Monday, September 30, 2013

We got our second choice and I am so grateful

A new residency interview season is upon us. Last night we got to go out to eat for a 'dinner with residents.' This time we were part of the residents representing a program instead of the ones being interviewed. (No, I'm not a resident and, no, I was never actually interviewed but in the whole two becoming one part of marriage I've always thought of it as "where we got into medical school," "where we were applying for residency," "where we were going to match/ matched." Glenn's the one that the programs were deciding on but when you get Glenn you get all 6 of us. We are a team. We're a package deal.) It was interesting to learn about the applicants and it was fun that one of the residents who came for our 'dinner with residents' last year was there with us again.

Coming home last night there was a lot of reflecting going on in our van. There are good things and bad things about all the programs we applied to. There are no perfect programs because they are made up of people and there are no perfect people.

We didn't get our first choice in the match. I am grateful now.  March 15th I wasn't. (There are funny pictures, lost forever because of the break in that show on our faces that that is true.) At the beginning of the interview season last year we were told by a resident at what ended up being first on our rank list that ultimately how we arrange our rank order list didn't really matter. God was ultimately in control and would put us in the place He knew was best for us because all He needed to do was tweak a computer program a little bit which, in my mind, is so much easier than tweaking a stubborn human. He said that on Match Day you may feel a bit foolish and like you weren't really listening if you got the last choice on your list but you would still be where God wanted you.

Throughout the interview season we were comforted at the knowledge that, ultimately, we were not in control. We prayed and discussed our options countless times always trying to hold them in an open hand, lifting them up to God and telling Him, "You pick. You know where we will get the best training for what You have for us. You know where You want to use us for our years of residency. You know where would be best for our kids to spend these critical years of their lives. You pick." Sometimes I would see something in one of our options and think, "Oh, I really don't want to go there because of that" or "Oh, I really hope we end up there because of this" but would always come back to: "God, You are in control. I want what You want because I know that is best."

His choice was for us to move to Fort Worth. It wasn't my choice but, just like "not my choice" Houghton and Lowville before it, I know that God knows best and He will make our time here full of priceless memories and will use us and challenge us and grow us in ways He could only do here for this season of our lives.

On our way home last night we discussed once again about how grateful we are that we got our "second choice." We are grateful because we know that God didn't put us here because we asked Him to but because He wanted us here. We probably would have been happy at our first choice but when struggles came we might have wondered, "Are we here because we put it first? Is this really where God wanted us?" Instead we are certain: we didn't put this first so we know that this is where God wants us.

We are currently on question 11: "What is God's providence? A: God's providence is His completely holy, wise and powerful preserving and governing every creature and every action." Over and over as we've read parts of Esther as a family I have thanked God for His providence in our lives. He has allowed so many things that I never would have asked for and not allowed so many things that I would have loved to have had at the time. Sometimes He has given me a window to see what He was doing after a while. For many of the circumstances that He has allowed I may never know the why. Always, always I am certain that He is good and does good. Therefore I know that He is good and did good in allowing us to move to Fort Worth 'for such a time as this.'

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One Year Ago Today - Our Road Trip to Residency

One year ago this afternoon I was at the Lowville Library to check out books and for the kids' Art and Literacy Class. While there I got a call from Glenn that I tried to take discretely. He told me that we had gotten our first interview offer! Not too long before we had finally gotten the residency application done and submitted. All of the required letters of recommendations were still not in but we had our first interview offer from JPS!

We were excited. JPS is one of the 4 programs that are always mentioned whenever you ask about the kind of broad spectrum family medicine residency training that Glenn was looking for. One of my first thoughts on hearing that he already got an interview though was, "Oh no. We are not ready for this. I have no idea how we are going to work out all the details and how we are going to arrange travel to all of his interviews." We had only applied west of the Mississippi because they do not offer the training that would give us the best preparation for our future on the East Coast and that meant expensive, time intensive travel. Looking at the map we had no idea how we were going to work out all the details of the travel that would be required to get to all of the 11 places we applied to. I don't think we called to schedule his interview for 2 weeks because we weren't sure what we were going to do.

