Chaplain Landon Todd is an ordained minister and endorsed Chaplain with the Assemblies of God and has served in various capacities including Executive and Youth/Children’s Pastor in addition to Medical and Educational Chaplaincy. He also previously served as Adjunct Professor of Religion for undergraduate students both at the University and Community College levels. He has been married almost 20 years to his lovely wife Traci and they have four children.
Livin’ the Dream?
It’s now been roughly two months since my family and I arrived back in the United States after a 13-month chaplaincy assignment in South America that came to an abrupt and unplanned close. Not cool. It was then we boarded a series of flights we didn’t even get to choose, and were forced to travel back to the only place we could go—without a house, job prospects, a vehicle or anything outside the most basic of possessions. For this man’s heart, two months is a long time not to provide for his family. It’s a long time not to feel invested in his calling or to be immersed in productive endeavors outside the home.
Honestly, there is still this torrid mixture of concern and confidence swirling in my soul…I’m not doubting God has, does and will continue to guard the well-being of my family, but the “I’m not in control of a dang thing” theme of this life chapter doesn’t set well with me. I know, not a very Christian thing to admit, but the duration of this season has forced me to face some of the shadows of who I am as a Christ-follower.
I feel like I’ve been doing the right things: We pursued/found a house and I’ve been applying for jobs literally around the world. I’ve applied for jobs in my career field and even sojourned into those well outside of it as a consolation, all for the sake of a J-O-B. With every job app I submit, I look heavenward soulfully whispering, “Is this the one, God?” hoping for some kind of celestial wink from the Almighty, or the epiphany of a burning bush to show me I’ve finally chosen “the one.” What kind of responses have I received instead? A whole bunch of crickets, one random phone call and several impersonal non-select emails from the dreaded “unmonitored mailboxes” of HR. Chic-Fil-A even gave me a thumbs down, friends! (Editorial comment: I still LOVE Chic-Fil-A though!)
So where does that leave a middle-aged, former military officer who is now a chaplain with multiple endorsements, a couple post-grad degrees and a pretty cool family? You guessed it…I have no idea.
Well, I thought, maybe I could convince the King of the Universe to let me in on His secret. Sitting in the worn red fabric of my new favorite “thinking chair” in my new-to-me home, I’ve shrewdly tried maneuvering my conversations with Him in hopes He might add that revelation to our devotional agenda one day. But so far, He hasn’t shown a lot of interest in giving me a peek behind the curtain. Instead, our conversations always come full circle back to trusting Him not only with the future I don’t see, but even pressing me to more fully trust Him with how I spend the present that I do see. In other words, instead of hiding away, wrapped up in trying to fill out 1,268 job applications in a day, and then spending a few hours drafting 10 different cover letters for jobs I don’t even want, and finishing my day with job application follow-up emails—God wants me to trust Him and use the present as just that…a present. According to Him (and His Word), I’m supposed to just follow Him…not a job, a book author, a headhunter, a staffing website, or anything else. After all, He’s the only One Who knows THE plan. You would think I would already know that, but I digress…
So for now, when the slew of inevitable questions bubble back to the surface in conversations with friends and loved ones, instead of begrudgingly answering them with some kind of cheery but tired religious euphemism, I now just admit I simply don’t know what’s going on, but that it’s all okay. In the meantime, I’m working to enjoy this uncommitted season, spending time with my family, working on my writing and loving on whoever crosses my path.
But bigger than that, I’m now learning more of what it actually means to follow Him before anything or anyone else. I’m surprised and humbled at just how bad I am at that. Good thing my Heavenly Father is a Father of grace and mercy. It’s amazing what we will allow Him to teach us when all the distractions have been removed.
So please pray for us…we long to begin the next journey for which God will equip us, but only when He’s ready. Until then, I’m going to make every attempt to live in the moment, even while keeping my hiking boots laced up and ready to go for when and where He leads next…
Blessings to you,
(Pronounced “efimerios” and in Greek it means “Chaplain” or literally: Keeper of the Cloak)
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