July 18, 2017

Feeling Settled

It is Tuesday, July 18, 2017. I cannot believe it is already the middle of the month. In less than four weeks, school will begin again, and frankly, I am not ready. I am so not ready. I have so much to do, and well, so little time to do it! LOL! I have had the entire summer to “prepare,” but rather than prepare, I played. I rested. I enjoyed my break. Yes, even in my distressed state as I decompressed from all my previous semester’s work, I really did rest well. He is good to me, so very good to me!

As I think about school approaching, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I may need to teach on campus this fall. In honesty, I’ve thought about the fact that I the online jobs I’ve applied to and interviewed for may not come to pass in time (by the months end) or at all (in some cases). More so, I have contracts in place for GCU already, and as such, I feel that I will need to fulfill my contracts and my obligation to this school. I’ve always struggled with exiting out of my contracts at the last minute, and I have always believed that it was vital for me to respond with integrity toward GCU. I mean — after all — they gave me my start in teaching, and I will always be grateful for the Lord’s open door. I have never wanted to leave them in the “lurch” so to speak by exiting out so close to the start of the semester. Sigh!

My prayer is still for the Lord to orchestrate a way for me to teach online only. I would so prefer to be online — full time as it were — even if that means full-time teaching “collectively” through several schools instead of just one school.  Until I know otherwise, I feel like the Lord wants me to proceed with a “business a usual” mindset. I know He has me so well-covered, and if I must teach on campus for one final go-round, I am okay with it. I am so okay with it. I mean, so be it.  Thus, my prayer today to the Lord is to finish strong. My prayer is to complete all my expected work with His grace and provision so I can finish strong! I want to leave Phoenix, Lord willing, with a clear conscience and a mindset predicated on doing His work. I am ready, Lord, I am so ready!
Seeing My Next Steps

The past couple days were a challenge for me. I didn’t post anything, even though I had time to do it. I simply didn’t have anything to write, and I felt that I was rehashing my feelings — ad nauseam to the world. You know, how it goes. Sometimes you just feel like a broken record. Yep, that was me this weekend. I was feeling like I was stuck on a merry go round, and I was making myself sick with the “same old, same old” story.

In some ways, it was like when I listen to one of my friends as they go over the same story 10 times in a row. The first time I listen is okay. It is good, you know, to be supportive and encouraging. The second and third time is okay too, because after all, you love your friend. You want to help them through the difficult experience — but after the fourth or fifth time, well you just get frustrated with them. You may even get to the point where you just don’t care anymore. Yes, after a while, you know the way the story ends so well that you could tell the story yourself. You know all the details, you know all the highs and the lows, and you can even fill in the gaps for your friend when they miss something. Eventually, you reach the point of absolute frustration. It is not that you want to be unkind to a grieving or sorrowful friend; rather, it is just that you see the same movement, almost a “salsa” motion of back and forth steps. You see them go back and forth, retelling the same story, and you know that your friend is choosing to stay rooted to a past experience and simply will not move on.

In fact, when it gets to be really “old news,” you just want to say to your friend, “enough! Get on with it! Stop rehashing the same story!” LOL! This was so me this weekend. I was feeling this way about my blog posts and my experiences. I was so frustrated with myself that I was the one doing the head slapping and giving out the advice to move on, to get with the program, and to stop retreading the same ground. Yes, I was telling myself, “Move on, Carol. The past is over and done with! Stop doing what you are doing and get yourself heading in the right direction!”

I am sure the Lord was pleased that I stopped acting the way I was acting (sort of down in the dumps, unsure, fearful, etc.). More so, I am sure He was pleased that I finally decided to turn myself around and head on in the direction of His will. In addition, because the Lord is kind to me, He never “head slaps” me when I falter or make a mistake. When I get stuck in the “salsa” pattern, He patiently waits for me to figure out that I am retreading old news BEFORE He grasps my hand and says gently, “Are you ready now?”

This weekend, therefore, I decided to follow my gut, so to speak. I decided to follow the path of peace, and in doing so, I decided that the Lord was gently guiding me into a decision making process that would eventually lead me to His will for my life. Yes, I have spent months — no, years — trying to figure out where He was leading me and why. I have spent so much time trying to understand the why’s and wherefore’s, and no matter how often I think I’ve got it all figured out, something happens and well, I am back to square one. This time, though, I feel like I do have a strong sense of what He wants me to do, ministry-wise, and also where He wants me to do this significant and special work.