After much prayer and discussion we decided that driving would be the cheaper than flying and, since we all wanted to check out all of our possible future cities, we thought we'd make it a big family homeschool field trip. A quick plot on google maps revealed it would be a 8000 mile field trip if we went to every place in the most convenient order. Yikes! The thought of it frightened me a bit.

We prayed about it and looked at the map and the calendar and wrote down a penciled-in, hypothetical, "if everything would work perfectly" schedule. We knew that we wanted to go to the Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, KY at the beginning of November so we made that our first stop and started plotting destinations after that. As more interview offers started coming in we just stood in awe of how God orchestrated our itinerary to match up almost perfectly with our with our penciled in hypothetical "if everything would work perfectly" plan. We decided for various reasons to not interview on the west coast removing 3 of our options and one of our Colorado options didn't fit in our itinerary so we decided that was God's hand in saying no to that location. In our schedule we were able to meet my niece for the first time in Ohio on our way west, visit with some of Glenn's family in Wyoming and even have Thanksgiving dinner with them and meet up with some friends.

I am still amazed at how God worked out all the details. We left right after we voted last year to head out on our interview trip. The GMHC was amazing. So glad we could all go (Glenn and I get to go back this year and represent JPS - yay!). The theme printed on big posters all over was "Find Where You Belong" - a fitting theme, I thought, for setting out on this interview trip. God allowed us to meet an amazing couple at the conference that has been a huge help, blessing and challenge to us over the last year.

Most of our pictures from the past year were lost when our computer was stolen but here are some pictures from our trip that were on Glenn's phone to give you a bird's eye view of our crazy ~7000 mile residency interview roadtrip adventure.
A trip of 7000 miles begins with a new set of all weather tires of course.
We finally got to meet Naomi!
The kids were super excited to see The Maverick, a flying car, in person at the GMHC.
We got to meet up with our friend Cortney at the GMHC. We hadn't seen her since we left TN in 2001!
The kids had heard of Lambert's their whole lives and we decided to take a slight detour to let them experience it.
A new battery we picked up in College Station.
A poster seen in an office Glenn interviewed in reminding us Who we were doing this for.
Abigail lost a tooth in the dark somewhere in Kansas.
You might be in Texas if you see packets of salsa at a gas station condiment bar.
An early view of the Rockies.
One of many tunnels we passed though.
Front porch view in Idaho.
Wow.... on the way to Utah.

This could have been our back yard.

One of many dinners with residents we enjoyed (This was the fanciest one - yak)
Chickfila with family in Cheyenne
Bighorn sheep on the side of the highway in Glenwood Canyon on Abigail's birthday.
More wow.... we got to drive through Colorado National Monument.
Thanks for the recommendation Grandpa Earl!

The one hotel we had to pay for (the rest were paid for by residency programs) was comped for us because we woke up with lovely bites. Thankfully, since we've conquered bedbugs before,  we knew what it was and treated all of the very limited amount of stuff we brought into the hotel with us before returning to the van and brought none home with us.
This elaborate display was across the street from the home of a resident who hosted us for an interview dinner.
Crossing back over the Mississippi on our way home.
A quick stop in to play with cousins in Ohio.
We were a little over the every 5000 mile recommendation but we stopped back by to get our new tires rotated.
 It was a great trip full of amazing views of God's creation and God's amazing provision (our only expenses ended up being gas and some food because God provided free housing for us for every night we were gone). We heard so many stories of credit cards being maxed out and people having to take out more loans and then moonlighting during residency to pay for their interview travel expenses of flights and hotels, rental cars and food. I'm not sure why God is so generous with us but I am so thankful for His provision and for the opportunity to see so much of the country during the month of November (and on the 2-3 crazy long road trips that followed this one which will have to be a story for another day).