Friday, November 12, 2010

Road Blocks

So, here's my question. How many road blocks does it take to convince you that maybe you are going in the wrong direction? Or do road blocks mean you are going in the right direction, which makes the devil shake in his boots, and they are just his attempt to get you to change directions?

I'm so confused. So please, as you read this and have any wisdom, advice, or decide you would like to be my personal decision maker, please feel free to share.

(Warning: this is very long, but I think that as much as this is something I want advice on, writing it out is part of my thinking process. Bare with me if you will, and if not thats okay too :)

The Direction:
As I wrote about a couple months ago, I have decided to go back to school to become an Occupational Therapist. For the last four years I have worked closely with the Occupational Therapists and the kids in my classroom, and I really enjoy it.

I also really enjoy traveling and ministering to children and families in developing countries, which made me think that that Occupational Therapy would be perfect. It is a service that is so needed and not available in so many places, and could really be life changing.

On top of those two things, as much as I love my job, it does not pay me enough to live on. Right now I am boarding with a gracious family in one of their extra rooms. I love it here, and they are like family, but I do not want to over stay my welcome. But, at this point, my paycheck isn't even covering my expenses (because of doctor bills) and my savings is slowly being sucked dry. So, I must make a change somewhere, and Occupational Therapy is something I am passionate about, and just seems like the right move.

Forseen Obstacles:
When God placed this on my heart, I knew there would be challenges.

Checking out OT programs, the nearest one is three hours away, meaning I will eventually have to move.

Looking at the prerequisites for the master's program, I knew there would be a lot of classes I would have to take before even applying, and I would have to do so while continuing to work full-time. I did it before, so I knew I could do it again.

I also knew that this would be a long process, but that it would be worth it in the end.

Last, but not least, I knew that school costs money. My plan was to try to pay my way through community college by picking up extra jobs here and there, and take out student loans when I get to the university. I have made it this far living my entire life below the poverty level, and God has provided. So why doubt him now?

These things I knew would be challenging, but possible.

The road blocks:
As I have looked further into the classes I need to take, the prerequisites have prerequisites, which have prerequisites, all but three of which I need. OT is a very sciences based degree, and for my Bachelor's of Liberal Studies I only had to take two science classes of my choice. It turns out the two I took are, naturally, about the only two that are not requirements for this program.

This means not only more time, but more money. Plus, these being sciences that must be taken in order, it will take at least six semesters to complete. And these are just my prereqs. I actually need to take as many units of prereqs as I need to take to complete the master's program. Overwhelming.

I completed the application for school months ago, and have just been waiting for my registration date which was last Monday. Lets just say that every possible complication that could have arose did, and we finally figured out the issues and I was able to get in to register today.

Unfortunately, every single class that I could have taken this semester is closed. This means that not only is the class full, the waiting list is full. I have to start with the core group of prereqs to get into the the next group of classes, so they are the only place I can begin.

Not giving up yet, I went beyond my city, and checked the classes I need in every single community college within 1 hour of where I live. ALL CLOSED.

This means, at the best, if I get all my classes for the summer semester, and every semester beyond that, I will be able to apply for the master's program in the fall of 2013, and if I am accepted I will begin in 2014, and graduate in 2016.

See why I am frustrated?

Now, not that I let money limit me, but more issues have arose that also make me question if this is the responsible thing to do financially. I want to be faithful, but I want to be responsible.

I still have student loans I am paying off from college the first time around. Then, this month, my health insurance went up 135%. Ironically, I am having a hard time paying my medical bills due to the increase in my health insurance. And, it seems that I will likely have to have surgery within the next couple months.

I also found out that because of a change in policy, I will not be able to teach summer school this year. I will be able to assist (as I do during the school year), but it will be a 50% pay cut of what I usually make during the summer months.

Urggghhhh....

The Choices:
So, as far as I see it, here are my choices:

1.Try again to register for the classes I need for the summer semester, and keep the faith alive that the money will come in to cover my surgery plus the cost of school.

2. Keep my job and look for another part time job to help cover my bills, as well as praying about what direction God wants to take me. (If I have another job, I will not have time to go back to school).

