There is a lot going on in our lives right now and I have debated the wisdom of writing about it in such a public forum, especially as I seek a call. However, even Pastors face challenges and I think there is something to be said about transparency.
Yesterday was supposed to be my daughter's first day of kindergarten. We are in this great transition right now and we have to kind of plan life one day or month at a time. Last spring we decided to keep her in her school to provide continuity because we anticipated moving before the year's end, something we wanted to make as easy as possible for her. Then two weeks ago all of our well meaning planning got turned on it's head when we found the end of our lease fast approaching with no option to renew (that's life in student housing). The complication here is that I am actively call searching which means I cannot commit to a new lease, I have to find somewhere month to month. Add to that some travel this weekend for a potential opportunity and I won't know what we need until we return from our trip. So we have had to make a lot of decisions quickly, first we rented a large storage unit and we have been slowly packing and putting all our stuff into storage. Then we had to make a decision about school and decided to keep her home with me and do a form of home school until we found where we would land. That brings us to yesterday when I was taking my daughter to her school (she did two years of preschool there) to have lunch with her friends from last year and her teachers. All morning she was asking if it was time yet and begging to go to school. Then we got there and she wanted to be dropped off. We had already paid for this month so she could stay. I ended up dropping her off half way through her first day of kindergarten after talking to her teachers and the staff. She wants to go to school and not stay home, we believe in child led learning, so we are letting her spend the next two weeks in school. I left with unexpected time on my hands and what I call an accidental kindergartener.
Jump to today, when I was again with unexpected time on my hands, and by some small miracle my muscle spasms and excruciating back pain shockingly gone. I had to balance working on packing with rest because I knew if I over did it with the packing that the spasms would return. I spent the morning organizing our moving mess so that there was space to live or at least eat. The friend who helped me survive seminary was here helping me making sure I didn't over do it. I took a break at lunch time and then headed out to purchase more boxes. I was pondering things, like wow I could be three days away from homelessness at this time next week. (We have some contingency plans so not really homeless but with out our own place.) I thought about what God might want me to notice in this. I went into a store I really don't like because I knew where the boxes were and that they would fit into our budget. I had 20 minutes left before school pick up time so I listened to some music in the parking lot and then headed out closer to pick up time. As I was pulling out there was a man sitting in the grass with a card board sign. HOMELESS written across the top with anything will help underneath. I thought to myself I/we am not facing true homelessness. I made eye contact with the man and he waved a very friendly wave, I liked him. I waved back, looked at the clock, looked for change, I had nothing but my debit card. I had ten minutes to get to the school and there was no way I could turn back and get some cash. I was frustrated again, I am never prepared, I have got to find a system that provides me with a way to respond on the fly. Some gift cards or something in my car. This was a healthy dose of perspective, I started thinking about all I have that I could potential sell to help get us through this thing place. I have a lot.
I came home to an email offer of a place to stay rather than our plan to take up residence in an extended stay hotel for a week or two. This generosity, genuine concern, and sense of care made me smile and tear up all at once. It was certainly not expected. Tonight I went to class and received another offer. We have had a few others as well from friends and family near and far. Grace.
When talking about this with one of my friends I was saying you know sometimes we need a sign and we look everywhere and can't find the sign we want. Perhaps this is a sign I didn't want. She responded God just pushed you off the cliff. Yes, yes God did. I hope that God will be there to catch me as I get close to the bottom and there in these offers of hospitality and grace is God reaching out and catching me/us. The hard part as a helper type is to accept help when I need some. I want to be strong and independent and self sufficient. I have to say yes to offers of help not just for my sanity and my humanness but because if I don't I/we won't survive and that is the best lesson in community, perhaps especially Christian community I could ever give.
Today I am grateful for God working through our chosen community to catch us and for the strength to say yes to help.