The only thing I remember about that blessing is that he said the Lord was aware of my family and our needs. And that he would send us to the best place for our family. Little did I know that that place would be a small town in rural Pennsylvania- Danville. There have been so many, many times that I have doubted we were in the right place. From the moment I burst into tears at our match ceremony and found out we were coming here, until the moments leading up to the match this time around. And here I am, 3 years later, finally understanding why we were sent to Danville. Danville is where Ben would be able to achieve his dream of becoming a surgeon and I would be able to find a support system to endure the ups and downs of not matching and of just being a surgery resident's wife. The Lord had both of us in mind when he sent us here.
Matched. I'm pretty sure that's the best word in the English language. :) A word that for me, means relief, grace, atonement, progress, celebration and overcoming. I have visualized posting "MATCHED" on facebook for 3 years now. And I was finally able to. There is power in visualization. There is power in never giving up hope that what you want can and will happen, through the grace of God.
I went to the temple back in November to once again find peace during a trying time. And the lyrics to the hymn "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty" were brought to my mind. And I haven't been able to shake them since. In verse 4 it says,
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee.
Who from the heavens the streams of His mercy doth send thee.
Ponder Anew, What the Almighty Can do
Who with His love, doth befriend thee.
All things are possible to God. Trust Him. Even if you don't see any possible, logical way that it can happen, that's when we need to ponder anew what God is capable of doing. As we got the news that we matched, I have been singing (belting) that song out (in my mind, I'm not a singer, LOL) in praise. It really was possible! And the intricacies of events that happened to allow this to happen are incredible. And I'm happy to explain to anyone who will listen, but for the sake of not making this post forever long, I will spare you the details. But as I look back at the last 3 years, so SO many tender mercies have happened along the way to make this possible.
Here are a few things I have learned in the last 3 years that I want to share:
1. When someone doesn't match (or goes through some other crazy trial), it doesn't help to hear of stories that happened to others in similar situations and then everything worked out. I have heard so many stories of people who didn't match and then it all worked out for them. And I do appreciate those stories because they were coming from people who loved and cared about me. And wanted to comfort me. But if anyone is reading this post and didn't match, I have something else to say to you. Just because things worked out this way for me, doesn't mean they will work out this way for you. Putting faith and trust in other people's experiences is building your hope and trust in something false and not steady. True strength comes from putting your faith and trust in GOD. When you lean on Him, believing and trusting in His power, that's where you will find relief. He knows what is best for us. Know that and trust it!
2. God takes us into consideration. Maybe that's a duh moment. But in the past 3 years, I have often felt like "well I guess it doesn't matter what I do or what I think because what's going to happen is going to happen, and I just have to accept that. And I just have to learn some lesson that I'm not in the mood to learn because God is going to do what He is going to do. I once again have no control." But that's where I was wrong. Praying to God is not a me asking and Him denying type of thing. He takes my thoughts, my fears, my loves, my desires into consideration when He makes things possible (or sometimes impossible). Sometimes it feels like denying because of the timeline. Waiting on God is so so hard. But He always, always comes through with our best interest in mind.
3. Sometimes marriage is hard, even though I have never found being married to Ben hard. Let me explain. Ben is the ideal husband. No really, he is! He is always patient with me. He never loses his temper. He always helps around the house without being asked. He is dedicated to the gospel and to doing the right thing. He is a wonderful, wonderful father and dedicates his time and love to our children. He always puts me first when taking anything into consideration. He is kind, thoughtful, hard working. But marriage in general is hard sometimes because we are at the mercy of our spouse and our spouse's choices. Ben was determined to be a surgeon. I have often thought "why couldn't he have chosen a less competitive specialty?!" And I was at the mercy of his choice. But what a beautiful thing it is that Ben and I have gone through the best of times and worst of times together in our short (almost!) 5 years of marriage. Getting through this has made us stronger and will help us face more hardships together in the future.
4. Sharing success is so much sweeter when you have shared your sorrows and failures. Not matching can be a shameful thing. It can be a thing that makes you think you're not good enough and a lot of people don't want to talk about it. Because we've been so open about our experience, however, when we finally did match, the amount of cheerleaders exploding with happiness on our behalf was overwhelming. My phone was blowing up all day on Monday with people thrilled beyond belief for us. When you fail, you often don't want to talk to anyone about it. But people are kinder than you think they are going to be. Trust me. They are more supportive than you think they are going to be. Our group of cheerleaders only grew with each failure that we faced. And when our time finally came, the celebration was that much sweeter because we had so many people to celebrate with.
5. And finally, trials are an experience to build faith, not waver in it. When the going gets tough, that is an opportunity to become closer to God, not farther. To grow stronger with God, not weaker. And it took me 3 years to learn that. And I hope I remember it next time. God allows trials sometimes because our faith needs to be built. Our trust in Him needs to grow.
I am unable to truly explain to you the feeling of relief we experienced this week. And I am unable to fully express my gratitude to our cheerleaders and to God. But what a wonderful problem that is, right?