Thirty. Single. Living with my parents. Working a part-time job. Driving a car from the 90's. This is not where I hoped or thought I would be at this point in my life.
While I was in Germany, it seemed like everyone who moved back to the states had everything work out so well for them. Found significant others, got married, got great jobs, lived in exciting places, etc. (these are still the same things I continue to see from people who have moved back from Germany since I did). I just assumed this is how it would work for me, too. After all, I gave up five years of my life to serve God on the mission field. Surely He would reward me with these things like so many others. ("Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." -Philippians 2:3-4). It's not that those hopes were my motive, it was just a subconscious thinking of a benefit that could come from it.
When I moved back two years ago today, I had planned on living with my folks for up to a year while working a full-time job to save enough money to move somewhere else (preferably the Seattle area). Finding a full-time job was not so easy. I not only thought God would reward me for having spent five years on the mission field, but thought that employers (especially at churches, ministries, Christian schools) would love to hire someone with that experience, too. Turns out, doesn't make much of a difference. I ended up getting a part-time job at a coffee shop run by a church. I figured if I had to resort to a part-time job, at least I was still working for a church in a ministry setting. However, working at a coffee shop was literally the last thing I wanted to do when thinking about moving back to the states. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that I have a job and for wonderful co-workers and the relationships I've built with customers, it's just not what I was hoping for.
After starting work at the coffee shop, I started to realize just how good I had it in my last job. It was one of those things that I didn't realize what I had until it was gone. It was a job that was ministry based, involved working with and ministering to people, doing a mixture of administrative work, and utilized many of my gifts and passions. I also loved the people I worked with, felt so fulfilled by being able to use my strengths and from being appreciated in the work I did. Ever since, I have wished for a job that could make me feel like that again.
These last two years I have applied to many jobs across the U.S. and every time I didn't get it, I said to myself, "that just means God has something even better in store for me". Yes, I do still believe this is true, but it sure gets harder to think and say with every rejection. ("Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6)
I continue to look for jobs and apply to anything that seems interesting and that I'm qualified for. I still hope and pray for something ministry related as that is where my heart lies, but strive to trust in God that He will lead me to what He has in store for me in His timing. ("Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." -Philippians 4:6) I also continue to slowly purchase things for my own future residence with dreams of what it will be while filling up my parents' den.
I not only struggle in waiting for things to happen in my work life, but also in my personal life. Everyday I jealously see posts of others getting engaged, married, and having kids. I long for that to be me. I think that's what makes it even harder to still be living with my parents. Yes, I would love to have my own place, but I would love even more to be setting up a home with a husband. I so often feel "behind" as many people my age are not only married and having a kid, but have MULTIPLE kids at this point. Trusting God in this can be even harder sometimes as I wish I didn't even have to be looking for a full-time job. What I really want is to be a stay-at-home mom raising kids and volunteering at church rather than working for one. One night recently at work, there were multiple groups of women meeting up. Many seemed to be friends from church. I got this feeling like I am left out of some kind of "club" because I am still single. I am the same age and older than some of these gals, yet because I'm single with no kids, I'm not a part of these groups. It's become painful to see women my age (worse when they're younger) come in to the shop with kids or being pregnant as the jealousy and pain can be so strong. When this happens I silently ask God, "why? why can't this be me coming to a coffee shop with my kid(s) to meet up with a fellow mom rather than working here as a single gal?". Did I mention my coffee shop is also next to a bridal store? Talk about a daily reminder.
Through it all, I hope and pray that one day soon I will be able to say, "This is it! This is what the wait has been for!". In the meantime, I have to go through the hard times that will one day make sense and be able to show God's goodness and plan for this time. Patience has never been my strong suit.