Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Allow me to paint a picture. It was Monday afternoon and I was watching Owen play in the kid zone at the mall, waiting to have lunch with a friend. I checked my phone, and realized I had a missed call from Neil. So being the good wife that I am, I called him back. After his usual greeting of "Hey Babe," he asked if I got his email. Now let me tell you something about my husband; he doesn't email often, so when he does, you should just assume it's going to be important. I'd been out all morning, so no email. "Honey, what's up?" "Well do you want to wait until you get home and can read the email?" Okay, clearly seven years of marriage is not long enough to know that Hillary doesn't like to wait, especially not when her husband is being vague and quite stoic. "Neil, what's going on?" Neil and I rarely call each other by our first names. It's normally Babe & Honey, so when we use first names, it's sort of like middle naming your child. So, with caution, he told me that the U.S.D.A. called and asked him to interview for a position in Athens, GA. My poor battered husband assumed I'd be angry or upset considering we are looking for houses in Maryland.

As I sat on this bench in the middle of Columbia Mall, surrounded by people, I found the grace to tell my husband how excited I was for him and how I was open to anything. At the same time, I felt the tears slowing slipping down my cheeks. I can't explain the tears; I still can't. After several days of thinking and praying, I still don't have an answer. If anything, I'm even more confused and conflicted than before. You might ask why this wasn't the most exciting news in my is after all everything I've wanted for the last 4 1/2 years. And Athens is the one place I felt like I could go and not have to entirely start over again. Then again, before we moved here, this was the last place I wanted to be. Yet here I am.

Do you believe that God sends you signs? Or do you trust feelings, not emotions, but those feelings in the pit of your gut that tells you something may or may not happen? Well, I'm not sure I do. Whether it's right or wrong, spiritual or not, I don't think I fully trust myself, my feelings, or how I might read into "signs." Of course hind sight is 20/20. I can easily look back at times in my life where the signs were there, where I could see God leading the way. But in the midst of it, I'm just sign illiterate. Or maybe I see can read them, but don't, because I fear I may be reading them wrong. I sound like I'm talking about tarot cards, which I'm not. I'm afraid to say this, but as much of a shock as it was to hear Neil say the words, I don't think I was that surprised. It's almost as if I knew it was coming, which might explain the way I responded to Neil (which, by the way, blew him out of the water)

Anyways, this interview threw a wrench into my plans. "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Prov 16:9. I had finally given up. I knew Neil had two applications in for jobs in Georgia, but I'd written them off. In the last two years Neil applied for several positions all over the south, and no interviews, not a one. I just assumed these would fall to the same fate as the others. Literally, we were just waiting to hear the rejection so we could move on. In all reality, I was already moving on. I had already let go and decided that God clearly didn't want us to fly south for the winter. So I began making the most of what we had here. I gave up and not just on the search for a job and the hope of home, but I gave up the wait. I'm not saying that this is the job for him and he's definitely going to get it. I'm wondering, if anything, if this isn't God's way of telling me to not give up on him. Isn't the lesson really about contentment? Isn't it more important to be content no matter where we happen to live? That's the process we've been going through the past few months. And it's been difficult. There are pros and cons to both sides. I can honestly say I never thought I would even ponder the idea of living here. And this will never truly be "home." I don't even have the desire to grow old here, but I'm not sure I'm ready to leave yet either.

A lot of this has to do with camp. I love it. And the thought of leaving before it ever starts, breaks my heart in two, but it's not my camp. It's not even my vision. I'm just a tool that God chose to use. A few weeks ago, after a time of prayer and reflection, I went to Michelle (the Assistant Director) and asked if something were to happen and we were to move, if she would carry the torch per say. She agreed and I believe her. If we go, I know it's in good hands. And maybe my work here is done. Outside of camp, our church and our friends, and Neil's job would be the main anchors. I feel like we have one of those large scales and we're piling pros and cons onto each sides to see which one weighs more. Bottom line? In the end, Georgia always wins because it's home.

That said, I'm trying hard not to allow excitement to build. It's difficult, but I just don't want to get my hopes up for fear that it's all a big trick. This is where "trick or treat" comes in to the picture. It might be a bad analogy, but it's the first image that came to my mind. I've been waiting to go "home" for almost 5 years. Finally I'm willing to stay then this opportunity comes up, and the fear begins to rise, a fear that I'm being tricked. It's an entirely wrong view of who God is, I realize that, but that doesn't mean the fear isn't there. I have many fears and insecurities, and one of the bigger ones is that God won't actually give me what I want. It's not true, but for some reason I still believe it. And that is evidenced in my life. Did you know I have hard time praying for specific things? And when I do I lack the faith to truly trust God to do what is best. Better yet, I don't trust myself, my feelings, my emotions, my desires. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 27:4). This is a much larger topic all together and maybe can be expanded in a later post, but it is relevant here.

A few months ago, we began to dialogue about staying in Maryland (see older post). One of the reasons behind my desire to stay was that I didn't want to go through what I did when we came here. It was a horrible, dark year for me, and even though I overcame it, it left a scar. My fear was that history would repeat itself. But we all know that fear should not motivate us, or in this case, paralyse us. Life feels like a state of limbo right now. It is an unknown, and I fear the unknown, mostly because I can't control it. I just want stability, but I'm realizing that stability doesn't come from where you live or work, but from within and where you stand with God. This process, lasting over 4 years, has brought me to place where I can look to him, ask for what I want, and be content no matter what the answer is. In the deepest part of my heart, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wanted Neil to get the job, but if he doesn't, this place is good too. I'm finally at a place where I can say that I'm content. That's doesn't mean I'm not going to struggle, but I'm tired of fighting for control. And no matter where we are, the important thing is that we're together as a family. Lord, let me keep that perspective.


Emily said...

All I can say is that I'm praying for you. No matter what the outcome, it is always hard. God never promised it would be easy; He just promised that if we give everything to Him, he will take care of it. Also, I completely agree that it's always easy to look back and see where God was leading us, but in the moments...well that's another story.

Having said all would be really nice to have you only 1.5 hours away. ;-)

Katy said...

I know that things will turn out the way God wants them to....Though I'm selfishly hoping you'll stay ;-)

Anonymous said...

Cathy If you keep your eyes on Jesus you will never go wrong. I have alway thought that God had plannes for both You and Neil. You have to give up self so He can work. I love you and I pray for you and family