If you’re close to us, you know how challenging the last 6 months have been. About a month and a half before we got married (10.10.14), Patrick quit his job and went back to school full-time to finish his degree in counselling. Nearly everyone we spoke to recommended he shouldn’t do it and we should wait because the first year of marriage is challenging (yep!) and we should really spend that time investing in one another and building a foundation for our life together. But Patrick was 31 at the time and we thought, “It’s now or never” so we went ahead and did it. I won’t lie, it definitely had its challenges, but it was worth it. Ultimately, our decision for Patrick to go back to school was building a foundation for our life together. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be where God has led us to now.
Patrick finished his counselling degree in late August 2015 and immediately started looking for work, but unfortunately, work was scarce in his field (maybe every field – boo the economy and stuff). Sure, he could have easily started managing a restaurant again, but we were determined to have him practicing what he just went to school for, and what many see as his vocation: counselling and caring for people.
Luckily I have a husband who desperately wants to support his family, and use his skills to serve his community, and not once did I come home to find him sitting on his butt, playing video games, pigging out on pizza (ladies, if you have a man like that tell him to “man-up”). He was constantly applying to jobs for hours on end, calling potential employers, meeting with other counselors to gain insight on the field, and frankly being my stay-at-home wife. We had quite the “role reversal”…
One day, I came home from work 1.5 hours late and he gave me the cold shoulder.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, annoyed.
“Work was really busy.”
“Why didn’t you call?” He asked.
“I forgot my phone at home. What’s the big deal?”
“Oh, nothing.” He bit his lip. “It’s just, I’ve been cooking you a meal for over an hour and it is very time sensitive and I had no idea when you were coming home so now it’s ruined.”
Well, that didn’t impress me. “Excuse me, but I am working day in and day out for this family. Can you just give me a minute when I walk through the door rather than jump down my throat about being an hour-and-a-half late? The food will be fine!”
We plunked ourselves down in our poorly made JYSK dining room chairs, and started eating the scrumptious dinner my husband made (he really is a tremendous cook). After 10 minutes of silence, Patrick said with a smirk on his face, “Can we just take a moment to realize how ridiculous that conversation was?” Yep. Major “stereotypical role reversal” sometimes.
As you can tell, the last 6 months took its toll on us. It is so disheartening to not see the fruits of your labour in the time frame you had hoped for. But that’s life, isn’t it? And that’s God too – whispering for us to wait, to press into Him, and hold out for His best.
When I was in Bangladesh with my friend, Danielle, we were speaking with some of the locals and one of them said, “It is so hard to be reliant on God sometimes. I mean, we pray and pray and pray for the desires of our heart, but if you do not have your prayers answered after a few years you think, ‘Okay, He is not hearing me, or it is not His will, time to move on.'” I immediately laughed. In North America, we have such a sense of urgency. A few YEARS? If God does not answer my prayers after a WEEK I tend to give up. How ridiculous is that?
6 months in the grand scheme of life is not that long, but for the present time you are in – it sure can be suffocating. But through all the insecurity, doubt, anger, frustration, and desperation, etc. both Patrick and I experienced throughout that time – both as individuals and as a couple – we learned how to cleave to one another, and support one another in our weaknesses, and ultimately how to be dependent on God and trust in His providence.
I had been the only financial support since August 2014 and silly ‘ol me had just started a low-residency Master’s program in Playwriting and Screenwriting in January 2016 (which I’m loving). As I worked full-time and did school full-time that January. I felt the weight of it all, and I saw my husband slowly slip away. We prayed and prayed and prayed, just as we always did. We were desperate – we needed God more than ever. There had been so many positive interviews, and second interviews, but then no job offer.
On Sunday, February 7th Patrick and I talked about waiting one more week and if he did not receive a job by the end of the week he would apply to manage a restaurant because I couldn’t handle doing “everything” anymore and he couldn’t handle not working anymore. We prayed diligently and firmly that night. On Tuesday, February 9th I got a text (I actually remembered to bring my phone to work this time) from my husband that said, “I just got offered a job.” So, I left work 10 minutes early, rushed home, and we had a conversation that changed our life.
“YOU GOT A JOB?” I squealed as I ran into our apartment.
“Yes,” He said.
I stopped squealing like a squirrel. “Why don’t you look excited?”
“Oh, I’m excited.” He said. “I’m just worried you won’t be.”
“It’s in Wabasca, Alberta.” He smirked.
“Where the (beep) is that?” I swore. But don’t worry, I wasn’t angry.
(Now readers, if you google Wabasca — let me attempt phonetics…wha-bah-ska — you’ll see that it’s a tiny hamlet in Northern Alberta, although my husband and I live on the Desmarais side, which is a Native Reserve)
One of my favourite bible verses is Daniel 10: 12 – 14. Daniel receives a vision of an angel, who says he’s been fighting to reach Daniel for many days, and even received help from the archangel, Michael, to ward off the demons restraining him from reaching Daniel.
“Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me because I was detained there with the king of Persia. Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”
No, that’s not one I am likely to memorize, but I love the visual; that God hears our prayers right from the start and that he is fighting a spiritual battle on our behalf. He is our conqueror, our strength, our redeemer. And if we pursue God with a genuine heart, our desires, and His will, will align.
Sometimes Patrick and I really sucked at pressing into God during this difficult season (okay, most of the time). Sometimes we really sucked at pressing into each other, or even being nice to one another (okay, most of the time). But God delivered and he provided Patrick and I with an incredible opportunity, redeeming us, and answering our prayers entirely.
Looking back, we see God’s hand, guiding our every step.
I’m grateful for the times we struggled. It taught us to be dependent on our creator and trust in His providence. It brought intimacy to our marriage and in the end the wait was worth it. We’re where we need to be and we trust that this is God’s call on our life, for now.
Of course, there are a lot of cons to leaving the lower mainland (goodbye family, goodbye friends, goodbye theatre, goodbye luxuries such as reliable internet, movie theatres, etc.) but overall, this is the best, best, BEST news. We have such an exciting new adventure ahead of us.
And I share this news here, on my blog, which is primarily a platform to provide updates on my theatrical endeavours, because in a grand sense it is just that: an update on my theatrical endeavours, and how for a very long time I will not have very many opportunities to explore that part of myself. Well, not as a director at least. Just as a writer, which I couldn’t be more thrilled about.
God is good, all the time; all the time, God is good.