So the "short" version in an email I sent out to my closest prayer warriors:
Ben and I attended our first "Weekend to Remember" marriage conference last weekend. It was honestly a total "God thing" that we were there. Less than 2 months before we were at a point in our marriage where we saw absolutely no chance for a future. We were broken and hopeless. We felt like there was nothing left worth fighting for. Someone prayed for a miracle and I laughed in their face.
Thankfully God answers prayers, especially ones for miracles, because that is EXACTLY what we needed and EXACTLY what we got. Through God's sweet grace and beautiful plans, we turned our hearts back towards one another and put Him on the throne in the center of our marriage. Through TONS of prayers, tears, God's healing power, Celebrate Recovery, and counseling, we are in an amazingly beautiful place. A place where miracles happen. A place where we eagerly count down the days until "Weekend to Remember". A place where we have truly felt a calling to not only place God in the center of our marriage, but in every single aspect of our lives. This includes our work. We have both felt an overwhelming push from the Holy Spirit to have some part in a ministry-based job setting. We had absolutely no clue what that looked like. We wrestled with various daydreaming-marriage counselors, youth pastor, chaplaincy, international missionaries... and then we surrendered it to God and trusted that He would open the doors and gently guide us.
At the same time, we prayed unceasingly for God to provide a way for me to leave my former workplace (a very volatile environment that was extremely unhealthy for me and for our marriage) and still be able to help provide for our family. God provided. I am now in my 2nd week as the grant writer for Freeman Health Systems in Joplin, MO. I actually spend less time in the car every morning driving to work because there is VERY little traffic heading the opposite direction LOL:) We are now seeing that Joplin may only be a temporary detour on God's awesome path for our lives.
If you've ever been to a Weekend to Remember event, you know that on Sunday morning they make a presentation regarding opportunities to work with FamilyLife. Attendance is optional for conferees but as soon as we both read the description of the session, we circled it in on our weekend schedules. We walked away from that session ready to pack our family up and move to Little Rock faster than pronto. FamilyLife is headquartered in Little Rock and has many exciting ministry opportunities that center around the main goal of strengthening our marriages and families.
We filled out the "We are interested" card and any moment we weren't spending daydreaming of what this may look like for our family, we've been praying. A LOT. And surrendering our own wants, desires, and daydreams. A LOT. We both started getting a little discouraged around Wednesday/Thursday, especially about the whole "FamilyLife missionary staff raise their own salaries" tid bit. Then Billy called. Billy is one of the New Staff Representatives. We are scheduled for our phone interview on Monday evening at 7:30pm. As in 80 hours away. (nope, not counting!!!) We are just a little excited. ok. A LOT.
If you've read this far-THANK YOU!!!! Now we need you to pray. Pray that we would continue to put our daydreams aside and not try to orchestrate God's plans for our family. Pray that we can put aside our need to convince Billy that we are PERFECT for FamilyLife. Pray for clarity, wisdom, discernment, and the ability to just be still and listen (to Billy and God). Pray for continued encouragement for us as we still face a great amount of debt from when I was sick and we know that will play a huge role in this process. We are prepared for FamilyLife to say "wait" and ask us to revisit the opportunity once we have reduced the amount of debt. In that regard, please pray for continued resolve to squash all of our debt, to not look for quick fixes, and to know if this is God's plan for our family, it will all happen in His time and according to His will.
We have not announced ANY of this to our families yet. We are praying God will use the Holy Spirit to prod us when the time is right to broach the subject, likely after we have our first interview on Monday. If the interview goes well, they will send us a 20+ page application to each complete individually. Once our application has been reviewed and our references don't say "RUN!!!!!", the next step is the Ministry Preview weekend in Little Rock where we would meet some of the FamilyLife staff, learn more about the ministry, more of what is required of us, and more interviews. If they haven't begged us to hit the road by that point, we would go to a 10 day fundraising training in Orlando and then start raising our initial funds. It is typically an 18-24 month process. Ours will likely be longer because of the debt factor. Again, we have not discussed any of this with our families so those of you that know any of our family members, we kindly request that you hold off on mentioning it to them... run it by God all you want:)
We are incredibly appreciative of your prayers and any words of wisdom!! We are so excited to see where God is leading our family!!
God Bless and Love