July 23, 2017

Clarification and Other News

Blessed Sunday! It is a wonderful day here in sunny and sticky, Phoenix. Yes, the monsoon was active last night, and as a result, we had a good downpour with some impressive thunder and lightning. Today, as a result of all that activity, the skies are clear, but the air temperature is really moist (aka, humid!) It is 97 degrees outside with 37% humidity. The dew point is sitting at 61 degrees so yes, it is humid outside. My room has that slightly sticky, less than cool, feeling as well. Despite the stickiness, I am really glad we seem to be having an active monsoon. At the least, this is providing a break from the monotony of sun and heat. Selah!

In other news, I slept really well last night. I mean, I slept really, really well. I woke up around 5 to use the bathroom and then crawled back in bed to sleep for a few more hours. I woke up again at 10:43, after I heard my Dad out in the storage shed by my window. I was in one of those "twilight zone" moments because I wasn't sure where I was or what the time was (early or late morning, I mean). My parents normally are out to church on Sunday mornings, and instead, today, my Dad was moving about outside. I thought perhaps they had skipped church. However, after I got myself up and out of my room, I realized that they had been to church, and they were just coming back home! LOL!

Needless to say, I was woozy some until I made my coffee and settled down to attend my own church service online. This morning, Tom Shrader, former founding pastor of Redemption Church in Phoenix was our guest speaker, and as is usual, he gave a wonderfully practical message on taming the tongue. The service was great, and I was blessed with wonderful (simple) worship and a focus on solid Bible teaching. Yes, God has blessed me with amazing teaching at my home church, Scottsdale Bible Church.

After a morning of worship and teaching, I had my breakfast (Atkins) of a scrambled egg and coffee. Okay, so not in that order. I had coffee first, egg after church. Still, my goal is to get back on track, fitness-wise, and one of the ways I am going to do that is to eat low-carb and start working out. My nephew is putting together a fitness plan for me. He is a personal trainer and he is creating a plan that will help me trim and tone here at home. I am excited to start working out again, and with his plan, I hope to lose about 20 pounds and slim down, all the while I build some muscle. I really want to be in better shape, feel better overall, and of course, fit back into my clothing. I believe this is the Lord's will, and that this season of my life (post-doc) is ripe for change. Selah!
Clarification of Plans

So, yesterday, while I was stressing yet again about possible plans and relocation, I asked the Lord for clarification on where I am to go, and whether the job I applied for in February at Regent was still in play. I haven't heard anything from Regent, so with His permission, I sent an email to the Chair and asked if they were still looking to fill that vacancy. I received an email today, and praise to God, the answer was no. I know! I am so happy that the answer was no. I mean, I would love to teach full-time at Regent. I have prayed about it, over it, and asked for it, but without any real knowledge of whether or not it would come to me. The Chair's word, "not this year," was music to my ears. I really just wanted to know if the opening was still available, and I had an inkling that the job had been put off due to some other changes in the school. In many ways, I had a hunch it was not to be. More so, in subsequent conversations with the Lord, I also had this sense that due to the changes in the department, the college was not going to be hiring this year. But, there was still this open door. The job was posted on line, and my application was sitting in limbo. I really wanted to know "for sure" so that I could cross it off my list and move on.

Now, I have that closed door. In fact, just last week, I asked the Lord for confirmation, and I asked Him if He would close all doors to jobs or locations that were not of His provision. I wanted there to be no confusion about where I am to go, the job I am to have, and the work I am to do. I wanted to count this job as either an open or closed door. Now, I feel I can check it off my list as "closed." I realize that the Lord could choose to keep me here in Phoenix for one more year, and then in 2018 He would move me to VA, but I have never sensed that this would be the plan of action. I have always felt that the job would come after I graduated and that I would have a full-time position in 2017. Now, it is mid-summer, and well, I still don't have a full-time position. I am waiting for one more open or closed door, and that is for the position I interviewed back at the beginning of the month. I haven't heard anything, but the hiring faculty leaders said they would make a decision by the end of July. I am in wait and see mode with that one, but I have vacillated on whether or not it was "the one" the Lord said would be. It has many of the hallmarks of His word to me: online teaching, full-time, faculty invitation to interview, etc. It just isn't the right title or doesn't come with room for leadership or growth at the school. It does have the potential for scholarship, however. Moreover, the Lord did ask me if I was willing to give up the title, "Assistant Professor," but I assumed He meant in order to keep working as an adjunct. The position I interviewed for is as "Instructor," so perhaps I am waiting for His provided position, nonetheless.

I guess I can assume the following:

  • The Lord may provide a full-time faculty position for me as Instructor
  • The Lord may provide me with multiple adjunct positions and not open a door for full-time work
I have a 50/50 chance that one of these scenarios will pan out. First, I am already set with three potential contracts at schools (one on campus, two online). Second, I have the potential for another school (online) to come to pass, but I am stalled in the hiring process. Third, I am content to remain as I am (adjunct), even if that means trusting the Lord for His complete provision of work from semester to semester. Last, should the job pan out, it would mean that I would have solid income and benefits, but I would be very, very busy. I am in this weird place, sort of betwixt and between, and for the interim, the only thing I can do is wait. I need to wait for the door to open with a letter of offer or to close with a "no thank you, we've selected someone else." God knows what is best, and I am ready to accept either alternative. I would like to know, though, in case I need to exit out of my contracts for campus courses. More than likely, even if I am hired full-time, I will be honorable to my teaching contracts through this fall. I am open to teaching on campus as well as online, trusting completely for the Lord to manage my schedule, my time, and my transportation needs. God is good to me. He knows what I can and cannot handle, and praise to His name, He is covering my needs with sufficiency. He has me so well-covered.

