Have you ever been in a place where you have given up on your dreams and goals? Maybe the process is just too hard that you think, “God cannot be in this!” Maybe you feel He is leading you in a different direction. Or maybe this is your “Isaac” and you need to give it up to God. I have found myself in that place. At one time, in particular, I was ready to throw in the towel and walk away. I did not want the “goal” as much as I wanted my relationship with God. But then I walked into nothing but a God set up… here is my story….
So here I am in the third year of my doctoral program. I am down to the wire. I can count the classes left on one hand… yet, there is this dissertation that has to be completed to get to the degree. I have been in school for the past 8 years, I am tired. I guess this is where the enemy hits you… right when you are tired. At the same time, I have to wonder if this degree is really in God’s plans. I hear in different sermons as well in God’s word that He can use me without my education and my degree. I have been on a search with God these past couple of years asking God if this was His will or just my desire and if this desire was being placed in before my relationship with Him. I found that I had more time to be in His word, more time to serve, more time when I was not in class. So, I really began to question if this was truly in His will. I began to turn it over to Him. In May, I was told the company I wanted to use for research had denied my request. I was devastated… so devastated that I took 3 months off from working on my dissertation. I started my class with my mentor and I committed myself to working as much as I can I prayed to God to provide the resources I needed.
Now, I began a journey a few months ago in March when I was laid off that I called my “faith walk”. I did not really know it would work over to this aspect of my life. I saw this time off as a blessing and time I could use to completing my dissertation without the interruption of work. But as I began this class, I found out that not only did I need to have my first three chapters of my dissertation completed and approved, I need two committee members (that I was previously told not to worry about as it was too soon), and I need a company that would allow me to conduct the research. Out of all that was needed, all I had was an incomplete draft of my first two chapters… the third chapter is not even a draft. If I do not pass the class I have to pay to re-take it, which being unemployed, I do not have the money. I broke this news to my mentor and schedule my call in with her, which I missed. Not purposely but I guess mentally I was not ready for the conversation. I proceeded to head out of town for the weekend, wondering why I was going when I had so much to do, but I had committed to my friend who had already invested in the trip.
When we arrived to New Orleans, I called my mentor who proceeded to tell me how much I needed to go to complete this class and offer her suggestions. I was ready to give up. I told my friend the same. I was seeing this as God telling me it was not in His will and to let it go. I let it go. I gave it all up to Him. I told Him I could not do this without Him and He would have to make a way. That was Friday. Sunday, our last night in New Orleans, we left for dinner. My friend asked me if I did any work on my dissertation, I told her I had not even thought of it. She told me she was praying for me.
Well, I had this place I wanted to go for this special fish. We took the city trolley, which took a long time by the way, the longest all weekend. Then we had to walk a few blocks – much farther than I thought, as I am sure my friend would have suggested a taxi as we had already spent a great deal of time in the heat all weekend. When we got to the restaurant and were seated, I read the menu and noticed my fish was not on there. I asked the waitress was there another place with a similar name and she directed us to a place a few more blocks away. After my friend agreed, we continued on our search for this fish. When we finally get to the other restaurant, we had to wait to be seated. While waiting three ladies walk up, one has on a sorority tee shirt. I greet her and they all speak. We exchange pleasantries. While waiting, the hostess comes by and says she will seat the party of three before the party of two. I disregarded the statement as I only thought she mis-spoke, since we were there first. Well, she proceeded to see the sisters of mine first, saying there was not a table of three available. One of my sorority sisters asked how many chairs were at the table and when she found out there were five, she asked us to join them. As we were seated, I noticed a table for two RIGHT next to us EMPTY!!!
We began small talk. One Soror asked if I was active. I told her I wasn’t. I began to explain that life happened, from taking care of a son as a single parent to taking care of my mother till she passed. I told them I am very active in church and I am in school working on my doctoral. That is when I found out that each of these women possessed PhDs! I began to feel this was a set up. I heard only briefly of that morning’s sermon on “set up”. I told them I was ready to give up as I had too many obstacles facing me to complete this right now. I gave them the brief synopsis of what I was facing. They all began to encourage me. One Soror gave me her testimony about what she had overcome to complete her dissertation and to get her current job. Then they began to give me details of that morning’s sermon that said we are all here for a sister. We may not know her but God will place us with her to encourage her right at the time she is ready to give up. That is when my floodgate of tears gave way as I realized this was God answering my prayer. As I told them the topic of my dissertation and what I needed, they proceeded to offer me resources. One Soror volunteered to be on my committee and offered to send me resources to help me. When I told them the story of how we got to this particular restaurant and of my friend praying for me, we all felt the power of God and the purpose of our meeting. They continued to encourage me and offer their support.
All I could do the entire meal was say, “Thank you Lord” over and over again.
My message to you… don’t let ANYTHING stand in the way of your relationship to God. Be willing to give it all up for Him. God, in return, will bless your faithfulness. Trust Him in ALL things and He will show you His perfect will for you. He will provide the resources for the dreams He has given you. Stay the course and stay faithful!