"For I know the plans I have for you" says The Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future ." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Every year, in mid march, there is the National Residency Match. That's where all the graduating medical students from all over the country find out where they will be doing their residency. It's a little complicated but basically the 4th year students list the residency programs they interviewed with in order of preference and the residency programs list the students they interviewed in order of preference. Then it all is sent to a program that matches everyone based on both rank lists. (For a better explanation go to nrmp.org)
I tell you this because this years match day is just a few days away now. And so last years match is so clear in my mind.
On the morning of Friday, March 16 2012 we were in Fresno and heading over to our friends house to drop off Sam so we could run a few errands. Alex had a small break in his rotations because he was leaving for Bolivia the next week for a month long international rotation. I was driving while Alex was on his phone in the passenger seat, checking for the results. It seemed like forever before he was able to finally log into the web site - it was quite as he was looking.
Than he said softly "It's Loma Linda"
"Haha, very funny" I said, than looked at him. He was dead serious. So I asked again "your joking right?"
"No." He replied.
And it all suddenly came like a flood. A huge lump formed in my throat. We would have to move. For at least 3 years we would leave all our friends, family, and church... again. Sam wouldn't grow up next to his cousins. We would have to sell the house. And it was all going to happen in only 3 months.
I turned and looked at Alex again. He looked like his spirit was crushed. He had been told by Fresno that he was definitely "in". That he was one of there top picks. And he had ranked Fresno #1. So why did he get #2? It didn't make sense.
I asked God for the right words to speak, to reassure my best friend hat this was going to be ok.
"This has to be where God wants us. There is no other explanation. You said yourself after the interview that if it wasn't for the location that Loma Linda would be your #1." I said while still driving, choking back tears and looking straight ahead at the stop light in front of me. He nodded, obviously still shocked but looked a little reassured.
The hours that followed was a mass of texts, emails and Facebook comments where I was the super positive one- telling everyone that this was apparently where God wanted us and that it was an incredible program and we were blessed that Alex had matched there. All this was true. I also told everyone how incredibly sad I was that we would be leaving the community and our hometown that we loved so much. It all seemed surreal. But eventually along with the disappointment came excitement for our little family's new adventure.
It's now been a year and I can absolutely see why we are here. This program is far superior to the one in Fresno- much bigger with more opportunities and has an incredible clinic. He gets to pray for his patients an can be open about his faith, and has seen God's hand at work in his patients recoveries. I have an amazing group of friends- women who are medical spouses like me whose husbands are in various places in the journey ( student doctors, residents, and attendings). We have kids around the same age and understand each others struggles with our spouses 80 hour work weeks and call schedules. I am so blessed to have them in my life.
Alex and I have learned (once again) to rely completely on one another. Even though he works more hours now, we actually see each other more than we did in Fresno since I am not involved in a million things. Since we are not on the go constantly, we have a more peaceful home and we are enjoying that as well. We've also gotten serious about our finances and are finally on the same page. Being away from family is hard, but has also been nice that during times of family drama we are far enough away not to get to wrapped up in it.
So good and bad, we have learned to take what we are given and make the best of it, and trust that The Lord is completing the work he began in us. And he has always been faithful! His plans for us have always turned out better for us than the plans we've made for ourselves.