If you’ve read My So-Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife, then you know one of the biggest hurdles my family has faced in recent years has been a full time job. My husband, a Navy reservist in the military world, but a marketing and promotions guy in the civilian, was laid off from his last full time position in 2008, six months after he got back from his first deployment. At a time that’s already filled with transitions – losing a job made it all the harder.
For 2 years, he searched. He sent in many applications, turned in reams of resumes, and went on lots of interviews. Often, he was part of the final set of applicants they were deciding from. But he was never picked for the job.
While I stayed busy writing, it’s a fact that the book world is often feast or famine, and eventually I found myself in between book projects (writer terminology for “I’m waiting for the next contract”) and my husband and I both believed God was leading us to move. We had held on as long as we could to our beloved Nashville, but He obviously wanted us somewhere else.
The only door that opened was to a job in South Carolina. For me. I wondered what it would mean for “my” dreams of writing, what would happen to “my” ministry, and what it would mean for our family.
We had no idea what God had in store. But we were finally at the point we would go wherever. He had our attention.
What resulted, as most often does when God gets our attention, was a whole lot of lessons He taught us. One of the biggest was that my “me” mentality had to go. That “He” came first, and then “we.” He has changed me as a wife. He has changed me as a mom. And hopefully, He’s changed me in my writing and my ministry. All for the better.
He’s taught me a great deal about obedience over the last two years. And patience (which I haven’t always received gold stars for!). And waiting. Oh my goodness. We know about waiting. I kinda think I know how the Israelites felt as they wandered around for 40 years wishing they could finally be done already with the waiting and enter the Promised Land.
But today, the waiting came to an end.
Today my husband went to work.
When you’ve waited so long for something and it finally happens – it’s hard to put into words. I’ve been really quiet the last month or so – online, anyway. Here on this blog, on my other blogs, on Facebook and Twitter. Part of my silence was being at the moment where you’re so close to something you’ve waited for, for so long, and wondering if it’s finally going to happen but fearing that it won’t. Part of it was just wanting to listen to God’s quiet voice by myself. Not necessarily sharing everything He was teaching me with others. I’ve learned there are some things He just wants me to think about. Some lessons that are only meant for me.
The only way I think I can describe how I feel today is peace. But even then I’m not so sure that’s a completely accurate description. Because as Cliff and I were talking last night before we went to sleep about this momentous day finally arriving, we had to reflect on what God did in our lives up to this point. And how He provided every step of the way. He provided for us. Whether it was contract work for Cliff or freelance assignments or speaking opportunities for me, or just through the generosity and love of parents helping out when we had no idea how else to make it work – God provided. It wasn’t easy, and many days it was frustrating and scary. The unknown can often be a scary destination. But as we look back over the journey God’s led us on these last couple of years, I’m not sure it’s one that we would trade in.
Because through the unknown, God made Himself known. Over and over again. And through the waiting, (OK, let’s be honest – sometimes the agonizing of my human heart) – He grew my trust. He stretched my dependence on Him. He pulled me forward to the place He had in mind for me all along. As a wife, a mom, as His daughter.
I can’t forget the friends and family and so many Facebook friends – military wives I’ve never met – who have prayed for us. THANK YOU for your love and support and encouragement. It has been such a blessing and Cliff and I are so grateful. Please continue to pray for us – that Cliff’s job will go well, and as we work to “get settled” with our own home (our prayer for 2012!), that we will never “settle” in the journey, but that we will continue to seek God’s will in everything we do.
So what’s next? More lessons I’m sure. But I want to encourage any of you who are reading this today and also in a “waiting” season. Don’t fight the waiting but learn from it. Don’t pray the waiting away but pray that God will teach you what He wants you to know.
I’m reminded of a couple of verses, one that I’ve held onto the last few years, and another I just found this morning.
From Ecclesiastes 7:14 -
“When times are good, be happy, but when times are bad, consider; God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.”
And from this morning, as I was reminding myself about the Israelites’ waiting – and when God finally allowed them to move forward…
“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.”
That is certainly my family’s testimony today.
Question: How have you seen God provide in your life and in your family’s life?