The Story of Dan’s New Job

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A few week ago, Dan started a new job. I wanted to share this as a testimony of God’s provision and answers to our prayers concerning Dan’s work over the years we have been married so far. I believe this is only the beginning…

When Dan and I got married, we were both finishing college. Dan was working part time as a math tutor on campus with only foggy ideas about his career. He had considered ministry, but more recently, and after prayer, felt God wanted him to pursue a Master’s degree. So, Dan finished up his last semester and started a Master’s degree in math just as Lydia was born and spent her time in the NICU.

As a Master’s student, Dan was able to teach some classes and continued tutoring until summer. That summer, hours were low and we were preparing to live on our lowest budget yet, when Dan was offered an internship at a small engineering company in Ann Arbor. So, God provided the first real job of our married life.

Dan’s internship turned into a full-time job, but during that time Dan’s aspirations changed. He came home one night and said to me, “I think I want to start a business”.

I was doubtful but didn’t say much and just listened as he explained further. Over the next several months I came around and together we brainstormed countless business ideas. (My favorite was to publish a book entitled: 100 Businesses I Didn’t Start but You Should) Investing all of our future hopes into starting a business, while working in someone else’s business turns out to be quite challenging, and trying on the whole family. When Dan’s job ran out of work for him at the beginning of the year, it was a bittersweet transition.

Should he start a business now?

Should he try to change to a different field?

Should he get a PhD (this has been constantly under consideration over the past few years)?

What next???

We prayed and prayed and Dan applied and applied. He was eventually offered a job as a software engineer at a young, but growing, company in Ann Arbor. The day he accepted the job I was devastated, convinced that he would be stuck programming for the rest of his life dreaming of businesses that he would never start.

Through it all, we continued to pray. We prayed for wisdom and guidance, and we prayed that God would provide a more fitting, enjoyable job for Dan.

The software job wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t nearly as mathy or intellectual as Dan would have preferred, but the company invested in a ping pong table and the ping pong seemed to make everything a little better. Eventually I stopped asking Dan, “How was work?” and started asking, “How did ping pong go?”

We kept praying.

Then one day, so gradually and unexpectedly that I can hardly remember it, a small start-up contacted Dan on linked-in. While he was interested in their offer, he didn’t think he stood a chance at landing the job, so he didn’t even mention the upcoming interview with me until it came up during a Skype chat with his mom.

During the interview, Lydia and I prayed. We prayed mostly that, if this was a job God wanted for Dan, that he would land it whether he was qualified or not.

Dan came home that evening and told me they wanted a second interview.

The scene repeated itself. I don’t remember how many interviews Dan had, but it felt like a lot. Each time he would come home surprised and tell me they wanted to talk to him again. Each time he would insist he didn’t think he stood a chance at landing the job. Each time I became more and more convinced that maybe this really was a job God wanted Dan to take.

The day came for the final interview, but they didn’t get back to him right away. They didn’t get back to him the next day either. The next day, during the afternoon, I felt a strong urge to go and pray about the job. I spent a few minutes praying for the company, praying that Dan would be on their minds all day, praying that he would be the right match, praying that they would choose him. And when Dan came home that night he told me that they had.

We were in the middle of buying a house and skeptical about starting a new job. We didn’t want to do anything to slow down the housing process, but closing was almost a month away and the new company wanted Dan to start immediately. We talked it over with our mortgage lender and eventually decided Dan should start…that Monday. And he did.

This is the first time Dan has to check the clock to make sure he leaves work on time. It’s the first time he is invested and interested in the product. We love it. Protean is a small start-up, so they can’t offer all of the benefits of an established company, but they can offer other fun perks like generous vacation time and free lunches every day.

So now, Dan is a data analyst for the company called Protean. Their product, which they hope to launch later this year, is basically an all-in-one credit card that works with an iPhone app to hold all of your credit and store loyalty cards (anything you swipe, really). Dan’s job is to sort through all sorts of data and make meaningful graphs to display that data and help the company make good decisions.

Sometimes, when I need the car, we drop Dan off at work in the morning and pick him up at the end of the day. The girls and I have gotten to meet a lot of his coworkers and we’ve spent a little time lounging in the work area while we wait for Dan to finish. Lydia is already making friends for herself.

We don’t know if this job will last for one year or twenty, and we don’t know where God will lead us next. But after about three years of praying and waiting and wondering, we have seen God answer this prayer for a good (enjoyable) job for Dan, and we want to give Him the credit and the praise. (Even if there’s no ping pong 🙂 )

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Not Home Yet

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Last Thursday Dan called at around 6:00 in the evening to let me know that we’d be moving that night. I had nothing packed except for a bag of the girls’ clothes. Sometimes life feels to crazy to be for real.

Yes, this is our fourth move in a year. And, no, we don’t particularly enjoy the moving process. That’s not why we do it. Each and every one of our moves was for a perfectly good and logical reason, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easy. This time we had to move because our apartment building was filled with lots of smokers and the various forms of smoke were filling our apartment and making us sick. The real concern, though, was for little Abby. As an early preemie, Abby is already considered high-risk to have chronic lung problems and second-hand smoke was only adding to her risk factors. After seeking some advice from our family and doctor, we decided it wasn’t worth the risk to stay out our lease.

It took a while, but eventually our apartment management released us. We thought we had another place lined up for the move, but once we got out of our lease and gave the landlord a call we realized it wasn’t going to work out after all. With two weeks left to be out of our apartment we still didn’t have a place to go.

Sometimes I look back at the things that have happened to us in the past year and I can’t believe it. There have been so many unexpected emergencies, changes, and a lot of waiting too. I can’t help but wonder what will happen next.

