Donald Miller said he believes the biggest trick of the devil is to get us to waste time - I would argue it's just as much getting us to doubt we're living out our purpose. Although I relate to the struggle with whether I'm are living my life "right," I know that grace allows us to chase our dreams and have passions that are not directly tied to ministry. I have wanted nothing more in my entire life than to be a writer who entertains - yet I struggle with how to reconcile my love of cinema to a God who says I am to be His hands and feet.
After all of my careful planning over the last 5 years my best intentions have lead me to realize that God is ultimately in control. He opens and closes doors regardless of my attitude about them, and has been merciful enough to provide and sustain me in my whiniest moments: because that is how much I'm loved. Every unexpected life turn is preparation in my heart for His ultimate plan and purpose for my life.
I debated sharing any of the following because I like having certainty. My personality type causes me to wear my heart on my sleeve, but that is usually followed with me getting bit in the rear end. "This time," I told myself, "I will wait for a 'yes' so I can spare myself the embarrassment if it's a 'no." But then I realized something... God has been moving in my heart about my willingness to hear "no."
Much has transpired since my peers and I were struggling with questions about the future, I find myself thankful for these last 5 years because what He has taught me about His character has been more valuable than a decent bank account. Finances are fleeting and unpredictable; God, it turns out, is steadfast and reliable. It took a lot to get me here and you need to know all of this because of what has happened in the last 4 weeks.
I came back from California after spending time with my family at Christmas thinking about my future. I had gone from spending almost a year planning a move to the LA area to FINALLY pursue my writing, to putting it on hold for a bit to save for said move and just keep studying how to be the best writer I can be. Stephen King, James Scott Bell, Donald Mass, Jeff Gerke, and others have been my instructors for just about a year now. Slowly but surely I have been learning what I need to achieve my big dream.
Then came the heart call I have had since my early twenties of being a foster-to-adopt mom, quickly followed by the fact my position as a nanny can not financially support this dream. My flight home and particularly the days that followed were spent trying to figure out how to make the impossible a reality. The answer was not something I expected.
I realized that if I wanted a career I loved that supported my dream of being a writer, with the freedom to be a single parent should I never marry, Marriage and Family Therapy was the path I needed to pursue.
And pursue it I have. Friends, over the last month (precisely 33 days) I have applied to Azusa Pacific University in California for their MFT program. I have gone non-stop. I researched universities on New Years Eve, the FAFSA was completed January 1st. References were asked, an admittance essay was written (with the invaluable help of my dear friend Laura), the application was filled out, calls were made, emails were exchanged and I waited for 3 weeks hoping I could get into an online class ANYWHERE for Abnormal Psychology, the one prerequisite I need to start this Fall at APU.
This last Saturday, the first day of classes at my local JC started and one blessed soul dropped the course allowing me to grab the spot. And so, for these next 5 months I will attempt to finish with at least a "B" (the lowest grade accepted at APU) and hope I am accepted for this September's start date for full time graduate studies at APU.
I am sharing all of this with you now, because, though it would be so fun to just post the acceptance letter on Facebook shocking everyone at once out of nowhere, a bigger opportunity to share His work in my heart would be missed.
As I have prayed about my acceptance and presented my requests to God, I have asked Him to prepare me for "No." I have spent the last several weeks asking for favor to get into the Abnormal Psychology class. If I hadn't of gotten in, I would not have been able to apply to Azusa until this Fall for January 2018. I knew if that were to happen I would become discouraged so badly it would border on depression. Been there done that. It is so great to be able to share with you guys how God has spoken to my heart on timing and His will. I can now say that I have peace no matter the outcome. I'm not saying I won't be disappointed and confused, but I will choose to trust God.
When I look back at my reactions to him and my circumstances, I see how I have missed out on opportunities to know and rest in His perfect peace. It's always been right there but I rarely chose to embrace it. That's the thing about plans not working out, you reach a place where you start to wonder if what God has for you is better than any of the plans you've made for yourself. I've put real thought into His timing and plan for my life. Grad school feels smart and I feel good about it but I know that if I don't get in, I'll be okay. And that feels really good.
I've been praying that what God wants for me is revealed through APU's "Yes," or "No." But an important part of my journey has been to tell Him no matter what, I'll do what He wants - which may mean I get in and He tells me not to go. I just want to pursue my interests and dreams, knowing that at the end of the day, as long as I'm open to His plan, I have the freedom to make those pursuits. I don't have all the answers, I've heard the answer to life's pursuits is "love God, love people." If I focus on that I believe everything will be made clear. I choose to live in the mindset that I am always in the center of God's will. From here, I hope God will work with me on not giving up. Hard situations scare me. I don't like confronting people or having to advocate for myself. I don't like attempting a worthwhile pursuit (like grad school) and giving up because one university said no. So my current prayer is not only for definitive answers but for a spirit that never gives up.