April wasn't all bad though. On the 29th of that month I had the wonderful opportunity to see two of my best friends graduate from medical school. They were a part of the first graduating class at that institution, and I couldn't have been prouder. The weekend came at a more sedate period of the month for me. Lilly was medically doing great at the moment, and the grandparents health was under control. I had more fun than I had in months, but the joy for my friends was also tempered by frustrations with my own life. I watched the excitement in their eyes as they talked about moving to their respective new cities and programs, felt the simultaneous fear and joy at the challenges awaiting them. It was in those moments that I came to the heart breaking realization:
"I don't think I'm called to stay in Child Life."
All this time I had been thinking God was calling me away from Miami, and now I began to wonder if he was actually beginning to nudge me down an entirely different path altogether. It was scary and overwhelming, and I had NO IDEA WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT. At dinner that night I sat down to cocktails and appetizers with my best friend and finally put into words the thoughts swimming in my head.
"I don't know that I'm supposed to stay in Child Life forever..."
"Why do you say that?"
"Just a feeling I've been having.. I can't explain it other than I think it's why God
keeps slamming doors in my face."
"I mean I have to tell you... this isn't a surprise to me. I've thought that for a while as well,
but I knew you weren't ready to hear it"
"You have always been so focused, and driven, and academic minded. Don't get
me wrong, I love this Bethany too... but this Bethany doesn't seem like the REAL Bethany"
"So tell me. Right now... what would you say is your dream"
"I... I would love to teach. I want to teach. I think I would be so great at it.
But I would love to do clinical practice too. To do both. But that job doesn't exist"
"So pray about it. I think God has been spinning you around so you won't know which end
is up so that you will stop trying to lead and instead will let him show you the way. So stop
trying to figure it out. Just pray.. and trust he wants what is best for you."
That conversation is burned into my brain. I left dinner feeling affirmed, excited, and renewed at the realization my 'purpose' didn't have to be the lukewarm passion I was currently experiencing. Simultaneously, I felt terrified, confused, and disappointed in realizing I had no idea where next to go, no real idea of what I wanted, and a sense of let down that I would be giving up on what had been my dream for years.
I'll fastforward quite a bit because the next 8 months or so, while important in the scheme of my life, are not quite applicable to this topic. All you really need to know is that I alternated between going on interviews (all quietly without broadcast to my colleagues and many friends), and feelings of disappointment when those jobs did not pan out (and subsequent breaks from applications). In the midst of all my searching that 'ideal' job never quite appeared.
Just a few days after I finally came to terms with taking medication to curb my anxiety , God rewarded my faith by leading me to a posting for what can only be described as my dream job. A teaching position, at a small college, that included responsibilities for supervising child life students in the hospital. No doctorate required, in a city that I could definitely see myself fitting into. Sure, I recognized that while this was the perfect job for me, I was most likely NOT the perfect candidate for them, but I immediately submitted an application, with a sense of destiny hanging over me the entire time.
We set up a skype interview for just a few weeks later, and I knew they would invite me to visit. I also knew it would be on April 1st. Exactly one year after the start of my hardest year ever. April 1st became my own personal New Years, and I could sense God telling me the reward for my patience and faith was coming.
I'm sure you can guess how this ends.
On April 1st I was called and invited to visit in person for an interview. Over the next few weeks I had a myriad of phone calls back and forth that led me to believe God was paving the way for me. Another Monday after Easter interview, I spent time with the staff, the students, the hospital partners, and the provost, who discussed an incredible salary/benefits package that nearly had me in tears of joy. I returned to Miami with an absolute certainty that I would be moving, and sure enough, less than 48 hours later, the call came. I was in. I was the "absolute perfect person for the job" and they couldn't wait for me to start. The time had finally come.
So that's where we stand as of now. This year's Story of April. Much less dramatic, but a great deal happier than last year's story. Granted, my formal contract still has not made an appearance, so until I put pen to paper and ink away my life for the next year, I will not be sharing any specific details about my new position. Nor am I making the official announcement at my current job until that time. However, in the wake of my current nerves and anxiety (for the record I did eventually go off the medication. It turned me into a complete zombie who had no motivation to care about anything in her life), I feel God calling me to risk it. To put myself out there.
The lack of concrete finality has me on edge, and it is only now that i am realizing how little I trust God to have my best interests at heart. I've been burned before, had the rug swept out from under neath me, and I think there is a part of me that is still having trouble believing this is all happening. In the meantime, God is taking this time to stroke my hand, let me vent, only saying "please just trust me.. I know it hasn't been easy, but just enjoy this and know I have such amazing plans for you."
We part ways and as I drive off I find myself laughing, giggling almost. I call my dad and the elation in my voice is obvious: “I’m not sure what will happen, and she still may not pull through, but for right now I know no matter what happens it is God’s plan. There’s a point to all this… I’m just still waiting to read the final chapter.” (Excerpt from last year's story of April)