tall buildings & icy city streets

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Yesterday was my college orientation. It was chock full of information on signing up for classes, setting up accounts, and learning campus locations. To be honest, I really hoped college would be much more simple than it is. Apparently the degree I hope to purse currently has around a three year waiting list. That was not the news I was expecting...I thought I could just take the appropriate prerequisite classes and wait (maybe) three semesters, then start nursing school. Unfortunately, it is not that simple.

At this point, I have two or three semesters of prerequisites to accomplish (at the rate I'll be taking them) before I'm even on the waiting list. Now I will also have to apply to multiple nursing programs to ensure that I can purse this field as soon as possible.

As I walked the streets of downtown Grand Rapids with the school's tour guide, I felt very tiny on such a large campus. (And to think this is a "small" community college compared to large universities). It seemed almost intimidating.

That building if you're taking theater. This location for science classes. Down the street for psychology. Floor four of main for nursing.

So many questions flood my mind. Should I take a small class load and keep working full time to balance the financial aspect of college? Maybe I should start right off with 18 credit hours and finish my prerequisites ASAP? Do I need to stop working night shift? Will I be able to find a feasible class schedule? How will I handle parking? Should I retake placement tests to try to bypass some classes? What can I do during college? And what do I need to remove from my schedule during college? Would I have better chances of getting into a nursing program at another college?

I really don't know.

Something I have been coming back to this morning is a passage in Proverbs:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" (3:5).

By His grace, I want to walk in joy & trust as I pursue what He has placed before me.

When I was younger, I remember a time I prayed, "Ok Lord, you can do whatever you want with my life, but I'm not going to be a nurse and I'm not going to be a doctor." And today I have a strong sense He is leading me toward a job in the medical field that will make me a mid-level provider. Doesn't God have a sense of humor?!

Nearly two years ago, I spoke with a new friend about what God had placed on my heart. I didn't know her well, but she had a reputation of a very godly woman, so I thought surely it would be safe to share the deep things of my heart with her. I was surprised that when I told her my hopes for the future, she flatly and rather unfeelingly told me, "Well, God may not be calling you to be a nurse."

I suddenly felt so uncomfortable.

She didn't know my story. She did know how the thought of blood used to be enough to turn my stomach. She hadn't seen that it was in giving up & surrendering my dreams of being a school teacher that God was leading me toward the medical field and breaking my heart for what breaks His.

In December, I was reading through Mark. The story of Mary pouring out her best for Jesus has often struck me:

"And while He was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over His head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, 'Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.' And they scolded her. But Jesus said, 'Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her'" (12:3-9).

I penned these words after reading:

Sometimes our acts of surrender do not make sense to those around us. It is possible to pour out our everything at His feet and still receive criticism from others who walk with Him daily. Yet Jesus saw Mary's act of worship as worthy of His acceptance. "She has done a BEAUTIFUL thing to me" (Mk. 14:6).  

I'm challenged in this new season to remember the purpose of my work and study. I am not pursuing this field for my own comfort and ease, but for His glory. He has very specifically shown me what it means to walk in obedience to Him now; am I willing to "follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth" (Rev. 14:4) today? If other Christians look down on me for taking steps forward, will I allow their opinions to be of greater importance to me than His clear leading?

These are the moments of our lives we reveal who we're truly living for. Is Jesus my all and all? Or do I depend upon the acceptance of those around me for security?

He has protected and kept me all these years. Surely He is worthy of my every day & every moment. "Yet you are He who took me from the womb...On you I was cast from my birth, and from my mother's womb you have been my God" (Psalm 22:9-10).

I answer to Jesus for my life.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight...we make it our aim to please Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Cor. 5:7,9-10).

So in the midst of having seemingly thousands of complicated college steps to complete, I am finding great joy in the Truth that Jesus is constant. He is my faithful friend, the defender of my soul, and my guide. No matter how hard or easy this path becomes, He is with me every moment.

It is God to whom and with whom we travel, and while He is the end of our journey, He is also at every stopping place \\ Elisabeth Elliot

I am called to walk in surrender and follow Him no matter the cost. That cost could include criticism, difficulty, and logistical busyness. But HE IS WITH US! As A.W. Tozer has said: "The Triune God will be our dwelling place even while our feet walk the low road of simple duty among men" (The Pursuit of God, p.101).

....Onward forward.

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