Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Speaking of the future...

THE FUTURE. I find this very scary to think about. You see, in general I like my day to day life right now. Of course, there are bits I'd like to change, like having Gabe work closer to home or be finished with school. But I love our church, I love my job at church, I love my son and my husband and my garden and the little hispanic neighbor girls who like to play with Jonathan. I love living 12 minutes away from Jessica and having mom's group at the park each week.

So when we talk about THE FUTURE, it freaks me out. Because usually that means we're talking about CHANGE. I hate change. Did you know that about me? I hate change. When I was a kid, I very often didn't really even want to do something fun, if it meant changing what I expected the day to look like. Ok, so I was a little neurotic. ;)

So last night Gabe and I ended up having a discussion about THE FUTURE. It was a good discussion. But the content was downright terrifying. To me, anyway. You see, I like steadiness and predictability. I like a paycheck every week. I like having money in the bank just in case something awful happens. I like my safety nets. What we're considering would mean stepping out with no more safety nets. And I'm horribly afraid that this is exactly what God might be calling us to do.

Gabe wants to get a doctorate. He's been talking about this for ages, but last night he really explained to me why it is so important and what he wants to do with it. I get it, now. It really does seem like something that might be more vocation than job. Maybe. As we were saying last night, neither of us has a "word from the Lord" on just seems to be a direction Gabe ought to go.

The problem is that UCI makes it next to impossible for a man with a family to get said doctorate. The pay while you're in the program is enough for a single person with roommates to live on, but isn't even enough to pay our first mortgage. Much less the second mortgage and the HOA dues and have anything left over for food and gas and utilities and home/auto/life insurance.

To be truthful, I had sort of been counting on that fact to protect me from ever having to actually deal with the fact that Gabe wanted to do this. After all, it just isn't financially feasible, right? Case closed. But last night I remembered a story Gabe told me once, about a man who wanted to study in Europe, and whose wife said "we'll make this happen" and then DID. And isn't that the kind of wife I'd like to be? Not a scared, selfish, fussy wife saying "I don't want to do it this way so I'm not going to even try to make it work", but a wife who can share and enter in to her husband's dreams and importune heaven and move earth to make it happen?

If we were really, really, careful, and Gabe could get it done in two years, and we spent everything we have in savings, we could make it happen.

And then we would move away to another university for Gabe's post-doc work, and then who knows.

God has not yet given Gabe clear direction, aside from inclination that has lasted for many years. And I definitely don't want to say that He's given me any clear direction. Just a feeling that I need to trust Him, and the knowledge that if this is where He wants us, I want to be the wife who is a helpmate, not a fussy burden.

We'd love it if you'd pray with us as we try to discern God's will for our future.


JMS said...

You bet we'll pray, Em! Thanks for sharing. I imagine that if God revealed to you now how He will end up providing for y'all so you can follow the paths of your dreams, the paths He has ordained for you, that you wouldn't believe it anyway. But you're in His good hands. I'm rootin' for ya! ; )

p.s. I know what you mean.

Amber said...

I'll definitely be praying for you both! I actually started feeling called to pray for you and Gabe a couple nights ago and I was wondering why... I wonder if this has something to do with it.

I know exactly what you mean about wanting the steady paycheck and money in the bank - that is so me. For me it is more the loss of security rather than a problem with change, but it all works out the same, really. Just the thought of cutting loose from our safety net is enough to make me want to hide in a corner. I have a hard time even thinking about it, much less talking about it!

I've read stories too about women who stand by and support their husbands through things that seem foolhardy on the surface... and I so much want to be a wife who will help make it work rather than one who drags her feet and finds every little thing that could go wrong. It sure is difficult though, isn't it. At least we're recognizing what we should be doing, and that's definitely progress, right? *grin*

I hope your day is going better than it was this morning, and I hope you can think about this without feeling too stressed and anxious. I'll keep praying for you both!

Linds said...

We'll be praying for you, too. One thing to keep in mind: disagreeing with an idea isn't always being fussy. Sometimes it's being realistic. And you don't always have to get a doctorate done on time, either. My dad managed to do it over the course of something like 6 or 7 years, mostly in order to be able to work full time at the same time to support the family and to be there for us. It worked really well, and God blessed that decision too. It's not for everyone, but I thought it might be nice it know it was an option. :)

Emily said...

Lindsay - we did look into the "extended plan" doctorate...but evidently its different in the sciences. UCI doesn't even allow it. You're either full-time or not accepted into the program. Irritating, isn't it?

Linds said...

Really irritating. It's pretty stupid how so often academia asks you to choose between your career and your family. I'd expect that from some cutthroat business, or from law or medicine or something, but it always stuck me as odd how fussy academics (particularly the kinds of dinosaurs that lurk in universities) can be about commitment.