May 7, 2017

Blessed Sunday

It is a beautiful morning here in Chesapeake, VA. The skies have finally cleared, and the sun is shining brightly. Today is Sunday, the Lord's Day, and I am sitting at my laptop at the Hampton Inn and Suites. I had a decent, but fractured night's rest. My head is pounding this morning, thanks to sinus pressure from the week's storms. Overall, though, I am in good shape to travel home to Phoenix today.

A New Life Begins

My time in VA has come to a close. It has been lovely as always, and while the ending is bittersweet, I have so many wonderful memories of my program, cohort, and summer residencies at Regent University. Yesterday was the capstone event, commencement 2017. I honestly didn't think I would be graduating with my class this year. I really thought I couldn't write and defend my dissertation in 6 months, but praise be to God, I did. The Lord did it for me. The Lord made this happen. The Lord showed me how to work so hard, for so long, and still make it through in one piece. He is good. He is to be glorified this good, good day.

Yesterday was a beautiful day when over 1900 people graduated. According to "MG" Pat Robertson, Chancellor of Regent, this was the largest graduating class in the history of the school. The ceremony was especially poignant. I really appreciated the fact that the guest speaker was Dr. Corne Bekker, the dean of the School of Divinity. His passion and intensity was beyond my expectations, and his message confirmed my calling and mandate to do all things with the message of Christ first and foremost. I loved  his speech, and the guests who followed offered similar words of advice -- keep the Lord first, do His work, trust in Him, rest in His word -- and good success will follow you.

My colleagues from SCA - All Doctors now!

The entire experience has been a wonderful one. I met some of the colleagues from previous years in the program. Two in particular were fascinating to meet, and one left me wondering about my own calling, my own personal history as it was illuminated by the light of his research. I was moved to consider other options, other paths, but in the end, I realized that God does truly work all things together for our good. My life is as it is because chose to make something beautiful from it. In fact, it was Dr. Robertson who said that God knew more about our individual calling than we did, and that this was was why He brought us, each, to Regent. You see, we all come here and we say the same thing. "God called me to Regent." "I don't know why I am here, but I feel God calling me to this school." "I am not sure what I am to study, but God wants me to study at this school." Now, naysayers might say that we are all crazy, but as the hundred of so men and women crowned as doctors walked across that stage (psychologists, lawyers, and academics), I really find that thought ridiculous. No one undertakes a rigorous and demanding program to become a doctor of law, science, philosophy, or psychology on a whim. No one is that mindless to complete and graduate from this type of program. No, God called these people -- all of them -- to this school for a reason. That reason is known only to them, and that reason as it is made known and clarified will become their vision.

Dr. Robertson is known for believing God, and for believing God for big dreams. He said to us, "Don't ask God for small things, but ask Him for big things." I thought about it for a minute because when you know the story of how my school came about, then you can see why he believes the way he does. He received his calling to start a university, first called CBN and later Regent. He wasn't an academic. He didn't have the background, the education, or the experience to do it. He came to VA with $70, a wife and three children, and as he says it, "No job." Fall 2017 will see 10,000 students enrolled, the largest class ever in the history of the school. What is more, Regent boasts that it has 9 college presidents and over 800 teachers of the year as alumni (some 400 graduates working in top positions in Fortune 500 companies). It is a little school, but the numbers of top level leadership positions is staggering. God has truly created something out of nothing. Dream big, and never stop believing that God is the God of all possibility.

I stand now at the threshold, ready to embrace my God-calling destiny. I am where I am today because God decided for it to be so. I came through "hell and high water," and I survived the storm. I am ready, prepared, and equipped to do His good work. As I prepare myself for the next step in this marvelous journey, I am thinking of all that awaits me. I am thinking of how God has taken me by the hand, and how He led me from devastation to beauty. I started this journey with nothing, no money, no car, no job. In the past seven years, God has taken me through two graduate schools, provided multiple jobs, and now I have a career and a future -- all because it was His good plan. I look to Him, and I say, "Lord, what is next for me?" I dare to dream big dreams and to believe God for big things. He is God, and nothing is impossible for Him.
In Conclusion

As I close this blog post today, I remember His words to me when I was first starting this walk. He said that I must trust Him. I must believe that He is, that He exists, and in doing so, I must place my faith in His abilities and not my own. Learning to trust God was hard, and learning to rely on Him was even harder. But throughout the difficulty and pain, I have come to this place of sweet fellowship. I have come to this place of amazing grace. His grace is sufficient. He is all I need. I give Him all the praise, the honor, and the glory this good, good day!

No comments: