At present I am sitting in a small, windowless room at an upscale hotel where I work as a telephone operator/guest services representative. It’s a far cry from preaching every week and taking students out for coffee or lunch. And while some may say, “Patrick, what in the world has happened to you?” I like to think that God is happening to me.
In my brief 29 years I have rarely had to wait on God for anything. I’ve more or less known what was happening tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that—you get the point. That doesn’t mean there have not been moments of indecision on my part. Lord knows, as does my wife, that big decisions are not my strong suit. I can get wrapped up in a cycle of uncertainty faster than you can say the seventeenth word in this post (see what I did there? bought some time by making you count words).
All that to say, while I am not the world’s fastest ‘decider’, I haven’t had too many times where I wasn’t somewhat sure of what would happen…until now.
It has been four months since we made the trek back to Savannah from St. Louis–the home of the world champion, though it’s really just USA champion, Cardinals. I thought by now I would know exactly what the rest of life would look like, or at least the next several years. But what I know for certain at this point is that I don’t know what the next several years will look like, or the next year for that matter. As far as I know I could be working at the same hotel and continuing to teach at a private high school on a part-time basis as I do now. Practically, though, that won’t work because it drastically diminishes family time. Not to mention, there is a baby on board and that train is set to arrive mid-August. So daddy needs a full-time job that gives life to his soul and puts food on the table.
Over the course of these nearly four months, I have managed to panic very little. For the most part my confidence in God has been strengthened rather than shaken. The dramatic decrease in income would cause some people—even people of faith—to panic. The thought crossed my mind. But there is also a responsibility I have to lead my family in faith, and that’s what I’m doing to the best of my ability. And while I am no retribution theologian (i.e., God rewards good deeds with good fortune and vice versa), it is undeniable that God is showing the Mitchells some favor right now.
I’m comfortable enough to say that I bring home less than 50% of what I was previously earning. But in that time, God has taught me what it is to trust and remain steadfastly dependent on him. Upon returning to Savannah I applied for job after job after job with no response. I applied for a position at one hotel only to be called by a sister property for a job that paid even less. But hey, the family comes first, so I took the job.
Little did I know that I would meet a certain teacher who would later resign from his school, leaving me as the teacher of choice to take over his theology and humanities classes. And wouldn’t you know, the school day ends right when my hotel day begins. And who would have thought that this particular hotel position would allow me to prepare for class in my downtime? These divine details were pieced together, and regardless of how churchy that sounds, that’s the God I worship, One who is in the details at a level I cannot easily comprehend.
The government has also played its part in this difficult but fruitful time. Apparently when you don’t have insurance, babies don’t bring as much joy in those initial moments as when you do have coverage. That was the situation we were facing, and it was frightening (honestly the scariest part for me from the beginning). Well we received news recently that Lindsey and the baby will be covered. You may have heard the weight of the world falling off of my shoulders when we got the call.
God has repeatedly taken me under his arm and whispered, “You’re right where I am.” And that’s an answer to a prayer I’ve prayed for some time now, namely, that I never want to be where God isn’t. I don’t want to go off in my direction when God desires me to go another. I wholeheartedly believe God is leading our family somewhere we wouldn’t have ventured on our own.
So to those who have been praying with and for us, thank you and please continue. There are exciting days ahead. We find out on the 28th whether we’re having a boy or girl. We are okay with a healthy whatever (though the lady portion of our duo is pulling hard for a boy). I will find out about a particular scholarship in a couple of weeks, the outcome of which could launch us down two different paths.
And for your viewing pleasure, I present Ben (who turns 1 on April 17)