Have you ever felt like God was leading you somewhere? When people used to tell me that God had taken them somewhere I used to equate it to being a kid in the backseat of your parents car, not knowing where you were going. That wasn’t comforting to me as a kid. I was never able to just relax and let my parents drive us somewhere without asking any questions. I was the type of kid that had to know all the details, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you that I grew into the adult that has to know all the details. So you can understand that when I say, recently God has shown up and started gently nudging his stubborn child in a certain direction, I didn’t want to see it or accept it until I couldn’t chalk it up to anything but God in my life.
Until very recently I had never felt like God had led me anywhere, explicitly. I had always felt like I had been going in a certain direction and God was watching from afar, nodding in approval. He had left me to follow whatever path I was on and that was the path he had intended, so it was good enough for Him and that was good enough for me. All that changed in September.
Late Spring, I called a reference check for a candidate and the man on the other end ended up being a professor at the university I graduated from. After having a pleasant conversation with him, I wondered what my old school was up to these days. I checked out their graduate courses and stumbled on a graduate certificate for “Non-profit management”. I reached out to an old career counselor that directed me to the first professor I had spoken with as the department head. First weird thing. I put off emailing this man for months (yes literally) and finally I hit send on my draft the week before Labor Day. I had expected not to meet with him until October or November, due to his course load. He suggested a meeting in 2 weeks. Second weird thing.
I went to this meeting prepared with my folder of reasons why this couldn’t work for me and my cushy start date of Fall 2018. I walked in certain of deadlines, prerequisites, the difficulty of scheduling classes with a full-time job, financial complications, blah, blah, blah. I thought I had all the answers. Each roadblock I put down, this professor met it with dynamite and blew my “no” into a billion tiny “yeses”. Even registration deadlines. When he suggested I register for Winter 2018 the first thing I thought was registration/FAFSA deadlines. His response when I was prepared for a hard and impossible deadline, “We don’t have deadlines. We have rolling admission.” I think I picked my jaw up off the floor. Third weird thing. Weeks later, the little boy I volunteer with on the weekends, was inexplicably assigned a new partner. Fourth weird thing.
So I applied to not only the certificate program but to the full-blown MPA program thinking there’s no way I will get admitted. I passed my undergrad with a 3.10 (requirement was 3.0) my background was in literature and writing. Not political science. I applied and didn’t think about it again, thinking it would be weeks before I heard my admission status. It was 5 business days before I got my acceptance. Five days, folks. After the wedding and honeymoon I came back to an advising appointment with more positive feedback. I’ve filled out my FAFSA and last week when I tried to register I ran into all sorts of problems! I had the wrong course ID number. Both classes I was trying to register for said “prerequisite or test score not satisfied”. I thought, “Yep! There it is! I knew it! If this system tells me I need to go back and take other courses or come in and take competency tests, I just can’t do that with my schedule!” I emailed one of the advisers and she asked for an override for “non-essential prerequisites” and today I am successfully registered. Crazy. Fifth weird thing.
I had always thought about going back for my graduate degree but not for many, many years, I’m talking 10 more years. Here, out of the blue God decided that the path I was on was no longer what I should be doing. I had grown robotic and complacent and it was time for him to step in and gently led me out of my comfort zone. There is no other explanation to the timelines and the ease at which I have followed this path over the last 2 months.
I haven’t ever felt God’s presence in my life until I started this journey. It’s kind of crazy. Even now, people in my life have started talking to me about school and things and I can’t pinpoint how I feel. I haven’t had a moment to think about it and when I do I feel anxious but for an unfamiliar reason. I never thought this is what I’d be doing right now so I couldn’t prepare my arsenal of anxiety driven “cants”.
What is so incredible, as I sit here and see each move God has made I feel like some of my anxiety is lifted. I don’t feel invincible and I can’t pretend to be stress free going into this. It’s a big deal. But I can’t pretend to know God’s plan either. For all I know, I may fail this entire program but meet a connection through networking that is detrimental to my future. I may find out I don’t enjoy this at all and God was teaching me to be open-minded to something totally different. Or maybe none of the circumstances that have crossed my mind at all. The main point here, is that God showed up in so many “weird circumstances” over the last few months and each time he was gently redirecting my path. He was trying, I just had to listen.
So as we all scurry through the holidays, ticking off our gift lists and standing in holiday lines, I will be doing it with a bit more childlike wonder this year. I have seen God’s actions and love and I’m prepared to accept His plan for me, whether I like it or not. It won’t always be easy and I know that. Blindly trusting does not come easy to me but I’m working on it. And where better to start than with God leading me into education?