Posts tagged #jobs

a year ago...

this time last year Russ & I were going through a rough time. God was calling us to a deeper, more intimate relationship with Him - one that required trust and faith. this is what I wrote one night and it's so similar to what we're facing today  - I thought I'd share. i don't claim to have it all figured out. in fact, the past couple of weeks have been testament to me knowing absolutely nothing about the mind of God and His purpose. no...i don't have it all figured out. but i have been shattered with the truth of "draw near to me, and i will draw near to you."

when russ and i first got married, we lived in this dilapidated apartment with a ten degree slant. i tripped going to the restroom in the morning and all of my cakes came out of the oven strangely reminiscent to those of the mad hatter genre - tilted and crooked and so completely lopsided. we held on for dear life walking down the stairs to our car because the slant was so severe. we were happy, though. life was simple. my last paycheck from working at new braunfels christian came the week after our wedding - and with it a realization that i needed to find a job. and fast. russ worked full time at circuit city and made a decent amount - but we weren't sure it would hold us over without any other form of income supporting us. we went three months on just his income. i landed a job in august - a few days shy of the "new teacher orientation" - and so immediately my life changed from relaxed to hurried. professional development, lesson plans, new faces and new regulations - a lot to swallow with only a few days preparation before kids arrived. i worked most of august and all of september until i saw my first paycheck. i remember that day - i remember the huge sigh of relief russ and i breathed now that we had added income to help cushion us. i remember the Lord's provision. in moments where we should have been concerned about what was going to happen...we were taken care of by His faithfulness. a couple weeks ago, i began praying earnestly for the Lord to really reveal where He was leading russ and me. it's no secret that this past summer did something to us, like some shift in perspective has landed us in a world where we can't go back to how we were before. it's come with consequences: lost relationships and misunderstandings. but it has also come with great reward: deeper relationships with each other and unparalleled support from our community of friends we have found through the process of pruning. one thing is for sure: the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. blessed be his name. everything came crashing down around us last week. my day began with a prayer: "Father - we can't do this anymore. show us Your will. make it so blatant we cannot ignore." i prayed this in the morning - asking for peace and opened doors and dangerous faith. russ lost his job that afternoon. it was...heartbreaking. sudden and swift and harsh - we were left with a fraction of a life we had before. i'm not just talking about income here...there's something psychological that occurs within you when something is stripped away without warning. grief took over - but not completely. there was no way we could shake the feeling of peace that God was doing something within us and through us. there was no other possible explanation - no other reasonable excuse - to understand what happened. i had prayed to see His hand that morning, and by nightfall, His fingerprints were revealing themselves everywhere. it's been tough. there have been moments of discouragement and moments of worry. for the first time in four years, we are questioning where we go and what we spend - knowing that the future is so unknown for so many people right now, ourselves included. but...we have hope. we've been given dreams. big dreams. dreams of living a life less ordinary and more bent on trust and belief that God is bigger than any injustice in the world...and now, we have freedom to pursue those dreams. this past summer, russ and i came across a verse that spoke deeply to our desires of walking like giants: "And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?" Job 26:14 if you think about it, most of us live our lives content with his whispers. we pray for his guidance in big decisions but never really ask for him to mediate for us in a big way. why do we need a God who will show himself? we have everything we need...our life of complacency and comfort leaves us dry and stagnant. we never understand there can be so much more...there IS so much more... we prayed and begged and waited to experience the thunder of his power - knowing he was whispering big dreams we had never anticipated. we waited. and waited. and waited. and begin to wonder what His purpose was in giving us such big dreams when it didn't seem as though we were getting anywhere... looking back at these past six months, i am beginning to wonder... perhaps all of the tears shed has watered the ground beneath us for new growth. perhaps the doors slammed shut in our faces have given room for others to open. perhaps our ears have been so clogged with busy-ness his thunder has been muted by our persistent ignorance... God is bigger. He's bigger than all of our circumstances and all of our trials we go through. He carries us. in moments of despair - He is there, wiping our tears and cultivating new growth. i sense a beginning taking shape in russ and me. somewhere in the distance, a faint rumble sounds...the recent storm has passed; a rainbow glistens in the rain. i close my eyes and listen. his thunder is here.

Posted on January 26, 2010 .

lessons in riding: what is your focus?

photo Russ & I have recently picked up a new hobby - bicycling. I can't very well say "cycling" because, well, we just aren't that handy on our bikes yet.

At least I'm not.

