Blooming In Adversity

Perhaps it’s the fact that Lent just ended and the Easter season has me feeling pretty dang inspired, or maybe it’s just the nostalgia that has come with today, but lately I’ve been deeply contemplative of where I have been the last year and how the Lord has worked in my life. I’m not about to sit here and tell you that I know the ins and outs of the Lord’s plan- only He knows, and they’re His best kept secret. We never truly know what will happen until we’ve been there, done that.

A year ago today, I got a letter saying I wasn’t accepted to nursing school.

A year ago today, I felt devastated. I felt betrayed.

A year ago today I was sitting in the chapel on campus, asking God why the heck he would give me such a burning desire to do something, only to not see it through? My only response was a sense of overwhelming peace.

I published an article on my thoughts at the time, and it was all hopeful stuff. And though I knew all of it to be true, and I felt peaceful, it was still a dark time for me. Nursing is hard, and it is competitive. You learn to work under extreme amounts of pressure for really high stakes, because you aren’t studying for a simple degree- you’re studying to save someone’s life someday. You’re studying for a passion- a vocation. And much like the job, the process of getting into nursing school is not for the faint of heart. Over time, the competition becomes engrained in you and if you can’t keep it in check, it can really overtake your personality. I had let it get to that point, and the only thing I felt from that rejection letter was crippling failure and incompetence. I wasn’t the best.

But those were lies. Now, I look back and see just how far I have come.

I feel like the Lord needed me to deepen my trust in Him before I got into the program. In leaving San Marcos, I would be cutting some roots that had grown very deep. After becoming independent and finding my footing, I would be leaving a life that had become so enriched by the people and experiences that I surrounded myself with and returning to a place that suddenly felt barren with just school. My relationship with the Lord would be the only thing that was definitely going to carry over, and He needed to deepen that. He needed me to trust Him more, because going through a program so intense and so far away from many of my closest friends was going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. So why not hit where it would hurt the most, and build from there?

I wasn’t one of the 100 that was originally accepted to St. David’s School of Nursing. My call didn’t come until over the summer. So what? I’m here now, and I’m thriving. I’ve been given the opportunity to be president of an amazing group of people, and I’m doing better in school than I ever have before. There was a period when I really doubted my abilities, but God pushed me through. He let me lean on Him through the hardest “no” I have ever heard, and He created a path for me. ย Though I’ve learned to tame the competition, comparison can still creep up on me when I least expect it. I need to stop believing the lie that I’m not capable; the Lord proved to me this last year that I am MORE than capable- and He continues to prove it each and every day.

A year ago today, I thought my dream had reached a very sudden end.

Today, I feel that the Lord was simply asking me to give a little more.

In a year, I’ll be closing in on graduation, and I can hardly believe the path behind me and the journey still before me.

Though our hearts desire, God really is the one who writes the plan. Not everything is going to work out the way we want it- but it will all work out, in the end. Trust is a hard concept to master, but every day is a lesson and I’m so blessed to be learning.

Mulan Quote

 

A Bad Case of Perfect Timing

“This Hays county morning is glowing like a Carolina rose// and it’s warming all the station trains and cars, but I’m as cold as any stone…”

-Blue Water Highway Band, Hard Time Train

Two years of working towards nursing school finally culminated in a denial letter. And a 3-year-old-style temper tantrum.

My advisor and I pored over my transcripts. Everything was right, and the only duck that was slightly out of place was my science GPA: a 2.9 out of the necessary 3.0. So. Frustratingly. Close. He told me, “Everything looks great. But there’s something holding you back just a bit. The timing just isn’t right for you this year, Jessica.”

So what to do when your well-laid, hard-worked-for plans come undone?

Even as a cradle Catholic, discerning God’s will purely and completely is something that I’m just beginning to practice, and in all 20 of my years I am nowhere even close to calling myself wise or well-versed in the heart of the Lord. He’s a big, fat mystery, that guy, and He has a knack for taking our well-made plans and tearing them apart. But that’s because He has something more in store for us. I’m reminded now of Mary, the Blessed Mother. At age 15, the angel Gabriel came to her and told her that if she said yes, she would become pregnant with God’s only son before she was married. This baby would go on to save the entire world. It’s hard for many of us to imagine how terrified she must have been, particularly at the expense of potentially being left by her fiance and shunned by her community. But she gave her yes to God in Luke 1:38 (aka my FAVORITE). And He handed over to her the fate of every one of our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that even if we have thoughts of terror and failure, He has thoughts of peace- not of evil. So no matter how much He tears our plans up, He’s going to rearrange the pieces into something so much more fulfilling than we can imagine-all it takes is our yes,ย and His perfect timing.

This is so much easier said than typed. Quite frankly, trust is a difficult thing, particularly in society today. As humans, we have the ability to be emotionally and spiritually broken because we are promised things that are never fulfilled. In the human anatomy, whenever something a bone is broken or a muscle is torn, the cells that help it to heal, heal it much stronger than before. But it doesn’t necessarily heal correctly, and it’s not exactly perfect like it was before. Our spirits aren’t metaphorically that different from bones or muscles. We heal, and we heal tough, but not always correctly. Often, after so much healing and so much toughness, we forget how to trust in anything except ourselves. This can be detrimental to having faith in God because not only is He outside of ourselves; we need to trust in His timing. By trusting in Him, giving Him our yes and doing His will for us, He heals us in the most wonderful way and fulfills every desire that lies in our hearts. Because of that reason, we canย hand things over to Him and be more than okay. Control freaks, go ahead and re-read that.

I could go into so much detail about all the things that have happened to reassure me that I’m meant to stay in San Marcos for another year. Quite honestly, I’m very excited to pursue a minor next year. I’ll have one more year with my friends and sorority sisters, one more year to prepare myself for the grind of nursing school, and one more summer to be an orientation leader. I have no worries that next year, when I reapply to Texas State’s nursing program for Fall 2016, I will be accepted. There are still doubts in my heart for me to work through, but I’m doing my absolute best to not be a control freak and give God my purest yes.

I’m sure that down the road, I’ll see why I had to put off nursing school. Perhaps my minor will advance my career in a way that wouldn’t be available to me until later. Maybe God needs me to touch the heart of a specific peer, coworker, or patient. Or maybe He’s just teaching me how to grow in faith, patience, and trust. Whatever it is, I’m treating everything with a healthy dose of prayer.

“But those Carolina roses, oh they’re growing up the tracks of my despair…”

-Blue Water Highway Band, Hard Time Train

Thanks for reading, Sizzlers ๐Ÿ™‚

Jessica

Jeremiah 29-11