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Friday, July 10, 2009

Our Life In Pencil

I have not wanted to write an update until things were absolutely certain, but I am afraid that our life thus far has proven to us that nothing is ever certain until after it happens. Since I do not want to be typing up this blog the day after my husband leaves (foggy and exhausted minds do not often produce coherent sentences) I will do it now with the disclaimer that it could all fall through and I will appear to be lying should someone read

the next few paragraphs after the fact.

Gabe is going to Afghanistan for a year as a defense contractor. He will be working on the same equipment he worked with in the Army (only now he will be able to do his job). He will get 30 days leave at some point and he will earn a sum of money which will allow us to go to school. He truly believes (and I stand by him) that God wants him to go to Law school.... To graduate and become a lawyer? He doesn't know. At this point the message is "get there." This job, though it will be very difficult to endure the separation once more, will provide the means for that end. Now I will try to convey how this all came about because the circumstances alone reveal to us that God is in the works:

We went to Bass Lake for the 4th (it was absolutely wonderful and had it not been for the following events I would have posted a lovely blog with pictures and fine sentiments). Gabe left on the 5th because he had to go to work and I stayed behind after a tumultuous decision making process where I realized that I still have some anxiety about nights without my husband (irony, eh?). In the morning I was told to call Gabe because it was urgent. He told me that he had received a call from a guy in Florida who offered him a job in Afghanistan for a year and he told me the amount of money he would make. He told me to consider it. Then he told me that he had received another call from a contact with a job in North Carolina which would also deploy him, but for shorter periods of time. We had to reach a decision by that night.

So I had a lot to think about. I talked with my family there at the lake (SO grateful that Beth was there for that!!). Honestly I really did not like the idea when he first told me, but Beth insisted that it would be good. She told me why she felt good about it and what would be different from our military experience. My grandma came over and she expressed a concern that it was such short notice which represented to me my own severe hesitations. Hearing her and Beth talk about it with me helped me see things from a broader perspective. After a few minutes Grandma said she felt a lot better about it and that she could see it being a very positive thing as well. When I talked to Mom she expressed the same thing... And Aunt Kelli. It really surprised me that everyone reacted this way. I thought I would hear, "That's crazy!" a million times, but instead I heard, "That's great!" over and over.

A couple things my very wise Person said made me sort of switch gears. One thing was a question: If we had 6 months instead of one day to decide would we do it? My answer was a pretty solid yes. We had already considered it because of that job in NC (which, by the way, we thought was going to work out a while ago, but they stopped hiring 25s'. It was so discouraging at the time because we had put all our energy on getting that job... But I believe we were too focused on it and God had a reason for taking it away which affected much more than our bank account). The other point she made was in the form of another question which I am sure she knew the answer to: Would I rather spend a year without him here, in California with family and friends, or spend months at a time without him in North Carolina away from all my family? When Gabe was deployed I faced so many emotional battles. I really felt demons attacking me every single day. I was stuck inside my head and had little area to vent - and even when I did it was of little help. But when I came to California for that semester I felt healed. I was still without my amazing husband, but with family around and some wonderful Sisters I no longer battled tirelessly with those demons. I felt healthy and secure in my position. I felt strong.

Gabe and I talked a lot and prayed together. We resigned our anxiety to God and put it in His hands. If He wanted us to have a particular job we would get it and if not we would not. Gabe had yet another significant job lead in Virginia which was non-deployable. Three job leads after months of nothing! It was further assurance that God was doing something that day. He was answering our prayers in a big way. Gabe called the guy who had offered him the Afghanistan job and someone else had taken it. "Okay," we thought, "God didn't want us to go there. We'll see what He does have planned." I was rather relieved in a sense. I also was grateful that we had this put in front of us because it reminded me of how desperately I love my husband and it forced us to have some serious discussion on some serious decisions.

The next day Gabe had a phone interview with the NC guy which he thought went really well, but he got a call telling him that it did not and he would not be receiving a job offer. It was a little bit of a bubble burst especially for Gabe who had invested a lot of time, energy and hope into that position. He is such a wonderful husband and he has felt the burden of providing for us on his shoulders like never before. Things have been ridiculously tight around here. And once again, law school. We knew God was going to do something but we were confused. I felt a mixture of disappointment and relief. I knew that something drastic would have to be done in order for us to do what God had put on our hearts to do, but I also thought that I could live in poverty or near poverty with this incredible man and be happy the rest of my life. Besides, God did not tell me to go to law school. I was not feeling the pressure or the confusion like Gabe must have been feeling with that on his mind.

On Wednesday morning Gabe was awoken by his phone. It was the man who had offered him the job in Afghanistan. He told him that someone else was leaving and that if he was interested, Gabe had the job. Same conditions. If that is not God moving, I do not know what is. There are so many other details to the story that I simply cannot express... The short version is that God made it clear to us (as we very specifically prayed He would) that He has a plan. He guided us into His will so that we have little to no question that we're doing what He wants us to do.

I feel nervous and excited about this. Over the last couple days Gabe and I have been able to have some great talks and cries and laughs over it. We have learned so much from his deployment with the Army and it is already benefiting us now. Rather than avoid the issue, this time around we are openly discussing it, even joking about it. I hate that he is leaving again. I thought we were done with goodbyes. But this truly is a chance for us to do the things God wants us to do, part of that being to pave a way for our future children. Pastor Wes compared the early years of marriage to pioneer days. We are pioneers, carving out the path for our family before they are even here so that in 50 years we can look back and know that we fulfilled our purpose here. We are both willing to work hard for a season. Even with our financial woes the last several months have certainly been a time of healing. We are so utterly grateful to a God who provides rest. Now it seems it is time to get back in the field and labor and I do not want to complain about that; even in the field the Master has always had blessings for us.

Again this could all change so don't hold this post against me if it does. Perhaps we will end up in Virginia or perhaps in the Arctic. Only God knows and He is not in the habit of filling us in! :-)

God is so good... all the time.

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven... A time to plant and a time to harvest... A time to cry and a time to laugh... Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end." (paraphrased, Ecclesiastes 3:1-11)

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