Last year at this time, 4 of my fellow coworkers had left or were in the process of leaving within 6 months of each other. I had recurrent bronchitis and pneumonia that was becoming less responsive to antibiotics. I had adopted two children from the Congo who were barely speaking in English, and only one of them in sentences. Both were woefully behind in school, and one needed additional services to accommodate for developmental delay in addition to culture shock. And my husband worked 4-5 nights a week and Saturdays and Sundays.
Then I was asked to take a promotion.
It seemed crazy to take the promotion to Program Director, in addition to continuing my old role. But there was a serious need for stabilization, and whether I took the promotion or not, I would be responsible for the transition. I knew that God was calling me to something greater than myself for that time.
So I agreed to do it. For one year. I made a series of negotiations that would make the position possible for me and my family.
And now that year has ended. Most of the things I had negotiated for never materialized. The University and I could not come to terms about what was needed to make the Program successful.
So our family is moving on. Over the last 6 months, I have been considering what my life would look like after my one year. Return to practice locally? Move to another PA Program? Take a Sabbath rest? Pursue another career?
After much prayer and consideration, I still felt God leading me to Christian physician assistant education. Unfortunately, Christian PA programs are extremely rare. A year ago, there were three that I could find in the entire country. Fortunately, more have developed over the last year, and several have been hiring.
On April 4th, I was offered and accepted a position in the new physician assistant program at Gardner Webb University, an NCAA Division I Christian school known for excellence and for serving in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. It is a town of approximately 3800, most of whom are associated with the University. I will be doing a combination of teaching and administration, similar to what I have done previously, but with half the students and more fellow faculty and staff to share the load. My role will be largely flexible as the program continues to take shape. Since Strengths Finder tells me that my gifts are futuristic, ideation, belief, intellection, and learning, I don’t think I could find a better fit than to help launch a new Christian PA Program. I start May 6th.
On April 6th, we put our house on the market. We had two showings in the first hour. The paint was literally still wet. Our first offer came in on April 7th, our next two on April 8th. We signed an offer on the evening of the 8th at significantly above asking. On April 10th, Ken and I left Addie and Palmer in the hands of my parents (thank you!) and drove to Boiling Springs, putting in an offer on a house on April 11th.
Boiling Springs has great schools for the kids with several options for them. It is a small and well-educated community where we have been assured that our family of many nations will find not just acceptance, but be embraced. We will live in a small tight-knit neighborhood and community where we will be known, our kids will ride their bikes freely, and we’ll have 5 minute commutes to anywhere in town. We have already had several churches offer to help us unload our moving van, even if we don’t attend their church.
The one area where we are still looking for God’s leading is Ken’s area of ministry. We know that God’s plan is not just for me, but for all of us. We’re just waiting for God’s leading in an opportunity where Ken will be happy too. I am so blessed to have a husband who celebrates my gifts and God’s leading in my life, and sees them as no threat to his own. From which jobs to pursue, to where to move, to choosing a Realtor, to finding a house, we have been in 100 percent agreement.
The best thing about this time of transition is that I have had a chance to have a Sabbath rest. Many people talk about having “balance” in life, but I don’t really believe that is possible. I think that life is more like a symphony. Sometimes the symphony is loud and raucous, sometimes it is soft and slow. There must be times for both. In a year where most of my life was filled with meetings, legislation, accreditation, negotiations, endless emails, frustrations, and interruptions, I needed a time for reading for pleasure, napping when needed, writing when I had something to say, playing with my children, and living with spontaneity. I also needed to come to terms with God’s definition of success: obedience. I did what I was called to do, and how I was called to do it: with integrity.
Knowing when to walk away
Being willing to
Walking away with your head held high