The Third Road

Third Road Image
Flashback to May last year. The husband graduated Seminary and we were full  of expectation as he walked across the stage. We were praying about pastoral positions he had applied for and several of them looked promising. The other road that we were peering down was an opportunity for him to teach at the college level. Both were exciting and meant big change for us. We were overwhelmed but very excited about the possibility of either option.
Several of the pastoral positions ended up taking him through each step further and further. We were in some of the top positions and it almost seemed as we had options. We took each step in prayer and sought counsel. We thought we were doing everything right. In many ways I think we did. We always prayed for God’s best and said we didn’t want to settle for something other than what he had for us. The funny thing is we didn’t fully consider what this could mean if there was a third road.
The door to each church one by one closed and it seemed like the dream of ministry came crashing down. So we turned our attention to teaching. And this door also came to a close. Though an opportunity came very close to fruition, it still ended up as a no. So then I watched my husband turn his attention to a job. Any job. I watched him spend hours a day applying to anything that he could find. Still nothing. He worked a 40 hour a week job just searching for work. Recruiters, postings that he was beyond qualified for. Nothing. I watched him go to interview after interview with hope and come home with no news. We waited for calls and an answer and still nothing. I watched him be faithful even when there was nothing to show for it. As optimism faded, he still soldiered on. Even minimum wage positions told him no because he was over qualified. Grief crouched at our door. And then was ushered in. This went on for months.
We moved in with my parents in the transition when we were a final candidate at a church out of state. At the time we thought it was a temporary landing place for us to move from. We resisted signing leases because we were holding out for God’s best not knowing that he was positioning us in that place unbeknownst to us.
With each no, we considered that maybe we took a wrong turn and we came back to the drawing board. I watched my husband holding a diploma with a masters degree and say maybe I need to start again. And by begin again he meant start a new degree at the bachelors level. It all felt like a waste. A joke or an empty promise to run a race so far and have nothing but a piece of paper with a signature saying he had mastered something. To start again felt like a dead weight, but it was one of th few viable options. So he applied. Was accepted and even registered for classes. Engineering. It was the logical choice. But the debt loomed over us and we wondered with unsettled hearts how this could be God’s best.
I pleaded with God that somehow we wouldn’t have another 4 year road for another degree and an additional mountain of debt. That the work he did in school would be fruitful and some job would come that would provide for us. At a random networking event, one my husband almost didn’t go to, God answered that prayer.  But not in the way I expected.
He heard about a program that was a trade school. It was a bootcamp of sorts for computer coding. The field he was considering pursuing instead with a four year degree and debt that consumed us.  He met with a person who encouraged him to look into it and also try a few exercises to see if it was a good fit. So then I watched him explore a new topic and like it more than he expected. He then began the competitive process to get in. This 7 month program was not for the faint of heart. The application process included an essay, an exam like the LSAT, a video and paperwork. If you were one of the 25 percent moved into the next round, you then faced an interview which was an hour long and then you had to take a logic test verbally with the person you were interviewed by. Then half of those interviewed were selected. It was grueling and seemed like a total bait and switch for my heart. But we had run flat out of options. So he gave it his all and we prayed the same prayer, God we only want your best.
And God said yes. He said yes to an option that wasn’t even on our radar. And it was so far outside of the box of what we thought we would be doing ten months post graduation. And then I watched him dilligently prepare. And we humbly accepted that for at least seven more months we would be living with my parents. We struggled with broken dreams of ministry, career, living situation and timing of plans. Grief crashed over us like waves during a storm, but God held out hope with an answered prayer. His best for us. Even though it was and is still so far from the plans we had made.
I watched my courageous husband weather a storm of rejection and questions as he sought to provide for our family. And I watched him give thanks and solider on being faithful with each step of the process and say yes to God even when it hurt. I learned a lot watching him. I learned a lot about trusting God’s best and believing in his goodness even when circumstances screamed otherwise. I watched my steady husband camp on the Rock and commit to do anything, including apply for jobs that he was over qualified for or start over in a new field for the glory of Jesus. And I watched him do it all with the highest level of integrity and faithfulness.
And I learned that God is good. No matter the circumstances.
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