3. Continue to look into ministries that are already working with special needs children overseas, and seeing if they have a place for me. (I have done this, but have not recieved replies from any of the 4 organizations I emailed.) I would have to finish paying off my student loans before moving overseas again, so maybe a combination of choice 2 and choice 3 could be the right move?

4. Apply for the moderate/severe disabilities credentialing program. My supervisor has been pushing for this, but it is expensive. The first year would be out of pocket (or loans), but the second year they would likely help me with the cost. I could still use the summers to travel and help in some ways overseas, but in most places special needs children do not attend school, so I am not sure where exactly my education/experience would fit in there.

So, there you have it. In all honesty, if it weren't for the pay, I love my job enough that I would stay there forever if I could. But, I cannot afford to be independent, none the less use the summers to do overseas ministry, so I know I must make a move in some direction.

I have no idea at this point which direction it will be, but I will let you know. Or, you can let me know. Really, help please?

8 comments:

Melissa Irwin said...

wow - those are all tough to process. i can tell you only that at one point in my life....involving solid sensible planning, God placed road blocks that completely prevented me from pursuing a specific career move. sometimes those roadblocks really are from Him, for good reason. but, i dunno.

Rebecca said...

Melissa- the fact that you actually sat and read through all my mess means a lot! I think you are right. I am kinda leaning in going in another direction, but I have until summer school registration in May to pray about it. Thanks for the wisdom!

Mark Langham said...

All I know to tell you is follow the peace of God. If you can stay in that place you'll know you are in His will. Personally, from the outside.....the very....very outside...and maybe I should keep my mouth shut (answer yes there) I have felt your passion so much greater while you have been talking about the persecuted church and the victims of human trafficking and poverty than anything else. I'd hate to lose you in those fights. My opinion aside. This is scripture, Wait on the Lord (actively). No door He opens can be shut, none He closes opened. Seek first His kingdom...the other stuff...money etc....just fodder for the big fire to end all fires. We love you Rebecca, your friends are praying for wisdom for you....just ask God to show you what breaks His heart and go to those people. Proud of you though...either way. :)

Rebecca said...

Mark- No, you should not keep your mouth shut! I value your input so very much. And to be honest, I am thinking about it, and there are a couple of the choices I do not feel at peace about, so thank you for helping me see that :) And thank you so so much for your prayers and encouragement. They mean more than you know!

faithlikemustard said...

I don't have any advice, but I have recently been at a crossroads myself. I just finished graduate school in May and thought that the next logical conclusion would be to work in the field that I had just prepared for. Then we moved. I was really down and felt lost. But during this transition time, I have found that God is changing my path and my desires. There's a good chance that I might never work in the field that I studied. Even though I still sometimes struggle, I know that God's plans are always better than mine. (I just wish he'd give me a heads-up sometimes--LOL). I hope that God clearly leads you to your path.

Rebecca said...

@FaithLikeMustard- Thanks...happy to know I'm not alone :) Prayers for you and clarity down your path as well!

KEZ said...

I don't have advice persay but I think I can offer another perspective. I think a lot of times people see roadblocks as reasons not to do something. While that is often the case, I would argue that it's not the only case. Sometimes roadblocks are placed in your path to MAKE you turn to God and rely on Him. It's another way to bring God glory. As if to say what roadblocks...my God can overcome anything!

Practically I think it's going to come down to a lot of prayer. Seek wise counsel from pastors, friends, and family. Since your uncertainties have a lot to do with finances, it probably wouldn't hurt to sit down with a financial adviser, especially one who is a Christian.

Just a side note: have you ever considered turning your blog into a job - earning money from advertisers? Some bloggers advertise for selfish reasons but it looks like your heart is not driven by self-motives. I would not be upset to see any ads on your blog. I'd be happy to support you by visiting your blog daily!

Rebecca said...

@Kez-

Thank you so much for your input, and I know you are so right! Sometimes God wants us to take that leap of faith...but when you are in the situation, it is hard to gage what kind of road block it is. I have until May until I can try to register again, so I will be using that time to seek counsel and pray.

I haven't really considered doing advertisements, but I don't know much about it. I am annoyed when people have a lot of them on their blog, and I figured I probably don't have enough traffic to profit much anyways....mabe its somethings to think about.