Sunday, May 4, 2014

Change on the Horizon

Steve and the kids by the Capitol, February 2014

This month marks one year of living in our townhouse, and 2 1/2 years of living in the metro Washington, D.C. area. It's hard to believe that we've now been in D.C. longer than we've lived anywhere else since leaving Wheaton, Illinois in 2005. And hopefully we'll be here for the next 4-5 years to come. After that, all bets are off!

Life is about to change quite a bit for us, though, despite the fact that we're feeling increasingly settled in a home we own, and in a city that feels familiar and comfortable. The upcoming change is that Steve will be leaving his editorial job at Georgetown University, and becoming a full-time PhD student there instead. We got word in March that he's been accepted into a funded Theological and Religious Studies program, with a comparative focus on Islam and Christianity, and he's let his workplace know that August 1 will be his last day of full-time employment. Though this is a continuation of the path we've been on for 9 years now -- the journey that took us to Edinburgh, Oxford, and Amman -- he'll still be starting from scratch and unless he receives 'advanced standing' (which he very well might, due to his previous Master's degrees also in Islamic studies), it will be a 5-year commitment. 

Steve is thrilled to pieces about this. He's been increasingly unhappy at work, and simultaneously feeling frustrated that he's not pursuing his true calling. His ultimate goal is to teach at the university level, and for this, he needs the PhD. 

I am less than 'thrilled to pieces' about this new stage in our lives, but I'm definitely proud of Steve for his hard work and perseverance, and thankful for a funded education for him. I know there will be many benefits from it and I'm trying to focus on those instead of all my fears and worries. God has provided so faithfully for us in the past, and in our present. How can I not trust Him for our next steps?

We would love to keep homeschooling our three kids, and think that through my part-time work and Steve's stipend, we'll be able to do that. Finances will be tight, but we're already used to pinching pennies, and our situation won't be too different from what it's been the past couple years. For this, I'm especially grateful!

If you think of us, please pray for peace and unity. Pray that God will use this program to deepen and enlarge Steve's understanding, and that He will give us just the right finances to make it through the next few years of student living. We are glad we have a BIG God!
Naomi by the White House, 2 1/2 years ago

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