Saturday, May 9, 2009

Confessions of a XM Junkie...

I love our new XM radio system!  Over 100 channels of endless music, no commercials (well, maybe a few, but not that many), and songs I haven't heard in years.  Nostalgia at its BEST!  We bought the system a few months ago when Circuit City closed, mainly because we had a feeling I was going to be on the road a lot.
Why am I going to be on the road?

Well, many of you have read about my "precariousness", and I would venture to say that most, if not all, of you know the majority of this story.  However, some of you don't, and I figured it was finally time to share with everyone what has been going on in the Avery household.


First, let's rewind to December 2008.  I had just finished my first semester at ECU and I was driving home one afternoon from church and was catching up on my Andy Stanley podcasts.  It was a drizzly day and COLD and I remember thinking that I did not want to go to work the next day, I just wanted to stay home with my kids. Something in Andy's talk said to dream big and not be afraid to take the next step.  I remember him saying/praying, "it's for the mom who wants to be home with her kids."  That was me!  I have always wanted a job that let me be home more, even as a teacher I'm away more than I would like.

So, I took a deep breath and said something like, "Ok, God, I'm gonna just lay it all out there.  You know how unhappy my job makes me--I want to work at a college or full time at a church doing something music ministry or education-related. I want a job that I only have to work for 2-3 days a week to be home more with Chris and the girls, but you and I both know that I need my full pay check for our family to survive.   Oh, and if you could throw in the insurance that would be great too, amen."  I drove home and didn't think much about it.

Until.

About a month later, my husband came home and said, "I was talking to Chris (Woolard) today at church about a position at RBC."

I immediately said, "We are NOT moving to Elizabeth City."

And Chris went on to say, "I don't think you would have to--because they were trying to get Chris to come do it and he wasn't going to move/quit either."

Interesting.

My mind went immediately to my December prayer.  However, I needed to make sure that Chris W. wasn't planning to apply or pursue the position because I'm not a job-stealer by any means.  Chris W. was good to go--and actually dropped my name to the appropriate people at RBC because he's cool like that.

The whole time I remember praying, "Ok, whatever it is, I want it to be YOUR will and not mine."

The very next day I received a phone call from RBC and talked for a long time about my desires to only work 3 days a week, salary, everything--pretty demanding for someone without a completed masters degree.  RBC seemed willing to think about it, and requested references and a resume.

The following week I received an email that they were ready to start with a phone interview.  I was amazingly calm--especially considering that this was the same afternoon Lily broke her arm (you may recall the 4pm prayer request blog).

I felt a great peace about the situation for the entire next week.  In fact, by the end of the following week I really started checking my mailbox for the "thanks but no thanks" letter simply because I hadn't heard from the college, and I was ok, because something this huge needed to be up to God.  And I was going to be ok one way or another.

BUT, I received an email from the school requesting a face to face interview, a lecture, guest teaching, and some sort of special music.  So, in February Chris and I prepared to drive to EC for my busy day.  I prepared for over a week on my presentations, and I was nervous only because I simply wanted to be myself and not try to be someone that I wasn't to make myself fit the school/position.  I wanted to 100% represent myself and not walk away with any regrets.

I started to go through some serious doubts--could I really walk away from the school I had been with?  Would RBC have enough money to support my position a year from now?  Was I good enough to handle this job?  I mean, this job is way bigger than me--and has a tremendous impact.  Not only would I work with the students, but those students would go on to churches and impact their congregations.  Was I prepared for the responsibility?  What about Molly?  Would she resent me being gone a few nights a week in exchange for two days at home?  Could I arrange my schedule to ensure that I was at home for dinner as much as possible?  Would I have to give up my summers?  Would we be able to survive on a slight pay cut that I would take?  DID I REALLY WANT TO DRIVE FOR ALMOST 2 HOURS ONE WAY FOR A JOB I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT???
Would the students like me?
Would I like the students?
Am I doing the right thing?

I went through this horrible terrible spell and I was so doubtful about my abilities and what I was doing.  I began asking you fellow bloggers to pray for my peace and clarity--and low and behold, it was like the very arms of God reached down and held on like I've never experienced.  He told me (honestly, I was at the stove stirring a pot of yucky hamburger helper and I HEARD Him like I've never heard Him before)--"You know what?  I sent Beth Ann to Africa, Connie had to lose her mom, Jill has to lose her health and possibly her life--and all I'm asking is for a few afternoons a week."

