Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Personal Look-Back

I was going to title this post “Personal Reflections,” but that sounded cheesy. I hope you can bear with me through this lengthy post without photos.

Ten years ago I was getting ready to graduate from high school. Ten years! My plans were to go to Cedarville University after a year at the community college. I would have been a nurse practitioner by now if that plan had gone through. Six months later, though, I was on a new track to be a doctor. Deep inside I had wanted to be a doctor instead of a nurse anyway, and one of my professors gave me the encouragement I needed to go that route.

A year and a half later, it was time to transfer to a university. I applied to a handful of schools and at the last minute chose one for no other reason than I needed to make the decision. I was headed to the University of Nebraska to get a degree in Biological Sciences. And it was at this point that my plans started getting fuzzy again. Dad had said a few things that made me wonder if I being a doctor was really the way I wanted to go. Not that this was the first time he had said them, but this was the first time I was listening. I started looking into post-graduate forensic science programs instead of med schools.

Over the next 2 years, my mind changed from Biology to Biochemistry to Nursing to Nutrition to Biology to Nursing to Biology to Nutrition. And maybe even a few more times than that. By the time that I decided I should just finish the fastest way possible, it wasn’t going to happen before I was married. I settled into working and putting Hubs through dental school. God provided a job that I loved with people that I loved, and I realized His faithful providence through my life.

Three years later, Hubs was done with school and I was ready for a change. I was ready to move. For the past 3 years, it had felt like we were living in a stage of life behind the rest of our friends. I was ready to see what was next. And, in my mind, finishing my degree was next and then children. Two tumultuous months later, after much research, many discussions with Hubs and some tears, I finally realized the door to finish my degree at that point was closed. It had been clear for weeks, but I was not able to admit it or surrender to what was obviously God’s leading. Nothing about it made sense and it was going to be a major expense to earn a degree for no other reason than my pride. A few weeks later, I was content again and provided with a great part-time job, sure that our next step was children.

A year later, Hubs and I were spending late nights on the floor of our office putting together application packets for 10 Orthodontic Residencies all over the country. The next months were exciting with uncertainty of where we would be the following year. In December, we found out that place would be St. Louis and rested in God’s providence in sending us there. We spend the next 6 months praying, buying a house, and most of all, enjoying every single bit of time with the people that had become so dear to us. Many times, we asked ourselves why we were leaving a place that we had come to love. But we did. Still, I had not given up that we should have children soon. As many of our friends had begun this next stage, I started feeling behind again.

Eleven months later, brings us to today. And once again, the Lord has brought me through much to discover that He has not forgotten about me, nor does He direct our lives without a purpose. You see, the desire to have a family outside of Richard and I has not subsided. Actually it has probably grown. But God placed us in St. Louis with a purpose beyond growing our family. The blessing of having time to minister to the people around me is great, but I have not used it in my self-absorbed world of pity. There is a neighborhood that surrounds our home of people that need Christ, and I have had little more than small-talk with them. There are people at church who can be served. There are lives we can invest in and encourage. There is Hubs still right beside me who I can help. So having the desire for children and a permanent home are not bad, but letting those desires shift to demands of God is an affront to His sovereignty. To think and act like my plans are better than His, has brought nothing but internal misery. Yielding to His obviously direction and love for me has brought a peace and a desire for His will and to serve others around me.

Ten years later, I am not anywhere near where I planned to be and I barely recognize those dreams anymore. Ten years later, I am exactly where the Lord has directed me and am still learning just as much about His loving gospel and His gracious provision in my life.


Kelly said...

I can totally relate Heather. This past year has taught me so much about my identity in Christ. For many years I thought joy was found in becoming a wife, buying a house, having kids, and raising them around family. And in that order of course, haha! I too have felt "behind" because we don't own a house and probably won't for several more years. God also continues to direct our paths to places I never would ever have dreamed of living in. However, the stability comes in knowing He is here with me. As a fellow resident wife I wish I could give you a big hug. There are many lonely hours.

Melissa Marsh said...

Wow, Heather. This was such an honest, heartfelt post - wonderful. I try to rely on God's timing, but too often I am wishing for something else and not being patient with the life He has given me. It's a daily trial.

Audrey said...

I hear that :) I think we have this picture in our mind of what our charmed little christian life should look like. It's so comforting to know, everything is right on schedule, working for our good(His glory) to one day meeting Him in glory and I think some turmoil down here will make that much more sweet, as well as his long awaited blessings down here!!
Now I know my plans for you guys, and that is, Hubs can have his practice in Kansas and you can start popping out some babies. ;)

Bethany D. said...

"letting our desires make demands of God is an affront to His sovereignty." ...such true and convicting words, Heather! It is so interesting to grow older and see things not unfold how we planned at all. But there is SO much to be thankful for...above all our unmerited salvation and MANY more undeserved blessings. I miss you friend and I look forward to seeing where God takes you and Richard over the next several years!

Adrianne said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Heather! It's amazing how truly surrendering EVERYTHING to God can be so difficult even though He created US. I was just looking up the word "affront" in regards to my sin against a holy convicting!

Danette said...

The mind of man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps!
Proverbs 16:9

And remember...God is always working to bring about His best for you.