It's been a little while. Mostly things have been "the same" - which, though deliciously tranquil, does not offer much material for the sake of blogging. But then, this week happened..... Now, if all was left up to me, I would probably have waited until next week to have written about this week, but Rich expressly commanded me to write about this week TONIGHT because he feels incredibly in need of prayer. So, here goes!
Since I last wrote, Rich has been working as a summer handyman up at our parish. It's been a great job and a true gift of Divine Providence. He can walk to work, attend daily Mass, come home for lunch, and the job is so flexible that he can take hours off to do a Skype interview (or days off to fly to an out-of-state interview) and make up the lost time later. Given our circumstances, this flexibility has been an incredible blessing, as one might imagine.
Unfortunately, all this flexibility was not bearing fruit in the form of that desirable little perk called "a permanent career". At least not in the speedy fashion that we were wishing for. Rich feels pressure as the provider to be settled in a new job and I feel pressure as the ticking baby time bomb to be settled in a new home. I say all this - but these past two months have been a time of blessing and richness. Our basic needs have been provided for: Rich's handyman wages have covered our mortgage, two unexpected gifts from friends have covered our groceries for the entire interlude and Joseph was granted government health coverage after being denied private coverage because of his pre-existing conditions. Give us this day our daily bread - shelter, food, medicine - and He has. What else do we truly need? We have lacked nothing necessary. To the contrary, we have been blessed with a full cup, running over. The Lord is good.
I've spent the month learning the meaning of the words, "Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil." The Lord has been at work increasing my capacity to be at peace, through trust and simplicity, though the future is veiled and uncertain. I've spent a lot of time in prayer reflecting on how well and truly different are the Lord's ways from man's. See, if I was the Lord - and I called a young family to risk all their security and move across the globe as missionaries - I would want to give them an amazing job as soon as their mission ended just to show all the doubters and naysayers a thing or two! I would want to prove myself to all those who scoffed and discouraged. So, this month I've learned quite a bit about my pride and the Lord's humility.
But more than that, I've also had ample opportunity to consider what is truly good. It is good to have a job. It is good to have stability and security. It is good to be able to pay bills confidently. But - it is better to be a vulnerable child ever more aware of her dependence on the Father. It is better to grow in absolute trust of Him. It is better to be humbled before Him and before the eyes of men. It is better to grow in gratitude and to let go of the need to be independent of others. It is better to grow in love and amazement of Him as He tenderly cares for me - undeserving me. He always gives what is best - not just what is "good", but best. We have learned to trust that if He is not giving us a steady job, it is because He is giving us something that is ultimately better for us, in a very profound way.
After interviewing for many jobs which, for various reasons, were not a "good fit" for Rich or for our family, just this week Richard interviewed for a job - and it was unexpectedly fantastic. It is a job for which he had applied without even being very clear about some of the specifics, but he exited the interview full of hope and excitement. It is very very far from where we now live (though, of course, not quite as far as New Zealand) and the distance gave both of us the same fluttery nervous-excited feelings we had about New Zealand before we arrived there. Just like with New Zealand, we've heard many wonderful things about the natural beauty and down-to-earth people in this place. In fact, the job seemed perfect for Rich in every way. So we hunkered down to wait in hope and prayer for a definite offer from this amazing job.
And then, of course, jobs just started popping up all over the place. A former employer of Rich's contacted him in reference to the job search. Danielle, the missionary who preceded us in New Zealand, called to tell us about an intriguing missionary-style job just two hours from our home. [It would entail moving back into a presbytry (rectory) and I'm not sure I am quite ready for that again - but it did intrigue us both nevertheless.] And then today....a wonderful friend called and flat-out offered Rich a fantastic job - a job that is in the field to which he has long felt drawn - a job "only" eight hours away that starts in ten days. And we are utterly baffled. We have perhaps three days to decide.
The two jobs are vastly different in terms of location, ease of visiting the grandparents, salary, Catholic community, type of ministry, etc... There are many factors that have to be considered and they must be considered very, very quickly. Our emotions are all jumbled up - excitement, relief, stress, nervousness, fear, joy, gratitude, uncertainty, thanksgiving - which makes it even harder to discern clearly and prudently in a short space of time. So Rich asked me to write tonight and ask for prayer - the readers of this blog have interceded for us so many times over the course of our mission. We have felt and seen the power of those prayers repeatedly. The youth of New Zealand saw the fruit of those prayers with their very eyes and had their own faith bolstered - because of which, I believe that you who interceded for us were actually an active partner in our missionary efforts, witnessing to and impacting those young people and showing them how real and near the Lord is - and how faithfully He answers fervent prayer. I'm amazed to think that now those young people are part of this great team of intercessors as well! We feel confident that in this last great hurdle of our mission, the prayers of all those who have invested in our mission will again please the Lord and release much-needed graces upon us.
Once all is settled for certain, I will happily post more specific details. (If it takes more than a few days, be assured it is prudence, not laziness!) Until then, Rich and I say thank you once again (in advance this time) for your prayers. Our own faith in the power of prayer has grown so strong through the intercession that has been offered on our behalf by our blog readers over these last few years. What a gift you have given us!