Greg will be a full-time doctoral student starting this fall. We decided that to help make this happen, I need to work full-time. It is an absolute blessing that I found a job here without my CA teaching credentials (still in the works), but it worked out. Yesterday, I received a message with my new work email address. The first part of my email is “msmckinzie.” Sounds teacher-official, doesn’t it? I begin my new job as a 6th grade math/science teacher this coming Monday… lots of staff development. Students don’t come until later in August. My school is projects-based learning with a lot of technology integration so the newbies report early to kick it into gear. There is a part of me that is absolutely giddy with excitement. I think that you know you are in the right profession when you can get so excited about working.
Notice I said “a part of me” is giddy. One of my struggles in my reverse culture shock and going through major life transitions is this job.
You see, I love using my gifts as a teacher. It is the profession I chose back in the college days. It’s the job that brought home the bacon during our Memphis chapter. BUT, I have never worked full-time while also being a full-time momma. I went to Peru, our 17-month-old Ana in tow, and I knew my main mission was to be a momma. My heart has been grieving this life of a stay-at-home-mom for months now. And it isn’t just Ana anymore. I love our three littles like crazy, and I am going to miss waking up with them, taking them to school, attending school events, and the list goes on. (as a side note, I am so incredibly thankful for a supportive husband that loves those three littles like crazy too)
Greg sees all of my tears. He knows I am a basket case in emotional times. God bless him. I was having one of those “ugly cries” one evening, and we sat down to talk about it. I explained to him that I could not put my finger on all that was going on in my head. He let me extrovert, and he heard my words and my grief regarding this situation with my job and the kids.
He said, “Megan, it’s like you’ve forgotten all that we saw in Peru.”
Well, that made me a little bit mad. I have not forgotten Peru, and I will testify at a podium in front of thousands to share what I witnessed God doing during our time in Peru. But the more I thought about his words, the more I realized he was right. I had forgotten.
Greg has gotten a Hebrew word tattooed on his wrist since returning home. It is the word “Shemah,” and it means “listen.” After he got the tattoo, he asked me what I would get for mine (this is a complete joke because he knows I will NEVER get a tattoo). I thought about it and replied, “What is the Hebrew word for ‘faithfulness?'”
If God taught me anything in our time in Peru, it is that he is faithful. Going to that foreign country was a step of faith. Continuing to live in that foreign country was a step of faith. Enduring years of sadness and loneliness because I couldn’t speak the language well was a step of faith. The decision to have children and raise them away from my home country was a step of faith. Why do we take these steps when we can’t see what lies ahead? Because we choose to walk in the Spirit, and we know that we serve a faithful God. He tells us he will provide when we cannot see the provision. He tells us we can walk on water when we feel that we are sinking. He tells us we will survive the flames when the fire seems too hot to endure. He promises to be faithful, especially in those times when we are unsure and doubtful. (and his provision may look way different than that life of living comfortably, but it always causes us to grow and it is always enough.)
One of my favorite parts of Mark’s gospel (chapter 9) is the man that asks for his son to be healed but doubts.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit.“You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
First of all, I love how Jesus repeats the man’s question, “If you can?” The man has come to Jesus because he knows the stories of him healing so many. It’s not a question of can. The question is will he heal him. And then he mentions belief. Everything is possible for one who believes. The man replies with something that echoes in my head quite often: I do believe, but help me when I have trouble believing.
We sold our belongings and moved back to the states, because we feel that God has led us to this place. (It sounds a little bit like what we did before Peru, huh?). California is foreign to us. There have been and still are many unknowns to us, but we took a step of faith to come here.
I didn’t forget. I just needed reminding. God is ever faithful. He knows my heart and how much I love our children. But he also knows how to provide for us here… in this chapter of our lives. I can already see his fingerprints all over my job placement. He has made it very evident to me that I am in the right place.
You know what makes me giddy? Thinking about what God did through the work in Peru. Thinking about how inadequate I felt as a Spanish-speaker, and then getting to see Living Libraries become what it is today despite my inadequacies. I am giddy about starting my new job on Monday because I love doing what I am gifted to do. But I am most excited about what I cannot yet see. What does he have in store for his kingdom here that I will get to witness? I am in that place of feeling inadequate all over again, but it’s not about me. It’s about his kingdom and whether I choose to be part of it.
I am sad about not being with the kids, but somehow God is going to work it out. All he wants me to do is to take that step of faith. He will help me to overcome my unbelief.