"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Crossroad

Have you ever truly faced a crossroad in life? You know, one of those places where you are faced with two options, both of which are good, but each incredibly different from the other, and the decision affects not only you but those for whom you are responsible.  I personally know people who always seem to have their lives sorted out and there never seem to be any hiccups that get in the way, never any crises.  Job goes well, kids are perfect, health is great, marriage happy, plenty of money, year after year after year.  I don't know many of these people but there are a few and I can tell you, Donald and I are not those people.  We seem to face various crises, good and bad and almost always life changing, on a regular basis.  Maybe we aren't learning the lessons God has for us the first ten times around and those other people pay better attention than we do.

The crossroad at which we find ourselves standing right now is a ripple effect from being retired from the Navy about 10 years sooner than expected.  Donald has before him two possible job opportunities, one on each coast, and each just about as different from the other as could be.  Before I go further, let me clarify that I am certainly not complaining about this because we feel blessed to have any job offer in this type of economy.  It's just tough having to  decide which option is best and more importantly, where does God want us to be?

The first job is back in Virginia, training to be a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Supervisor at a Veteran's Affairs hospital under a man Donald truly admires and has under during his own CPE year in 2008.  The job pays very little during the training period of 3-5 years but eventually would open up into a government contract position (read:  well paid) at hospitals worldwide.  The worldwide part is important because it would provide opportunity to live overseas again, something I long to do.  CPE is something Donald is very good at and he is quite interested in training other chaplains.  The boys and I are not terribly thrilled about living in VA again, especially since my household goods are currently in MT, but it is, at least, familiar.  If we go to VA we are talking about putting the boys in private school with me possibly teaching so there would be some major changes.

The second job has not officially been offered but is a retreat/camp called the Refuge in the Olympic mountains in Washington state.  Because of an email several days ago we are turning our nose west (we are in Kings Bay, GA) tomorrow and heading out there to check it out.  So heads up, Virginia folk, we won't be showing up next month like we planned.  We don't know much about the job but based on what we have read it looks we would be running the place and without any remuneration except, perhaps, a place to live.  Again, we have zero specifics until we meet with the folks who are looking to retire and who want a younger couple to take over.  The reason this is appealing is multi-fold: we both have extensive camp experience, both as campers and counselors (I'm not sure I ever missed going to camp from 3rd through 12th grade and I spent two summers in college as a camp counselor in WY and MT); we are gleaning a lot of information from the many campgrounds we are staying at during the Big Adventure; and, years ago Donald wanted to build a retreat center for folks in ministry who needed a place to refresh.  The idea got scrapped because we were in seminary and broke.  However, we wonder if now is God's time for us to have a retreat center.  Also, Washington state is the only place in the US we have ever considered settling in permanently; the boys are dying to go back which is why all of these factors make this job an interesting proposition.

So you see, both are great choices but would have very different outcomes for how our lives would look.  We know exactly what to expect in VA and have no idea what it would be like in WA.  Our crossroads in life have always, always taken us on Frost's "road less travelled;" many times the road less travelled has been the more difficult, but ultimately the best, option.  Those of you following the blog who are praying sorts, we ask that you keep us in your prayers over the next few weeks as we discern which choice to make.  The job in VA needs an answer sometime before April so there isn't a lot of time.  We don't want to rush anything but want to fully explore both options and to hear from the Lord where He wants us.  He has always shown us in the past and we are confident He will do so again.


  1. Let us know if you guys will have time to stop by here on your visit...Doug d.bwilliams96 at gmail.com

  2. A voice from the past: Don and Denise, through a set of twisted (no pun intended)turn of events Brad Young made me aware of your accident on Tuesday. Tuesday night Wednesday morning God laid it on my heart that we need to be praying for you. Brad and myself contacted Mike Wolfe and we have set up a prayer meeting to pray for you guys. This will happen on Wednesday at 7pm. you can reach me at 402-290-6080 or rduckworth99@netscape.net Ron

  3. I vote for the Washington job!!! Hee-hee! I will continue to pray not only for safe travels but for guidance as well.

  4. We have a couple in our church who are working for a mission group as counselors for returning missionaries. They have even gone to India to help where needed there. If your would like to talke to them, I would be willing to try and set up a meeting for you with them. They could give you some good insite into this type of ministry. He is a former pastor. They are both very sharp people.
    My email is lvelenchenko@aol.com. Also, if you have time, we would love to see you.
    Love & prayers,

  5. Bummer! We were looking forward to seeing you guys!! Let us know when you'll be out this way...otherwise, you'll have to meet us in Michigan for in October;)