I prepare with a happy heart because I know that my time at GCU is coming to an end. Yes, I blogged the other day how I had received another rejection email from them, and while the rejection had less sting this time, I have read the “writing on the wall,” so to speak, and that is that it is time to pack my bags and move on. It is funny how these things happen, how the Lord allows rejection to move us into a different place. In fact, often rejection is a way for us to see that we are following a wrong lead. It comes as a closed door, and rather than turning around and heading a new way, we often just stay in front of the closed door, simmering in our own hurt and feelings of being dejected. I have been there too many times, so this time around, I prepared myself for the rejection. When it came, I was hurt — for a short time only — but I took that “no” as a big “yes” from the Lord. I believed His Word that He had a better job waiting for me, a better suited position, and that He was not leaving me standing there grieving over lost opportunity, but rather He was preparing to move me into fresh water and good current so I could go to His blessed best.

Rejection hurts our feelings, and often we wonder why the person or organization rejected us. We forget that we don’t always know what is going on inside that person’s mind or within that organization, and in this way, we superimpose our feelings on top of the circumstance or situation. Rather, we should simply accept it as a “no thank you,” and move on. The Word says we are to keep on asking, keep on seeking, and keep on knocking in order to know the will of the Father. Matthew 7:7-8 (BSB) says,

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Thus, we are encouraged to not give in when the door doesn’t open. Instead, we are to keep on asking, seeking, and yes, knocking until the right door opens. We don’t give up. We keep on pursuing the will of the Father, and in this way, the door will open, and we will receive what we ask, find what we seek, and open the door that is closed. Yes, it will be as the Father has said it will be. He is good. He is faithful. He will keep His promise.

I’ve been knocking on a lot of doors over the past three years. I have received some of what I have asked for — several good part-time online positions — but I haven’t received that one special full-time job. This door, the full-time door, has been closed until now. I believed, and I still believe that this is because I needed to have my “PhD in hand,” and until May or even the beginning of June, that wouldn’t be possible. Now, though, I am so close, and with just a few more weeks, I will be ready. I will be graduated, with degree in hand, and I will have that blessed transcript that bears witness to this fact.  Until then, I know I must keep on knocking. I must keep on faithfully looking for the door that He will open for me.

It is interesting to note that over the past three years, the only jobs I have been blessed with have come from mysterious sources. For example, the Lord clearly spoke to me about working at GCU as an IA. This was several years prior to actually starting there. I remember it vividly. The Lord showed me a job that I could have with my Master’s degree. He said it would be a good “start.” I balked at the contract-status, and of course, the low pay (hourly). Even when I finally took the position, I only did it for 2 of the 3 months. I panicked, and I ran back to corporate America where I stayed for all of 3 weeks. It was a bust for me, and I came back with tail between my legs, begging for a second chance. I have stayed since, and in the interim, the Lord moved me from IA to Adjunct. I have worked at other schools too, and in all these cases, the jobs came about without my knocking on any doors.

My good friend, Heather, hooked me up at ACU. Now, I have been there three years, and my son attends this school on a full scholarship. God blessed my time there, even if the curriculum and the program wasn’t a good fit for me longterm. I landed at Regent through His insistence that I apply for Adjunct. I waited for nearly 6 months before I heard anything from them, and then after I was approved, it seemed like it was another 6 months before I received a contract to teach. Now I teach every semester, and they keep me very busy. Praise be to God.

ASU came about as well in a like manner. I didn’t even think about applying there because I didn’t want to drive the 30-45 minutes, in traffic, to teach on campus. The Lord encouraged me to check their faculty listings, and I did. I applied for a full-time, online position, and even interviewed with them last summer. I didn’t get that job, and I was so disappointed about it; but as the Lord would have it, in January, I received an email asking me if I would teach adjunct. I said, yes. I have been there this semester, and I am poised to be regular adjunct from here on out.

In all, when the Lord provides good practical work, He provides it. He doesn’t ask you to go and find it. Rather, He directs you to the place where you are to apply, and then He does this mysterious thing where He opens the door. The HR folks, departments, and so forth, simply give you favor. You are hired. I have seen this same pattern repeat itself now since 2010, when I was “figuratively” on my own (I wouldn’t move out until 2011). He provided everything to me — job, house, graduate school, money, car, insurance, etc. — to establish me as my own person. I did nothing other than receive His blessing. He showed me where to go, what places to approach, what businesses and services to use, and even what apartment homes to visit. He led me through all the necessary steps to see me setup on my own, and in this way, everything I did actually came to pass. It was like He opened those doors and I walked on through them. I was shown favor, and I received blessing.

Now, I am in a similar place. I have almost everything I need to be settled, but in order to be established longterm, I need more significant provision. I cannot live with my parents forever, and they are in need of better care (soon). I cannot prepare for my future on adjunct salary. I need real benefits, and not Obama Care, and I need to have a home that is mine, in my name. I need security and provision, and while I am not in any need now, I see that longterm (5-10-15 years from now), my needs will be far more serious. I need to think about tomorrow, and that means making some changes today.

My life, while not fit for a King, is designed, planned, and managed by a King. Yes, I live my life in wholehearted devotion to my King. I look to His hand. I wait for His blessing. I listened to His counsel, and in this way, I receive His protection and provision. I do nothing of my own accord. I don’t try to figure these things out. I wait for His leading. I rest in His guiding, and then I accept His providing for my needs. He is my Lord, my Savior, and yes, He is my King.
In Closing

As I close this blog post, I remember all the good things the Lord has provided to me over the past 7 years. I remember how frustrated I was, how scared and alone, and how overwhelmed the whole process of change was for me. I used to panic to the point of sickness at the very thought of change. Now, I welcome it. I know that change is good, and that change can bring better days. I want change to come into my life because it means that I am moving, growing, maturing. I want the Lord to change my life. In fact, I will often hear myself say, “Oh, Lord, please change my life.” Of course, I don’t mean take me out of teaching (sometimes, when I am frustrated, I will think this way for a moment), rather I mean, “Do your will, let your will come to pass, bring the fresh change I hear you speak of now.” I long to see His will come to pass, and I long to see what amazing things the Lord has in store for me. I want to see Him praised. I want to see Him honored. I want Him to be glorified by my work, my efforts, and my sacrifices. I want others to praise Him as well, and in all things, I want the Father’s will to be done.  For now, though, I rest. I wait patiently for the confirmation that I believe is coming to me. Once it comes, then I will know which way to go, and then I will pick up my cross, and I will follow Him.

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