June 18, 2017

Sunday, Sunday!

Good morning, Phoenix! It is a great day to be in the Valley of the Sun! The temps today are expected to hit triple digits, and next week, perhaps even reach our all-time high (122)! I am glad to be home, indoors, where the air is cool and dry. Yes, dry! I miss the wetness of the midwest, and my sinuses and throat are not happy with the dryness, but I am glad to be home. I am feeling better today, hooray! I think I had a stomach bug or something bad to eat at the airport on Friday. I was nauseated along with some of Montezuma’s revenge over the weekend.

I slept pretty well last night, despite having to get up to go to the bathroom twice. I think I am peeing more because I was dehydrated all last week. I tried to drink water, but it was difficult to find bottled water nearby. I did my best, but in truth, I drink more water at home than I do in the road. Go figure!

It is Sunday, of course, and that means it is church day. My parents are at their church this morning, and my son is over at Central doing his thing. I am at home, bound to the online stream of my church, SBC.  It is quiet in the house, with the exception of Winston, who is lounging on my desk and whining ever so softly when I say anything or sneeze by him. Ike is on the floor near my bed, and for all intents and purposes, we are back to our normal routine. It is good to be home, to have things back in order, and to be able to enjoy the days as they come. I had a great time traveling to Indiana, but I am very happy to be back at home. Yes, I am happy to be at home!

Plans for the Day

In addition to it being Sunday, it is also Father’s Day. We are going to make hamburgers and corn on the cob for dinner tonight, but other than a brief cookout (and it might just be indoors with the “George Foreman” grill), we don’t have much on tap. My ASU course is in its final week (next Sunday), and my Regent classes start tomorrow. I have already prepped and posted announcements, so all I need to do is update the grade book for ASU today.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day lounging around the house. I took my Mom out for lunch, and we did some grocery shopping at Walmart. Today is a day of rest — the Lord’s day — and I intend to rest physically as well as spiritually.

My mind has been filled with all sorts of thoughts this past week. I really loved visiting with my family in Indiana, and I enjoyed the weather and the landscape. It was lovely, green, and so nice to be in a different place — a place with real wildlife, plants, flowers, and water —rivers, ponds, and creeks. It was really, really nice to have a change of scene. Now, I am back home, back to the desert, the dirt, and the heat, and I am wondering if I can be happy in this place longterm. I know my parents are happy here in many ways, but I couldn’t help but think that my Dad really wished to live in Indiana for his final days. He enjoyed being home, though my Mom wasn’t thrilled about the lifestyle. I told her that at her age (84) her life would be the same in Bluffton as it is here. There is no difference, really. She would go to the library, the store, church, and out to lunch just as much as she does now. Since Mom doesn’t drive anymore, it really doesn’t matter if she lived here or there.

Still, Mom seems content to be here. She was confused a bit, but not as much as I thought she would be. I think because we were all together, her life was pretty much “same old, same old” as it is every single day. My Dad, though, had a rather wistful approach to being back home. He enjoyed the visits, and he really enjoyed seeing the countryside, looking at the old farms of his childhood. My Aunt was a big help since she was able to say who lived where, and who was still on the old farmstead. I liked to listen to them talk, and I found that I really appreciated the hard work and the faithfulness of the farmers in the area. Most of the farms are now run by big cooperatives, so the little farmer is gone. I think it is sad that the American farmer is a dying breed. There are fewer and fewer farmers now than ever before, and I think it is really a shame that these good folks can no longer make a living or provide for their families through agriculture and animal husbandry.

In all, though, my time in the Midwest was a wonderful learning experience. I wrote about the life lessons I learned yesterday, so suffice it to say, I am still thinking, processing, and experiencing the reality of my visit today. Yes, I am still gleaning insight about my visit as it pertains to my future and the plans the Lord has for my life.

First, I have thought more deeply about moving to another place. I have blogged about the fact that I consider myself to be more Midwestern than Western, yet I have lived most of my life in the Western half of the US. I was raised on the East coast and in the Midwest, but from age 16 onward (now 38 years), I have called California and Arizona home. My heart longs for the farms and rural towns of my youth, but in practicality, I have lived more years away from the cold, the snow, and the country than I ever lived in it. I am accustomed to mild temperatures and metropolitan living.

