I haven't written under my "Adventure Chronicles" label in ages, therefore this will be wordy but please grab a cup of something warm and let's chat. Or rather, I'll chat and you can chat back in comments if you'd like.
Since last September, my man has been seeking a job transfer within his company, to his headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. He has had phone interviews, face to face interviews, he's been flown over to do what my man calls the "car wash" interview where you go from guy to guy for four straight hours and interview. Almost each job since September has felt like a really good fit, Adrain has been qualified, (in lots of cases he was the most qualified after almost 20 years with his company) yet at the last minute someone they didn't expect to try for the job jumped in or someone who had been doing the exact position in a competitor's company applied, etc, or they went with someone local... time and time again. As he funneled through the year, he received tons of encouragement not only from the group of guys he's been interviewing with- having them tell him to "just hang on and not give up, they want him on their team, they just want to have the "right fit" etc, but also his current boss has told him that they truly do want him and it's only a matter of time. Except that it's been ongoing for an entire year.
Here's what happened behind the scenes of my heart over the past two years, and more specifically THIS past year. Watching my man get pushed into a position he hated, take a huge pay cut in order to stay employed and seeing ends not quite meet made me mad. Mostly at God but just mad in general too. Watching my kids bounce along on the roller coaster behind us made me sad. Watching my man's schedule turn upside down with long work hours, having to pull out of the things that made him who he was such as daily gym visits, (I know, that's silly... but it's really NOT if you knew my man) volunteering in the missions community at our church- something he DEEPLY loved was heartbreaking. He lost a part of himself with that job change.
Adrain had an interview in early May and the guy really felt bad about hiring someone else but said, "I'll be in touch, I really want you on my team and I think some things are opening up soon..." Weeks went by with no contact. Then, I began a Daniel Fast at the end of last school year on the same day I started the Gideon bible study on Beth Moore's blog. It was late June and I bowed my head and said, "Okay I'm willing to stay here, do this thing, accept all the NO's and be content with financial hurts, watching my man experience a season of personal loss, and I'll do it. I'll let go and I'll quit hoping for something else if that's what You want." Then I prayed, "However... if you do want us to keep searching, hoping and looking for a job transfer, please make it obvious and let that last man that Adrain interviewed with call today and give us hope and encouragement to keep pursuing this."
I didn't tell a soul that I prayed that prayer.
Two hours later, Adrain called me and said, "You'll never believe this...." (The guy had called him and wanted to fly him to Ohio that weekend for a big interview for a job that hadn't even posted yet.) I thought, "Wow God. Okay then, Ohio it is! Again." Because how much more obvious could it be? Right?
Then Adrain didn't get the job.
That rejection left me hurting and telling God, "FINE! If You're going to do ANY thing, You're going to have to do it without MY prayers, or my FAITH." (Like I had some sort of ingredient God couldn't work without.) Because obviously my selfish "option A or B prayer" didn't seem to be answered. I was confused. God could have just as easily NOT answered me, but He did. Very specifically. It all made no sense.
A week later, I began reading in 1 Kings, about Elijah and how God used him, sent him here and there and spoke softly to him in a still, small voice etc. Then, my pastor started preaching on the same passages and I knew I needed to listen up! I felt God softly calling me to let go of ALL the hurt and the confusion and the bossyness in my prayer life. I bet a dozen times a day I prayed, "God, You aren't a God of confusion, You're a God of order and You have a plan for me. Please help me because I am so confused." I'm still praying it almost daily.
Then, as I stood on a mountain top a week ago, having a heart to heart with one of my dearest friends, I said something out loud and I felt it's truth. I said that perhaps the reason God answered me in the first place was because I simply needed to KNOW of His presence and His nearness in the situation. He may not have intended to give me what I prayed for with my choose option A or B prayer, but He knew I needed to hear HIM. And for goodness sake, God basically created the alphabet so if I lay out the only options I can come up with as do this (option A) or do that (option B) God must shake His head and think, "Little girl... you're forgetting all about option C-Z and beyond. Cause um... I'm GOD."
The passage that has stuck out to me time and time again says, "And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord
God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down
your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the
only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet." (I Kings 19:10-16) (emphasis mine)
How many times have I been very zealous for the Lord, trying to His will and follow His plan for our life, seeing His voice in loud, earthshaking answers and giant gestures that should seem so very obvious? Maybe God's plan is for me to go back the way I came. Go back to the start again and reassess. Not only that, but there are possible changes on the horizon that might send us back the way we came once again, and it's confusing when I look at all the details that stretch out in front of me. I think I'm in a season of being still right now and though I don't have all the answers or pieces to this puzzle, it's possible that I don't need them yet. I simply need to turn around and begin going back the way I came, waiting to hear that gentle whisper and resting in the confidence that He who whispers must be awfully close to your ear.