Friday, August 29, 2014

prayer for direction.

This one's a long'un.  It's about the future beyond 12 months - I can't believe that we are getting closer and closer to decision-making time!

It has been quite a while since I lasted posted asking for prayer.  I am reminded of the overwhelming response I got the last time from friends, professors, and loved ones who were ready and willing to come beside me in prayer and I am therefore reminded of the power of prayer and the way God delivers.

So I come to you, my dear friends and readers, with a prayer request for direction.

Last February (2014) I got to have a little chat with the Lord. More like, He spoke to me and responded with, "but... but..." I am a super-planner and like knowing what's going on five years from now as much as I like knowing what's going on five minutes from now.  I make maps for ten-year plans that include when and where Frank and I would be going to school, who would be working at any particular time, when kids would come in, what jobs would be the best to look for in whichever area we are living. Each map is complete with it's own diagram of which classes will be taken when, and what internships will be available at any given time, all the way through the expected year and month of graduation.  I then break these maps down by year and make mini-maps that tell what each month should expect financially and academically, when to start setting plans into motion for the next year, and how to prepare to set plans into motion for the year after that. They are pretty intense, to say the least.  Well in February the Lord spoke to me saying something like, "Stop planning right now, and don't look at any of these maps you've made. You are going to focus only on right now because there's so much that you're missing. You and I need to walk closer and you need to learn to surrender you entire life to me."  I was just like, "But why? Wha..? How do I...?  But...?" How could I not refer to these maps that I had obsessed over, pouring time and energy into all the research I did and everything I was hoping to potentially work towards? I thought I was trusting God with my life by taking advantage of the resources He provided around me.  Apparently I was over-using them, and therefore misusing them.  As I wrestled with this notion, I asked God how far ahead I could look.  For a little while, there was silence. Then about a month or two later He said, "You can look ahead no further than graduation (May 2015). All you need to focus on long-term right now is finishing school.  In the meantime, just focus on right now." Since February, I have grown so much more than I was expecting to in the area of patience as I have learned that God's discipline, in all of its hard and strange faces, is a piece of the mystery left in humanity.  It's a good thing, a refreshing reminder that life is not in my hands, and especially not in the plans I make.

Well here's the part where prayer comes in: I have learned to be content with now, and not to rush through life 'according to plan.'  Recently I asked God, "Okay, so I don't want to rush anything, but I want to know if there's something I can do now that will effect a year from now? Will we stay in Columbia? Will we go elsewhere? Can I start looking a little past May 2015?" God simply said something like, "Yes. And ask for help to get to that point."  So whether or not prayer is the help He was hinting at, I know it is never a wrong option.
Photo Credit
Louisville, KY
Since last November Frank and I have been looking at him going to grad school at the University of Louisville for graduate school.  We feel peace about this school and have obviously spent a good long time considering it, talking about it, praying for it.  Frank wants to go on to do a History Masters in British history, and hopefully an eventual History Doctorate.  We looked around at places that have met both of our criteria and Louisville is the winner.  We have also considered the possibility of moving to Louisville, Frank transferring from Copart here to Copart there, and me finding work elsewhere as we pay off student loans for a while before him starting back to grad school.  Aside from that, we've looked around a little more to keep our options open and have found that Western Carolina University is a good contender that we have felt a little peace about.  Not as much peace as Louisville, but definitely enough peace to make it an option.  While there, Frank would have the opportunity to intern with the Biltmore Estate and focus more on America or Western History and how it connects with British history.  A third option is (here's where it gets hard for us) staying in Columbia to work. The most boring option of them all.  For me, it's definitely the least desirable.  We just moved into a little white house that we are renting. Maybe because of how recent our move was, the idea of moving at all is not a joyful thought for us right now.  However, if we stayed in Columbia we would work (Frank at Copart; me ...we'll get to that when the time comes) to pay off some of our student debt then look at Frank going on to grad school somewhere the school year after that.  Once he starts grad school, his loans freeze accruing interest, so anytime he's in school could be a benefit in some small way.  Of course in my excited mentality I think, "Couldn't we move to Louisville or Western Carolina and do that very thing?" The answer is, "Technically, yes, you could."  The only other reason we'd stay in Columbia is to work with our high schoolers at church. We love them and don't just want to drop them, but I don't know if that's a justifiable reason to stay in one place? The problem is: which option is the right one? Or is there another option that hasn't presented itself or that we have not considered?
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Cullowhee, NC
Right now Frank and I have decided to be a little pro-active by setting deadlines for him. He will be signing up to take the GRE by early late November-early December, then apply to UL and WCU within six weeks after that and see if he can make it in to both, either, or neither.  Ultimately we will wisely consider all options once we hear back from the two schools next Spring.  In the meantime, we're wondering what we will do if our answer is, "stay in Columbia." Where will I work? What will we do while we're still here? How soon thereafter will we leave if we ever do leave. (Lord, I pray that we do eventually leave...)
Photo Credit
Columbia, SC
So I want to ask for prayer from you as we are seeking guidance and direction.  Will we be leaving Columbia next summer? Will we be staying? If we leave, where will we go and what will we do? If we stay, what will we do?  One year seems like a good while to receive these answers, but twelve months seems like a date that's right around the corner from where we're standing.  Regardless of which answer is right, there will be a little planning to be done.  So please pray for us in this way asking that the Lord provides the right advice and help that we need as we are considering the potential events of next summer.
Thanks, you guys ;)

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