hairstyle-topOn Wednesday mornings, when the sun is just rising and there is the lingering hint of the night’s chill temperatures, I join two women from my church for a devotional study. We review and discuss a week’s worth of daily devotions from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. The devotional was actually written by his wife, after his death and transcribed from shorthand notes she made during daily discussions with him. When I first began reading Chambers I found the language dry and inaccessible—he had lived a century ago, after all. Often I find him tedious and “over my head.” But when we sit down and begin to talk about what each passage truly means in our lives today, the words spark something in me. I see how each devotional has some bearing on my crazy, often overstressed, days.

This past week, the daily devotionals seemed to revolve around work. Chambers talked much about “Christian workers” and at face value one might assume that he meant, literally, the work we do for Christ. There was a lot of discussion regarding “mission” and how I feel a tremendous amount of friction when I rub up against that word (as a self-proclaimed Christian Pluralist I feel very strongly that there are many ways to one God and barging in on other cultures to convince them of the one “right way” is offensive to my sensibilities. I would so much rather sit and absorb all that other Faith traditions have to teach me about getting to God). I came to think of the passages as being more about work in general: the work that we do for a living and the work that we do to maintain our homes, our families, and our bodies. I am blessed to truly enjoy what I do for a living; my job requires very little faith at all. I am not actively mindful of God’s grace when I am designing a workbook on leadership training or proofreading an Alice Walker novel (except for the oft-unspoken prayer: Thank you, God, for giving me a gift with which I can pay the bills). I am much more aware of God’s presence in the more mundane tasks of daily living: the grocery shopping, the dishwasher loading, the bathroom cleaning. I am not, by nature, a domestic Goddess. On the contrary, I will often leave distasteful chores until I absolutely can’t stand the filth any longer and I am certain that my threshold for dirt is much higher than that of my husband. It is in those moments that I must actively pray “God, help me to be mindful of the warm soapy water, the sparkle of the clean dish, the way the drying rag feels in my hands.”

I also took Christian work to mean “doing the footwork” for Christ’s glory. Not a testimony, mind you, but Christ’s glory in my own life and that of my family (despite the tone of today’s post, I don’t tend to proselytize). When we do the footwork, we must have Faith. And Faith, to me is a big old capitalized action word. It means truly trusting the process and knowing, without a doubt, that God knows what is right for us and will see our way clear to making that happen. Chambers’ entry for April 23rd concludes with: “We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for.” I let God lead me and I have Faith that all will be well (not an easy task for this control freak, mind you).

Liam, my husband, entered divinity school on a dare of sorts. While I have never questioned that he has a calling greater than most I have known and truly deserves a place there, it was not his plan. He was cajoled and nearly bullied by friends and loved ones (including yours truly) into applying. Not surprisingly he was accepted as an Honor’s Scholar with a fair amount of financial assistance attached to that award. It did not, however, pay 100% of the tuition or any of our living expenses and obtaining even a part-time job is difficult at best for someone in active and early gender transition. I am self-employed and until last August I made just enough to (barely) cover my half of our expenses and the caretaking of our child. But we decided to have Faith. I did the footwork: I maintained deadlines, did my work on time and without complaint, and sent regular reminders of my availability to both faithful and prospective clients. That Faith was rewarded with twice the workload I had been handling; we got exactly what we needed when we needed it. Liam is finishing his first year with two more to go. This summer he will be at a local hospital from 9-5 every day with many nights on call as he does his Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) training. There is no time for a part-time job with those kinds of hours and a stipend from an education loan (which we choose not to obtain for more than this first year for future financial reasons), does not cover summer expenses. Our Faith was rewarded with enough of a tax return to cover his half of expenses for four months. Exactly what we needed when we needed it.

Today I came home to a message from an agency hiring a full-time graphic designer. They are interested in interviewing me as soon as possible. While I am loathe to give up my flexible schedule, I also know that having a full-time, onsite position would afford me a solid paycheck on a regular basis, prepaid taxes, and sorely needed health insurance. “We have no right to judge where we should be put, or to have preconceived notions as to what God is fitting us for.” I do not know what is in store for me, for us. I will do the footwork needed to express my interest in this position because I feel strongly that I was given the information about its very existence for a reason. I have Faith that whatever comes my way was meant to be. I know that if I do the work, the rest will come. Faith: it’s an action word.

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