Because of Michael's part-time job, we were able to fly standby at that time, so he took the opportunity to get away and visit his dad over Father's Day weekend. While he was gone, and I labored in tearful prayer, God encouraged me with this passage from the prophet Jeremiah (a pretty depressed guy):
My soul has been rejected from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished, and so has my hope from the LORD.” Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.
It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke in his youth.
Let him sit alone and be silent since God has laid it on him. For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.
Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?
In addition to being reminded that God was completely in control of our situation, I also clearly felt God telling me to wait on him. I didn't exactly know what I was waiting for, why we were going through this trial, or what would come out of it, but I felt commanded to WAIT.
And wait I did.
I waited through the summer, as we traveled to Norway, then to California. Plenty of time away from our church family, yet still suffering silently.
I waited through September, when Michael traveled to Alaska for what was supposed to be 3 days but what turned into almost 2 weeks. God gave him some peace, on that little island, in a little church recovering from its own recent pain, with some close friends. But when Michael returned to Minneapolis, he lost his job. And within a week of losing that income, we were also relieved of our caretaking responsibilities in our apartment building, which decreased still more income while adding a new expense.
So I waited through October, as God told us not to look for another place to live, even though we could no longer afford where we were. And, miraculously, some old friends contacted us in mid-October, letting us know that they were now caretakers of an apartment building, had a space to rent, and did we know anyone who needed a place at the exact price we had determined we could pay?
I waited through November, when, a week after we moved into our new home, I was awakened by a phone call from my mom, saying that my dad had had a heart attack in our kitchen that morning and was dead. We drove 12 hours to pick up my sister from her college dorm room, then I stayed two weeks in my mother's house to help with post-mortem details. I clung to my memories of a just and loving God who promised good things to me as I waited on him.
I waited in December, as we entertained the idea of moving to Alaska so that Michael could take a job leading worship at that little church he spent 2 Sundays in.
In January, I took a week off of work so that I could co-lead an inductive Bible study of the gospel of Mark. Those 5 days, with that small group of people, so intently studying the Bible, were exhilerating. I returned to work less-than-thrilled to be sitting back in my cubicle, but while I was replying to one of many emails, the Holy Spirit spoke right to my heart.
QUIT YOUR JOB.
I froze, my hands hovering above the keyboard. I whispered, "was that you, Lord? because -" and he interrupted me again: QUIT YOUR JOB AND GO INTO MINISTRY.
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In the spirit of this post, I'm going to stop the story here so that you will have to wait and check back to find out what happened. Realize that at this point in the story, I had been waiting nearly EIGHT MONTHS for God to reveal what was next. And while I waited, we were deeply hurt by our church, we traveled across the country and the world multiple times, we lost 2 jobs, moved, experienced my dad's death, and entertained a new out-of-state job offer. And that was just the beginning of what God had planned for us!