Monday, October 31, 2011
31 days of Learning #24-31
#24: Jeremiah talks about people who add God to their other worship (chapter 7). I want to be one of those who adds life to my relationship to God, with obedience and friendship with God as a priority, not as a sidekick "just in case" I need providence on my side.
#25: Sitting and studying 8am-9pm is hard on the human body, even with breaks, reading while walking the room, and stretching. Hope there are no security cameras as I grab my ankle, stretch it out back, and lean forward. Streeetch! Hold. Owie.
#26: As I lie in bed at night, God reminds me that each day has its own portion. No worries if I can swallow the whole elephant, please. BBQ and eat... in little pieces, as God spreads the table. Oh, weird analogy for a mostly-vegan.
#27: I meet with two key faculty members, the program director and my dissertation adviser. In the back of my mind, comprehensive exams (after tutorials) have been the dead end to getting all my work done. Last time I did comps, they wiped me out for 2 months after. I couldn't pick up a book, read a study, or even think about research. Several prayer partners pray with me about this.
As I'm sitting in the director's office, he pulls out the PhD manual and reads, "... or defend a scholarly journal article... and the comps are 12 hours over 3 days." STOP STOP STOP! WHAT? READ THAT AGAIN please!!!
I can petition to defend orally before the PhD class and dissertation committee, an academic article that summarizes my tutorials. I have TWO already written, one published, one requested by another journal. "Please God, let me do that instead." The director is not happy about the option, but willing to consider it. And maybe I can save 3 days (2 travel, 1 morning/night of in-house defense) by Skyping. I petition for that, too. The time saved could be crucial in this gasp to the finish line. Lesson: God can provide a way where there is no way.
#28: Most guys would have no problem telling friends and family, "Look, I won't be available for anything outside this project for 6 months. After that, I'm all yours and life returns to normal." While praying, I feel that permission, and contact my daughter (who comes home December to March for surgery & rehab) and my husband (who will have to coordinate caregivers with her) and say, "I've always been here for you. Not so much in the next 6 months. Gotta go!"
It sounds heartless. And though friends and family recoil a bit at the idea of "mother" abandoning home and hearth for studies, it feels right. Lesson: put in our own wagon only the things God gives us, and let him place the burdens we are not to carry in someone else's wagon. (It does not matter if we have carried those things before or will carry them again in the future... what is God calling us to do NOW? In this day?)
#29: I watch Cheryl's mom work, play, and administrate in the home while J and C are working in Asia for a few weeks. The kids benefit from a loving grandma. She renews love-ties to the them and serves her daughter (a brilliant administrator) with her own gifts. Lesson: do the things God gifts me with, and there is fulfillment and satisfaction all around. It's all God's work, but not all of it is mine to do.
#31: My office is fantastic. All the mess is off the desk: W tore out the old beige carpet that had gone through two young boys sharing, AND a teen girl in her learning-to-put-on-makeup phase.
The fresh smell and clean look of bamboo flooring is matched by clutter-free desk. Other stuff still has to be sorted, of course. I spread all my papers out and get to work. Lesson: It's good to purge, though it may not be useful at every time. It can be cleared and sorted after the work is done.
-----------------------observation on Halloween------------------
It's Hallowe'en, my least favorite American celebration. I wonder each year if Christians are thinking about God's pleasure rather than cultural pressure when they dress themselves and their kids as witches, ghosts, and clothe their homes in creepy, spidery-dark dress. Sure, hand out candy, but please play dress-up with cute costumes that align with truth and fun and beauty, not the Enemy of our souls.
Remember in all your frolicking and "innocent" partying to pray for God's protection around 1) the many children who will be abused in Satanic rites, 2) the horrible rituals inflicted on those with God's image, and 3) newcomers drawn into darkness as they worship the Prince of Darkness behind the closed doors and on altars hidden in the high hills.
Perhaps in coming days and years, God will use you, me, or our families to bind the deep wounds inflicted and to salve the scars of blows struck tonight.