Life is full of Big Things right now. In just a week and a half, Matt leaves on his deployment for Afghanistan. More to come on that later.
Clearly there are Big Things for Matt, but there are Big Things for me, too.
My Big Things come in two parts. As I had talked about in earlier posts on my blog, I have been accepted to Wheaton College to start my Masters in Biblical Archaeology this summer, beginning with a dig and a semester abroad in Jerusalem. So my first Big Thing is, well, not actually that I'm doing this program, but rather that I'm NOT doing this program.
This was such a hard decision, and yet at the same time, it was an easy decision. Let me explain.
Of course, as many of you know, my lifelong dream has been to teach and work within the field of archaeology. Naturally, this program at Wheaton would propel me on that path. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. In fact, if it weren't for God working in my heart and revealing His timing, I would be utterly devastated. Everything about Wheaton seemed so perfect for me and the timing of all the overseas portion of my program coinciding with Matt's deployment truly was God's hand. However, God has worked within my heart these past many months and made it clear to me that Wheaton is not what He has planned for me right now.
The easy side of the decision came from the financial aspect. Last year, Matt and I completed the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course. We are huge fans of this guy and one of the top priorities for us right now is to become debt-free. With the extra money Matt makes from his deployment, we will have reached this goal by this time next year! However, had I attended Wheaton, we would have accumulated way more debt than we're even in at the present. And this is where the easy part comes in...we have learned that after Matt serves a couple more years with the military, he can transfer all his military educational benefits to me as a spouse, meaning I can go to grad school ANYWHERE for FREE. So, basically, I could have gone to school now and given us debt that we'd be carrying around for years, or just wait a couple of years and go FOR FREE. Pretty much not even a choice, right?
Let me be clear that I am not by any means giving up on my dream. In fact, the whole process with Wheaton helped me see God's confirmation of this dream in my life, but I learned that God has very specific plans and timing for me to follow. I know the path with be there, but I must wait for God to lay it out for me.
On to Big Thing number two. As I mentioned before, God was working in my heart to tell me He had something very specific for me this next year while Matt is deployed. And now, instead of Wheaton, this is where my heart and desires lie. Beginning in August, I will move to Debrecen, Hungary, to serve the Church of God as an intern with a ministry team!!!!! That's right....back to Europe once more, but this time serving missions. Could God have prepared anything more perfect for me?!?
This opportunity comes thanks to our dear family friends, the Steiners, whom I first mentioned in one of my very first posts on this blog. Jozsef is the pastor of Trinity Church and heads the Bridge Ministries Center which serves the local, national, and international communities. Here is a link to the English page of the Bridge Ministries web site.
I will do many jobs as the intern, but one of my main jobs will be to work with the church youth group. I can't wait for this!!! I'll be living in my own little apartment and the Steiner family lives in a house right next door to where I'll be. That truly is a dream come true to me, to be able to spend so much time with my "family" in Hungary!
I am still in awe...God continues to bless me beyond my wildest dreams. Not only is God giving me the opportunity to serve Him, the church, and others during this time, but He is placing me in what I believe is the best situation possible for me to be able to cope well with being apart from Matt. Matt is so thrilled about this and is over the moon that when he has his two week leave from Afghanistan, he'll come visit ME in Hungary!!!
I'll stay in Hungary until sometime in April. We don't know for sure yet when Matt's unit will be coming back, but I'll go back to the US about three weeks before he does to get everything situated for his return. This is going to be my longest stay in Europe--about 9 months--and I cannot WAIT!!!!
You know that phrase about one door closing and another opening somewhere else...well it's the truth in my life. As God was closing the door to Wheaton, I saw Him opening the door to Hungary in front of me. And as ever, I can already see it will be one of the biggest blessings of my life.