Is anybody there?
Its been a long time…I know. I haven’t been faithful like I had wanted to be with this blog.
I admit it…
I had good intentions last summer. Really. I Did. But between packing, moving, and Christie having a surgery the blog just fell by the wayside. I thought, “Hey, I can pick it back up in the fall when things settle down.” But after my CPE/chaplaincy residency started last August, well, I found I seriously underestimated the time (and emotional) requirements involved. Its hard to explain, but the last two years (Christie did two years of residency) have both dragged on slowly (there were times I thought they would never end) and flown by quickly (its still yet hard to believe its almost over with). There’s a lot that could be said on both sides of the spectrum about both mine and Christie’s CPE experience (we’ve learned a lot but it hasn’t all been positive), but I won’t take up space for that here. The first most important thing to say is that neither of us are pursuing chaplaincy positions. Christie may do so in the future if it’s a God sort of thing but for now we both need a break. But the second most important thing to say in the moment is that it is almost over. August 31st is the last day for both Christie and I. After that we are done. No more. Finished.
A very important question then is, what are we doing after August 31st? This question, as it turns out, is the provocation for bringing this blog out of its deep slumber.
Let’s see…the only way I can think to put this is frankly. The practical reality is that after August 31st the paychecks stop. I really hate to condense everything down to finances but right now that is what’s staring us in the face. We started a while back peppering the city of Houston (and surrounding areas) with applications. The result has been just one nibble. Other than that…nothing…just deafening silence.
Add to this that the climate and humidity has not been kind to us. We believe it to be a primary factor in the downturn in Christie’s health. Most will remember that she has Fibromyalgia, which can be debilitating. I’ve got to tell everyone, my wife is my absolute hero. She has displayed faith and endurance, sitting with patients in dire suffering, and working often completely unreasonable on call schedules. And she has done it being in terrible pain most of the time. Yes, we worked with her doctor to treat the Fibro but, though not the only factor, the Houston climate seemed to counteract all the medications. The result…at first she just used a cane…but she now goes to work in a power wheelchair (thankfully paid for by insurance) because the amount of walking at the hospital is too much for her. And while both of us have previous history with migraines, these have also become much more severe for us (especially during the summertime). These health issues have also wiped out whatever financial cushion we had saved up.
So, we have been doing a lot of soul searching…and praying…to decide what to do next. This decision has been made more difficult because of the community and mission we have found in our church, Ecclesia, and our small group, the SLuGs. But, under the circumstances, we feel that our time in Houston is coming to a close. True, this is motivated in large part by a move to a dryer climate which will hopefully help Christie’s health, but we also feel that God is in this.
So, the upshot here is that we are six weeks from the end of our residencies (and paychecks), we don’t have jobs lined up yet, and oh yeah, the lease on our apartment is coming up and we had to give notice whether we were moving out or not. We told them we were moving (to not move out would mean to sign another at least six month lease). Where are we moving too? Well, that is not totally certain at this point. We have job applications out in San Angelo and Abilene, TX. Our preference is Abilene (we would love to come back home to Crosspoint Fellowship) but San Angelo would be good too and we have a plan Z just in case (but I’m not going there until we absolutely have too!).
So what am I asking for? Though it would be helpful (just being honest) its not money. When we moved to Houston God graciously provided for us through some dear friends in this way, without whom we would not have made it. And while we will probably need the help, this is between whomever and God. What we need most I think is prayer…lots and lots of prayer. What would we like prayer for? Here’s a short list of the basics:
Pray that God would move us to where He wants us (my first preference is Abilene) and that we have a place to live.
Pray that we would be able to pay rent.
Pray that we would be able to pay our car note.
Pray that Christie and I would be able to find jobs…quickly (we’ve got applications out).
Pray that we would be able to pay our bills (I told you I was including the basics).
Pray that we would be able to maintain health insurance for Christie.
Pray that we would be able to be involved missionally in a local church where our gifts can be put to use for God’s kingdom (again, we would love to be back home at Crosspoint). I can’t overstate the importance of this one and how passionately I feel about this.
Pray that we would be able to work out the proper schooling option for Damaris (we would like to homeschool her again).
Pray for healing to come to Christie’s body.
After what have been the most intense and stressful two years for us, where quite honestly we have been beaten up a bit, pray that we will both have time to rest and enjoy a Sabbath (preferably in the mountains).
Also, this may sound sort of strange, but pray for my ability to dream and to pursue those dreams. I applied to five PhD schools and received rejection letters from all of them. It would be easy now to give up on this but its something I firmly believe God wants me to do. Pray that God would keep this dream burning in my heart. Pray also that I would be able to pay for application fees for another round of applications and the fee to retake the GRE.
Pray also that I would have the discipline to keep writing on this blog. Its something that I feel I need to be doing (despite how boring it may seem to some). 🙂
So there it is. We are probably crazy, in fact, I’m sure we are. I’m just reminded of the last time we were in this position. About six weeks before we moved from Abilene to Houston we had given notice that we were moving out of seminary housing, had no jobs lined up, and at that point didn’t even know we would end up IN Houston. We had to rely on the faithfulness of God to get us through. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen but this sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it.
One final thing…while we are looking at Abilene and San Angelo we want to remain open to whatever God has lined up for us: Ft. Worth…Dallas…Austin…Lubbock…Amarillo…Colorado…wherever. So, if there is an opportunity we are missing or don’t know about let us know. In the meantime we appreciate the prayers on our behalf.