Time For A Change…Of Plans. Again.

So after laboring over this post for too much time, I’ll just get to the point. Change has finally come our way. We don’t have all our answers, but some clarity has finally found us. I don’t even know how to tell this story, but I’ll do my best.

If you really need caught up, I’d suggest starting HERE, for the 2012 “beginning”. Or if you want to start from the beginning in 2011 go HERE. 🙂 That post actually comes full circle with something I want to share.

As I suspected, events have unfolded not as I suspected. Nothing has gone according to our plans and I shouldn’t been surprised by now. With 5 weeks to go, we knew God said He would act in the last moments, so to just hang tight. In my mind, we couldn’t pull the plug on any of this until God intervened. Or unless someone intervened  on His behalf. A big piece of the puzzle was the funding, and when Jason’s meeting on Monday was ended, he told me it was over. The DC move was over. Is over. The funding wasn’t there. And with that we had our clarity. Our intervention. If the money would have been there, if we had jobs, if our house was selling, if, if, if…None of it was coming together. We had held out hope that it would. His acceptance to school was why we were risking so much. For the second year in a row people were saying goodbye to us, we were preparing ourselves emotionally and physically for moving. It was scary, but we looked forward to the change and the challenge. I was disappointed. Jason was relieved. The weight he carried to take care of us all and go after his dream was beginning to take a toll. It would be one thing if the money was there, if we knew we wouldn’t struggle with money or with each other in DC. We knew we would. And without jobs secured there and the potential of foreclosure back home, we knew we couldn’t continue with our plan any longer. It had all hinged on this meeting about funding on Monday and that was the final word on the subject.

The goal is still the same. We still feel called that the PhD is in Jason’s future. It’s the path to get there that has changed. As of now, this fall, Jason will once again apply to Duquesne, and now to University of Dayton. We will try to refinance our house, stay in it, and he will commute a couple days a week to one of those schools, assuming his acceptance. Job wise? We’re working on it. We have 4 weeks to find something. God will provide.

As I reflect on what happened this week, I realized that I had my “Isaacs” confused. There was nothing that would make me believe that what we were putting on the altar wasn’t the idea of living in D.C., Jason getting his PhD there, living in a safe neighborhood with many wonderful cultural experiences at our fingertips. We put a lot on the line in order for this to happen. What I thought God should have provided didn’t come. I still don’t understand it fully. My faith is not shaken- I just don’t have the hindsight to see the “why” yet. The little bits of the “why” that I see shining through, however, are that maybe our “Isaac” was actually Ashland. It was our house, our friends, our church family, my family, comfort, stability, a job, familiarity, our home. We could have avoided the stress of the last two years by just keeping that off the altar, just going about our lives here. But for reasons I still don’t know, we felt we should give it up to move on to something new and exciting. I wanted an adventure. I think the last 2 years have been just that, and I didn’t have to go anywhere. We were taken to the point of putting the dagger in our home, our life and delving into a risky plan with no jobs, a lost house, no place to live and two kids. But God stepped in and provided. It wasn’t a job (yet) or a school with 100% funding that starts this fall, but He provided a lack of funding through someone else to force us to stay.

I don’t regret any of this, I’m just still a little thrown off. I’m also starting to feel a huge burden lifted off my shoulders knowing that we did all we could do and we hung in there faithfully to the end. It was the most trying time in our lives so far. We were so prepared to sacrifice a lot of important things and I was so geared up to do it, that when I heard the news, I think I was just in shock. And then I cried a lot. My first thought was kind of mad at God and thinking what the heck was the point of the last couple years? Now I’m starting to realize He may have saved us from a lot more stress and heartache. I can’t know for sure, and maybe I’m just trying to make sense out of something that doesn’t make any. Someone who cares deeply for us told us we’d be on a fast track to divorce if we pushed on through the closed doors of our situation and jumped deeper into debt, stress and time away from our kids and each other.  Again, I can’t know for sure and I would like to think all that wouldn’t affect us, but maybe God saved us from that.

You wanna know something funny? The afternoon after Jason’s important lunch meeting, he gets a call from a church he sent his resume in to in DC. They were interested in him for the position he applied for and wanted to do a phone interview.

We had been sending resumes since March. This was the first reply back from any of them.

