i know you've all been anxiously awaiting my "decision" on the job in north carolina. first, before i let you know my answer, i want to praise God for his faithfulness in making His will known. even though up to about an hour ago (and i'm sure i will have moments in the future as well) i thought i just might change my mind and go the other way, i feel finally at peace with my decision and i'm confident that God is in this. if anything He has used this process to refine me, to expose my sin as well as my deepest desires, and He has been calling me to trust him and listen and *wait.* second, i want to thank you all for listening, praying, and encouraging me over the past two weeks. this has been a very difficult decision and i have felt your support. it means a lot to me that i have friends who will devote their time and love to me in such a real way, at such an important crossroads in my life. i realize that i am not alone in this and you are all part of helping me realize that. (you can reread this again if you skimmed it to get to my answer :o))
so after much prayer and contemplation i called the headmaster yesterday. i thanked him for believing in me (he made this clear in words *and* actions) and he said he truly trusted the testimony of my friends and colleagues there and never doubted for a second that i was the person he wanted. unexpectedly, as i told him how much his belief in me meant, tears came. and then i turned the position down. it felt so uncanny to be walking away from something that seems right in so many ways. salem was where i would say i received my calling. it was there that i fell in love with teenagers, and where i discovered my gifts in ministry and counseling. it was certainly a place where i came alive.
and yet it was also a place that, in the end, failed me. i felt overworked and undervalued. it was like a relationship i knew i had to leave.
now, five years later, it is the opposite. someone realizes the gifts i could bring, and is fighting for me to come back. and my hesitation to return has caught me by surprise. as good as it feels to have a potential employer believe so strongly in me, it doesn't mean that it is necessarily the right thing. it doesn't make it right for me to pick up my whole life here and start over right now. in five years i have changed, and i have grown roots here in boston. it is no small thing to leave that behind, and i don't think i'm ready to just yet. i will be, if the timing is right, and if i feel compelled to go. but for now something is stopping me. something invisible and unexplainable, but something nonetheless.
i don't need a ministry at salem to define me anymore. at one point it consumed me, and i didn't know who i was apart from it. that was why it was so hard to leave the first time. now, i know that God could use me in so many other ways, and i look forward to seeing what those are.
maybe He will bring me back to Salem one day. but it will be when the timing is right, and when i feel that it will be right for me. until then, i will look at my yearbooks, and read my old tag room notes, and browse through my pictures. and smile.