I had been waiting for this day for a full year - at least. And it didn't turn out to be at all what I had hoped for.
Last fall Josh and I began seriously thinking of and planning for our 3 month long sabbatical that will take place this coming summer. We spent countless hours praying, talking, researching and making plans.
We found out about a program that offers grants for pastors going on sabbatical. We eagerly and painstakingly filled out the application. That application forced us to map out our three months TO THE DAY - and included us settling our route of travel, our expenses and the church's needs and expenses caused by our absence.
It was a whole lot of work. But we submitted the application back in late May confident that we had done the best we could and had a fair chance of being awarded a grant.
This week we received word. We did not get the grant.
So now we are back to square two. I can't say square one, because we've decided on what Josh will study during our sabbatical and we have some ideas. But our dream of traveling the west in an RV for three months, visiting churches and seminaries and seeing many national parks with the kids has come to an end.
Am I disappointed? You betcha. Frustrated at the thought of starting over? Definitely. Angry with God? No. I want to be. My heart cries out at my lack of understanding in this.
And then I'm reminded. I'm reminded of the fact that God has never failed our family. That even when things look extremely difficult, He provides with abundant blessing. So much blessing, in fact, that we look back fondly on our times of hardship.
I'm reminded of our job search a few years ago. How when we felt at our lowest and our dreams were shattered, He was just gearing up to give out the greatest surprise!
So right now, even though I hurt, a large part of me says, "Okay God. Show me what you're gonna do. Because I bet it's something even better than what I can imagine."
I'll keep you posted on what happens. Without a doubt it'll be worth writing about.