God has been so faithful to us this last month. I don't know why I continue to be surprised when He is, because I've never known Him to be anything other than completely faithful. But there it is. I am still human after all.
Within about a 36 hour span of time, in the middle of January, God answered most of the questions we had about our more immediate future. Questions we assumed we'd have the answers to probably in April, May at the latest. God delights in surprising His children, I suppose, because He surprised us by giving us answers and direction and settling some unknowns in order to prepare us for things we would need to focus more of our attention on. All within about 36 hours. This is not a joke.
On a Sunday, we had lunch with the Pastor of our church campus and his wife, and the current Director of Operations for our campus and her husband. It was an informal interview for me to come on staff as the Campus Administrator so the Director of Operations could move into a new role for our campus. By the end of the lunch, it was fairly clear that if I wanted to accept the position, it would be mine. And I knew I wanted to do it. I felt God's call very strongly.
We walked out of the restaurant, got into our car, and Mr. Ford checked his phone and he had a voicemail from his mom. We called her, sitting in the parking lot, and learned that Mr. Ford's Grampa... the one he had moved up to Sacramento to live with for a time, the one with whom we spent a great deal of time in the first year of our dating life...was no longer able to live independently in his home due to his rapidly deteriorating eyesight. It was time to begin the process of moving him into an assisted living near Mr. Ford's parents. This was bittersweet news for us, and I think for most of the family. We knew he would be so much better off, but it was the end of an era and things that had played such an important role in mine and Mr. Ford's story. So we went to visit with him and being WITH Grampa on his new adventure began.
Monday morning, Mr. Ford received word that he had NOT made it through to the next round of the application process for the Foreign Services. We had assumed he would at least make it through this round and if it wasn't going to happen for us this time, we'd find out at the end of the next round, after a nice little trip to DC. In April. We were bummed, but okay. We had already come to a place of peace with either outcome so we allowed ourselves to feel our disappointment for a time and then were prepared to move on.
That afternoon, not six hours after news of the Foreign Services, Mr. Ford was called into his boss' office and offered a permanent, full-time position at the company he's been contracting with since November. Again, we felt fairly confident that this would come, but not until his contract was up. In April. Are you seeing the hand of God yet? What provision, what care! Mr. Ford's (honest) response was, "Well, I'm not looking for anything else!" :)
On Tuesday, I officially accepted the offer for the position at the church.
It was crystal clear that God had more for us to do here in Sacramento. Our work for His kingdom here in this city is not yet over. We have not given up on the dream of the Foreign Services...it's just been delayed a bit. We are just grateful to be used by God for His work, wherever that might be.
The beautiful providence of God here is that with so many questions that had been filling so much of our brain space answered, we were able to more fully devote our time and energy to being WITH Grampa during this transitional time for him. Again, God's perfect faithfulness and provision astound me. It was emotionally taxing on us...on the whole family. As these things are.
But the Lord always does you one better. We have been learning to be WITH Grampa and WITH one another, and I continue to learn what it means to mourn WITH those that mourn, and so many other ways to be WITH people. But God has revealed to us that perhaps what He wants to teach us through our OneWord for 2013 is that what we really need is to learn to allow others to be WITH us as well.
The Lord has provided us with such an incredible community of faithful friends here. And I'm realizing this lesson of allowing others to be WITH us, is one more reason He has decided to keep us here for now. To learn to lean into that truth. To let our people, our tribe, be WITH us.
Our tribe has been amazing.
They have offered countless words of encouragement and prayers sent via text and Facebook.
They have pushed us to follow where we feel God leading us, sitting at a table in a dessert diner in downtown Sacramento on a Friday night.
They have offered hugs and an ear.
They have stepped into our weaknesses and been willing to take things off our plates because they just know. They have sensed we need the help and they came riding in on grace and they have been WITH us.
The faithfulness of His people have been His faithfulness to us.
This word...WITH...it is is so much more than a word. It is a way of life and of faith. It is how the Kingdom of God comes to earth, as it is in heaven.
And it's only February. Hang on, Mr. Ford...it's gonna be a wild year.