November 17, 2010

Walking Straight Up

It is a cold and sunny (always sunny here in Phoenix) morning. I think the temperature is somewhere in the mid-40s. I haven't turned our furnace on yet, but will probably do so soon. I can usually wait until December, but the mornings are getting harder to take with the heavy cold air sitting on my face while I wake up. There is something about the cold, how it sinks down around you, that just makes you want to stay snuggled up under the covers. Once the furnace is on, then that chill is gone, and we are good to go. At least here in AZ, our mid-days get warm, so we can enjoy our day without fearing the cold.

I am not a cold person, well actually, that is not correct. I am a cold person -- I am always cold. However, I like the cold better than the heat. You would think it would be the opposite since I tend to always get cold. Really, though, I am better suited to cold weather than hot. Here in AZ, our summers are so hot, and I find it difficult to moderate my temperature. I am freezing indoors with the air on, and then suffocating out of doors in the heat. I much prefer the cold, because at the least, I can bundle up. I can then strip layers if I get too warm. In the hot of AZ, you cannot strip down because nothing will actually defer the heat -- nothing at all.

As I ponder my affinity for cold things, I am thinking more seriously about how I will tolerate a cold climate. I have been away from the cold for nearly 32 years. Yes, I have spent more years out of the frigid cold than in it. San Jose was cold though. It was a damp cold, and the winters were very wet and cold. Phoenix has very mild winters, but then you pay for that glory with the blazing heat of summer. I miss much of the more moderate climates, where you have cold and warm, a change of seasons and such. And weirdness aside, I actually do miss the snow. I loved the snow as a child, and I greatly miss walking in the snow. I know, I know -- shoveling the snow is a bear; yes this is true, but still there is something wonderful about snow.

New thought...I have been back on the job hunt. I am still waiting patiently to hear back from Phoenix College, but until I do, I am being proactive and keeping my resume hot. I don't know if the delay with PC is normal. I'd like to think that it is, but then I am not really sure. I mean, it is going on four weeks now, and we are at the end of the month. I interviewed at the end of September, and then the end of October. Perhaps they will call me at the end of this month? Perhaps?

Since I am just sitting here waiting, I have been submitting my resume to a number of other opportunities. I am still concentrating my efforts in three areas or special fields: retail, higher education, and IT. My preferred field is higher education, and I am not willing to set that aside yet. I can do retail, though it is my least preferred job now (and also the most difficult for me physically). IT is dicey simply becausse I have plenty of experience, but not always the exact kind the employer wants or I don't have CS education. It is a difficult field, even with all the years of my practical work experience.

Yesterday, I applied to several more jobs. I am giving Follett a second go round. I did receive a response back on one job, and I am thankful for that email. Follett must use local HR departments, and I have found that some are more responsive than others. I applied to Nashville, TN for a job at Vanderbilt University. Not my first choice, but it would work. UT in Knoxville is where I would want to go, but Nashville seemed a good starting point.

I also applied to Target Corporation again. Target has not contacted me at all, but I am still "under review" for a senior management position here in Phoenix. I am not sure if that is correct or if the database has just not been updated. This was an "executive in training" position which simply means a managerial program. I want to get into management, and I do have some supervisory experience. I cannot get a management position because I don't have RETAIL management experience. Therefore, I thought going through a training program would solve that problem. I applied to Fargo, ND -- yes, I know -- "are you crazy?" Actually, not. Fargo has a very good University in town, and it would work for us. I also thought that not a lot of people would be willing to go to Fargo, so that might be a draw for me.

Last evening, after applying for some online teaching positions (some of the online schools will allow you to teach with a Bachelors, though most require a Masters), I found a job at the University of Chicago Press. Now, there is a company where I would love to work. Yes, indeed-y, I cannot think of a job I would like more than working for a major scholarly publishing company. The position was as a Manuscript Editor, and the discipline is Humanities (my field!) I spotted the first position, an Editor for their Science group, and that led me to the school website. That position was filled, so I searched and found this one. I am a perfect fit, if I do say so myself. The education required: a BA in English or related field (yep, got it); some Master's level work in English (yep, got that too); prior publishing experience (yep, got it); and technical editing experience (yep, got it). I have all the requirements and even the desired requirements. I have everything they are wanting for this position -- now if only they would contact me.

