Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I have a friend who can spout this (and many other scriptures) by memory at the drop of a hat. She regurgitates it frequently and with such speed that you almost don’t understand what she has said. I have never really understood why she does that. Seriously – how much time in her life has she spent memorizing scripture? Probably more time than I have spent shopping for shoes and handbags...speaking of, I got new shoes last week. So fab! But I digress...
I never really gave her scriptures much thought – until this week. It’s been a rough week around here. Let me try to give you the short version:
Matt is currently 50-some days away from graduation. That’s right – our time here at Asbury is coming to a close. After 4 years of butt-busting, exhausting, sometimes-tedious, often-wonderful work, Matt is graduating. We have spent the last few years thinking that, around this time, we would get a call from our District Superintendent telling us what church we would be appointed to.* Simple, right? Wrong.
Because of a bunch of bureaucratic stuff, Matt is not getting commissioned at this year’s Annual Conference. He was assured, though, that he would have no problem obtaining a full-time appointment as a Licensed Local Pastor, and that he would be up for commissioning at the 2008 Annual Conference. Fine. We were a little perturbed at the time, but we soon got used to the idea. No biggie.
A couple weeks ago Matt received an e-mail from our District Superintendent saying that it was “highly unlikely” that there would be a full-time placement available for us this year. WHAT?
Oh my goodness. I freaked out. Literally. FREAKED OUT! For the past few weeks, we have been in a serious state of uncertainty about our very near future. Cabinet meetings were held this week, and we were promised a call from our DS about our placement options. It is Sunday, and we still have not received such a call. I have not felt this stressed out in a very long time! I’m so anxious about all that might happen. I have been driving Matt crazy! We’re both a little on-edge lately – especially these last few days. We don’t go anywhere without our phone!
We have quite a few options available to us. Two of those options involve the conference. Our DS could very well call us in the next few days to tell us that we have a full-time or part-time appointment. I think either one of those would be preferred, since Matt really needs to get in the conference and get his career started there. The DS could also tell us that there is no placement available for us, and that we are on our own for a year. We know of a few ministry jobs that are available in the conference that we could apply for, but then again, those aren’t certain either. Another option would be to not worry about getting a ministry position this year. We would move back to the south-side of Indianapolis and live and work for a year. The scary part about that option is that it’s a lot more expensive to live in Indy than it is to live in Wilmore! Besides the higher cost-of-living, we’re also going to be coming out of deferment for student loans, and will have to start paying those this summer. I really feel crazy right now. We have been looking online for apartments in Indy that we can afford, jobs that would pay us enough to sustain us, etc. I’m grasping for any control I can get over my life!
Today I finally became exhausted from anxiety. My stomach has been a wreck this week, I haven’t been sleeping well, I’ve been easily agitated, etc. A few moments ago I took some time to put new music on my MP3 player, and listened to some Jason Upton as I was doing it. This guy’s music really ministers to my spirit. There’s a song on this album (Faith) called I Will Wait that I just love. It has been the song on my MySpace profile once in the past, and has taken that spot once again today. I won’t put the lyrics here. Just go to my profile ( www.myspace.com/mrsswish ) and have a listen.
As I sat and took in this song again, I heard my friend’s voice rattling off that Philippians passage in my mind. Now I understand why she spent so much time committing those words to memory. Between that scripture and Jason Upton’s music, I have been so convicted this evening. I really need to have faith that God has a place for us – that He will continue to provide for us. He has never given me a reason to doubt Him.
*For those who aren’t familiar with the United Methodist system, I’ll give you my “I don’t know much, but my husband is going to be a pastor” version. The UM church is split up into conferences, and we are members of the South Indiana Conference. Our conference is split up into 9 different districts – our home church is in the Indy West district. Elders in the UM church are appointed, which means they don’t get to pick where they serve. They are at the mercy of the system. To get into this system, it has been a harrowing series of red-tape requirements including, but not limited to, psychological exams, physical exams, meetings with different boards, paperwork, etc. Once you are approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry, you are commissioned in the Conference and you become a probationary member of the Conference. Your probationary period lasts for three years, then you can be a full member. It sounds like it sucks, but the UM church really takes care of its pastors, so I’m hoping it’s worth it. I hope I got that all right. Don’t tell me if I’m wrong.