Once again we have happened upon another major crossroads decision in my husband’s graduate schooling.
A few weeks after Eli was born, my husband timidly informed me that his current adviser in his PhD program is leaving the university. In fact he is leaving academia all together because he has decided he wants to have more time to spend with his family. He has already accepted another job offer out of state and will be gone sometime in October.
When I heard the news, my heart kind of stopped. My immediate thoughts and emotions were all over the board.
On one hand I was actually thrilled for this professor and I even exclaimed to my husband, “Good for him for knowing how to keep his priorities straight.” After all, family should come first.
But then again, what kind of implications was this going to have on my family? Were we going to be able to finish the program? I knew we had acquired funding through March 1st of next year, but what would happen after that? And who could take over the leaving adviser’s responsibilities? They needed to have somewhat of an understanding of the project Rudy is working on.
Pretty soon it became clear to us that this dream of a doctorate degree was going to remain elusive. That little slip of paper indicating that we were done was not going to become a reality.
At first I was bitter because by nature I am not a quitter. We have been working towards this PhD degree for 5 years now. That is half of our married life. We have invested so much time, money and other things into this educational pursuit that I wasn’t about to let this get in our way. I figured we would find a way to fund ourselves even though it would be insanely expensive. I knew our extended family would help if necessary.
But all these thoughts and plans felt forced. We might be able to make it work this way, but it didn’t seem right.
I then began to question our decision to begin this graduate program in the first place. Were we ever supposed to obtain a doctorate degree? Did we make a wrong decision when we started down this path?
I then thought back to other major schooling crossroads we have encountered while in this program. Do we keep making the same mistake over and over again? There have been several times before where it seemed like we would have to leave the program, but somehow a window always opened when a door had been shut on us. But now I was thinking, have we been opening up all the wrong windows? Why then haven’t we been stopped way before we were this far into the program?
I felt crushed.
This kind of pressure when you are a few weeks post partum is not a good mixture. Many tears were shed and many thoughts, shouts and pleas were sent heavenward.
Soon, though, a gradual acceptance began to flow through me. If we were merely going to end up with a second Master’s degree so be it. I began to let the pride go, pride I didn’t even realize I was holding onto. After all, I don’t know what is best for my life and the life of my family. I have to trust in the Lord to show me the way and then I need to trust Him that He is leading us along the right path, even if the outcome is way different than I ever imagined it being.
He knows what is best. He knows what experiences we need to succeed in life, and if He doesn’t think we need that silly diploma, then so be it.
We are still fairly uncertain what the future holds for us. Right now I feel like we have taken all the pieces of our life and have thrown them way up in the air. They are still up there hovering and being blown all around, but I am trying to be patient as we wait for them to settle down.
Will we have health insurance when our funding is up? Will we be able to find a job? Will we be able to find a work study program that will help Rudy finish his degree? Where will we move – across the state? To New Mexico? To Colorado? To Northern California? Will we be moving in a few months or next June when Keri is done with second grade?
Still, so many unknowns, but I am clinging to my faith in the Lord. He will provide.
And on one hand, I am getting excited about the prospect of moving. Of starting the next chapter in our life. Hopefully a chapter that will be a little longer, that will be a little more settling. And I am dreaming of being in our own home. Of having a fenced back yard, a yard with a playset in it, where the kids can freely run around and scream until their energetic hearts are content.
This dreaming is good for me, it’s therapeutic. More importantly, though, it feels right.
The Lord will keep His promises to me and my husband, I just need to believe and to accept the “packets of spiritual sunlight” He has sent to brighten my way.
“I testify that when the Lord closes one important door in your life, He shows His continuing love and compassion by opening many other compensating doors through your exercise of faith. He will place in your path packets of spiritual sunlight to brighten your way. They often come after the trial has been the greatest, as evidence of the compassion and love of an all-knowing Father. They point the way to greater happiness, more understanding, and strengthen your determination to accept and be obedient to His will.
“There is no guarantee of overnight results, but there is absolute assurance that, in the Lord’s time, solutions will come, peace will prevail, and emptiness will be filled.
“Please learn that as you wrestle with a challenge and feel sadness because of it, you can simultaneously have peace and rejoicing. Yes, pain, disappointment, frustration, and anguish can be temporary scenes played out on the stage of life. Behind them there can be a background of peace and the positive assurance that a loving Father will keep His promises.” ~ Richard G. Scott