I’ve blogged about where the Lord might be leading me for a long while now, but I haven’t really had any sense that it could really happen. I mean, I believe it could happen, but I had this feeling that since I was in the middle of my degree program at Regent, I wouldn’t need to “think deeply” about this next step until I was graduated. Well, lo and behold, I am graduated, so naturally, I am at the “think deeply” stage of the process. I am at the ready mark, so to speak. I am ready to embark on the next adventure. I don’t have all my little ducks in a row yet, but I feel more settled that I am moving in the right direction, and as such, the Lord is preparing those resources for me.

The past couple days have been good ones, especially because I took a slight misstep from where I was walking, and in doing, I found that my sense of wellness and peace started to drift away from me. I asked the Lord if I was off-the-mark, and while I wasn’t, I could tell that I was walking ever so slightly off the main path. In short, I was still moving in the right direction, but I wasn’t walking evenly on the path the Lord had laid out for me, metaphorically speaking, I mean.

Yesterday was a good case in point. I had a plan laid out for my next steps, something the Lord had showed to me in the previous two weeks. I had a strong inkling that there was a place for me to go, a house for me to live in, and a church for me to do ministry as a part of the community. I felt at peace about the whole matter, but I wasn’t really sure it was the “right” thing for a number of reasons. One, it was far away from my present home. Two, it was in a small community that had some “crime” issues (more than what I am used to where I live now). Three, the house needed work, not a lot, but some, and the style, while right up my alley, seemed to present challenges with my things (as in how they will or will not fit the space). In all, I was happy, but not 100% eager to accept that this provision was of His design. It felt right, good, and like it was blessed. But…I had reservations.

So naturally, I did what I always do and I kept on looking — just to see if there was something “better — on the horizon. As I looked elsewhere, I would find myself saying, “This place isn’t as nice as the other one” or “Lord, I really liked that other one better.” I still pursued my need to be settled, and by Saturday, I felt miserable. I was so confused again. Sunday came and went, and I still didn’t have my peace about me. Then yesterday, after another day of “browsing,” I came back to the place where I started, and immediately, I felt better. It was like I was coming home, and with that feeling, I knew that this was the place where the Lord wanted me to go.

In the interim, I had been praying over several other issues here at home. I had been praying for clarification on timing, my son’s school and his need for a car, my parents longterm care, etc. I had been praying over and over again, and then yesterday, I started to receive some clarity. It didn’t come all at once, and frankly, I still don’t know how I will care for my parents longterm, but what I do know is that the Lord promised me that He would provide for all my needs, and in His way, He did just that. He gave me clarification that what He was telling me was true, and that I didn’t need to worry or be concerned about details outside my control.

I feel settled. I feel so settled. I feel like what the Lord has been saying to me the past couple months, well — years — has been true. I am right where He wants me to be, and I am set on the direction I am to travel soon. So what does this mean for me today?

Well, what this means is this: I feel like I am set on a place. I feel like I know that this is where the Lord wants me to go. I feel like there is work to be done in this place, and that the Lord intends for me to do work there. This place is not tied to a job, per set. I don’t have to wait for a job to go there. I do have to wait until I have enough online teaching work to pay living expenses, to when I have money set aside to ease my move, etc. But, I am not looking for a job in this place. I am not waiting for some open door to declare that this is the Lord’s will. I believe instead that where He calls me to go, He will provide the resources for me to go. What I mean is this…if this is His will, then He will provide the money I need to move there, buy a home, and settle down and live. I don’t have to figure this part out. Rather, I have to rest in His provision. Thus, with the place settled, I simply must wait for Him to gather all the necessities together to make it happen.

I am greatly relieved. I mean, I have been looking for jobs in all of these places. The more I look, the more depressed I become. Instead, now, I don’t have to look. I just have to wait for Him to provide enough online work for me, and then I can go. Once I have enough work lined up, I will be able to make tentative plans for moving.

Moreover, now that I am settled on this place, I simply need to wait for the Lord to clear away the debt, to make provision for my son’s schooling (his last year at ACU along with his overseas study for the following year). I need to wait for my parents care situation to be resolved. I need to wait for the money I need to be earned or deposited in my account so I can take care of business needs. Yes, I need to wait for provision, but provision is always provided to meet the need. So, I am not concerned about provision. In fact, I was more concerned about not knowing where He wanted me to go than I was on the actual funds to make the going possible. I believe. I trust. I know He will provide for me. I am resting in the knowledge that He has put this place on the map, so to speak, and that I can now rest in knowing that this is where He wants me to go.

In Conclusion

In closing, the Lord has opened my eyes to see needs that I knew existed, but that I didn’t really understand what He wanted me to do about them. Now, I see what I am to do. Now, it makes sense to me. He is moving in my life, and I am standing ready to go. I wait for Him, but I am packed (figuratively), and ready to take the next steps on this marvelous journey called life.

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