June 30, 2017

Friday, Friday, Friday

It is a good day here in sunny and hot, Phoenix. Yes, the air is very warm, and the skies are clear. Hence, the HOT part of the description this morning. It is 10:53 and I am sitting here at my desk, drinking coffee, and thinking about life and other important things. Well, not really. I am sitting here drinking coffee, the life and other things, is best described as an overstatement, LOL! I am feeling better, emotionally, better. I slept well, soundly, but I had a weird, weird dream where I prophesied the future to a group of people I didn’t really know. It was a weird dream, and I woke up feeling like whatever happened in my dream may really happen in life. Premonition? I am not sure, but suffice it to say, my mind is working and wondering along these lines.

Interruption.

So while I was writing this post, my son came in to inform me that my car would not start. Yep. Dead battery. Sigh! We took a look and found out that the battery was almost 4 years old. Praise God! It had a two-year limited warranty and it lasted for almost 4 years! In the desert. In the heat. It is a miracle of God that the car didn’t die while he was traveling somewhere like Tuscan or Southern California or while we were on vacation in Indiana earlier in the month (he was home alone). Instead, the battery died in the driveway. Right while I was home, and right after my dad got home from the auto repair place (after a check-up on his truck). Yes, God is good. He is good to me — to us!

Now, I am back at my desk, eating a bagel and drinking a fresh cup of coffee. I am glad that the battery is installed, and my son is off to school where he is working on a music project with the faculty and staff of the music department. Did I say He is good? Yes. I will say it again — He is so very good, so very good!
Let’s Get Moving!

Yesterday was a good day for me, despite the fit and start, and despite the fact that I lost my temper, my cool, and I had to be prickly over my transcript issue. God moved ahead of me, and He helped me “get er done” as Larry the Cable Guy says so. I pushed a little. I got some other people to help me push, and boom! The deed was done. My transcript was approved, degree posted, and graduation date noted. I am graduated.

What is more is the fact that once my degree posted, events began to move, to shift, to start. I received an email from one of my supervisors asking to interview me for a full-time position. I received acknowledgement that my employment verification hold-up at Grantham was released, finally moving forward after almost 3-months of stasis. Yes, the universe declared His glory, and events coincided, and well, things — BIG BEAUTIFUL BOLD things — started to move.

I have been waiting for movement, for change, to take place in my life for months. The last year has been especially hard on me. Not only did I complete my PhD, but I managed to teach 6-7 classes AND help care for my parents (share the burden).

More so, I had to deal with teaching at multiple schools, different learning systems, and different approaches to curriculum. I had to manage so much variety, that at times, I felt overwhelmed and overdone.

Furthermore, the past year, while the culminating event of my life (at this point in time, I mean) was to graduate, I realized that this event was really just the top of one mountain peak. It wasn’t the end, it was only the beginning. In fact, as I scanned the scenery, I realized that the mountain top I was standing on was part of a series of peaks, a chain of mountains that I began to climb back in 2007. I began this climb up when I made the decision to surrender fully to the Lord, to embrace the life He had for me, and to do whatever work He assigned to me to do. I have been scaling mountains, some high and some low, for a long time, and in between the highs and lows, I have found myself in desert places, in the wilderness, and in valleys that weren’t always fertile and green.

Consequently, as I have moved from place to place, journeying in this desert land, in this wilderness, I have come to be comfortable in this lifestyle. I have come to accept this as “my life.” It wasn’t until I arrived at my destination this week, that I realized that my world was about to change — forever — and that I was about to embark on a new journey, one that would lead me to new places, new heights, and yes, even new lows — new desert, new land.

Yesterday, it dawned on me that I have been waiting for this new “life” to begin, and while I have waited to be released from this wilderness experience, I have not always looked forward with anticipation for my future life to begin. There were many days, many times, when the fear of change, the fear of moving forward, the fear of the unknown captivated all my thoughts and domineered all my attention. Some days, I was so distressed that the mere thought of what might be tomorrow caused me to panic, caused me to stop in my tracks. Other days, I felt like a champion fighter, a gladiator in the ring. I was filled with such boldness that I could have tamed a lion. Yes, in thinking back over the past years, there were days when I was weak and days when I was strong, and in between, there were so many days of helplessness and many days of wonder and awe. Yet, as a whole, I never lost sight of the One who helped me, who kept me together during the nights, and who comforted me during the days. I never lost sight of His hand upon me, and His gentle encouragement to “get up and get moving.” As I scaled each mountain, I gained new insight, developed new strengths, and became more confident, not in myself, but in Him alone. In the end, I realized that this entire experience was designed for this purpose, to keep me right where He wanted me — needed me to be — and that was to keep me wholly dependent on Him. My eyes were opened as I realized that every step on this difficult path was made easier by His strength, His wisdom, and His ability. He has done this work. He has carried me from high to low and now He has said, “You are ready. You are ready to be promoted. You are ready to go.”

