God’s Guidance over a Career: Lesson in Humility

I would like to testify to God’s chastening Love throughout my career development.  When I chose engineering as my profession God gently lead me, opened up many doors and provided for me through financial fellowships that ultimately resulted in the attainment of a PhD in Aeronautics in 1997 from Caltech.  I then married and obtained a position as an Assistant Professor at a university in the Midwest.  I was grateful for this opportunity but as the time came for me to apply for tenure it became clear that God had many lessons for me to learn.  I had two children during these seven years, and there were some in my department that thought it was not wise for me to have done so. There was also resentment in the department since others thought I was making a lot more money than I was. I did not realize it at the time, but God was removing me from this environment to a better one and along the way I learned many valuable lessons that improved my research and teaching capabilities.  In 2004 I did not get tenure, which meant I had to find another job.  I recall one test I had to learn was to love all involved in this decision, for to hate was to be in hell according to the definition found in Science & Health.  Only two universities showed interest in interviewing me.  This is evidence that often people facing this obstacle are forced out of academia.  The first one interviewed me and offered me a position to start in fall 2005.  I am grateful for the receptiveness of particularly one individual who later became the department head — he pulled my application out of the pile (typically there are over 50 applications) and valued my qualifications. Also, while the advertisement was only for one open position, the university willingly hired myself and another who was also highly qualified.  This was evidence to me of God placing all His children in their right place.  During this time I memorized the hymn “He Leadeth Me” and it was my constant companion in thought.  At my new position I was ready to rely completely on God for my success knowing as Jesus told us, “My Father worketh hitherto and I work”.  I was lead to take on a new direction in my research when I recalled a picture of shark skin from my undergraduate days.  I was able to obtain a series of grants in a competitive environment to fund this research and have discovered a new passive way that sharks use their scales to control the flow over their body for decreased drag and increased maneuverability (similar to dimples on a golf ball).  In 2011 I was awarded tenure and I owe it all to God.  All these career lessons have resulted in great spiritual growth, but the most important lesson was humility for as our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy says, “One can not go up, until one has gone down in his own esteem.”  And this move to Alabama has blessed my whole family, for what blesses one must bless all.  My gratitude for my Christian Science teacher and practitioner, whose constant supported guided my family through this experience, and to God is unbounded.

A.L.

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