When I was laid off from my last job in January 2009, I didn’t expect I would find full-time work in the South Carolina Lowcountry again. I did some freelance writing and fundraising, moved to my mother’s house in Georgia for a month, then left to go live in South Africa. As I prepared to return to the States last December, I sensed that my time in Cape Town had really drawn to a close, that my ministry was finished, and that God was calling me back to my home country for a new season of life. I just didn’t know what that would look like.
For the past two months I’ve been applying for jobs and sending out resumes. I had one job offer a few weeks ago, for a counselor position with a school in northeast Georgia that works with troubled teens. On the surface it seemed tailor-made for me – helping kids, just as I had done in South Africa, and living in the southern Appalachian mountains, which I adore. But something about it just didn’t add up. Certainly not the pay, which was a pittance, but also the peace factor – it just didn’t feel right.
Now I’ve landed a job that I certainly didn’t see coming. Next Monday I’ll start work as communications coordinator for the Sea Pines community on Hilton Head Island. It’s not a drastic change from what I was doing before I got laid off; I just didn’t expect there to be another such opportunity in the area. It’s certainly not a missionary role in the sense of what I did in Africa. But Christians are called to be missionaries wherever God sends us, so I’ll be back on Hilton Head, where I first lived almost 13 years ago when I moved from Atlanta to join the staff of a golf magazine. I’ll be back with my home church, LowCountry Community, and am looking forward to attending LCC’s island campus. My house in nearby Bluffton is rented, so I’ll be living on the island, five minutes from work and two minutes from the beach. (I know, I know, it will be a tough life.) I’m looking forward to being part of a community again, to reuniting with old friends and making new ones, to getting involved in volunteer ministry within the LCC family.
One verse in particular had been on my heart the past two months as I sought God’s direction for where to live and work. Psalm 32, verse 8, says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” That was comforting throughout those weeks of uncertainty when the phone wasn’t ringing and I didn’t know where I would end up. When God's instruction became clear, it wasn’t through an audible voice or a message written in the clouds. It was just an unmistakable sense of peace, of knowing this is where He is calling me.
Another verse that's always given me great comfort with regard to location is Acts 17:26. In the NIV translation, it says, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”
Thanks to those who prayed with me that I would hear from God on where He wants me to be. Where He leads, I will follow.