So, with two weeks to homelessness, a generous family from church welcomed us into their basement for as long as we need to stay. In a flurry of an evening we packed up everything we thought we might need for the next couple of days and drove off through the night to our new temporary home.

I never did get to that laundry room.

As we’ve adjusted to our new situation and discussed where to go from here, it has struck me over and over again how not in control we are. It doesn’t matter how much planning we do, what security nets we lay out, what advice we seek, God can change our lives in an instant. It would be scary, except that we are His children.

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.
Romans 8:14

In church this Sunday we sang a lot of songs that were quite fitting to our current situation. One that I especially liked is called “Behold Our God”.  It makes me think of the last chapters of Job.  Job’s life had completely fallen apart but God came in and reminded Job of how small Job was and how big God is.  God is on the throne.  God created the world.  He is above all things.  Again, it would be scary if Job wasn’t God’s child too.  So, this song reminded me of those chapters in Job and the message they contain:  God is the one seated on the throne, making decisions, leading His children, doing the impossible.

Dan and I had a lot of plans last year. I think God changed all of them. And, by His grace, I’m ok with that. I know His plans our better. So now we’re pressing on, seeking His guidance again, and letting Him lead.

Who has held the oceans in His hand?
Who has numbered every grain of sand?
Kings and nations tremble at His voice
All creation rises to rejoice

Who has given counsel to the Lord?
Who can question any of His Words?
Who can teach the One who knows all things?
Who can fathom all His wondrous deeds?

Who has felt the nails upon His hands
Bearing all the guilt of sinful man?
God eternal humbled to the grave
Jesus, Savior risen now to reign!

Behold our God seated on His throne
Come let us adore Him
Behold our King nothing can compare
Come let us adore Him!

One Thing Christians Should Keep Saying

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Dan was on the phone with an old friend the other day. After chatting about the long winter and the latest developmental milestones of their children, his friend turned the conversation to work.

“How’s work these days?”

For those of you who don’t know, Dan is trained in math and computer programming. He says the buzz word for his work is “data scientist”, but everyone I’ve ever told that to has never heard of a data scientist. So now I just tell people he sits at a computer all day doing hard math.

Dan answered his friends question,

“I’ve been really burdened. As luck would have it, last year was the most prosperous yet for my company. And it looks like this year I’ll be making even more money.”

The words came out of his mouth without much thought. It was like brushing his teeth in the morning or “Goodnight” after tucking Lydia in to bed.

No, this didn’t really happen. And, no, that is certainly not what Dan would say.

I’ve noticed an article floating around Facebook lately called “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying”. Now, I don’t make a habit of clicking on every link I see posted on Facebook because I would spend my whole day reading articles of questionable value. But when I see the same link posted over and over by people I know, I tend to skim through it. This particular article was one such example, but as I read through it I started to feel disturbed. As I talked it over with Dan, we both came to agree that the writer, Scott Dannemiller, has missed the point.

You can check it out yourself, it’s not very long. The thesis of the article is that we need to stop referring to our material prosperity as a blessing from God.

He makes the following points:

– When our businesses prosper, we shouldn’t announce to others that our year was blessed.
– When “material windfalls” come our way, we shouldn’t automatically credit them to God.
– God doesn’t give us material things as a reward or incentive for our faith.
– Calling ourselves blessed for our “stuff” can offend poor Christians and promote the “theology of prosperity”.
– The beattitudes (
Matthew 5:1-12) and claims that Jesus is defining the word, “blessing” by his list (the poor in spirit, meek, pure in heart). – – In fact, those who do prosper in this life aren’t blessed at all, states Dannemiller, they’re burdened.
– Our ultimate blessing comes from knowing God, not having stuff.

There are certainly some important points brought up in this article. God does not guarantee material prosperity or a comfortable life to His followers. (Second Timothy 3:12 says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”.) And we are to find our ultimate joy and satisfaction in God, not money or stuff.

But nowhere in the Bible does God tell His followers to seek poverty, discomfort, or persecution. God wants to give his children good things, and, yes, those things can be material. God rewards Job’s faithfulness with an abundance of material possessions. Joseph suffers throughout his life and God brings him to a place of authority and prosperity. Solomon, when he pleases God by asking for wisdom, is promised wealth and honor in addition to wisdom.

And, while the Bible doesn’t teach a prosperity Gospel, there is often an earthly blessing in following Godly wisdom and principles. The Proverbs offer advice on acquiring wealth (work hard, practice generosity, and don’t cosign on loans). Nations that repent and turn to God are protected. Nations that turn against God suffer judgement, including pain, suffering, and famine.

The thing Christians need to remember is that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, and giving or taking, He is to be thanked and praised. When our country prospers economically, we should thank God and give Him credit. When crops do well, the weather cooperates, milk and honey abound, and businesses prosper, we need to give Him thanks. These things are not “material windfalls”. They are not mystical or random. God is sovereign over all things, and He is not happy when people forget that all good things come from Him.

As for the beatitudes…I would argue that Jesus is not defining the word blessing. Blessing means happiness. Jesus doesn’t need to say, “blessed are the rich” because nobody needs to tell them that. They have their blessing already and they know it. He’s challenging our thoughts and encouraging His followers. God is sovereign in all situations, plenty or want, sickness or health.

Psalm 107:8-9
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Romans 1:21
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Deuteronomy 8:10
And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

Jeremiah 5:24-25
They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you.

So, no, don’t expect to prosper just because you are a Christian. Don’t promise new believers an easy life. But, yes, give thanks to God for the material prosperity that He gives. Call it a blessing from God when you can afford good food for your family and a soft pillow to sleep on. Yes, give God thanks when life is happy and easy and comfortable. And continue to thank Him when things get hard, you lose your job, or babies are born two months early. Be responsible and generous with your abundance. But don’t forget where all good gifts come from, who they come from.