So I began to look for jobs. I had been doing a little part-time work, but none of it seemed to bring the kind of permanency that we needed. It was at this point when the phone rang one day. A voice on the other end identified himself as a neighbor. Fred was one of the head librarians at the Public Library in Manhattan. A position at the reference desk was open, Fred informed me, and he was wondering, since I was not employed at the time, if I would be interested in applying for the position.
When I hung up the phone, I was in disbelief . . . and a little dread. This was too much of a coincidence. Of course, I would pursue it. Within a few weeks, I was employed full time
After working only six months at the library, I had already missed one of Wellspring’s Family Conferences and Derrick’s and Dan’s State Track Meet. Need I say, by this time I was in anguish over the whole business of working, yet God kept faithfully directing my steps. Full-time teaching would be the best opportunity, I believed, for a mother of school-age children. In order to qualify for a teaching position in a university town that was filled with well-educated teachers looking for jobs, I needed to pursue a master’s degree in American and British Literature. The cost of the graduate programs in those years was quite minimal compared to the tuition costs of today, which made this a viable option for our tight budget. In the last few semesters of the program I also worked as a Graduate Teaching Assistant which eliminated most of the cost of tuition.
My lines had fallen in pleasant places at last! In the library I had been telling people where to find books they were looking for, books that I was too busy to read. Now, I was reading them, sometimes nine to twelve novels a semester. I was in heaven! And my schedule was my own. Besides showing up for class and doing the required work, I could now attend the important meetings of my children, help with the Wellspring ministry, and host those who came to the farm. God’s blessing on a heart that longed to be obedient.
As a student I also began working for the National Center for Fathering. At that time Ken Canfield, a grad student in Family Studies at Kansas State University, was also part of the Wellspring group along with his wife Dee and children. Ken offered me a position as editor of the materials the Center was producing, and eventually we co-authored a book together. Upon graduating with my Masters, I was offered a part time job teaching at Manhattan Christian College. My cup was running over. Everything in my life began to blend together. This was all God’s vision, not exactly mine, but so much better than mine would have been.
It would not be until years had passed from the time I had agonized about my lost dream that I began to realize my wish dream had been a handicap to what God was really doing. I was teaching a class at Manhattan Christian College called Modern Masters of Christian Literature, and the list of authors included Dietrich Bonhoeffer. As we looked at Life Together I was forced to look more closely than I had before in my reading of this work. I was struck by his apparent distaste for visionary dreaming. “God hates visionary dreaming, it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious” (27). Had I been clinging to a “wish dream?” Fortunately, God pried my fingers loose from the dream part, and, as I learned to trust Him and hold out empty hands, He filled my hands with what my heart needed.