Second, I have revisited the idea of moving across the country simply for the pleasure of moving. At first, I thought that the only way I would ever move anywhere outside of Arizona would be for a job. I say it often, “If I get offered a job, then I will have to move,” as if I would never move for any other reason. This fact sat with me this week when I thought about how nice it might be to live in another climate, another time zone just for the simple pleasure of doing it. I mean, why not? Why not try another place for the change of scene?

Third, I have come to the realization that I am rather old, stuck in my ways, and tied to my routine — so much so — that I am not comfortable with new things. I like my ways, my days being a certain style, and I don’t do “change” well. I am learning to do change, I should say, but I still struggle some with the “get up and go” mindset needed to embrace change readily.

Fourth, I feel confident that the Lord does intend to move me someplace beside Arizona. I should say that I am “standing corrected” because the past couple months I have been pretty adamant that the Lord intended for me to be planted in Phoenix, to stay put, to remain here for the duration of my life. It really wasn’t until this past week that I started to feel His call for me to prepare to move. I know that He has not called me to physically move yet, but I feel that He is saying that “now” I can start to think about moving again. I am not sure why there was a change of plan, but I am guessing it had to do with me finishing Regent, and with me getting through this trip to Indiana. I am not sure if the Lord intends to move me locally, to another home in Phoenix, or if He plans to move me across the US. I do feel that I am able to move, which simply says that I have come to accept the fact that moving may be part of His plan for me, and that with His plan, there will always be provision to accompany it.

Fifth and last, I feel confident that the job I receive will not require a move, but that the Lord will ask me to move for ministry. I have struggled with this idea of moving for moving sake, but now I see that the Lord may ask me to step out in faith and move to a place for His work, and not for my teaching or a teaching contract. I will need to be able to confidently say “I am moving because the Lord has asked me to move,” rather than say “I am moving for a job offer.”

In all, I believe the following to be true:

  • I am about to be promoted into a position that will provide a salary and benefits to  me
  • I am ready to go, ready to move, but the timing is not set yet
  • I am willing to go, and I am agreeable to going wherever the Lord intends for me to go
  • I am able to let go of my life in Phoenix
  • I am able to embrace a new life someplace else
  • I am able to rest in His sufficiency and provision
  • I am able to let Him lead, guide and provide for me
  • I am able to set aside my wants, desires, and dreams in favor of His will and His way
Now, that may not sound like something amazing, but to me, it is pretty important since I have struggled with the whole “moving” and “going” process for ten years. Yes, I first felt the Lord say to me that I was to “go” back in 2007. I first believed that He was going to move me east and Southeast over 10 years ago. Since that time, I have not wanted to leave this place. I was afraid of letting go the only life I knew, and I was afraid of moving on my own. I was afraid of so many things back then — working, living, traveling. I was so sheltered, so unable to envision a life of empowerment, of possibility. I lived closed down, shut off, and completely buried in another person’s will and way. I had no voice, no thoughts, no ideas of my own, and in so many ways, I was lost — utterly and hopelessly lost. I did what I was told. I lived the way another person said I was to live. In the end, I lost all my hope, my vision, my dream of a better life.

In time, though, the Lord opened my eyes. He helped me to see a new way around my circumstances, and He gave me a future filled with hope. Along with the future came dreams, desires, and vision for great things. I had to learn how to believe again, to trust again, to rest again. I had to learn how to lean on and abide in Him, and to rest in His sufficiency and provision. Time and time again, the Lord provided a way for me. Little by little I learned how to travel, how to be successful, how to manage my own life well. Now, I am ready to be promoted, to receive a job offer that will set me up financially, and that will provide a good stable life for me. But, I also need to go. I need to pick up my satchel, and I need to walk to a new place where the Lord has work for me to do. Not teaching work, mind you, but ministry work — communications in the church — type of work. Yes, the very work I studied to do at Regent. The work that my education has trained, prepared, and equipped me to do. I am ready, but I have to let go. I have to rest now, to trust Him to move me when He is ready, and then I have to go. I have to follow.

In Closing

As I sit here this morning before church begins, I realize that God has a plan for my life, and the plan is good. I may not know all the details, but I know Him, and I know He will lead me to the place of His choosing, in His time, and for His praise and His honor. I relent this good day, and I embrace the change the Lord has in store for me. He is good to me, and He cares for me. He loves me, and I rest in His love, His provision, and His grace this good, good day.

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