You know how they say you never forget how to ride your bike? That's a lie. I mean, I know how to stay on - I know how to pedal and balance - but put me on a trail with other people running AT me and BY me and PAST me and well...I get frantic.

Not to mention the bruises. Oh the bruises. Last week, I was too busy fixing my gears, and trying to see Russ, that I wasn't paying attention to my feet. One of them slipped off the pedal & my calf jammed against the spiky grates spinning at about 10 mph. Doesn't seem very fast until it hits you - and I still have the bruise. I also have the bruised knuckle from jamming it against the break, and the bruised ankle from miscalculating the kickstand.

Like I said. You forget these things.

But. I love it! I've had so much fun riding Susan (that's my bike) and relearning all of those "tricks" we thought were so cool back in the day. Speeding down hill with no hands on the handlebar, standing up & feeling the wind rush your face....it's exhilarating. And up until today - Russ & I have only been riding around our apartment. You know...to get back in swing of things.

So, today Russ & I decided to head down to Town Lake and make use of the hike & bike trail.

It was...magnificent.

These past couple of months have been pretty hectic. And it's summer. Normally my summers are...free of stress. However, this one has been almost complete opposite. New city. New apartment. New responsibilities. New friends. Those things are great. It's the other things that have me weighed down with worry.

Yesterday Russ got a phone call from Whole Foods. He's been in touch with them for the past couple of weeks, and despite his consistency, hasn't been able to talk to the head chef at this particular store. Last night was a breakthrough. A position opened up within the department, and they called wanting to know if he was interested in an interview. Um. Heck yes.

Of course, because he was in class, he missed the phone call & waited until this morning to call back. Turns out, this particular job was very specific on scheduling. Read: night time hours. Read: Russ isn't eligible for the position.

He hung up a bit disappointed but still hopeful, because the lady mentioned she was going to try & work something out & call him back. She called while we were riding. I bet you could guess what the verdict was. Just guess. Take a look at my posts these past couple of months and you see a theme emerge...

Read: Russ still wasn't eligible for the position.

We kept riding & eventually had to turn around & head back to our car. On the way, I noticed a little resting area with a bench & a stellar view. I stopped & told Russ I wanted to chill for awhile. The view was...breathtaking. Aside from the wind carrying the current, the lake was absolutely placid. I couldn't tear my eyes away.

It was almost as if I had sudden clarity. All of these rejections were here for a reason. If we believe we have everything, how can we ever be made whole by the ultimate Rescuer? If it were easy for me to find a job, if Russ was able to walk into any restaurant & they hired them on the spot - where would that leave our need for His guidance? Slowly the panic eased, slowly my heart began to trust...I found myself resting in Him & His promises.

***

Did you know in biking, there's a trick to making sharp turns? Just like any other sport where you turn or flip or pivot, you need to be focused. Keeping your sight on where you want to be prevents the likelihood of you crashing. Gymnasts do it on the balance beam & floor routine. Ice skaters do it in their triple & quadruple twists & turns in the air. Even football players do it in running the ball. I struggled with this for awhile. We have this steep incline in our apartment complex that Russ & I love to make use of at night. Talk about reliving old memories! Speeding down that hill you get flashbacks of elementary school & cards stuck in wheels & make shift tassels out of pom-pom pieces.

But...at the bottom of the hill is a short turn-around. I could never make it. I always had to break, stop my bike, and slowly maneuver myself until I could clamor up the hill - my gears protesting the whole climb. It never occurred to me to watch where I was going. You know...basic knowledge. Had I watched & paid attention & focused...it wouldn't be as difficult. The climb up wouldn't be so painful because the momentum from speeding downhill would propel me forward.

In Psalms 119 it reads: I'm single minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted. (v.10)

I wonder how many road signs I've missed.

I wonder...while being so wrapped up in my own fears of falling...how many opportunities I have let slip by unnoticed.

I'm not perfect. And this whole trusting God thing? It's a continual reminder of how imperfect I am. I get caught in the gravel of life & I forget to keep my eyes focused on where I am going. Suddenly, I'm stuck. Suddenly, I need rescue.

And He's always there. Helping me get back on my feet, reminding me to trust Him, revealing His mercy & grace while I trudge back up the hill...

***

I'm no pro at bicycling - I have a lot to learn. Just like I have a lot to learn and remember about my relationship with Christ. But today, in the middle of humidity shattered by a cool breeze, I was reminded of something. God's got me. And on the trails of life, there's no better insurance than knowing you're covered by His love.

