Saturday, July 22, 2006

the state of things

A guy I work with was telling us about teaching his first Sunday School class the other day (I know - this is not typical coffeeshop conversation unless you live in Alabama. But I do, so stay with me). He taught about Moses and the Israelites, and how God led the Israelites out of slavery. I laughed as I said, "Yeah, out of slavery and into the desert for the next forty years."

I was surprised by the bitterness I heard in my own voice.

Brian has been interviewing for jobs since last October. He's had two offers with churches, but both offers were not conducive to family life (the kid might want to eat, too), so he turned them down. Then the clock ran out on us, and since then he's been looking for any kind of job in the area. Secular jobs think he won't be committed long-term, and the application process within the church is gruesome. It takes 4-6 months to hear anything, and I can't even tell you how many ministers have told me God is bringing us together to do Something Important, only to be turned down on the committee vote a month later because of budget concerns or ... whatever. A pastor met with Brian a few weeks ago and asked him to work full-time at his church. It turned out to be a scam - another "God's bringing us together" that turned into "We'd like you to volunteer at our church." Right.

In short, I'm done.

I'm not done with God - I would like to be, but every time I think, this is it. I can't do any more, I find that I can. And I'm not done with church, either - I know that Brian will eventually work full-time for a church again. I'm just done with the process. There's another church possibility right now, but there's always another church, something just ahead that looks promising and never works out. I can't keep being interviewed, and I can't keep waiting for something Really Good to work out for us.

So I called my old boss. There's a job opening in my field in Birmingham. It's a great position - the kind of job people keep for years and years - but I never wanted to work with an infant at home. It was on my list of Things I Would Never Do (I guess that's what I get for having that list, to begin with). After Brian has spent months and months (and MONTHS) calling people back, following up with emails, tweaking his resume, my old boss returned my call in 15 minutes. I have a feeling that pretty soon, I'm going to have to decide - do I take this job, or not? But working motherhood is another topic for another day that I am SURE will be discussed here fairly soon.

Anyway, we found an apartment in Montgomery that is clean and reasonably priced, but we haven't signed a lease yet. We're trying to move out of my parents' house in August. As always, we're just shy of knowing where our lives are headed.

And here's what I've learned: I trust God, and I trust that all things work for the good of those that love him, but I also know that those facts do not alleviate my current condition. Currently, I still have a baby that will be here in roughly 22 weeks, with NOT ONE ITEM bought and no clear means of supporting that baby. I know that Brian has worked his guts out for the past year, and that, though the spiritual fruit has been good, the external circumstances are no different than they were last October. And I know that this is our time. Like the Israelites, we've been led directly into the desert for a while. I believe in trials, and this one is ours.

Having said that, if not for the grace of others, all would be lost. So I'm not discounting the importance of community, nor am I discounting the fact that God does and will provide for us. I'm just facing reality. The baby is coming. Brian is doing all that he can. And I have an opportunity to make our financial position easier.

And that's the state of things.

PS If you read this and think, "Wait, I'm confused. Are they moving to Montgomery or Birmingham?", it's because we don't know, either. We think we're moving to Montgomery right now, mostly because we've already found an apartment there, and the process for the position I'm considering will be another - you guessed it - 4-6 months. But we don't know for sure.


Nick M. said...

Hang in there. I've been praying for you guys, and I'm going to step it up here in the next little bit, and don't get me wrong it's gonna take more than me, but I know you've got lots of other people who love you doing the same thing. Call us if you need ANYTHING (if we can we will). Find a smile and try it out!

Valerie said...

This may seem like a silly question, but have you changed your minds about wanting to move to Nashville?

Stephanie said...

It's not that we changed our minds. It's that we ran out of time - with insurance, obstetricians, etc. We needed to be there by mid-July in order for it to work.

Heather said...

Oh, Steph, I wish we could swwop down and fix things. Sigh...

Linda said...

I wish I could begin to tell you how very much Greg and I love you. We feel the pain that ya'll are feeling and I wish we knew just what to do. We are praying and will keep praying. We both know that God loves you, Brian and baby Gates and he is going to work things out. I know it is so very hard to wait for his time to fix things, I wish I could make you feel better. We are here for what ever we can do. I will begin lighting candles for you when I pray.
We love you, Brian and Baby Gates,
Linda & Greg

buf said...

so, yes, what's up now!? also, are you registered anywheres yet? -- jab

Stephanie said...

registering! i haven't even THOUGHT about registering. what a good idea ... we should find out soon what we're having (i hope i hope - i go to the dr today, and i'm hoping to set the ultrasound date then), so once we find out, i will register. Duh. registering.

aubrey said...

my goodness! what do i say to make you feel better? looks like there are no words! you know my prayers are with you! i have every confidence that you will come out on the other side of this thing at the very least...alive ;) seriously... i pray things settle down for you soon! if there's anything i can do.... i'm really good at creating distractions! i love you! hang in there!!!!