It is in Hyde Park, which is in downtown Chicago. I am a bit hesitant working downtown, but I know so many people who have done it/do it, and it is no big deal. Most people who work in major cities in the Midwest or Northeast do this -- they commute in by train, so you just get used to it. The job itself is my dream job. The location is perfect. The only negative is that it is in IL, but I don't consider that a negative really. This is a major Press, and it would be a feather in my cap to work for them. I mean, this is a job I could do for my entire career and not get tired of it. This is something I want to do. The key is -- is this what the Lord wants me to do? I am almost afraid to ask for fear He will say, "It is a good job, Carol -- but not the one I want for you." Oh drats, Lord. He hasn't said that yet, and I haven't really asked Him directly. Ok, not true -- I have asked, and He has agreed with me that this job is perfect, and that it is within His will. Will it come to pass? That is an unknown, afterall the HR people all have free will, and they can say no to my resume just as quickly as they can say yes.

I am learning this lesson, you know, that even if something is the Lord's will, it doesn't necessarily mean it will happen. We like to say, "Lord willing," as if that means if God says "Yes" then it will be a Yes. The problem is that many times God has said "Yes" to me, and I didn't get the thing at all. I got a big fat NO from the person who controlled the position or thing. God may say "Yes" but that doesn't always mean it is a "done deal." Instead, it simply means "Yes, go ahead and think that way" or "Go ahead and apply." God is giving us His permission to walk a certain way, to go a certain way. It might come to pass, the thing I mean, or it might not; but, God is telling us it is OK to walk in that direction.

This is what the writer of Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT means when he says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

If we trust in the Lord with all our heart (our mind), then He will show us which path to take. He will guide us in the direction of His choosing. It doesn't mean that He will give us the "thing" we ask (sometimes it does); but rather that He will tell us it is OK to walk down that path. This is what I have learned through my experience in trusting the Lord these last 10-12 months. Often, I the path I have taken has led me to certain things, certain opportunities. I believe that they are "yea and nay," meaning that they are either going to happen or they are not going to happen. I have been mightily dissapointed in this outcome, believing hard that something will come to pass, only to find that it didn't. I blamed God initially, then I blamed myself (I didn't believe ENOUGH, I wasn't good ENOUGH, and so on). Works and not Grace, you know. I still struggle with this "walking down the path" business. It seems so obvious at times, yet I get befuddled by it. In my view, God should just say "Go here, Carol," and then arrange everything for me so that I can go where He is pointing me to go. That would be SWEET. My God, GREAT AS HE IS, doesn't do that for me. No, rather, He tells me to go a particular place, and then leaves me dangling, waiting patiently, and sitting around looking for the bus to arrive. I sit at the stop, looking for the RED SEA TO PART, but it doesn't come, there is no bus to pick me up, no flash of lightening to say "IT IS DONE!" (in my best De Mille God-like voice). No, I sit there and wait, and nothing happens.

I think I have finally figured out this God-thing. Yes, I know, "be careful, Carol." Yes, you are correct. Whenever I say that I have anything about God figured out, I am proved wrong, I see the error of my way. I just mean that I think I have this "Go" thing straight now. You see, when God tells us to Go someplace, it means literally and figuratively that we are to "go" or "think about going -- consider going -- ponder going." Often, we literally go there too, but sometimes (as in my case), it is all about the considering or pondering aspect of going. I am to think it over, consider the cost, check it out, see what is what; generally do the due diligence part of going wherever the Lord has directed. I have done this now for several years. I have pondered going to several places, and I have checked them all out. I haven't physically left Phoenix yet. I have mentally left Phoenix, I have mentally pictured living in another place. I have counted the cost (added it all up), and I am better equipped to know what it will take to live in such a place. But, I haven't physically moved anywhere.

In keeping with the spirit of Proverbs, this is what I have done. I have trusted the Lord in His directive for me to Go to Northbrook, IL. For a time, I thought that meant the city of Northbrook. Now, I understand it is the "land of Northbrook" (like the land of Canaan). The 'land of' means the entire area of North Chicago. This incorporates a number of small suburbs that sit to the north of the city. Therefore, Evanston is just as good as Northbook. The same is true of Lincoln Park -- they are all in the "right" location for me. Some places are better suited, like Evanston is a bit less expensive than Lincoln Park -- so perhaps a better location financially. It is also on the subway line, a direct route into the city, so perhaps a better commute. The 'land of North Chicago' is where I am to go -- it may end up Northbrook itself, but more than likely it will be in the general vicinity of the northern shore.

