On expectations and faith, by Hannah.
It’s incredible the places God can take us, if we trust Him.
My life is full of events that I “didn’t intend to happen” – unexpected catalysts that catapulted me into the place where I am today. Events that never would have taken place without a lot of soul-searching and prayer. Proof to me that faith is enough, and that it can move us in ways we never imagined to be possible.
I was supposed to be a nurse. At least, that is what some thought. I had worked at a Skilled Nursing Facility. I was a Medication Aide. I was in Nursing school and interning at a hospital. Medicine seemed the logical, not to mention lucrative, choice for my background.
I had a plan. It was written out, step-by-step.. get into the Nursing program (each year, the program selected applicants via a lottery of potential students). Then graduate, and get hired full-time. Save up money doing meaningful work, and use my savings to fulfill the creative dreams that were close to my heart.
There are things that I, and others, thought that I should do or become. However, through prayer, God revealed to me that His plans are not as the plans of man. He traded me the life I thought I was “supposed to live” for the life of blessing that I didn’t expect.
I didn’t expect to quit the Nursing program. I didn’t expect to move to Japan. I didn’t expect to get married overseas. I didn’t expect to have the opportunity to live out the creative vision God gave me without the financial security of a nursing career. I didn’t expect that God was so good. I didn’t expect that sometimes when you have a dream, He says yes. Or that other times, He says no so that He can give you something even better.
In the past, sometimes my idea of God’s character was warped. I imagined that He wasn’t interested in my happiness. I sometimes felt that He didn’t care if I was miserable. Why would God place such a pressing desire in my heart to study nursing, if only to waste my time? Why would He lead me one way, just to change course? And why were there so many things I wanted to do that didn’t align with what I was studying? For example, my drive to create was a struggle as I sat through logical and detail-oriented classes. My mind was full of images and sounds and colors.
When I wasn’t studying or working, I was in practice rooms, singing and writing music. I wrote poetry and scripts, took music classes and auditioned for plays. Why did God give me the desire to create, just to make me crazy? I wondered. I sometimes felt jealous of classmates who seemed to have obvious paths laid out ahead of them. The people who did the things that matched their talents and gifts.
A professor called me a “renaissance woman”. I felt “all over the place”.
Retrospect always makes sense of things. But it was prayer and faith that made sense of it then. I never knew that a career in nursing was laying the groundwork for the future, giving me valuable training and making me stronger. The toughness, resilience and efficiency that I acquired gave me skills I would need to move to, and thrive in, another country.
If I hadn’t stayed in school while waiting to get into the Nursing program, I never would have made the connections that led to interning in Japan, or the job that allowed me to later be hired overseas. I would not have built up experience in the arts through work, training and performance. I would not have made life-long friendships or seen close friends accept Christ. I would not have met my husband, who loves God and shares the same creative vision. I would not have the opportunity to serve now in Yokohama.
When God told me to keep going, He didn’t trick me into doing something I hate. And when He told me to quit, He didn’t trick me into wasting time. Man looks at outward appearances, but what we see is not always what we get.
God revealed to me a path I never expected, but which has brought me to this place of blessing and beauty and joy that is far greater than I could have anticipated. Trusting Him was never easy. If it had been easy, it wouldn’t have required faith. I needed faith when nothing made sense. I needed His peace when others didn’t understand my decisions. I needed His strength, grace and hope at all times. I needed faith, and He was faithful.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
– Jeremiah 29:11, NLT