Honesty comes, eventually, as a relief. I’ve been waiting to write this post for months now. Years even, perhaps, it has been in the making. Though when God first whispers it seven years ago, you don’t listen that hard.
You hear him. But you second-guess yourself. And you assume you heard wrong.
Yet it turns out that I wasn’t wrong. When I walked along that faculty corridor some seven years ago and the sudden knowing came into my heart that I would one day work there, it would appear that I was hearing him.
When I wrote in this space four years ago that I thought I wanted to write and to teach, I was so tentative. I couldn’t believe that I might actually be hearing the invitation of his heart. So I murmured it quietly in a blog post and thought it was me, not him.
And when I saw some of the prophetic pictures I’ve seen in recent years, when I dreamt those dreams which sparkled with clarity and specificity unusual to a girl who claims only rarely to dream prophetically, I still kept filing it all away. Until it happened, all I could say to anyone was that I knew I was called to this place where I have invested already seven years of my life.
Then in April there were those words. The ones given by two people who didn’t realise the other had spoken to me. Directional words given within a twenty-four hour period, each essentially identical and one accompanied by a series of words of knowledge so detailed that the moment almost took my breath away.
Things were coming full circle. What was spoken in the realm of Spirit was coming, seven years later, into the realm of the natural.
It’s still been five months, though. A lot of weeks of negotiating the details, writing the resignation letter, waiting to tell the right people in the right order when all I wanted to do was be as honest as I normally am. And it’s made me realise how much I value transparency. With my brothers and sisters in Christ, I want to live a life that is open. I don’t like living secrets. Even when the secrets are part of giving honour as it should be given, inside I rail against them.
Today, though, I can be transparent again. I can write about something which has haunted my recent writing, always somewhere just out of frame. I can do this because today I have been able to tell my church community that I have resigned my employed role there. My call to LifeGiving remains. I remain in leadership there. But I am no longer the paid leader and things will change. Significantly for me, perhaps.
You see, things have come full circle now. The whisperings and murmurings which seemed hardly to be God have proven, in the end, to be his. And so I have begun working there now, just as he said I would, officially a faculty member of that place already inextricably woven into my heart and calling.
I don’t do so naively.
I say that, because some of you will wonder. Those who know. Who hurt, perhaps still. In fact, it’s you who care enough to wonder to whom I owe most thanks. You who got buffeted and bashed about. Because you are also, largely, the ones who believed in me. Who took a risk on an unproven Masters student, believing in her more than she did. Who paved the way for me to travel to this place.
You know who you are, these academic mentors. The one who offered me a lecture series for the open learning department and let me teach the only thing I thought I could stretch into more than one hour of material. The one who invited a friend and me to cover his classes during his sabbatical and then later recommended me to an American university looking for a freelance lecturer on their London programme. The Masters supervisor who let me talk endlessly in dissertation supervisions about real-life ministry, who held my hand as I embarked on leading two modules last year and who has given me all his teaching notes for this year. The PhD supervisor who quietly and consistently demonstrates his belief in me, both as a researcher and in the classroom, even when I am trying to have an unobtrusive(!) freak-out about not being up to any of it.
I want to name it, what you have done for me. You, and so many others outside of the academic sphere. Because I know that as I start in this new role, a bundle of nerves and driven energy to somehow stay afloat this term, I owe this opportunity to you. I owe the opportunity itself but I also owe to you the fact that today I believe I can do this job. Not all at once, perhaps. But I believe that I will grow into it, bit by bit. And that fragile not-quite-confidence is because you believed me into being what God has been speaking over me.
So I stand here today on the edge of something. I don’t know what. (Other than a battle for survival this term, of course!) I don’t know where it will all end. But I know that I am here in this place right now because of the God who called me and the saints who have stood with me.
And that, without doubt, is enough.