It has been nearly a year since my husband came home from work and told me the private school where he had taught for five years was downsizing and he would not have a job in the fall. It has been nearly a year of waiting, praying for open doors, flinching when doors shut, and trying to remain faithful instead of fearful.
But it has also been a year of beautiful provision, of seeing the hand of God in the embrace of friends. We have been well-loved, and whenever I begin to feel like I am just another face in the crowd, someone flashes a smile at me and I remember I am treasured. I am known.
It gets me every time and brings me to my knees. I am so prone to doubt. I quickly grow weary in the waiting. But God provides for me still, independent of my trust in Him. A stranger in a checkout lane presses a five-dollar bill into my hand and tells the children to pick out a candy bar. My husband’s former principal decides to include him in part of the staff Christmas bonus even though Jeff no longer works there. I receive a check in the mail from someone who hardly knows me but was told by my Daddy to take care of me.
I am reminded that I am a child, a sheep, a prodigal, but God’s love for me is audacious and unfaltering.
You’d think I would know that by now, but it takes the breath right out of me. It has been a year of living in the lavish love of God, and still it amazes me.
But it has also been a year of hanging out in the hallway, and I wonder why I still get my fingers pinched in the doors that close. It all comes from sticking my fingers where they don’t belong, I suppose.
Still, I wonder, why God has to shut doors so hard. Maybe it’s because I have a habit of trying to force open the doors that shut. I’m not very good at hanging out in the hallway. I’m anxious to find a place to belong again.
So with trembling hearts we come to another door and wonder if this is the one that will open. Jeff is in the final steps of applying for Active Duty chaplaincy with the Army. He has been a reserve chaplain for well over a year and has found that it suits him very well. He loves being in the field with his “congregation,” serving the men and women who serve our country. It is a joy to see him enjoying the opportunity to pastor in a most unexpected way.
It has been a long journey, though, and an exhausting one. The application process to the military is an unending pile of paperwork and appointments. For months, he’s been hard at work at it, and we’re just about to the end. Tuesday, he has an interview with the senior chaplain at Ft. Lewis. Then, in mid-April, a board will review Jeff’s application and decide whether he’s in. Or not.
And there is the nagging question of whether this is where God wants us at all. It seems like it, but on the other hand, we love the local church. Perhaps God is calling us to love a little congregation somewhere, or join a church-planting team that focuses on planting churches near military bases around the world.
Or perhaps the chaplaincy is right where God wants us. It seems so, and our hearts have begun to hope so. We’re about to test the door to find out.
Most days, I’m excited because we’re running out of places where God does not want us. It stands to reason that pretty soon, we’re going to find a place to walk through.
But then, the fear seizes me at unexpected times. I want to be wanted. I want my husband to be able to use his gifts and be able to minister according to his calling. I do not want to hear another no. It’s easy to talk a big about faith but when the months roll on and on and the answers come in words that make me feel inadequate and unwanted, I falter. Help me, Jesus.
Will you pray with us? Even in my fear, I do not want to go where God is not leading. I would rather have a closed door than an easy path where God is not. Pray that I will remain faithful and steadfast in the waiting. Pray for God to lead and thank Him for provision. We are blessed, indeed, because we are not lacking. We are dwelling in the lavish love of Christ.
Even if it’s in the hallway.
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