I will not be traveling to Guatemala for any more quarterly trips until I have secured further employment.
Those who know me at all know that it breaks my heart to write that! I think it's the first time I've actually verbalized it, even, "out loud". Emotions are overwhelming as I face the very real prospect that maybe my continued presence here is not what God has planned for me right now. My heart really wants to scream and cry out, "No! That can't be true! Can it?!?!"-- But the answer is, "Of course it can!" We know that all things work together for our good-- and more importantly, to HIS glory. But that doesn't mean all things work together to what we think is good for us at any given time (i.e., to give us the worldly desires of our sinful hearts instantaneously).
So there's that. I need to also make it clear that I believe with all of my heart that God is getting ready to do something amazing that will bring glory to Him in both Cary and Guatemala-- and I yearn to be a part of it by continuing in the way that I have been! But I am trying very hard to accept that His ways are not my ways (thankfully!), and that He ultimately has a much better plan than anything we could even dream or imagine~
So Matt and I are praying for wisdom, peace, and-- obviously-- provision. We are asking specifically and boldly for a job with IBM Watson Health, which at least on paper sounds like a dream job for me at this point. So far all of the advice I've gotten has pretty much told me I don't have much of a chance at all at it-- which, I figure, is the kind of space where God has plenty of room to work ;-)
We are excited to see what the future will hold. But we are also quite frightened and getting further and further outside of our comfort zone by the (seemingly daily) unexpected expenses piling up as contracted work comes quickly to a close. There is a real struggle we are facing (and I'm pretty sure The Enemy is loving it!) as we see God calling us away from an idol of self-reliance and more fully in to reliance on Him and a fuller understanding of the nothingness there is without Him.
But then The Devil's in the details-- isn't he always? He just loves a nice Type A that he can continue to taunt and pester with those details and facts and figures to doubt and debate! We find ourselves struggling fiercely with the issues of "where to draw the line" between trusting in His provision (and thus, say, continuing to spend on the mission field at the same levels as always...) versus being good stewards of what He has generously given us (and thus, say, going in to as much of a spending freeze as possible until a new income is secured)? For years, we have felt strongly called to earn a substantial salary that we could use a good chunk of for missions. Most of you know how very strongly we feel about avoiding consumer debt in order to maintain financial freedom for giving as well as freedom for following where God sends us and being able to help with needs that may come up. Several long-term missionaries have become like family to us-- and we are acutely aware that they don't have retirement savings or health insurance or other things that sometimes come in handy if a body ever decides to break down at all.
Are we wrong about our calling? Has it changed? Is it just that (and if I'm honest, this is my greatest fear), this is all a big lie I've been telling myself and hiding behind to justify my really, really comfortable life? How do we know when letting go is letting God, versus just being really financially irresponsible? I can easily go without cable TV, eating out, my truly preferred-but-obnoxiously-expensive toilet paper brand, new clothes, a MacBook, etc.
But when we start talking about digging in to savings accounts-- and especially "long-term" savings accounts, we both get pretty uptight. We are truly blessed to be "on the same page" with money issues in our marriage, and Matt has proven time and time again to be a very trustworthy leader of our family in this area. How he has managed to hide so much money from me and keep me from spending it at the dollar store is truly impressive, y'all ;-) But what we have in long-term savings is supposed to be just that-- SAVED. Right? But is this the rainy day we've been saving for, or just a little blip on the radar? Is there a worse time to come, or will a job offer come through tomorrow?
Anyway, this was way too long about ten paragraphs ago, but to give you a quick idea of the questions we struggle with, here are some examples:
- If unemployed, should we take an expensive family vacation? (duh-- obviously no)
- But what if there's one planned with the in-laws and cousins that will be relatively inexpensive and priceless in terms of family time, and definitely do-able schedule wise since you're not working? (hmmm... that gets a little stickier quickly, right?!)
- If unemployed, should you buy a new computer? (seems easy enough, right? of course not!)
- But wait-- when your contract at GSK ends, you won't actually have a computer anymore since you've been using theirs! Don't you need a laptop to work on publishing a paper still and job searching in the meantime? Should you buy a cheap $200 laptop to get you by until you can get something better later, or go ahead and buy a quality machine that will last a while? And so on and so forth...
And ultimately, of course, if unemployed, do you continue to go on quarterly trips to Guatemala at well over $1,000 per trip? That's the one that's the weightiest, of course, and I guess you could say we've kind of thrown out our fleece at this point...
So please pray FIRST for His will to be done, but we are boldly and specifically asking for the desires of OUR hearts as follows:
- A job for me (IBM Watson Health current first choice, but obviously a place that supports continued time in Guatemala high on priority list, as well as a place that seems sustainable long-term)
- Clear plans for my continued work here in Chichicastenango and/or Canilla-- for the foreseeable future!~
Join us in those prayers, please? Thanks for listening~