August 5, 2017

Change and Moving Foward

Happy Saturday! It is a good day here in sunny and humid Phoenix. The sun is shining this morning, and the skies are absolutely clear. Our recent monsoon has left us with a clear forecast for the next couple days but has brought a lot of moisture that has caused our temperatures to be sticky hot. The good news is that the rain has been beneficial, and the recent storm (the other day) caused quite a bit of damage to the south of us. We were pelted by heavy rain and hail, but there was no real damage in my neighborhood. God is good! He is so very good!

I also slept pretty well last night so I can say for certain that I feel good today. I have a slight tummy discomfort, but I am thinking that was the result of my late night dinner (with my son) after our interesting and eventual afternoon yesterday (more on that below). I am drinking my coffee, and enjoying some toast with jam, while my buddy, "Winston" lounges on my desk near me. It is a near perfect day, and I for one am praising God for His goodness, His mercy, and His lovingkindness. He is good to me. He is so very good to me! Selah
News and Notes

I am enjoying my downtime this week. My students are working on the final paper, so I have had a pretty low-key week. I have graded most everything, and other than interacting on the discussion boards or with students via email, text or Skype, I've been able to really just relax and take it easy. School begins again soon, so I am trying to rest as much as I can this week and next. I will be back to full-time (on campus and online) in just about three weeks.

My prayer is that I am able to handle the extra workload and to keep my life here at home in check. I need a certain amount of income to cover my expenses. I am in this unusual place where I am trying very hard to deal with my own future as well as be involved in the future plans of those I love. I am in this weird place, really. I mean, I am finished with school. I have my Ph.D., but I don't have a full-time faculty position yet. I have multiple part-time positions, and while I am thankful for the work, sometimes I wonder if it is best for me to work so hard at so many jobs. Wouldn't it be easier to work at one job only?

My gut says yes, but I am trusting the Lord for His provision, and I have said that I would do whatever work He provides to me. Thus, if He provides one job, so be it. If He provides two, so be it. If it is three or more, then I am okay with it. I accept His provision no matter how much work is involved in receiving it. He knows my needs well, and I am trusting Him to provide for me.

A case in point is my son's need for a car. The other day, as I was praying, yet again, for the provision of a car, my son came and told me that his semester schedule just got even crazier than he had thought previously. I was put into a difficult spot, and I had to ask my Dad for his help with ride sharing again. Okay, so not my first choice for another year, but I said, "Lord, if this is how you intend to provide, so be it." I relented. It was less than a day when my son came again and said that due to his recent performance at work, his manager had doubled his current rate of pay. Thus, in less than 24 hours, my son went from being able to pay for a car (like meeting the minimum) to be well-covered to pay for a car.

I asked the Lord for a next step, and whether I should reach out to a man who deals in leasing new cars and helping buyers purchase newer used cars. I stepped out in faith on Thursday by emailing him our information, not even sure if we would qualify for a lease (with my school debt). Then, yesterday we went and "test drove" a lease car at the dealer. Leasing has been an option for us only in that we could get a new car for less down and make a lower payment overall. I plan to purchase the lease in three years, so it made sense to lease for a short time, and then buyout. The car that we test drove has a special deal attached to it, so when we do the buyout, we only pay 50% of the sticker price. It works out to be less than what it would cost us now to buy a 2-3-year-old car. I had hoped to simply pay cash for a car, and while I have saved close to $10k already, the fact was that I simply would not have enough money to do that for another semester or so. We were stuck, and well, time was running out.

Today, I am waiting to hear if my credit is good enough. I owe a boatload of debt, and the dealer may see me as a credit risk. I am praying that everything goes well, and Lord willing, we should be able to get a new car within a couple days. If not, so be it. I am trusting the Lord for His provision.

The fact is that as I sit here and think about all the reasons why the dealer could turn me down for a lease, I realize that I am simply 100% dependent on the Lord for His provision. I have to trust the Lord, not the dealer, the salesperson or even the broker, to make this happen. I have to trust the Lord for His grace, mercy, and goodness. I believe He will provide. I believe He will make this happen for us. I believe He will show me the way to go, and in following after Him, my way will be blessed.

My prayer today is for good news. I am still waiting to hear about schools and contracts, but for now, my only prayer is for His will to be done, and for His provision to come to me so we can move forward into this semester fully prepared for the change that He has spoken to me, told me, and anointed me to handle. It is coming, and the Lord will see to all my needs with His power, authority, and sufficiency.
Considering Options for the Next Year

