We are in the thick of bidding season here in the State Department.
Given a list of around 30 positions we were told to pick our top six and rank them in order. Immediately we crossed off all the unaccompanied tours, highly dangerous places and DC posts. Taking the remaining positions we spent hours researching schools in each city. Our daughters will be a freshman and junior in high school going into this post so we are focusing on well-respected schools with the same curriculum we have had here in Bogota. Our older daughter has worked very hard in this program and wants to graduate with this diploma. Fortunately many international schools use this curriculum so only a few places were eliminated.
Next I researched the weather in each city. Our older daughter seems to be allergic to the heat and humidity. I know, it sounds crazy, but we go on a warm vacation and she breaks out in hives. Not a fun way for her to spend the holiday and not what I project a fun way to spend the next two years.
We finalized a list that fit the needs of our family at this point in time. With children the needs and dynamics are always changing. Our son will graduate this spring and leave for university. That leaves us with two girls in the home. I can't wrap my mind around the idea of loosing the dynamic of our son in the house all the time. So the needs of the family are a little different. In two years we will be down to three of us and we will only have one child's interests to fulfill in a post. Another two years and we will be childless and the world becomes an open book to us. We won't have to worry about good education at a post. Weather becomes irrelevant and danger is less of a worry. But we are not there yet and there are lots of needs for our family floating around in my mind with this next placement.
And then the call came. Not the one we were expecting where we shouted and jumped for joy when our anticipation was realized and we received our placement. Rather this call entailed a statement about "the needs of the service" and "you won't be receiving any of your six post choices" but giving us a choice of four posts that can't be filled.
Emotions flooded me when my husband gave me the news. All that effort to find six posts that worked with the needs of our family - now. One of those choices was immediately thrown out because my research had found very poor schools with poor reputations and education standards. Down to three. Another post was immediately eliminated because none of us has peace that this is the right time for that city. There are so many factors contributing to our feelings but for me it comes down to a gut feeling and what we want to give our kids through this job.
Two cities that no one else wants to go to. You have to ask yourself why no one wants to go there. It took no time to discover that one voted the "fifth worst city to live in the world" is large, congested, dangerous and hot. The last issue is what stuck with me. Hot. Our daughter will be miserable in 88-94 F weather. How could we ask this of her? On the other hand the job sounds great. Just what my husband needs in his next post. The other place is the direct opposite. It sounds like better weather, safety and tourist opportunities, but the job is really bad. How to resolve and come up with the best of the worst decision.
This is the issue that brought me to conditioning my dry hair this morning. As a challenge presented in my Bible study this year I am attempting to memorize the book of James. This is a huge challenge for me because things just don't stick. It's been a big part of why Spanish has been such a failing struggle for me. I have dedicated myself to working on this challenge.
I've memorized scripture, and poems and presidents and prepositions before, but this is the first time I've taken on this type of a memorization challenge for myself because I chose to. Something I've discovered is that these verses are rattling around in my head - all the time. I think about little phrases and meanings to passages light up in my understanding. I'm taking these verses much more personally as I think on them all day long. They are changing my life. Forcing me to look into every nook and cranny for habits and attitudes and beliefs that need to go.
So standing in the shower with creamy water running down my skin the words that have been rattling around in my mind came screaming at me.
James 1: 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.
Yes, I am lacking in wisdom in this momentous decision. I am lacking the knowledge beneath the facts. I cannot foresee how any of us will react to the nuances of each city that have filled my mind since that fateful phone call. Change is always difficult and any of the choices we have been given will bring situations that I don't know how we will handle. I NEED wisdom. I find myself begging God for wisdom for myself and my husband. My heart desires to walk forward in unity in this difficult choice and we see it from two different perspectives. One is not right and the other wrong, rather the two contexts give a more full view.
But the part of the verse that cuts to my heart is "he must believe and not doubt." Belief and doubt. Belief that God has a place for our family where we will not only survive for two years, but we will thrive. We will grow closer to God and our family. We will embrace life and what it has to offer.
I'm closer to believing that God has given me wisdom, but it is a big step for me to put that trust in my husband as well. It is silly because he looks at our family with our interests in mind. He always tries to do what is best for us. It's simply a lack of control on my part. But struggle I do.
At the end of the day we talked. We were on the same page. My husband called Washington and gave our decision. He was told it would be taken into consideration but also was given a hint that there may have never been a decision for us to consider.
Peace. It is done and out of our hands now. Today I rest in peace that my husband and I are on the same page. I am glad that having worked through this I realize that many conversations will have to happen when we receive our posting. We know it will not be easy. But God gave us what we asked for and what He promised - wisdom.