Some Things I Know Now

So with this closed door, I think I can safely say that the Lord doesn't intend to move me to VA. I love my school, and I love teaching at my school, and I would welcome a move to VA in a heart beat. However, throughout the past months, while I have felt a strong pull toward VA and Regent, in particular, I have never really been able to "imagine" myself living there. It is a great place to visit, and I will continue to visit my school whenever possible. But, I just haven't been able to see myself there. I can certainly envision it, but it was always like a dream more so than a reality. Plus, I never really had a sense of peace about it. I was like "willing and  agreeable" to moving there, but I never quite felt like "this is it." No, I never really had that feeling like the Lord was saying to me, "Carol, go here, and live and do my work in this place." It was a good place, a nice place, and I was open to moving there, but I never really considered it as though it was a God-thing. 

I think what has been so confusing to me over the past couple months is deciphering the difference between God's will and His plan of action. You see, many things are within His will, but not all of them are precise to the Lord's plan, the expressed plan He has for our life. So in my case, working at Regent clearly is part of His will for me -- teaching at a university -- being an Assistant Professor -- all are aspects of His will. I know it. I feel it. I believe it. But, the plans He has for me, well, they are more than just teaching. I know that the Lord desires that I do good practical work and that in that work, my career and profession are as a college instructor. However, the Lord is also moving me for ministry, and for ministry His calling on my life as well as His mandate are specific. I cannot confuse the two things. He has called me as a teacher, for sure. He has also called me as a minister, a communicator, and as a prophet. His mandate is for me to teach the church to communicate faith more effectively, and as such, He sent me to Regent University to be trained, prepared, and equipped for this specific work. My teaching experience and training came mostly from Mercy College, and while I did learn more about being an academic, a scholar, at Regent, I consider Mercy to be foundational to moving me from corporate work and into teaching English at the college level. Thus, my career is about teaching English. My ministry is about teaching communications to the Church of Christ. I teach in both venues, but the training and preparation were specific to each task.

Now that I am finished with my education, I am seeking a full-time career position as a teacher of English. I know that my ministry work will come vocationally and that it will not be a paid position (like as a Communications director at a church). My practical daily work is through teaching college courses in English, but my vocational work is through a ministry that will be developed by me outside of the every day practical work I do if that makes sense.

I think what has confused me the most is the fact that I live in Phoenix at the present, and while I do some work here (ASU and GCU), I also work in VA (Regent). I am in flux, between places, and while I know that there are no openings at this time at GCU, and now I know that the position I had applied for at Regent has closed, this leaves only one option for me, and that is to hope that the job the Lord has for me is the one I interviewed for at the first of the month. Otherwise, I am employed as a temporary contractor for another season, another year, at the least.

My heart really wants to rest, to know for sure that I will be an instructor at ASU, for example, and that I will remain here in Phoenix for the long term. This makes sense to me, but I have no peace about remaining here so I have to wonder about it. I learned this past week that there are a number of instructors at ASU who teach online, but who live in other states. I didn't think that was possible, but now I am wondering if it is possible and if this is the Lord's plan of action. If not, I get it. I do. I mean, there are benefits to being a self-employed contractor too. I can make a lot of money, and I can be free to come and go as the Lord leads. Yet, there is such unknown, such fear, associated with not having a permanent place to call home. I really don't like feeling so transient. I have been in transition for now on 7 years, and the thought of being this way, remaining this way for another year or more, just frustrates me (and it scares me). Still, I know my Lord. I know He wouldn't keep me here if there was another way. He wouldn't keep me here if He could trust me to let go and trust Him for every single need, either. Hmmm.

Okay, so maybe I just answered my own question. I mean, I have said to the Lord that I wanted to remain wholly dependent on Him, and it is very possible that He has granted my prayer. He has decided that the best way for me to remain 100% dependent is to not provide one full-time position, but rather to keep me just as I am. In my submitted and yielded position, I have to rely on Him for everything. I have no knowledge of what will be tomorrow, and I have to trust that He will bring me the contracts I need to make ends meet. He knows how much I can take, and how much I am able to rest in His care. Perhaps this is His plan. Perhaps this is what He has chosen for me.
Making Sense of it All

As I close out my blog post for the day, I cannot help but think that perhaps the Lord intends to not make things easy for me. I mean, He knows I don't need a trial to keep me invested in His plan. But, perhaps He wants me to stick close, and He knows that I do that best when I really don't have anything -- job or people -- to rely on except for Him. Perhaps He is just saying to me, "Carol, you've trusted me this far, so now just keep on trusting me to provide work for you to do." Yes, Lord. I will continue to trust you. I will rest in your abilities, and I will abide in your presence. I don't need a job for security when I have the One who is my ultimate Security. I have no lack, as I have said previously, and in that way, I also have no fear. He is my Jehovah-Jireh, the One who sees me, and He knows me so well, loves me so deeply, and cares about my every single need with sufficiency and provision. I know this is the truth. I don't have to panic or fear tomorrow because the One who holds my hand is the One who is leading me on. I can rest in Him alone, and I can find all my joy, my sufficiency, and my security in His Name alone. He is my King. He is my Lord. He is my Savior, and I rest in the knowledge of who He is, and the power that is His alone. Selah!

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