As I sit here and think about my life and what might be in the coming year, I am constantly reminded that God's plan and His purpose are from eternity. Meaning, God has a plan for my life, and as such, His plan accomplishes His purpose and will. Thus, the plan I am attending to today is a plan that the Lord laid out for me a long, long, long time ago. I have blogged about my life, how I married when I shouldn't have married, and how the opportunity to go to graduate school came and went many years ago. My calling to teaching and the ministry was never fulfilled in all my work life and personal life -- until that is -- my then husband asked me for a divorce. I ended up a single woman, and with no career option in front of me, the Lord graciously gave me a do over. I received a chance to start over, and in doing things over, I committed to Him (covenanted) that I would follow Him, His will, His plan, and that I would do so in His way. This was my side of the bargain. He would restore my life, give me a new plan, purpose, and a way to walk, and I would simply trust and obey. I would follow Him all the days of my life, walking after Him, trusting Him, relying on Him, and abiding in Him. Since that time, my life has changed. I have been transformed for sure, but the paths I have followed have brought me to this place in time where I am working almost full-time as a teacher, and I am about to embark on a life time of ministry. In short, all that the Lord had asked of me "pre-marriage" has come to pass "post-marriage." My former life has been restored, and while I am not that same naive 19-year-old, I am instead a mature 54-year-old, the facts remain. He has made a way for me to accomplish His will at this late stage of the game. I am doing what He asked me to do so many years ago, but now I do it with His strength, power, and provision.

I go now with His assurance, security, and knowledge. I don't take a step forward without His approval, and just like yesterday when we did the whole "test drive," I believed and I believe today, that it was meant to be. Thus, I am worried a bit (simply from the standpoint of not knowing), but I am resting in His abilities to make this happen. It is a good thing. I don't have a lack of peace. In fact, I would say that I am calm and in control. I am more just apprehensive about the process since I don't know what to expect. But, my faith is staunchly settled on Jesus, and my faith rests in the belief that Jesus is my sole sufficiency.

Therefore, as I think about options for next year, I realize that I am where I am for a reason. As much as I had hoped to purchase a car for my son earlier in the year, June to be precise, I ended up having to take my parents to Indiana instead. Then I felt the Lord would provide by the end of the summer, but as the summer drew near, I panicked. I was overwhelmed with the details of how to get him where he needs to be and get me out to my destination. One car would not work for us again. The Lord intervened, and well, this challenge is resolved. Now, I look at the next challenge, which I had thought would be a full-time job. Since this has not materialized, I have come to see that the Lord chose to take me another way, another route, and in doing so, I am well-provided for -- but worked a bit more than I would have preferred. It has taken me a couple weeks to accept the fact that I will not work full-time at any of the schools where I am currently employed. I have held out hope, but the Lord has consistently told me to rest in the matter, to not worry about it, so I finally let it go. Now, I see that He has provided for each and every item on my "future needs list," and that we are working our way through it quickly.

  • Graduate with my Ph.D. (May 2017)
  • Full-time job teaching (June 2017 - after transcript posts) OR part-time (multiple positions)
  • Purchase a car for my son (June, then August 2017)
  • Pay off my credit cards and student loans (December 2018)
  • Purchase a house (January 2018)
In my short list above, the Lord has satisfied each need, and while the job didn't pan out as I had hoped, what has been provided is going to be better in the long run. Let me explain...

I had interviewed for a full-time position where I currently teach. The job would have been a good one, but the workload was really heavy. As part-time faculty now, I can make good money, and relatively easily (lighter workload). By adding in a fourth part-time position, I actually increased my overall salary while maintaining the workload of just this one position. So I almost tripled my salary (2.5 times) without adding so many students and courses that I couldn't do a good job. It is weird to think of it this way, but the Lord provided a better solution to me. I will make more money, despite not having benefits and such. I will have to provide for myself as I do now, but I will have more freedom, less pressure, and less mandatory participation outside of teaching students. Thus, I will be able to do the grind, so to speak, for one purpose and that is to make really great money over the next 15 years. Most of my colleagues are looking for "career positions," and while that is great, at my age, it simply is not practical. My colleagues are in their early to mid-30s so they have 30 years left to earn that lucrative tenure-track position. In my mid-50s, I am only concerned with retirement. The Lord has provided a way for me to really hustle (which is what I prefer) and earn a solid retirement at the same time.

I am not sure if the reason why we are leasing is to help me manage my tax burden or if it is for ministry or the fact that I am going to be an independent contractor. I am thinking this is so, and as such, the Lord has made a way for me to be self-employed doing a job I love, all the while being free to manage His interests and desires. As I think about all of this change, I cannot but wonder what will be next year at this time. I mean, will I be here in Phoenix or someplace else? Since I will not be tied to one job, in one location, I can move where the Lord wants me to move for ministry. I can move to a place of His choosing, and I can realize the dream He has placed within my heart. I can move, settle, and engage in life in order to move forward with His plan for my life. Yes, I can see the future, and I can see that in time, I will be doing the very thing He has said to me to do. I will accomplish His will, I will pursue His purpose, and I will finish the plan He has for my life. He is good to me, so very good to me.
In Closing

The Lord is good. He is careful, and He will lead us into the path that is successful. He will guide our steps so that we are moving forward, achieving His plans and purposes, and living the life He has prepared for us to live. The key is to not intervene, to not get in His way. We are to do His work. His way. According to His will. It is all about Him, and when we surrender, fully and completely surrender, we are able to experience the blessed freedom that comes from the Lord's leading, His guiding, and yes, His providing for each and every need we have in life. He is good to us, He is so very good to us! Selah!

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