Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
~ Helen Keller
She’s looking me dead in the eyes when she speaks, a gaze so deeply penetrating its intensity makes me want to look away…but I can’t.
“God is getting ready to do a work in you not possible when you’re living in your comfort zone,” she tells me when I confide my secret. And to my concerns she says, “And He’s going to meet your husband and turn him inside out when he’s alone and questioning what in the world he’s doing.”
She speaks with such conviction and great assurance ~ a relative stranger! ~ but I want to believe her. I do believe her. You see,
my husband and I have learned it’s not in the easy times we’ve grown spiritually, it’s during those difficult seasons of struggle…
…when we want to go back to “Egypt,” to the familiar; not because we liked it but because we knew what to expect.
At mid-life, an adventure has been given to us, a door not merely opened but flung off the hinges, and our only response is to step into the unknown.
My husband has accepted a new job; it begins with a year assignment in Germany. We leave in three weeks.
I’m writing weeks before this is published but we’ve known this secret was a possibility for quite a while before that. I’ve been a pressure cooker on the verge of exploding keeping this inside so long.
Logistics are still uncertain; how much time I’ll spend with him and what portion of the year our children will join us are the biggest considerations. But this I know:
God has lavishly gifted us with opportunity and we’re humbled and grateful.
For two decades, my husband has worked for a paper manufacturer; a dying industry. Through his company’s four-year bankruptcy and several rounds of layoffs he’s at least kept his job. But working for a company with limited resources and sensing it wouldn’t be around at the end of his career gave him reason to keep his eyes open for something else. Like countless others, we’ve learned “something else” is elusive. He’s sent out dozens of resumes, interviewed a place or two, but mostly it’s been…disheartening. Defeating at times.
We’ve struggled with that. Friends have gone months–years–without jobs! So how dare we complain, even if it’s just to each other! Heap guilt on top of frustration.
But the truth is a man’s identity is tightly interlaced with his job; if his work life is suffering, he is suffering. Regardless of our desire to fix our eyes on Christ and to be grateful for a job, it has been a challenge. Add searching for a church home for the past year and additional relational challenges, and for me this has been
a desert season.
Yes, we’ve had provision; I’m mindful of the countless reasons to be thankful…
But our reality has still been peppered with void, loss, conflict, disappointment and discouragement at times.
Sometimes the hardest part of my life as a Believer is the inner struggle of knowing I’m blessed with every Spiritual blessing, understanding I’m wealthy when compared with the World’s economy…yet allowing myself the truth, conflict and struggle of my reality. Again, how dare I? Yet, it IS my reality.
The beauty of faith’s paradox is even in seemingly undesirable circumstances, God is accomplishing a work of His choosing.
In an upside-down Kingdom way, Ancient Words have given me the greatest peace; when I didn’t like or resisted circumstance, THIS truth soothed my heart:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts….” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9
There is great freedom in believing God has my best interests at heart, and in surrendering my need to understand.
* * * * * * * * * * *
When my husband got the job offer, I cried. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier for him.
This is about more than a job; it is a Very Kind Gift; unexpected and generous.
First response is to romanticize this amazing opportunity, to see only the “good” parts. And while those things overflow in abundance, my stranger-friend’s words at the beginning of this post linger ~
- My husband will be separated from family and home for months at a time.
- Challenging new job, foreign language, VERY different culture.
- I’ll be traveling back and forth multiple times this year…and I HATE to fly :/.
Adventure is the One Word that will define 2012 for me. A month ago that word was prompted because of my husband’s job change; but more recently the Lord challenged me to know Him better this year, reminding me (again) in a very different way that real life is not about my circumstances.