The house is quiet. I'm wide awake. My mind racing with whatever thoughts are randomly running through my mind...bits and pieces of dreams, conversations of the prayerful topics Mark and I discussed on our walk around the loop (our nearly nightly mile and a half in the neighboring neighborhood), and all those things that plagued me all day, prompting me to sit and write a new post...but I never got around to doing it. I was just too busy, and then I had a few "unplanned" things thrown into the day too. Hate that.
I'm reminded of the scripture last night at our Global Outreach Prayer time (GO Pray):
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
A "new thing". Hmmm.
I really hate to write about the "maybe" things in my life... this roller coaster of life is hilly and loopy enough as it is...and yet right now I need to find a space to put these things, to clear them out of my mind. All weekend they grew in hopeful water, and as Monday approached I found myself exhausted from the hope of it all, and was left with a great sermon to ponder, a heart full of worship, and the reality that it may all be coming to a close. This season in a fruitful land.
Three years ago, we were living in the place I call my "40 years in the wilderness" and Mark was happy at home, content as a lark at his mission field he calls work, while I drudged through each day alone. I'm serious when I say that I lived in a place for nearly 20 years with only a handful of friendships (thank you - YOU know who you all are!) and less than a handful that were not effortless to sit down over a cuppa jo with (over an hour away). We even traveled over an hour to get to the church we loved. Nothing was easy. But we were blessed.
Just a few months later, life changed SO Quickly: work went south in a hurry, God opened a door for a new job and a move, and BOOM! here we are in KY! It literally just took a few weeks for the circumstances of our lives to completely change.
I'm still amazed at how effortless that move was. God opened door after door, and even in the process of not getting a house we bid on (and other little disappointments that I can't even think of now....oh, the apartment stuff that bugged us, etc), His presence was SO close, and it drew us even closer, and life was GOOD. REALLY GOOD. He opened a door to Crossroads that I still can't believe has so many "coincidences" for us - confirming that this is where He wanted us to grow, learn, be nurtured and serve. He's grown my confidence, I've learned so much through their missions program, helping in Missionary Care (where He continues to just blow me away!), developing my prayer life for Unreached People Groups; placing me in a GREAT women's ministry place,and surrounding me with armfuls of women to hug on every week, women who pray for me and with me, and let me walk this road with them while our husbands toil too many hours at their jobs.
Ah, their jobs. Mark's has been really hard. At the start, things were good. Really good, but hard. The promise of a 4 day plant run (and a 4-6 day work week) was really just a lie - and he's worked 7 days a week (which really means 60+ hours in reality for his position) for the past 2 1/2 years. Yep. Really. Even for this workaholic hubby of mine, that's too much. He's burned out, bummed out, and plain ol' exhausted. His "work smarter, not harder" mentality isn't rubbing off on folks, so he still gets called to the floor to fix things, that leaves him without time to work on the project things he needs to do, wants to do. His desk never is cleaned off.
He's "needed too much" there, and was passed up for a lateral job transfer that would focus on more project time, less fix-on-the-floor time. Then he was "over qualified" for a job transfer to the company base for a job as a Project Manager a few months later.
Each time my prayer was "if this isn't the right job for Mark, I know God has something better for him in the future!". Something I believed.
After the last round though, Mark said he'd just hunker down and make it work, deal with the demands, and try to delegate more so he could take more time off; but each day away from the plant meant more work to come back to, and often he'd get several calls from work when he wasn't there. (A day off, in my mind, is only if they don't call you - a legalistic view, I know.)
Now he has his name in the hat for another job as a Project Engineer for a VP - sort of a ground breaking job role that's not the norm there. He's had a phone interview, and several talks with others that are around that office, and has a face to face interview on Friday...if it gets that far before being derailed. There's been several red flags that have popped up: It's technically a pay level lower than where he's at (but they won't decrease his salary). We hoped that any job with travel would allow for me to travel with him (this one, the jury's still out on). And yesterday he was told that "company policy" won't offer a moving package when it's a lateral move, or going down a pay grade (which technically is this position), so now we wait to see what happens. Then there's that weekends off thing...the hope and desire to have a day or two to spend together, resting in the Lord, or serving Him gladly. At first the travel stuff was discussed, and the fact that this will all be 3-5 hours from a home base was good...not flying to places farther away; but then the reality of it being project work - and project work means plant shut downs and working on weekends when the plant isn't scheduled to run - that's how they get the work done - and start back up producing widgets on Monday morning - all changes complete and running in place. HUGE red flag.
So my questions loom, and this time I'm wondering if they will give flex/comp time for those weekends (or weeks) away from home - working those "extra" hours, of if it's just a part of what's expected?
I don't know if God's keeping me in doubt over this job because He ultimately won't move us, or if He's proving that He'll provide "exceptions" for each hurdle to prove that He wants us to move. But my head hurts to think of it, and my body is numb. I'm exhausted, already.
I'm trying hard to remember HIS words, promises from the Bible that breathe hope and life and light into this weary flesh.
I look with anticipation for the exciting changes that can be right around the corner...house shopping, travel, and already a freelance writing job on the table "if we ever moved back to that area" (it's within an hour of the place we spent those "40 years in the wilderness"). Close proximity to a few folks that we love and would love to get to serve them (within that hour circle) in their "older" age, and prayers for a reconciliation with my dad and his wife (LOTS of prayer there, as it would take lots of change of heart and mind and spiritual growth all around, forgiving and not forgetting, for this to happen), and living closer to our son as he approaches a season of planning a wedding with the sweetest girl ever.
And I dread the thought of leaving here. This church and ministry that I love getting to be a part of. Having kids close by (and even living with us right now - which is a good and bad thing - depending on the day, or time of day), and moving farther from the newest grandchild (from a 2 hour drive to a 10+ hour drive).
Oh, and did I mention the headache of sorting, packing, moving - and those kids/grandkids living with us, where do they go "in the mean time" where we have to have the house spic and span to sell, and aren't quite settled yet "there" - wherever "there" might be?
So I'm feeling like these past few years have been a blessing, a time of spiritual retreat, to remind me of His goodness, His faithfulness and fruitfulness, and how church (and life with Him) is supposed to be like (besides the job stuff, which even with that - has brought forth amazing friendships that will last me a lifetime). And now, NOW I feel as if I'm being shored up for battle. This "new thing" that we are facing where we have these hurdles that He defeats for us, but may not do with all of them, depending on what His will would be.
And it all just makes me want to climb in a warm tub of water by candlelight, or lay in bed and pull the covers up to "there", or turn into a sun bather again and bask in the sunshine, or water the yard, pull weeds in the garden and forget that there's even a world out there. Become a recluse. Stop feeding my friendships that I've loved so dearly. Not write. Really.
Because in the end, when we've gotten the details, and he's done the interview, and we know the answers to all the questions - we'll pray, and seek His face, and if He says "GO" we will go, and if He says "STAY" we will stay. And until then, it's all just a prayer to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Daily. Moment by moment.
And I'll feel sucker-punched no matter what. Breath knocked out of me. Exhausted with wrestling with this in prayer. Because so much of me wants to stay and not say good-bye to this lovely place of blessings. And so much of me wants to believe, wants to witness that He can do it all again "there", because He is THAT kind of God.