Thursday, June 7, 2012

The blessings of working out

I HATE to work out.

I really do.

But, working out can mean more than just exercise. Working out can also mean that things are going well. That is a great mantra for my life right now, "it's all working out", and in ways I could never have imagined.

Working out # 1:

I wrote the piece about body image a bit ago. Yes, I am comfortable with my body image, but what I am not comfortable with is my health. The doctors keep telling me that exercise is essential to my body feeling better. 

Sure, try to convince me, a person who has been in chronic pain and suffers with chronic migraines for nearly 14 years, that exercising will make me feel better. I can tell you that over the years, each time I tried to exercise, it hurt so badly at first that I just couldn't continue.

Not this time, I am going to muscle through this. I have been praying to my Guardian Angel to keep me persistent but, don't let me do too much too quickly that I'll want to quit. He's coming through so far. It's only three days in, but I'm doing it, and I'm not in too much pain.

So, I ask for your prayers to keep it up, get my body healthy again, and maybe some of this chronic stuff will dissipate. At least, that's my hope; until then, I will continue to offer the suffering for the needs of other, including these work outs.

Working out  #2:

I have been blessed throughout the years with the ability to continue to work from home. Sometimes the income was essential to making our monthly bills, most times it was just to keep my desire to help others satisfied. I worked for 13 years in medical education with families of children with special needs. That was a highly rewarding job -- one that has produced lasting and treasured friendships.

During my time there, the Lord kept nudging me -- "Study My Word, learn about your faith. I want more from you." That is when my husband and I had a good long talk about my working on a Masters in Theology. It wasn't for any other purpose than to answer that call. Lyle was supportive and I was ecstatic. I worked at the military medical school during my studies and when I reached the point in my studies that I needed to write my thesis, I decided it was time to hand off the baton to someone else. That was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made. I LOVED my job at USUHS, and the people I worked with, but it was time to concentrate on what was at hand -- writing that thesis.

25 -30 pages was require; I wrote more than twice that. My subject was in the realm of moral theology and there was much to say about it, at least, I believe there to be. It was an exciting paper to pray about, write and present to an expert in the field for review. I was so blessed when it was accepted and I was officially a graduate. I felt like I hadn't only achieved this for myself and my family, but for God who had asked this difficult task of me while raising Eddie and his siblings, making sure that my husband and my family's needs were met with joy (still working on that one daily) and working part-time.

It felt amazing to achieve so much. It had all worked out!

Working out #3:

Now what? I would ask myself. I wasn't working any longer, the studies were done, what should I be doing now. Get my PhD? I wasn't hearing the Lord calling me to go that route, although I haven't stopped praying about whether that should be a next step.

No, it wasn't the thing to do right then. So, what?

Praying and wondering what to do with myself in this new phase of my life, I started a blog. Yes, the one you are reading right now, and I schedule a lunch. The blog has been a blessing, a creative outlet, a place to hone my skills as a writer, and release for my tensions and frustrations with the lack or moral order in our world. It was a place to use my studies in a purposeful way.

But, I desperately wanted to teach. I did some teaching at USUHS, but not as much as I would have liked. I coordinated the RCIA and taught some classes there and that really wet my appetite for teaching all the more.

So, back to that lunch. I scheduled a lunch with the President of CDU, the University where I had earned my MA. I was up front with her, pulled no punches. I didn't want to leave CDU, I wanted to be a lasting part of that institution. I wanted to teach there.

Ridiculous, I know. Tenacious? Absolutely. I wanted it badly, and I felt that the Lord wanted it for me, too. I wasn't rationalizing it just to get what I wanted. It was a compulsion -- I had to let my desires be known.

My hopes were not to be satisfied that day. The lunch was lovely, the company wonderful. Dr. Marianne Evans Mount is one of the most down to earth University Presidents I have ever known and as nice as can be; there was no job available.

This prayer of St. Teresa of Avila came to mind:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

Off I went, knowing that I had done what I thought I was supposed to do, and threw myself back into coordinating RCIA. It was joyful, truly. In the meantime,  Lyle and I made the decision to homeschool our kids recognizing that I would have the time to devote to teaching them. Perhaps this was what God was expecting by giving me such a hunger to teach.

By June, as we were ending our Mystagogy with the new received Catholics in our program, I was invited to another lunch at CDU. This time, Dr. Mount asked me if I would consider being a Student Life Coordinator, which would be a job share between me and a dear friend, Davin Winger.

I was stunned. It certainly hadn't ever considered doing this type of job, but it was so similar to the work I did at USUHS, and I really wanted to be a part of CDU.

I asked a good friend, Scott Bradford, if he would take over the responsibilities of RCIA Coordinator. I didn't see how I would have time to do this and work. I had already enrolled in a homeschooling academy and ordered my books, so that was in order. But, I hadn't anticipated working, too. I had to smile at God's sense of humor, and my inability to understand His will.

I prayed in earnest. I asked God a myriad of questions. Had I read the whole situation incorrectly? Why did we decide to homeschool? Was I not supposed to do that? Was I supposed to decline this opportunity.

Trust was what I heard. So, accepted the offer and started working at CDU.

It was all working out.

And, then another surprise -- CDU asked if I would consider revising course materials and teaching a course at the undergraduate level.


Teach a course, but that wasn't all. Would I be the Administrator of their new Associate of Arts program.

What? What?

I was sure that they had called the wrong person. I was their Student Life Coordinator. How could this be happening?

Funny God, very funny.

What was I supposed to do with this? The dream, the very thing that I had asked for, had been given to me. How could I possibly decline? How could I make it all work out?

It is -- all working out!

I could do nothing other than trust. And, so I said YES like the Blessed Mother, and held on for dear life as I took on one of my biggest challenges ever. Or, as least I had convinced myself it would be difficult.

Guess what? That's right...It all worked out.

I am thrilled to announce that I completed a successful year with my kids at home. The courses are revised and ready to roll; I am currently teaching one right now. I am still working in the online campus as the Student Life Coordinator and the kids maintained their activities without me losing my mind.

I can't thank God and my family enough for keeping me afloat, and always feeling loved.

In the end, I have had a significant change of opinion about working out.

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