A few months ago my whole life changed. With that change came a lot of anger, a lot of bitterness, and quite a bit of jealousy too. We had worked for years in following God down a path we thought He was leading, only to stumble as the road come to a quick dead-end with no warning signs in sight.
As we were packing to leave camp I got an email from a MOPS friend whose husband serves as the Executive Director for West Sound Youth for Christ. She told me her husband had a position open, she wasn’t sure what it was, but that if Darin were interested he should call.
Of course Darin was interested. Of course Darin called. And before we left Port Orchard we had met with the ED and were in serious conversations about Darin coming to work for this great organization.
We moved to Marysville/Lakewood. Darin filled out an application. He went to Tacoma to meet another YFC guy and see the ministry there. He had a major phone interview. And he was offered the job.
It was all so cool to see and exciting to think about, until one day late in the process Darin received an email that went something like this: “We’ve been talking around here about the ideal qualities this new hire would have…and here are our top 5…” One of those qualities listed was “a call to urban ministry” and that one hit me in the gut.
Urban ministry? I don’t have a call to urban ministry? Did he?*
Darin and I have been in paid ministry one way or another our entire marriage. I feel like I have a decent handle on this world. On the demands in places both on the employee and the spouse. On the sacrifices it requires of families. On the need to be doggedly determined that THIS, THIS RIGHT HERE, is where God has placed you and nothing will get in the way of what He is asking you to do.
And I had no interest in going back into ministry unless I was convinced God was leading the way.
So I did quite a bit of crying. A whole lot of soul searching. And prayed some of the most desperate prayers I’ve ever prayed before. I was specific. I wanted God to give me a pile of stones.
Remember when the Israelites crossed the Jordan river and God told them to have each member of the trip return to the middle of the river and remove a stone? Those 12 stones were then piled up to serve as a memorial to the people of Israel of what God had done. (Don’t remember? Check it out in Joshua 4.)
I begged God to give me a pile of stones. I wanted a point of remembrance. A point to look at when things got tough and know that God was going before us. That God was calling us to this new life, this new ministry. When the going got tough, like I knew it would, I wanted to be sure I had a specific spot to hold on to. After all, I had these pile of stones moments in my life before. So if God was going before us into this new and unknown adventure, why not give me another?
I prayed this prayer the afternoon that Darin was offered the job. He was gung-ho about accepting. I was not. And as I sat alone in the truck waiting to meet some people at a ferry, I asked God for a pile of stones. And then I remembered how about a month before Darin had sat down exhausted on the couch beside me. He told me how searching job boards and unemployment sites was so tedious, and how although he would continue to do so, he really felt God telling him that this wasn’t how he was going to find his next job. Sure enough…the job in our hands was through a random connection of mine and not any ole regular internet job search.
Was this it? Was this my pile of stones? It seemed so small, so insignificant. A conversation when relayed to Darin he didn’t even remember having. Was this enough for me to hang my hat on?
I wasn’t sure. So I asked God for more. Please Lord…I need some bigger rocks.
As it turned out, those are the only rocks I got. A few days later after a few more tearful conversations I told Darin to accept the job. Not because I was sure this was where God was leading us, but because I was sure there weren’t any other current options. Take this job or stay where we are. Not the greatest choice. I also saw how enthusiastic he was and knew without a compelling reason NOT to take the job, it would be foolish for me as his wife to ask him to turn it down.
(Note: we’ve been a place before where we turned down what looked like a perfectly awesome job. But both of us were clearly convinced of the why behind that decision and could articulate it when others asked.)
So Darin accepted and started work and has been enthusiastically doing his best to serve God and this ministry ever since. He even got to attend a week-long training at headquarters in Colorado where he would be buzzing to me at night about all the things he was learning and all the ways God was speaking to his spirit and healing him.
And here I sit in the mire. Darin is leaps and bounds ahead of me when it comes to healing from our recent loss. I feel like I still grieve every day and while thinking about camp still gets to him, it isn’t nearly as raw anymore. I hated his job for making him go away so long and leave me with two sick and cranky kids by myself in a home that isn’t mine either. I resent it when Darin asks me to think about ways that I might want to get involved at YFC, because I knew and loved my role at camp and I have no idea what this new thing looks like for me. I am no urban minister, that’s for sure. I have not caught the vision, and sometimes my heart is awfully hard towards it.
I should be rejoicing. Darin has a new job that he loves. We were only on unemployment for 6 weeks…that is unreal. We are in the final stages of buying a house. We’ll be moving back to Kitsap county and the friends that we know and love there. I should be rejoicing. I should be seeing God at work all around us. Instead I rejoiced more when my best friend’s husband gets a job than I did for my own. And I feel guilty for it all the time.
I have a long way to go.
I need to stop looking back.
I need to let go.
I need His divine healing.
*As he talked and prayed and shared with the interview committee: Darin doesn’t feel a call specifically to urban ministry, but definitely a call to relational ministry. And if that’s happening in an urban setting…he’ll follow God there just as readily as he followed Him to camp.