Lately has brought me a mess of uncertainties that have really thrown me for a loop.
For those of you who might not know, I am someone who enjoys planning, looking forward to things, and to some extent researching. I still have memories of girls in my sorority calling me joking asking if I would come pack for them for retreat, since they knew I was such a light packer. I also remember a family friend having me practically plan their anniversary trip since my costs typically were a fraction of what theirs were in terms of finding cheaper hotels and flights. It is just something that I get a secret thrill out of.
Well, to an extent that can be good, but I think God has been using the last year or so, but particularly the last few months, to really make a statement about my desire to know what is coming. I have know for awhile that I want to go to graduate school to get my Masters in Social Work. I have been working with kids in different settings from work, to volunteering, to counseling for over ten years now, (really since I was a little kid myself overseeing even smaller kids ;)) and it has been a true calling of mine ever since. I finally got my “big push” about two years ago when I worked at Brookstone School, which is an elementary school that also teaches the gospel to inner city kids. I worked there for a summer before my final semester of college, and it blew me away. I found that while the work was challenging at times, which was to be expected, I couldn’t really imagine myself working in a different kind of environment. I loved that group of kids. There were lots of behavioral and other issues that came along with the package, but they had a love for Christ that I, as well as the other counselors, wanted nothing more than to see expand and flourish. We used sports, particularly soccer and basketball, to connect with them and emphasize the importance of teamwork, and practiced reading and math during the afternoon to keep their minds working and to try and prevent the loss of everything they had learned the previous year come August.
I could go on and on about that experience, but my point is that it confirmed my desire to go into some form of ministry involving social work. I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I needed my masters degree though until about three months later, when I found that nearly every single job in my field required it, or at least many years of experience to make up for a lack of degree. Slightly disheartened, I decided to work as a nanny and save some money before applying the following year.
At the risk of sounding like a control freak, as by the state of my room you will see I am not (har har), I began working towards this goal nearly a year ago, looking at rankings and budgets and tuition costs etc of lots of different schools. Upon deciding where I wanted to apply, I then had the focus of studying for the GRE and application essays to keep me going. Around the holidays though was when I sent in my applications.
And then the waiting game started.
It has been over two months now, and I probably will not hear for about another 3-4 weeks from the schools I have applied to. This has been unsettling to me for a number of reasons. I have never really experienced completely not knowing where I will be living three months from now. People have consistently asked me if I have heard from anywhere yet, and I have always had to turn them down. Our leasing agent has asked us to renew our contract, or forfeit the house to other owners. I have had to have the discussion with my boss about when my last day of work will be. My roommates and I have talked about what we will do should I go to Chapel Hill versus somewhere else.
All of this is a bit unsettling when you haven’t even the slightest idea of what your options will be, let alone where you want to actually go.
Now I realize that I probably sound like I am whining…don’t mean for it to sound that way at all! I know that wherever I wind up will be great, and God has a plan for me. The schools I have applied to are all great, and I am very confident about my decision to study the particular program I am so passionate about. Really, it is all a very exciting time, and I am extremely grateful for have the opportunity to pursue this.
What I am referring to is that tiny, sometimes unnoticeable feeling of unease. All of you probably know what I am talking about. That feeling of uncertainty when you don’t know what your life is going to look like in a very short while. Sure you have an idea: I know I will be going to class, working part time (for course credit) at some form of non-profit agency, and Lord willing staying in the south ; ) but other than that, I am not sure! This has been the first time where I have not at least had a clear picture of what I am pursuing and where I will end up. Even when applying to undergraduate programs, I was fairly sure I was going to Chapel Hill, but if not, knew nearly right away that I had been accepted to College of Charleston, which I was perfectly happy with if I wasn’t meant to stay in North Carolina. So really, this is an interesting situation to be in. I often hear of people who are engaged or about to be parents for the first time having similar (probably on a grander scale, actually!) thoughts about the unknown.
And I have found that God has been using this time to increase my ability to trust in Him. He knows everything, and I do not always know what is best. In my mind I have a first choice school, yes, but my heart is being pulled in about six different directions at once. There are pros and cons to everything, and I am really curious right now where God wants me to go and serve Him. Hopefully I will know in about a month, but until then, I am praying for Him to give me the patience and ability to trust that He will place me where I am meant to be!