I have been stuck on how to get to North Chicago for a while now. I have applied to about 20 jobs in North Chicago, and I didn't get one nibble. You would think that this would scream at me "mistake, mistake -- you are going the wrong way;" but it didn't. No, I just assumed that like here in Phoenix, the job market in Chicago is just as dicey. It will be the 'right job at the right time' and until then, I have to keep casting my net, and trusting the Lord. The Lord will tell me where to cast out my net, where to toss it, and He will then yeild up the "right fish." I know this is true, so even if it takes a while, the Lord will enable me, provide for me, and prepare me to go where He has directed.

So then, this is what I know today. I have considered the following places (where the Lord has shown me or told me to go):
  • New Hampshire (beginning of 2009)
  • Austin, Texas (2010, most recently)
  • North Chicago, IL (all of 2010)
  • Chattanooga, TN (most of 2009)
  • Fargo, ND (recently 2010)
  • Seattle, WA (recently 2010)
  • North Carolina (end of 2009)
  • Maryland (middle of 2009)

I have considered these places. I have done the due diligence, checked them out, and thoroughly pondered what it would be like to live in these cities or states. Most of them, I decided were not "right" for me or my son. Most of them, were useful to help me even consider moving from Phoenix (so not potential destinations, but training locations to get me to consider leaving my family -- parents and such.) Some of these places though have stayed with me. Some of these places have not left me in a long time. Chicago is one of them. Partly this is because I know that the Lord has told me to settle some place near a major airport, and O'Hare is about as major as you can get. More so, I tend to have happy memories of my life in Chicago, so I am more willing to relocate there. I also "know it" a little bit. I am not adventurous and willing to go someplace unknown (I came to Phoenix after having visited just one or twice). I don't like to go to unknown places, and the Lord knows this about me. He has given me a lot of time to process moving, to actually envision myself moving. I needed this time. I needed to let go of a lot of things that were holding me back, and a lot of emotions that were keeping me from walking on in the Lord.

Of course, I never expected to be in the position I am in now. I never expected to do this on my own as a divorced or separated woman. No, not at all. I never expected that I would be contemplating moving so far away now. I just didn't understand how the events of my life would prepare me for this move. I didn't understand how the sorrow and hurt would make me into a strong woman, a capable woman, a woman who could actually consider packing up her things and moving 1000 miles from home.

All of this will depend on the Lord's provision of a job. Perhaps this position will open up for me, and perhaps it will be the reason I move to Chicago. Perhaps it is all in His grand plan. Lord willing, He will provide a good job for me. It is up to Him to provide it. It is up to me to walk on, to walk straight up, which simply means to walk aright or to walk right (as in not off-kilter). God has enabled me to walk upright, to be straight, to be ready to go where He sends me. Therefore, I can no longer sit at the bus stop and wait for the bus to come. No, I must stand up and walk on. I must walk down the path that He has said is good to walk down. This path is good to walk down, so I will walk on. The Lord may open this door, He may impress upon the HR folks that they should seriously consider my resume or He may just have me keep on walking down this road until another "more perfectly suited" position opens up. I cannot be dissapointed if this one doesn't open up, I can only know that I am walking on the right path, and I am doing what God has called me to do. He is responsible for all the rest, everything else. I am responsible to do as His Spirit leads, and to trust that He knows what is best. He really does have it all figured out. My understanding is flawed, and my understanding is limited and fixed. God is ETERNAL AND ALL-SEEING, ALL-KNOWING, AND ALL-PRESENT. He can see beyond this job to how it might work for me, or if I will cause issues or problems down the road. He will not take me to Chicago and maroon me there. No, He will not take me until He has it all organized and planned out. God is a God who never does anything shortsighted.

Dear Lord,

I am trusting you for this job opportunity. I know that you know everything about this job, and know what is needed to be considered for this job. I can do nothing but wait (trust in your provision). You are good to me, and you know exactly what I need to do to be prepared to do this, to move away from my family. I will wait (trust you), and I will be patient.

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

I am trusting you, Lord, and I am believing your Word. In Jesus' Name, I will wait and be patient for your hand of deliverance, and for your mighty provision of a job and a hopeful future.

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