"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6
*Disclaimer: This post is going to be long and sappy so if you're not up for it, come back later!
Over two years ago Nick and I moved to South Carolina. Soon followed a strange and difficult turn of events for our new and little family. A week after our first wedding anniversary, in late May, we discovered that, surprise!, we were pregnant. One month later we learned that Nick would be deploying for the last five months of the pregnancy. I was more devastated about that than I had been about anything else in my entire life. Three days later, on June 29th, we lost the pregnancy at not quite 11 weeks. One month after that Nick left on a 4 1/2 month deployoment to the middle east, as scheduled.
At the time I couldn't fathom why on earth I was being afflicted like that. Although I know that so many of my family and friends have gone through similar struggles, and that my situation is certainly not unique to me, it is difficult during those times to not feel as if you are being singled out for punishment. It was easy for me to sit around and feel sorry for myself.
The Sunday following my miscarriage, I sent Mom off to the airport and attended church services at the new church I'd been visiting (Nick was still on shift and unable to attend on Sundays). There was a baby dedication that day, which was especially difficult to sit through. At the end of the service I took communion and tried not to cry at the altar as I begged God to take away my pain, to reveal some kind of greater purpose for my life.
That prayer set about a series of events that can be described as nothing but providential. First, I was provided with a job at my church. This provided a much-needed income and a reason to get out of bed each day. With time, too, came friends, real true friends who saw me through some difficult times during Nick's deployment. Then, as I was looking around for a full-time job, a career I could sink my teeth into, God revealed to me the next big step in his plan, and boy was it a leap of faith.
God called me to graduate school! Again, he provided for me every step of the way. I got in with no trouble, and was soon introduced to another incredible group of friends, mentors, and allies, who got me through 20 trying months of school and work. Throughout grad school, I was constantly reminded that soon I'd graduate and need to get a job. Although I knew it would be challenging to find a job in Columbia, with a high number of qualified applicants for every job, I trusted that the Lord had led me this far, he would show me the way forward.
While I can't say that my faith in his plan and provision never wavered, I can tell you that I had an uncanny peace about how things would turn out. Just as I'd had a rather sudden epiphany about starting graduate school, this May I felt a rather strong inner urging to graduate a semester early. Doing this meant that I endured a rather trying summer, but I couldn't help but have a sense that the purpose of all my hard work would be revealed in due time.
Just as I was finishing up my last few weeks of school, my mentor and former co-worker, Anna (her blog is linked on the left), decided to stay at home with her new baby and work on her PhD rather than come back to work. It seemed like her position just might be tailor-made for me.
As it turns out, it was! I have been going through the application and interview process for the past few weeks, and was just informed that I had been offered the position. I am now officially an academic advisor in the USC History Department!! I know that a number of you have been hoping and praying for me to get this job for some time. Thanks for all your prayers - as you can see I have tried to be trusting and faithful, and the Lord has certainly given me a straight path here. For those dark weeks when I couldn't understand how any of my difficulties and trials could possibly fit into God's plan for my life, I have a definite answer. Even if I can't understand it all the time, I know that he is preparing the way for me.
I could not be more grateful or excited! I start tomorrow, and I'll let you know how it all goes.