July 26, 2017

Making Some Progress

It is a good Wednesday here in sunny and humid, Phoenix. The skies are mixed, some clouds and some sun. It is a good day, though, as the air temperature is warm, but not too hot. Yesterday was beautiful as far as temperature goes. I even sat outside on the porch for about 30 minutes just so I could enjoy the breeze and the cloudy mix of skies. It was so unlike Phoenix, and I almost felt like I was back in the midwest on a mid-summers day. It was such a nice change of pace for me. I was so longing for a change of scenery, and so sad that the monsoon seemed to bring rain to other parts of the valley, and not to where I live. And, then out of the blue, we were blessed with some solid rain this weekend, and well, the whole week has been really delightful. Sticky, hot, and well, just not Phoenix! God is good to me, so very good to me!

I am feeling good this morning, and not just because of the variable weather (though that has been helpful). I simply feel good. I feel like things are about to change, and I am finally ready to handle that change, whatever it may bring. Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day in a fit, and by that I simply mean, I was sorted of "fitted up" or tied up with thoughts and feelings that I couldn't sort out (no matter how hard I tried to sort them, sigh!) Last night, I went to bed with a slight headache like I had this pressure band around my forehead. It was a tension headache, the kind of a headache that will not go away until the tension subsides. My head hurt. My eyes wouldn't focus, and I was nauseated whenever I sat up or leaned back on my bed. As a result of the pain and nausea, I decided to forgo watching anything on my Macbook, and instead, I laid down with the heating pad to decompress. It worked wonders to help me relax, and around 10 or so, I was able to drift off to sleep. I slept fairly soundly throughout the night, despite getting up twice to pee. I finally woke up at 8:30, and now I am sitting at my computer, drinking my coffee, and reading emails and doing my early morning routine. God is good to me! He has provided such a blessed routine, and I am blessed in the living of it!

In all, I am feeling well, like really well. I have had my ups and downs the past couple weeks, mostly with fears and confusion about the place where the Lord may or may not move me (eventually). I have also struggled with not knowing if I will have permanent full-time work or if I will have to work at multiple schools long term. I know that I cannot control the outcome of any of these things, but still, the worry has gotten the best of me, and I have been feeling less than at rest, at peace, and in control, as a result. However, the Lord has graciously provided for me. I am in good shape, set to finish my summer strong, and while I have had some "fits and starts" with my classes this summer, overall, I am in this good place, this safe place, and I am learning how to be a better instructor, a better teacher, and a better scholar because of all the opportunities He has provided to me. I am in a good place right now, and while I would really like to know if I have been selected for full-time work (oh, wouldn't that be sweet), I know that I must be patient and wait. I must continue to wait. God is good, He has me well covered, and I know that His plan for my life is perfectly suited to His will and His way. I will go and do everything I am meant to do, and I will do it with His grace, His abundant grace, and His marvelous and sufficient provision. He is good to me. He is so very good to me!
Change is on the Horizon

I have been blogging for some time now about how I believed, and I still do believe, that the Lord intends to move me away from Phoenix. I think over the past 10 years, I probably have written about moving, my sense of moving, or my desires and wishes to move, at least three dozen times. It seems that at least once each month, I bring up this thought, and I wonder whether, if, when, the Lord will do it -- will move me. I am ready to move. I have said I was willing and agreeable to move anywhere the Lord wanted me to go. But, I have been stuck in this place, in Phoenix, perpetually planted here, for such a long time that it seemed impossible to move me without some total disruption to my life.

I had hoped that I would move with a job offer. In fact, as I watch my colleagues receive offers for work, and I see them pack and move their families, pets, and belongings across the country, I wonder if the call for me to move will ever take place. Will I receive an offer to go soon?

My professor/mentor has said that my next step is to be offered a position as an Assistant Professor. He feels that I am not meant to work continuously as an adjunct. However, I am in this place where the only jobs that seem available to me are adjunct positions. There are few full-time tenure track roles out there, and even fewer for someone with my qualifications. None the less, I have full faith and confidence that the Lord has a path laid out for me, and that I am walking on that specific path now. I am not sure of His timing, but I am confident that He does have a full-time job for me.

