And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
I had been clinging to those words… whispering them to myself on harder nights.
Last fall, John was beginning the last year of his course work at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. He had been taking double loads, trying to finish out his doctorate at Paige Patterson’s request. Dr. Patterson had promised John a position at SWBTS after he had reached ABD (all but dissertation) status. We were both so very excited–the completion of John’s doctorate brought the possibility of more family time, and we had been building our dreams around John’s future job at the seminary.
So, as that particular semester began, John excitedly began the process of securing his promised position at the seminary. He began by scheduling a meeting with the Dean of the Department of Music, and this spiraled into several other meetings. These meetings had a very disappointing and painful conclusion.
Dr. Patterson had discovered a tidbit about my past that disqualified John from teaching–I am divorced. John is my second husband. My history which is fraught with pain, heartache, and survival was again haunting us. Please hear this and understand this: because John married me, he had been disqualified from teaching at SWBTS. How horrifying it was to be the very thing that prevented my husband from achieving his dreams. In that moment, I saw myself as horribly selfish for having even married John. I wondered if my death would be more helpful… if he would be able to escape the chains of my past through my passing. The pain was overwhelming.
John’s response was simple: “I wouldn’t have been the same person had I not married you. They would have never even considered me for the job in the first place.” In a moment when he could have rightly felt bitterness and anger towards me, he simply extended grace and love. This was, to say the least, a defining moment in our marriage.
So we picked up the pieces and kept hobbling forward. We were both deeply wounded, but we also didn’t want to strike out in anger. We had so many questions. Why? Why have we been doing this? John had been taking a DOUBLE LOAD to finish in the time frame Dr. Patterson had desired. This meant long nights of homework and reading for John and single-motherhood for me. We had been barely surviving, but we kept reminding ourselves that we had a purpose. So now what?
I clung to Romans 8:28. This would not be in vain. There was a purpose that would be accomplished through this difficult season.
This year, we’ve healed. We’ve survived the disillusionment. And now, as our limp is just starting to become less noticeable…
John has accepted a position at Cameron University in Lawton, OK (which is home for us.) He wouldn’t have even been qualified for this position if he hadn’t reached ABD status in May. John’s parents’ rent house became vacant a week or two before John accepted the position, and our house went under contract within 24 hours of placing a “For Sale” sign in the yard. (Edit: that contract fell through and the house sold later. To read about how God worked in that situation, click here.) To top it off, we are going in view of a call to New Hope Baptist Church (Duncan, OK) on August 19th.
God’s fingerprints have been all over this move. It’s absolutely amazing to see God’s blessings as clearly as we have this last month. Honestly, I feel like I’m living inside a miracle. We are so thankful… for our learning experience, and for the clear outpouring we’ve received.
How have you witnessed God’s blessings recently?