Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Long Story of Grace

Whisper it in the breeze. 
Shout it from the mountain tops. 
Write it on your heart. 
Hold it close and never forget it. 
Because our God saves. 
Our God works miracles. 
He cares about me and you, small and frail as we are. 
He will never forsake us. 
His mercies are new every morning, and His grace never fails. 

Let me tell you a story. 
It's a real story. 
A story I never want to forget. 
A story I will forever be grateful for. 
A story of God's guidance and grace. 

I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. Many things had interested me, but nothing had seemed "just right." Until one night when I happened to attend a community meeting where a dietitian was speaking. I was interested in the medical field. I was interested in education. I was interested in health and nutrition. I had always loved cooking. All the pieces fell together in that short hour, and before the night was over, I set up a meeting with the dietitian to talk about her job. I just happened to take the personality project in 4-H that year, and it just happened to be about discovering a future career. I decided to interview 3 people in different careers I was interested in - scrub tech (medical), high school teacher (education), and a dietitian (both). Both the scrub tech and the teacher strongly discouraged me from entering those fields. And guess what? The dietitian had nothing but good to say about her job. Everything she described was something that interested me. After those interviews, there was no doubt in my mind as to what I wanted to be. 

Fast forward a few years - I applied to 2 schools with dietetics programs. I didn't know much about either one. After a couple campus visits (one that went extremely well and one that went extremely poorly), numerous recommendations from friends (all saying to attend Purdue, and never Ball State), and a significant scholarship - the decision was made. I have to say that attending Purdue was exactly what I needed at that point in my life. I did so much growing - socially, emotionally, and even spiritually. I was incredibly blessed in the fact that I never had a negative experience with atheistic professors - in fact, I was surprised that several of my professors in the sciences even hinted at a higher power. The friends that I made were serious about their studies and I was never so much as asked to attend any questionable parties. This may have been partly due to the fact that I never lived on campus, and I went home to attend church almost every weekend. 

Time to apply to internships. Dietetic internships are extremely competitive and probably only a third of applicants get a match. I applied to 3 that really interested me, and at the last minute decided to apply to Saint Louis University based solely on the fact that it was a combined master's degree and internship in 1 year (most take at least 2 years). I got a phone interview, and learned so many amazing things, that I switched SLU from my last choice to my second choice. When match day came - I received a match to SLU. This was one of the most intense years of my life, but it was also honestly one of the best. God provided me with one of the best friendships I ever could have asked for, a safe place to live, and somehow I made it through the year without missing a single day due to illness or any other catastrophe. Somehow (I'm still not completely sure how) I was able to finish all the requirements on time - including my research which was very behind schedule to begin with. I know that my first choice of internship would not have been nearly as good as SLU was - I had 24 different rotations with 16 different preceptors in sites all across St Louis. SLU also has a very strong sustainability program where I learned so much about gardening, composting, and all that "green" stuff. 

About 5 or 6 years ago, when I first became interested in dietetics, my grandmother noticed that her grocery store had dietitians to help customers. I became fascinated with this, and my grandmother sent me every newspaper article, magazine clipping, and brochure that these dietitians created over the years. Every time I visit her, I have to go to her grocery store. It's an amazing store, with so much more variety and fun things than any of my grocery stores have. I've wanted to work there ever since. In early June, I saw a full time job posting at this grocery store for a dietitian. I applied that evening and the posting was taken down almost immediately. I waited 3 weeks and figured they had filled the position. Four weeks later, I decided to email the store director, just to make sure. She was on vacation, but she responded to my email right away. I had already planned to be in Iowa to help my grandmother that next week so I offered to meet the director for an interview. She just happened to be back from her vacation on the only day that I could meet, and I had an interview. The interview went very well, but she couldn't promise me the job - since I wasn't a dietitian yet and wouldn't be until at least the end of August. She told me to call her when I passed my exam. 

The race was on to finish my research on time. I couldn't take the exam until all requirements for both the internship and master's degree were finished. After agonizing weeks of collecting data and wondering when I would have enough, I met with my statistician and we ran the stats - I had significance! He gave me the okay to write up my results and that evening I finished writing my paper. Somehow, edits by my committee members went very quickly and they approved me to defend my research. I finally had all my requirements completed and just had to wait for paperwork to go through saying that I could take my boards. Thankfully, that paperwork went through in record time and I was approved to take the exam within a week. During this time, I had been developing worse and worse gallbladder symptoms and it was becoming obvious that I needed to have surgery. We scheduled the surgery for the earliest possible date, and I was able to schedule the exam exactly 1 week later. The surgery went very smoothly, and that weekend I served in my cousin's wedding. Then 2 days later, I took my exam - feeling slightly unprepared. By the grace of God, I passed! The next morning I called the grocery store....wondering if the job would still be there. Somehow, it was, and I was offered the position. 

I marvel at all of the little details. How everything has "somehow" worked together to bring me to this point. How I "happened" to discover dietetics. How I "happened" to end up at the perfect school for me. How I "happened" to apply to this internship, and then how I "happened" to get a match. How I "happened" to finish everything in time. How I "happened" to see the job posting and then email the director. How I "happened" to be in Iowa at exactly the right time for an interview, and the position hadn't been filled yet. How I "happened" to pass my exam on my first try. I could go on and on. When I look back, I can see His hand. Silently guiding my life. Pushing me towards His plan, even if it wasn't always my plan. Even if I didn't always feel prepared. He knew exactly what I needed, and when I needed it. 

How can I not trust Him? 
How can I not be overwhelmed by His love? 


  1. When I read this, I got literal shivers. Because our God is SUCH an amazing God, and indeed, how can we not trust Him? I have dreams and aspirations too, and God is slowly paving the way for me in ways that are incredible. And I am just so blown away by how His plan is forming every single time. I don't know where I'll end up in 20 years time, but I pray that I will be in the best place I can ever be---in His perfect, loving will.

    Thank you for this; for reminding me of God's love and sovereignty, and how I should not worry about tomorrow, for He is in control <3<3<3

    1. Isn't it amazing? He never ceases to amaze me!

      Stay the course. It'll be worth it in the end. <3

  2. Wow, what a story of His faithfulness! Thank you for sharing this, Lorraine. I needed to hear it. <3

    1. Thanks so much, dear. He is ever faithful, ever true <3