Over the past couple weeks, I have talked myself into remaining as an adjunct. I mean, it is easier to soften the blow of rejection by being convinced that you are right where you should be, and that the job you wanted, interviewed for, and hoped for, really wasn't in your best interest. Of course, I don't know any such thing, but I admit that over the past couple weeks, I have tried to downplay my disappointment when and if the rejection notice comes to me. It is easier, you know, to simply accept the fact that I am to be overlooked, yet again, then to continue to hope in faith.

The Lord has not said I should take the former road, rather He has consistently told me to trust Him in this matter. Thus, I am trusting Him for His best outcome. I am trusting that He is able to open the door, slide me into the role, and to give me hiring favor. He is able to do this for me, and the matter is not if or when, but rather solely based on His determination as to what is best for me. I am not at the mercy of any one's will; instead, I am at the mercy of His will, His way, and His work. He alone is the One who opens and closes doors for me. He alone is the One who makes my way, my path, smooth.

So yesterday, I asked the Lord if the position I applied for is still open to me. He has said, "yes." This suggests that the door has not closed yet. Therefore, I must wait for the answer to come. Perhaps it will be this week. Perhaps I will be notified today or tomorrow. I don't know. What I do know is that the Lord knows my needs well. He has me well-covered, and as Jehovah-Jireh, He is my Provider. He sees me -- my needs -- and as such, He provides exactly what I need for each day of my life. He gives me sweet manna, and He opens the storehouses of heaven in order to rain down His provision upon and into my life. He is good to me. He is so very good to me!

Change may come this week. It may come next week. Change is coming, I can feel it. I must be ready, prepared, and able to handle that change, so today I am hunkering down to do the business I have been assigned. I am hunkering down to focus on what needs attending, and I am bound and determine to get my house in order. My summer is drawing to a close. In less than 3 weeks, I will be back in Fall school mode, so I have to be prepared. I have to be ready. He will guide me, help me, and decide for me so that I can remain in this blessed state of rest. He will open the door for me, and He will lead me by the hand through it.

Some Specifics

This week, my Regent courses are winding down. It is week 6, and that means that my students have three more weeks to complete their assignments. This summer has been a challenge for me. Several of my students have suffered family issues that were severe enough to cause them to withdraw from school. Other students are simply facing struggles that are vying for their time, and interfering with their ability to do well in class. My heart stings for each of them, and I am praying over their situation, trusting the Lord to provide some measure of healing and wellness to their lives. My life is steady. It is on the upswing, so to speak. I am in this very good, very safe place, but I know so many people who are on the edge, and who are trying hard to hang on to the little they have or to people they love dearly.

God has me covered. I say this often, and by my pronouncement what I mean is that the Lord is the One who holds me tightly. He has me well-position and in a place where I cannot be lost, let go, or even let loose. No, I am firmly positioned, and as such, I am secure. I am secure in every area of my life, and that my friends, is a blessed place to be. It wasn't long ago when I was less than secure, especially financially, and where my life was so in flux that I worried from morning to night as to how I would make it through. Now, I have peace -- a peace that reigns over me -- and peace that guides me, covers me and keeps me safe. I have His blessed peace, and for that gift, I am so thankful. I am so thankful to have the peace that surpasses everything -- every stronghold, every struggle, every situation -- all through the One and Only, Jesus Christ. Jesus is my Prince of Peace, the author, and perfector of that peace, and it is in His Name that I declare peace in my life, in my work, and in my relationships. Peace -- His peace -- be with you all! Shalom!

Peace in my life.