Rest Before Moving

Figuratively speaking, it is as if I have spent the past ten years working my way up to this very BIG door. The path to this door was difficult to find, and along the way, I had many options, many choices, and many decisions to make — some that would have taken me in different directions. I stuck to this path, however, and I scaled impossible mountains to get to this point in time. I arrived here at this door some time ago, but when I tried to open the door, I found that it wouldn’t open. The door was locked. It was locked, and no matter how hard I tried to turn the handle, the door simply would not open. Thus, despite wanting to move on, I had to wait here at the door, patiently wait, until He was ready to unlock the door, open it, and then bid me to walk on. I feel like I have been waiting at this door for many months, but really it has just been one or two months only. The waiting, as they say it, about killed me.

Yes, waiting at this place was probably one of the more difficult aspects of the entire journey. You see, in my view, the difficult part, besides all the walking, climbing, and hard tasks in this wilderness place, was the waiting. It was waiting for the door to open — waiting after so much hard work — and being patient knowing that the door would not open through my effort or with any help from anyone, save the Lord.

Moreover, it was the fact that while I was in the wilderness, in transition, I was busy, very busy. I had a lot of work to do, and in doing that work, my mind was occupied. I was always busy. This business kept me from noticing how close I was to the door because my mind was engaged in my work. But, once that work was completed — as in once I graduated — I finally looked up. When I lifted my eyes, I saw how close I was to the next adventure, I saw the door was right before me. The funny fact of the matter is that I had arrived without really even knowing it! I was so excited to have finally arrived, but once I found the door locked, the waiting became incredibly challenging to me. It was like, “What now?”  I felt that I was ready to move on, but nothing I did or could do would open that door. I crumbled from impatience. I got mad, and I grumbled at the Lord. Why now, Lord? Why now?

As I look back over the past couple of months this particular lesson was a hard one to learn. I think it took a couple months off (summer vacation) for me to grasp that there was a reason I was asked to rest, to be patient, and to wait. I learned that in this waiting period, it was imperative for me to rest (to cease striving), and that in resting, I had to patiently endure the time between graduation and promotion. I couldn’t rush the process. I couldn’t do anything to make events happen sooner or faster. No, I had to wait for His timing, and in that waiting, I had to learn how to  be content with my life. I had to accept my life as it is today, on the one hand, and I had to agree with what my life would be in the future on the other. I also had to relent, to let go, and to accept the plans and paths He has for me.

In truth, I came to accept that there was a reason for this short, but intense wait. I wish I could say that I was a model disciple during this time. I wish I could say that I was a saint and not a sinner (LOL!) I wasn’t very saint-like, and I wasn’t a very good disciple most days. No, I was impatient. I didn’t want to stop moving; I didn’t want to rest. Sadly, I also didn’t understand that the Lord had work to do on the other side of the door. He had work to do, and I, in my impatient and childish way, wanted to go “now!” Thankfully, after some relational moments with the Lord, I relented. I changed my attitude, my mind, and my heart, and I let go. I surrendered, yet again, and then things, wonderful things, began to shift, to change for me. The long and the short of it was that although I understood that I had to attend to my studies, work to gain experience, etc., I also had to learn how to rest, to abide, and to trust in the Lord. This last bit of waiting was more about my heart and mind than my physical condition. I had to change my heart, my mind, and my attitude, and I had learn to be content. I had to patiently WAIT for His best to be revealed.

Now, the door has unlocked, and it is open and waiting for me to cross the threshold. I am ready with my bags packed, dressed for the weather, so to speak, and all “geared up” to make my way into this new place, to walk on into this new adventure. I don’t know where I am going, though. I just know that He has asked me to go, to walk through the door, and to move forward into the plans He has for my life. I am to walk forward, not looking back, but to walk forward with eagerness, excitement, and anticipation of the good work He intends to perform through me. I need to walk through the door, and today, I pick myself up, and I plan to get myself out that door! Yes, I am going to get up, get out, and get moving!

His Plans and His Timeline

With all of this in mind, I come to the best part of this post — the PLANS! Yes, I love planning, and the Lord knows how planning helps me to rest, to relax, and to be ready to move forward in His will. He is good to let me know some of His plans. I don’t know everything, and as it should be, but I know some of His will, and for these little bits and pieces of information, I give Him thanks and praise.