I just started crying, because I never had been so certain in my entire life about what I was supposed to do.  I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, and my continued prayer was, "Lord, just shut the doors when you want me to stop.  I just want to be where YOU want me to be, and I just want to go where YOU want me to go."

Seriously, it was such an incredible peace.

I even failed a major theory test that week--and I started stressing because I thought I would get behind if I failed this course, and how would I explain that to the hiring people at RBC??  And then I heard, "I want you to have this job--don't worry about theory."

The day finally came.  We spent the night at Ottis & Kay's the night before (and Kim even agreed to cut my hair to look fresh for the day).  Chris and I slept on their guest bed and apparently the frame was either broken or not set right because it felt like an earthquake every time Chris or I BREATHED let alone turned over.  I remember seeing the clock every hour until at least 2:30--and I had to be up by 5:00am.  I kept saying, "God, if this is really Your desire, then You will have to give me energy for the day!"

I felt so at ease and comfortable that day, even during the lectures and interviews.  I was 100% me--and I walked out with a semi-hopeful commitment from the school.  Dr. Larsen indicated that perhaps they would want me to do a worship interview--but he assured us that it wasn't necessary.

Chris and I drove home that evening very excited about the possibility.

About a week later, Dr. Larsen called to ask a few questions and clarify a few things, and then told me that I would need to meet with President Perkins for a final "conversation."  We met the Perkins for dinner when he came to speak at Christ's Church.  He dropped a bomb during the conversation, "What if we delayed your start date for a year if RBC didn't have the money for your position?"  I made it very clear that while I was interested, I could not commit a year out because who knows what's going to happen in a year?  I remember thinking, "Ok God, what in the world?  What's the deal??  I thought this was what You wanted for me?"  Dr. Perkins told me to wait for a call/email from Dr. Larsen for the final word.

After a week and no information from Dr. Larsen, I finally emailed him and said that if RBC couldn't guarantee my job, then I didn't want the position.  I can't accept a position on the hopes that I'll be employed and then find out at Christmas that I was jobless.  He was very nice, but it was clear there were some financial hold ups.  I replied, "Should I prepare myself for bad news?"  His short reply was, "I honestly don't know."

UGH!  It had been 3 weeks at this point since my formal interview and I finally just began telling people that I didn't think I had gotten the position and that I was ok...blah blah.  It was such a weird feeling.  I didn't understand why I had gone through all of this to be dropped at the very last interview.  But, whatever it was, it was ultimately His plan.

THEN--Dr. Larsen called and offered me the job!  RBC had decided to hire me instead of trying to hire an additional preaching position in order to ensure my pay.  They also agreed to go up from what we originally discussed in regards to salary to make the offer more appealing to me.  WOW!

When I went to tell my principal the following day (who has been very awesome and supportive throughout this process--another answered prayer)--she was sad, but then she said, "That's good because most likely your position wouldn't exist entirely next year.  Now I can cut you to save Art and Spanish."

Talk about a answered prayer before I even knew about it!
If you haven't been in the Greenville area lately, you need to know that Pitt County Schools is going through some major reductions in force, and the arts are all on the chopping block.  Not only would I have lost my position, there wouldn't have been another available one in the county.

Talk about Divine Timing!!!




So, as of July 1, 2009, I will be the first hire under the school's new name, Mid Atlantic Christian University (or MACU).  In the fall I will only work on MWF, and with the exception of Mondays, I will be home in time for dinner.  I will get to take Molly to school on my off days, and I will be home with Lily as well.  I will keep my benefits, and I will keep my salary.  It is a job working at a college doing worship and education.

God answered every....single....word...of my prayer.

God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.

And, yes, God answers the prayers of His children.

So, now I'm in this crazy transition.  My kids at school do not know, and a small majority of the staff know.  I'm waiting until closer to the end of the year to tell them.  I am dreading that day.  I do love my kids, as crazy as they are, I really do like them.  I have taught them for almost 4 years now, and I'm very attached.  This is the longest I've ever been at a school, and I will miss them.  But, I know I'm doing the right thing.

So, friends....there it is.  Maybe not as exciting as you may have hoped for, but incredibly awesome in my mind.

Happy Mother's Day to all of my mommy friends!

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