I have peace in my life because my life no longer belongs to me. I have submitted, yielded, and relinquished control of my life -- the outcome -- the daily business to the Lord. He is my Head, and as my Head, He brings authority to me. He gives me comfort for certain, but He also makes it possible for me to work under His authority as He leads, guides, and provides for me. He helps me make wise decisions. He helps me consider options. He gives me clear direction and keen insight so that I can know the right way (the best way) to go. I no longer struggle as I try to figure out His will because I know it. I know His overarching will (that all men, women and children be saved), and I know His specific will for my life (that I mature, grow up, and become like Him). I also know the plan He has for me, the specific tasks He has assigned to me, and the gifts that I am expected to use. I have His plan laid out, and like a map, I have a visual snapshot of my entire life (past, present, and yes, even some future details). What is more, I have a path to follow, a path that has been walked by others, described in detail in His Word, and marked for me as a safe, secure, and solid path to follow. In this way, I know who I am, where I am going, and what I am to do along the way. I have peace because these three key areas of my life are no longer confused, foggy, or shrouded in mist. I have knowledge that helps me manage my days, practical and good knowledge, as well as spiritual Counsel that helps me with the "sticky parts" of life, relationship, unknowns, and the like. In this way, I am able to rest because internally I am comfortable, confident, and in command of my own self -- will, desires, and identity. I am no longer seeking the approval of men, and for that, I am thankful. I am seeking His approval for every decision, every course change, but I am no longer in need of anyone's (human, I mean) opinion. I have been set free from the need to please others, and while I do enjoy pleasing those I love, and doing favors and kind gestures for others, I don't need to do these things in order to feel good about myself. I am good because of His work and His life, and because He has made His presence known to me.

Peace in the pathway.

I also have peace in the way I am walking today. I mean, I have this sense of peace, of rightness, of correctness, and in spiritual terms, I simply have this sense that I am doing the right thing for the right reason. There is this sense of wellness that comes when you are doing the thing you are meant to do, and when you are able to say, "I am right where the Lord wants me to be today." I feel good about my past now, my past mistakes, missteps, and my past hardships. I have let the past and the painful memories go, and I am now able to walk on, to move forward in freedom knowing that I will always carry scars with me, but I am no longer tormented by the experience. I am free to live my life as a redeemed person, wholly devoted, and completely committed to doing the Lord's work for the rest of my days. What is amazing to me is the fact that as a Christ follower, I am in this wonderful place where I can help others work through their past issues. I am in this place where I have not only been healed, but I have been set free from the pain, the past, and in this way, I can devote myself to helping others find their way through as well. It is a good place to be, and I am thankful that the Lord has enabled me to finally let go of the deepest hurt, the one place where I sheltered my heart in order to keep my secret safe. I am no longer bound to live in the shadows, and I am able to be relentlessly honest and transparent to the point that I can now talk about my painful experience without getting upset, angry, or spiral down into depression. I can simply bear witness to the painful experience, the hurt, and the sorrow, and I can give testimony to the goodness of God, the healing power of Jesus, and the transformation work of the Holy Spirit as He has gently comforted me, corrected me, and counseled me so I can now be used as a tool for ministering to others. He is good to me, so very good to me! Selah!

Peace in my vision.

Lastly, I have peace in the vision the Lord has given to me. I have a ministry goal, a focused plan that I believe the Lord intends for me to accomplish. I have been given this vision, and as such, I am committed to seeing it come to pass. I am willing to sacrifice everything in order for it to come to pass, and that means, sacrificing my time, my talents, and even my tenure, in order to do it. Yes, my goal is now 100% focused on completing His will for my life -- all of it -- and that means that I am no longer sidetracked by thoughts of career, ambition, or even preference. I know to whom I belong, and though I may never wear the moniker of Assistant Professor, I also know that I will wear His stamp of approval, His blessed "I approve," and I will hear His words of praise, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." Yes, I am heavenly focused now rather than career minded, and while I don't mean to say that I am not concerned about my career, job, pay, benefits, and the like, what I am saying is that while all these things are needed, I am no longer focused on grasping for them. My Father in Heaven knows I need these things, and because He is my Provider, well, I don't have to be concerned about them. He will provide as I have the need. Selah! My vision simply shows me that down the road, in time, and over many days, months, and years, His will and His purpose for my life will achieve His result. I will do the thing He has called me to do. I will perform what He has purposed, designed, and destined me to do, and in that thought, I am excited. I am so excited to think that in time I will look back and say, "Lord, everything you showed me has come to pass! It was all true!"
In Conclusion

As I close this blog post, I am giving praise to God for His goodness, His complete provision, and the fact that as His child, I am so well-covered with His love, His mercy, and His grace. I have everything I need this good day, and I have a plan that is provided for -- long term -- and that simply gives me a wonderful all-encompassing feeling of serenity and peace. He is good! He is the Prince of Peace!

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