Tuesday (the next day after the meeting), Jason gets another call from an unknown number. The message? From a place in DC he put his resume- they wanted to do a phone interview with him.

Wednesday. I check my email. From Mike So-And-So, Ancestry.com employee. They reviewed my resume and wanted to set up a phone interview with me for the position of Archival Digitization Specialist.

Timing is everything.

While I groan about the timing of those job possibilities, they were still just that. Possibilities. None of which would have solved our problems anyway. One of us would still need part time work on top of that and still make time for Jason to do full time schooling. It was flattering that we were considered for those positions at least.

Let’s be clear about one thing. I love Ashland, and I’m fine living here if that’s where God calls us. I was just willing to leave and try something new. But this all kind of confirms my and my neighbor’s theory that Ashland is a black hole (in a “relative you love but don’t want to spend every second with” kind of way) that you just can’t leave. We now have started to look at our house not as a temporary space, but a place of even more potential, and we’ve already started talking about how we want new carpet in all the bedrooms someday and I’m thinking about repainting our porch. Maybe matching end tables for the living room finally, and maybe we’ll get around to fixing the lighting under the kitchen cabinets. Maybe even making the doorbells that haven’t worked since we’ve moved in actually ring again.

Seeing hot air balloons in the sky last evening gave my seemingly shrinking roots here a jolt downward into deep soil. There are things I get frustrated with Ashland about, but I was born a few blocks up the road from where I live now. My mom and dad and sisters are here. My closest friends are here. We have wonderful neighbors, who are wonderful friends. We have a support network that we are humbled to have. We have the opportunity to stay in our home and are doing just that. Thanks for all your prayers during this stressful uncertain time. We’ve felt them.

Let me end with some apologies:

To those of you friends and family around the DC area, I’m sorry we won’t get to be near you and spend more time out of the year hanging out with you. We really did try. We will still visit and you are always welcome to come north and visit. Maybe you’re sighing with relief. 🙂

To those of you in the World Headquarters of Nice People looking forward to our departure from Ashland, I’m also very sorry. You’re probably stuck with us for a long time.

6 thoughts on “Time For A Change…Of Plans. Again.

  1. Jerry Flora says:

    Stumbled on your post, Allison, and I’m glad I did. No glib answers by way of commentary, no slick cliches for you. Only God knows what’s up, and we usually find out in hindsight. I admire the faith of you guys in all of this, and I hope you know how much you are loved — and by how many people.

    • Even in our bewilderment at how plans come together… or fall apart, what you say is true: we might not understand all of this (everything ever), but you are seeking God, and God is faithful to you. It’s mysterious, but his plans and purposes are always far better than anything I could’ve pulled off on my own, and even when we’ve had crushing losses and disappointments, feeling as if we’re walking in line with God and losing anyway, he has redeemed every loss, every disappointment, every job rejection, every time. Praying for your new change of plans, and that the burdens of finances and all else will be lifted, or at least relieved for a time. 🙂

      • allisonraebarnhart says:

        I love how you put “he has redeemed every loss,” etc. That really sums it up! Thank you, Sarah, for your prayers and encouragement!

    • allisonraebarnhart says:

      Thank you for your comment Jerry. Thank you for continuing to be such an encouragement in this journey we’ve been on.

  2. sabrina says:

    Allison I have been catching up on the blogs just having joined the mourning doves site. I am so sorry for all the stress but I am so happy that God has revealed his very good plan in his very good time. I so love your honesty in your sharing it is sooo encouraging. I do not know God’s plans for me jobwise or not but I know they are just right and one day at a time l choose to trust Him. Adjusting for shoulder therapy, I plan on substituting on a regular basis. I have applied in ashland and richland county. We’ll see what God plans are:)
    It feels quite different to be at First Presby. I miss Pastor Bill and everyone there but I know this where God wants me now with my hubby and ready to serve with Pastor Mike and the folks here. I feel rather constrained at times and I think I will really need a boost from Y’all lively worshippers to keep a goin!!

    • allisonraebarnhart says:

      Sabrina, thanks for the comment! You have always been a picture of encouragement in my mind! Many stories you’ve shared with me over the years has opened my eyes to the faithfulness of God’s promises in our lives. So thank you for that:) Prayers to you as you wade through your uncertainty with the job search!!! They are fortunate to have you at Presby, but we sure do miss you at PSBC:) Much love sister!

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