Posted on August 6, 2009 .

you matter.

a human being is nothing but a story with skin around it - fred allen

do you ever have those days where writing comes at you like one of those continuous drips from a fountain - steady, consistent, almost annoying with its persistence in being heard? yeah. this past week has been the complete opposite. there have been moments, like the other night when friends stayed until 5 in the morning talking about doubt & fear & hope, where my intrinsic writer has been like, "write this down! remember it! take this moment & lock it deep inside where you won't ever forget." but then life gets in the way & so you think you can dance beckons me from the tv...oh wait. perhaps i shouldn't have admitted that. oh well. there it is. we all have our faults, & spending time watching people lose themselves in dancing is one of mine. because i understand. i know what it's like to lose yourself in your thoughts with music blaring. plus i love to dance & secretly imagine myself as part of Adam Chu's dance crew & the league of extraordinary dancers (LXD for those who know...)

well. quite the...bunny trail there. moving on. basically, what i am trying to say is, forgive me if this post is a bit erratic. too many thoughts in a writer's brain equates to moments of sputtering attempts at blending words into a meaningful post.

so what has stopped me from writing? well. i've been reading. i've read almost five books since summer started, and the inspiration to write teeters every now & then, ranging from screaming hot fire inside me to just a slight ember waiting to be lit. so, it's not like i haven't been...productive...i guess you'd say. more like distracted.

i've been distracted with work. i'd be lying if i said i was remotely excited about returning to where i have been teaching. i love the people there - i do. but i feel as though i can't truly MOVE forward unless i sever all ties. truly let go. you know, not drive 45 minutes every day to walk on egg shells around your boss & wait for the next story of the next person who has been fried under her scrutiny.

i've been distracted by ideas. someone needs to start developing some type of sticky note system for brain waves. i have so many ideas stretching to their limits bouncing inside my noisy head it's hard to focus at times.

i have so much more inside of me. so many ideas & hopes & dreams...so many questions & concerns. the fact i haven't been able to land a job here almost legitimizes some of those doubts i hear creeping in the corner - you aren't worth it, they say. and i so know this is false, & i know there's a job out there, regardless of whether it's new or i find myself making the daily trek to where i've been for the past four years. it's just a daily battle, you know? and to make matters more complicated, the woman who has mentored me the most these past couple of years - the one who has been like my mother in terms of teaching & battling parents & coming into my own - calls while i write this post. she is what makes the possibility of leaving the hardest. her belief in me pushes me to become something better. and i know, as i sit here talking to her, despite my desire to move on & pursue these dreams, leaving her leadership will be one of the hardest things i will ever do.

so here i am, in the middle of a coffee shop, hoping. waiting. watching. wondering where i will find myself tomorrow & the next day & the next...closing my eyes & breathing deep.

because it's the only thing i know how to do.

there are these things...these dreams...beckoning me. i long for others to realize their story means something. i long for others to hear the call for adventure inside of them & run towards it. so much for life filled with mediocrity - screw that. it's not how we are meant to live our lives. the quote at the beginning of this post? the one about humans being stories with skin on? it calls to the writer inside. look at those around you! it screams out at me. pay attention. listen to their story. it means something. they mean something.

this past year, i had my students write one of many self-narratives. you know the type - these are the essays students usually write the typical "i was at a party & made a bad choice & promised to never do it again because, gosh. that was so stupid!" and you know as you are reading the essay it's absolute poppycock because you just heard them talking about the party going down this weekend...& you wish for just a second that these kids would suck it up & be honest about themselves.

one girl was. in fact, she couldn't ever finish her essays in class because her writing was so heartwrenching & honest she had to take it home & reflect on it a bit. one day, her writing spoke of hope, or the lack thereof, & the fact that she didn't believe in herself. i pulled her aside & handed her a note that said no matter what she thought of herself or what others had said or would say, i believed in her. she came to class the next day & told me i was the first person who had ever told her that. she's 16! 16. this is why i do what i do. i have no other choice.

people need to know. you need to know.

your story matters.

...gosh. didn't mean for this post to be so introspective. but i guess i can't help it. i've been brooding for awhile, & if my old professor has any wisdom in writing, it's when we get most depressed that our writing becomes to most authentic...or something.

so.

the coffee shop closes in five minutes & i still feel words pulsating their way through the crevices of my dusty brain. SARK's book, juicy pens thirsty paper, sits quietly waiting next to me.

perhaps i will let go of my thoughts for a little while & gain some inspiration.

Posted on June 18, 2009 and filed under story, the in-between.