Well, here I am at my computer. Nine whole days after the beginning of the new year. Not feeling quite ready to put 2015 behind me before writing a few words. Words of sincerity and honesty. Words which trickle out from the musings of a year behind me. They are not grand or riveting. Just from my heart.
Looking back to 2015, I see so much grace in my life. God has provided above and beyond what I dared to hope for. Though full of change, He has seen fit to bless me with a season of great richness and joy. To re-cap and remember a few of the highlights….
2015 began with the start of the 2nd semester of nursing school with my family’s plans of moving in March. I wrote more of this here in this post. I settled into my new home and made a dear new little bungalow in the home of some wonderful friends, whose generosity and kindness towards me is nothing short of amazing.
The Lord also led us to a gospel-centered church with a close-knit community group. Feeling surrounded by people who love and accept you for who you are and are filled with the grace of God is something I never want to take for granted. I don’t feel deserving of this season of richness in relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ, but somehow, God has seen fit to bless me with that now.
I have gotten to be arounds lots of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, which is very good for me. Coming from an older family, I had always felt a bit of uncertainty with these little people. What if I were to drop one or accidentally step on their tiny fingers or toes? But as I encountered little people at home, work, and Sunday school (Wesley and I teach the 3-year-old class), my heart has been forever won with their eager tongues, creative imaginations, teachable hearts, inquiring minds, and sometimes hysterical perspectives. It is indeed a privilege to watch these little kids grown and mature before my eyes.
The summer was fast and furious with the ending of the LPN program. I still remember that sinking feeling when one of my classmates announced to me that we would have 11 tests in 7 weeks. But, taking it step-by-step, I made it through to the other side. Finishing that program was a wonderful feeling. I look back with good memories, though no desire to go back. :) I remember driving to take the NCLEX (the state licensure exam one must take to practice as an LPN) and being so nervous that I brought my backpack full of study materials INTO THE TESTING CENTER. How I made it past all those signs and rules without realizing that I was breaking them, I don’t know. To this day, I have no idea what I was thinking, but just remembering the response of the test proctors makes me laugh. I blame it on the pretest haze. Ahem.
And then, I was accepted into the ASN program and began orientation the very next day after graduation. In many ways it has been easier because I was acquainted with basic nursing skills and knowledge. In some ways it was harder as I learn to think more critically and develop my nursing judgement (which needs a lot of development, by the way ;). It’s slow and sometimes painful process, but definitely rewarding!
I also got a job as an LPN at a wonderful place – our local birth center. How God worked out the timing of them hiring right at the time I had graduated and was looking for a new job boggles my mind. I can only praise Him for that. I usually work 2 days each week, plus being on call over weekends (and there are often lots of weekend-babies!) I love having the privilege of being one of the first people ever to hold these brand new babies and to support their moms during labor. I enjoy working the clinic side of the birth center and getting to know these moms throughout their pregnancies and build relationships with them.
The 2015 fall also brought unique blessings in another form: I watched two of my bestest friends get married and had the privilege of helping them on their wedding days. Let me tell you – it is a joyful thing indeed to watch the love stories of your dearest friends unfold – friends you knew as young girls, who you giggled over tea with, and shared sweet memories long before the twitterpated glow set in or their sweethearts emerged on the horizon. What an exciting time of transition for them!
This season has also been stressful. There have been moments where I’ve looked ahead and felt like I have a mountain to conquer. I have stewed in worry and mistrust of God’s plan, doubting that His plans really are best and questioning His work. Indeed, we only see a small piece of the tapestry He is weaving, but that’s easy for me to forget.
This year I think holds even bigger change for me. My plans after graduating from the ASN program in May are to move up to Minnesota to be with my family, take my boards examination there and obtain a license to work as a Registered Nurse, find a job I love, that broadens my skills, and that challenges me personally and professionally, and transition to a new season of life. I am filled with mixed emotions when pondering the changes ahead, but in everything, I want to continually seek the Lord’s will and walk in faithfulness to Him, wherever He takes me.
Looking back, sometimes it feels like I’ve lived many lifetimes. New homes, new states, and new communities. Seasons have come and gone. I’ve made my bed and arranged my things in each new bungalow and been swept up into the cares, joys, laughs, and tears each one brings. Each season presents new challenges, blessings, and opportunities for sanctification and personal growth. Each season is so different.
What, then, is the common theme throughout these seasons? What do I see and experience in a tangible, meaningful way on a second-by-second basis? Grace. Getting what I am so undeserving of. There is grace in the full night of sleep. There is grace in the encouragement from a coffee date with a dear friend. There is grace in an awesome deal on produce at Aldi. There is grace in the sequence of my life and how it has unfolded thus far. There is GRACE in the salvation and permanent redemption of my life. It’s truly unfathomable.
Last week at church our pastor read a quote and two words from that quote stood out to me: unknown waters. I don’t know what the rest of the quote said or even the context it came from. But I couldn’t get those words out of my mind, especially as I was deeply pondering life ahead of me at the time. Putting two and two together, I know that there will always be unfathomable grace throughout these seasons of unknown waters. Knowing this, I can move forward without fear and trust that the great hand of God will lead me all the days of my life. Praise God!