By the time we settled into our little hotel room five days ago, I realized we would only have time to pick up a bite to eat before heading to my test site. My nerves were a little frayed in anticipation and consequently my stomach was in knots. The only thing that sounded good was Panera Bread’s black bean soup or soy yogurt from Whole Foods (and I thought my mother’s pregnancy cravings were random). A quick consult of google maps revealed that the closest Panera Bread was in Chicago, and Whole Foods was at the north end of town-- too far away. We settled for burritos from Chipotle. Under normal circumstances I really enjoy Chipotle veggie burritos, but have you ever tried to add a burrito to a rebellious stomach? Add the smell of a newly rented car to the equation and it’s no wonder I was feeling nauseated.
On our way to Chipotle I made the disturbing discovery that I had forgotten to bring along a calculator. Joshua gave me a sideways glance from his position behind Piggy’s wheel (our affectionate name for my very first rental car). “Win, I think my nerves are even more jangled than yours.” You think?
As we drove up to the restaurant in question, my eyes espied none other than Panera Bread next door! (So much for google maps). In a record breaking four minutes we were in and out with steaming black bean soup.
A helpful soul pointed us towards a Pick n’ Save just behind Panera as a likely location to procure a calculator. Five more minutes and I had my calculator in hand. We arrived at the test site with plenty of time.
The grace of my Heavenly Father, the encouragement of my test proctors, and the prayers of my family and friends sustained me through the most challenging (scholastic) test of my life. I emerged Thursday morning from the hospital as a graduate nurse! The combination of the thrill, relief and exhaustion left me feeling weak, but oh, so grateful.
Tears of joy rained down my cheeks as I stepped out of the hospital and looked up at the summer sky. Tears over a bowl of black beans and a non-programmable calculator? The hugs and congratulations of my proctors? The rejoicing of my family and friends? A relaxing afternoon by the sapphire-blue, sail-boat-studded waters of Lake Michigan? My faithful brother and traveling companion? The successful completion of a test I’ve been anticipating for years?
No. Though I am deeply thankful for all of these things, they were not the main reason for my tears.
A God Who shows me in a thousand ways that He is watching over me, and cares about the details of my life (including what I feel like eating with a knotted stomach). A God Who rains blessings down so thickly I can hardly take them all in. A God Who proves Himself just as faithful through disappointed hopes, long nights, and a throbbing heart as through sunshiny days, smiles and pleasures.
He finds endless ways through a variety of perfectly tailored “Chantée-language” messages to say,
“I love you.”
Who couldn’t love a God like that?
“For the love of Christ constraineth us...” 2 Corinthians 5:14
P.S. Thanks for all of you who were praying for me! I would have loved to solicit the prayers of all of you but the study-packed days of the last few weeks left little opportunity for much else. I appreciate you all!