Thus as scripture says, the plans and steps (or stages) of my life have been established by the Lord (Prov. 16:9). More so, Psalm 37:23 (AMP) says,

The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].

The Lord has ordered and established the steps (or stages) of my life. He has directed my steps, and in this way, He is establishing me as I follow along the path He has laid out for me. Therefore, I know my steps, and I know that I am to continue to move through this new door and adventure just as I have previously — just one step at a time. 

1) The first order of business was to get my PhD degree posted so I could order a transcript from the National Student Clearinghouse. I did this last night, and I have an electronic copy on my computer, ready and available, to send to any and all prospective employers should they ask for it. I am ready with my resume and my transcript. Now, I can wait for the call to interview, and then the offer for full-time employment. Step one, therefore, is about completion of present work. It is all about completing the tasks assigned in this time frame, doing everything, checking the boxes, so to speak, so that step two, moving can take place. I could not begin to move without step one being completed, and now that it is done (all but done), I am ready to begin step two’s tasks. I am moving, hurrah! I am ready to go!

[x] Update resume (June 1, 2017)
[x] Degree posts (June 29, 2017)
[x] Order transcript from National Clearing House (June 29, 2017)
[x] Email transcript to Grantham for resolution of employment verification (June 29, 2017)
[x] Receive call to interview for full-time position (June 29, 2017)
[  ] Interview for Faculty position (July 6, 2017)
[  ] Job offer (July/August timeframe)

2) Step two or the second order of business is to prepare my life for change or changeover, I should say. I believe that step two involves a physical move to a new location, a new home, and a new place. Step two also involves getting hired full-time and situating myself for full-time work. It is more of a mindshift, really. I need to get my head into the game, and I need to start seeing my life differently. I am not to continue to think of my life as temporary, transitory, or as tentative any more. Instead, I am to consider my steps going forward as planned, prepared, and position for His praise, honor, and glory. I am moving from transition and wilderness into my promised land. I am moving toward establishment, settlement, and finally being firmly planted so I can do His blessed work. In this way, I am to look at my blessing (now and future), and I am to begin to walk in it. This means that I will need to stand up to the enemy, fully armed, ready with my shield of faith and the Sword of the Spirit, and strongly, confidently, walk on as He leads, guides, and provides for me. I am to walk on — in His work. In His will. In His way. I am to do all these things, not in my own strength, but in His strength. He is my King. He is my shelter, my Lord, my rock and refuge. I walk on knowing to whom I belong, and that the plans He has for me have been ordained before the foundation of the world. I am to boldly walk on this good, good day. Step two is all about going, moving, forward momentum. It is traveling from point A to B, and it is destination oriented.

[x] Stand firm and know your calling and mandate (June 15, 2017)
[x] Take courage (Josh. 1:9) and do not panic or be afraid (June 20, 2017)
[x] Know your blessing (provision) and believe that God will accomplish His will and His work

3) Step three or the third order of business involves settlement and establishment. I don’t have much information on this step, only that I feel the push to go, the push to move, and in doing so, I am open to the movement as the Lord leads. I am still not sure if this movement is figurative or literal. Am I to physically move to another state or am I to remain right where I am at now? Does it mean staying in Phoenix, but moving to another home? Until the Lord clarifies this third step, I am to be busy with the work He has already given to me, which is to finish my classes at Regent (summer), and consider my fall course load. If the full-time job materializes, my path shifts slightly. I let go my campus classes (adjunct) and retain only my online classes. I also have to manage some other concerns, but again, I have only sketchy details. I need a car for my son. I need a car for myself (mine is going on 7 years old, and while it runs well, I am sensing some issues down the road). I need to deal with student loans, credit card debt, and healthcare benefits. All of these “things” exist outside my hand. I don’t have the money to pay student loans, credit cards (off), or buy a new car. I have savings, and I have good income, but I am not financially secure to the point where I could pay my debt off completely. Moreover, I certainly do not have any kind of savings to help me purchase a home. I have some, as I mentioned, but not enough. So step or stage three is off in the distance. The only thing I can do now is prepare for it. I can be proactive, and I can be attentive to the Lord as He provides for me. I trust Him for this part of my future, and in the way, I have confidence that He will settle me either here or in another place, and He will provide for each need that exists — regardless of my home address.
In Closing

The day is quickly slipping away from me, and I need to get in the shower and dressed. I need to take care of student business today. I need to grade essays and discussion boards, and generally, do teacher-y stuff. God has me well covered this good day, and I thank Him for His permission and provision to move forward. He has my steps ordered and directed, and thus, I can with confidence walk boldly in my blessing, seeking to do His work and His will all along the way. He is good to me, so very good to me!

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