Nine Years

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It took almost nine years to complete my PhD program. Really 9 years! Well eight and a half to be exact!! I don’t  know about you, but nine years is quite  a long  time to complete any project!

Working on projects that seem as if they will never end is frustrating.  I wish I could lay down and lament that I am the only person in the world who has ever been frustrated or that ever had to suffer or wait long to attain my goals.  Of course, I am not!! In the bible we have numerous examples of individuals who took quite a long  time to complete their projects or attain their dreams and goals, or even be healed.


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It took Joseph 13 years to become the second in command to Pharoah in Egypt. How do we know the time? The Bible says so. He was sold to the Midianite traders by his brothers and hired into Potiphar’s household when he was 17 years.  While there he ended up in prison because of the lies of Potiphar’s wife who accused him of rape.  She lied of course! If this was in our time, he surely would have been sent to prison for life being an immigrant, a slave, a minority in Egyptian society. He was placed in prison and while there he helped Pharoah’s cupbearer interpret his dreams. This cup bearer would later recall what Joseph did for him, recommend him to Pharoah and then that same immigrant, slave, minority became second  in command to Pharoah in Egypt and ruled many years.  

Some may argue that Joseph’s path or journey seemed like such a waste! Why did he have to wait sooooo long and go through aaaaallllll these hardships in order to achieve his dream? And believe it or not, it was his dream! In his teens, he had dreamt that his entire family would be bowing down to him!! Of course, he never envisioned that this would happen in the context of him being an Egyptian ruler in a foreign land, did he?

A Certain Woman

This could be anyone right? In the bible she is usually described as the woman with an issue of blood. She waited 12 years to be healed. This is one of my favorite stories in the new testament in Mark 5:25-34 and  Luke 8:43-48. It’s a short story but it’s sooooo powerful!

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This woman the bible says suffered long with bleeding continuously. Almost every woman can relate to this experience on a monthly basis for some thirty plus years of your life. But just imagine bleeding every day! Your body already goes through so many emotions during that time of the month. I have some friends who have experienced this situation as well. By the time she got to Jesus, she knew that He could succeed where the human doctors had failed.  She touched him ever so lightly and she was healed!

Her physical touch was light, but her faith touch was HUGE! She had a problem for 12 years. Longer than my 9 years and a little less than Joseph’s 13 years. Interestingly at that time Jairus, a Jewish leader was also asking Jesus to heal his 12 year old daughter who had died even before he asked Jesus. Notice 12 years again. Jesus would later heal her. But this is another story.

Then finally,


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Jacob worked 14 years for his wives (Genesis 29:23-28). Most men do not even want to wait one day for the woman they love when they are courting! In today’s “hook up” culture, one month is considered waaaay too long before becoming intimate in a relationship. Just imagine working seven years for one wife, and then having to work ANOTHER  7 years for other one!! When he was deceived and married Leah, he was still able to marry Rachel one week later and promised to work an additional 7 years. Hence the combined 14 years of labor for his in-laws. Now you can see why in-laws get a bad wrap!

Honestly, if you knew at the beginning how long it would take to achieve your dream, would you even try? I can answer this question quickly…a resounding yes!!!

Yet if you knew the road that you would travel to attain your dream (I am going to be figurative here) would disappear at times, be flooded, become traffic-congested, be covered with snow and ice, face detours and road closures and create travel extensions that were twice what you expected, again would you try or even attempt to achieve your dreams?

Let me get even more personal now. In my quest to attain my dream, I gave up my steady job, migrated to a foreign country, filed for a divorce, started over minus a home, vehicle, assets, experienced and adjusted to a new culture and society, returned to school full-time and worked part-time, all while being a single mom of a five year old!  And this was just at the beginning of my PhD journey!

I have learnt that while I envision my dream and the attainment of goals through rose colored glasses, God’s plans, dreams and visions for me definitely exceed mine! While I see smooth sailing, God sees and sends rough seas! While I see soaring through the air and quiet sunsets with family and loved ones, God sees and sends rain, thunderstorms and snow storms, and disrupts my quiet sunsets with loss of loved ones and nights of anguish and weeping.

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I do not believe that God is being mean and heartless. Instead I have learnt, and am still learning that love can manifest itself in many forms. God assumes them all because after all He is God!  His love for us is boundless. I would often say to my daughter, “Mommy’s love is high as the sun, moon and the stars… God’s love is high as the sun, moon, stars, all the suns and galaxies and beyond!” What an unfathomable love!

You too are loved immeasurably by God!! The Bible assures us that weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. This world only promises hardships and sorrows and God promises to be with us through those trying times, to save us and love us at the same time. So be encouraged!! 9 years, 13 years, 12 years, 14 years, however long it took or is taking to achieve your dream… God promises to be with us and that we ultimately will be victorious.

In the comments section below, please share your journey. You story may encourage and save someone reading today.  Remember, no prayer goes unanswered.

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