(photo taken from theopendoorco.co.uk)
Ok. It’s time to reveal what’s behind doors #1, 2, and 3. This is the number of options that we have come down to for Ian’s PhD work and I say they are from little to big because the first door is seemingly the least likely, the second a little less least likely (these first two are about the same likelihood, but I had to put them in some kind of order), and the third door is the very most likely.
Ian hears back from St. Louis University, gets accepted and we move in next door to Hope, Wes, and baby (seriously, we could literally live next door to them)…
We’ve heard back from St. Louis once and it was a weird answer. They told us Ian wasn’t accepted or rejected, they hadn’t decided about him yet. They had already sent out the ‘first round’ of acceptances and Ian was not one of those, but he apparently still isn’t rejected. I don’t know if that means they send out the ‘first round’, see who decides to go there and then if there are still spots open they do a ‘second round’ of acceptances to get all the spots filled?? That’s what I’m guessing. There is someone at St. Louis that Ian would really like to study under, so if he did get accepted we’d be faced with a tough decision, but we don’t know how likely it is that he will get accepted since he wasn’t in the ‘first round’.
Ian can’t find a suitable supervisor at St Andrews or doesn’t complete his MLitt degree to a satisfactory level to be accepted into the PhD program, so we move back to Indiana and he works on his GRE score, getting things published, and applies to schools again and we go wherever he’s accepted…
I’m obviously not concerned about Ian not doing well enough on the MLitt degree. I have great confidence that he is driven and serious about philosophy and will not disappoint because of that. He cares too much about getting to be a professor to let that happen.
We were concerned for a while that he may not be able to find a suitable supervisor here because there is no one directly interested in the crossover that he wants to do between reformed theology and epistemology. He is working on making the crossover a reality in multiple ways though, and has started hunting for a theology supervisor as well as some philosophy supervisors to oversee his dissertation. He believes that if he can get a PhD in philosophy at St Andrews with input from a reformed theologian, all will be well and he will be getting what he is ultimately looking for in his PhD experience. But all of this has to come together first, which we cannot foresee; therefore, Door #2 is still a possibility.
We stay at St Andrews for Ian’s PhD and move back to the States after 3 (or less) years upon finding a job (start praying for that one now!!)…
This is the door that we feel is the most open at this point, and this is what we have made our plan providing doors #1 & 2 become shut. So far, we have not gotten any of the funding that we were hoping for, but have found several other routes of paying for the tuition here that we are exploring further (don’t worry, we’re not selling our kidneys.. although, if they paid us in pounds for them…).
This has been a hard thing for me to swallow, as I really wanted to be back in the states to be more accessible to our families and friends there. Ian, of course, feels the same, but isn’t quite so emotionally overrun as I am. He’s a good stabilizer. Ian made an observation a few weeks ago that I think really hits the nail on the head as far as the way this situation appears to me. He said that he wonders if the Lord has closed seemingly every other door because He wants us here in St Andrews for a time, and He knew that if He gave us any other option we’d make the wrong choice. I know that this is accurate in my heart because I was extremely resistant to the idea of staying here for that long. I love it here and we love our church and have an amazing group of friends, but my heart wanted to be with our family and friends in the States more than anything else. I have found that as I’ve acknowledged this struggle, the Lord has brought me so much peace about being here. I can even be excited with the people who wanted us to stay here now, as opposed to forcing a smile and just acting like I thought it was pretty great too. I do think that the Lord is calling us to stay here. I think he is slowly putting Ian in the paths of the right people to talk about his idea for his dissertation, and bringing us the opportunities and funding we need to be sure again that this is where God wants us.
I’ve learned over the passed 7 months that things are rarely the way they seem, so I don’t think you’ll hear me say that we’re definitely staying here until Ian is happily working away on his PhD with the appropriate supervisors in October. :) But, the way I see it right now, that’s what I’m anticipating.
We are looking forward to being able to make more regular trips to the US though, since Ian won’t have any classes to worry about next year. So we will be around more often than we were this year, which puts my heart at ease. I also have a job interview on Tuesday at a design firm here in St Andrews that would be a really great opportunity for me, and my first official earnings in pounds (which would be extremely helpful to that whole ‘paying tuition’ thing), so please pray that all goes well.
Ian just landed a part time job yesterday as well. His official title will be something like: Promotion and Events Manager for the James Gregory Public Lectures on Science and Religion. Visit jamesgregory.org to find out more – it’s worth the click. They are very excited to be bringing a philosopher into the mix. You could be praying that Ian finds additional work on top of this for the duration of his PhD, because if he’s able to work part time (at least 18 1/2 hours) for the university there is a possibility that he would earn benefits like having his tuition waved… a very good thing.
So that’s the update. We will keep you posted as the weeks continue on and we find out more, but pray with us that the Lord will make what He wants for us clear and that we would find ourselves with confident hearts in accordance with that.