The Casting Dock

The vision: casting bread, part 2

So, the news of the waitlist came via email early one morning.  I was up before Jerry and being a highly impatient person, I was checking his email, which I did most every morning that month while eagerly anticipating the news (I know that makes me sound really controlling, domineering, and maybe a little crazy obsessed, but whatever…don’t judge. I said from the beginning that I was impatient.)  Anyyyyway, I read the email, sighed a deep sigh and slouched in my chair as my eyes began welling up with tears.  I was frustrated and confused.

For one thing, I had already waited over 4 months and now I was going to have to wait at least one more. For another, we both had felt increasingly content that we would ultimately end up staying in Williamsburg.  And now that notion was very much in question. I am what I would call a “roots-oriented” person.  I like stability and the idea of really planting somewhere, so this complete uncertainty as we were approaching graduation with no jobs, no real job prospects, and no idea where we would be living (either broadly speaking as in what part of the country or narrowly speaking as in an actual apartment) was challenging for me.

As I look back on it all now, I can’t help but smile. God was so faithful.  Throughout the whole process.  But I’ll get to that.

So back to that morning.  When Jerry woke up, I told him the news.  He was definitely discouraged but took it SO much better than I did.  He left for work and I just cried.  I was so angry with God, irrationally angry.  What I call now “prideful, small-picture angry.”  I really felt like we would be staying in Williamsburg and I was dumb-founded that Jerry wasn’t accepted.  Biases aside, I thought he was a shoo-in.  He had the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at W&M, under which the History program falls, write one of his letters of recommendation.   How do you not get in when the Dean himself recommends you?  It’s beyond me.  And he had taken a course with the current history cohort that semester so that he could get feel for the program and that professor, on her own accord, wanted to write him an additional “strong endorsement” for his acceptance because she was so impressed with his work.

So anyway, to make a long story relatively shorter, we waited another month.  Jerry was #3 on the waitlist of 8.  The admissions people said that they always get to the first 2 people on the list and usually make it at least to number 4.  I felt like he was right on the cusp.  He prayed diligently, as he had all along, for clear direction and open doors.  And we waited.  W&M was the only option left.  By mid-April we finally got the word, or more so, the sentence: we had a large number of highly qualified applicants and we regret to inform you…rejection number six.

Lisa and Jerry in Boston

On the streets of Cambridge

It’s funny how God changes perceptions and hearts.  During that last month of waiting, we both felt pulled back to Massachusetts.  In praying for clear direction, Jerry began praying that God would close the W&M door if that wasn’t the one for us.  He felt more pulled towards MA but didn’t want to be faced with the choice if he was admitted.  It would have been VERY hard for him to turn down the opportunity.  Within days of that prayer, God closed that door and contrary to the other rejections, this one was almost a relief.  We were both overwhelmingly content and excited about this next chapter of our lives back on the north shore of Massachusetts.

As I settled in to the idea of moving back to MA and looked back on the previous 6 months with a little more perspective, I was struck by God’s faithfulness in directly answering my prayers.  At the time, I was like a child kicking and screaming because I felt like God wasn’t answering my prayers.  But the reality was, He answered every one of them, just not in the way that I envisioned or in the timing that I desired.  I was angry with the waitlisting because I had been praying for clear direction and that just muddied the waters.  In reality though, the waitlisting was a direct answer to my persistent prayer throughout that year to build patience.  I realized that when I was praying for patience I wanted God to just miraculously give me that quality.  I didn’t realize that I would actually have to build patience. And that it would be hard and uncomfortable.  God wasn’t just going to give me patience, but He was going to give me opportunities to build patience, and that He did.  And I actually became more content in the waiting and trusting process.  Miraculously.

And we had been praying all along for clear direction and open doors.  We prayed this largely because we felt like Jerry would get in to multiple programs and we would then have to make the best choice between them.  Never did we think that he wouldn’t get in anywhere. But what better direction than closing all the doors, especially in the end when getting off the waitlist was a distinct possibility that would have made the choice significantly more difficult. Answered prayer.

So I am learning, slowly, that God knows the bigger picture and it is in my best interest to trust His plan instead of my own.  Looking back over my life, he has always delivered and yet every time, when in the midst of it all, I kick and scream that my fragment of the picture isn’t looking the way that I want.  Why don’t I just trust more fully?  They say the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and let’s just say that God’s track record in my life is flawless…sometimes I am just a slow learner…

Our first weekend back in Beverly, with friends at Lynch Park

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