Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Official

I have officially reserved a place at Loma Linda University's master's program for marriage and family therapy.

This has been a spiritual, emotional, exciting, and humbling journey for me. I know a lot of you are probably tired of hearing about it. It seems like every other day I had a new question or concern. My parents and Jon have heard every fathomable possibility when it comes to school, my life, and my future. They have been patient, wise and steady. This has been invaluable to me.

I want to document some of my story for when I question this decision in the future, or for when things get tough at school, or for my future children. So while this process could probably be a book in itself, and some of the spiritual pieces of it may be too sacred to share on this public blog, I wish to tell just some of my story.

When I graduated high school I used to say that I intended on going to four years of college and then being done. I don't think that is a very common attitude, but I had my mind made up that people who went on to graduate school just didn't know what they wanted to do in their life. I just wanted to get out there and make a difference in the world. So I went to college with that exact plan in mind. I ended up selecting family life as my major and fell in love with my classes. I had these strong, intelligent and beautiful female professors. I began to think, "I could do that, I could be like them." I don't think there was an exact moment, but slowly I began to think of going into marriage and family therapy.

As that idea came to life, I turned to my patriarchal blessing (a personal blessing given once in a person's life that talks about promised blessings they will receive if they life righteously). As I read the words new things started to catch my eye. Undeniable things. My blessing talked more about my future profession or service involvement than my family. I don't think that is because I won't have a family, I think God knew I needed some extra encouragement to go down a path I would not have otherwise considered.
I decided to apply.

I told Jon and my parents it would be better to spend some money on the GRE, applications and interviews and then decide if I wanted to go. There was no hurt in applying. I was still not entirely convinced and some days I felt that going on for more school sounded like no fun at all. But most days I felt excited and hopeful. Not for the work, but for the experience, the learning and the people I could potentially help.

I only applied to three schools. I thought my mom put it best in our family letter:
One school I was pretty confident I would get into, one school I thought I might get into, and one school I could only hope to get into but would love to go to.
I didn't even get an interview at the first.
I got waitlisted at the second.
And got accepted at the third.

I want to note as well, applying to LLU was more on a whim. Just to have a school on the list my professors knew of. A "why not?" decision.
I am convinced God lead me to apply there. I am also convinced that God sees much more in me than I see in myself. If I were thinking logically and thoughtfully about my abilities, applying to LLU would not be something I would do.

In the interview process the decision was pretty clear. I loved my other school, I had a strong desire to go there, but I got a very strong feeling to leave that interview room and never look back. And to be honest, that feeling was so strong that I haven't had that desire. It really came to LLU or no school at all.

Jon and I tossed and turned about this decision. Since we have had no debt since we have been married the finances are overwhelming to us. I prayed regularly for promptings to know if this is the right decision.
One night I was praying and I said I didn't feel like I was getting any answers. Immediately conversations I had, things people had said and opportunities that had come up in the last few days entered my mind. Those were my answers.

I felt that I knew that this is what I was supposed to do. But before signing off on the decision I decided I needed to take this question to the temple. I went with the attitude that even if I received no promptings, it was ok, because I pretty much had my answer. I just wanted to be sure it wasn't a "no."

I had a very spiritual experience in the temple. My answer was clear. I felt like God was saying, "Oh ye of little faith," thinking you wouldn't get a prompting. More than any other emotion I was experiencing, I felt humbled.
My personality traits tend to be talkative and opinionated. Not the best traits for a therapist. But still, God knows so much more than I do. And he has reassured me time and time again that this is the right decision for me. I know that if I continue to trust in him he will magnify my abilities.

This has become a long story for what I intended to be short. But I want others to know this story.

Most importantly, I want to remember this story. There are so many other things that occurred, small experiences that changed my course. I wish I could remember them all. But in the end I am grateful for a Heavenly Father who is willing to answer my prayers and reassure me continuously.

I am so excited to attend LLU and feel at peace about my decision.


Carissa May said...

Beautiful story, Rachel. Thanks for sharing. :)

Vivian said...

This post makes me smile. a big happy smile for you.

T-Ray said...

Congrats... you deserve the best and I am glad that you are happy and well with what has happened and your decisions.