Last Friday morning dawned, bringing with it my heavy heart. As a part of my doctoral program, I am required to gain clinical experience each year with a practicum. Last year, I applied to many practicum sites, college counseling centers, private practices, etc., knowing all along that I, as a recent college graduate, did not have the experience of many of my fellow applicants. I was asked to interview at a few different sites, but knowing that each site only accepted 1 or 2 applicants, I was realistic about my chances. The dreaded "notification day" arrived, in which sites are allowed to call (promptly at 9a.m.) their top choices with an offered position.
I did not receive a call.
Fortunately, I was prepared for this, and I continued on to the next step of the process, knowing that this always happens to a few students. I began another tedious application process, interviewing at sites that had not found what they were looking for in the first round.
I was hopeful and faithful in the Lord's provision, and He definitely showed His goodness with my placement at the college counseling center at which I work now. This site has been a HUGE blessing in my life. Knowing the personal trials that awaited me, God knew that I would need the encouragement and support of my precious supervisors in the months that followed.
How is this relevant? Well, it's that time of year again.... tomorrow is notification day. However, even after several months of counseling experience, I only received one interview.... less than last year. After my previous experience, I have had no doubt that I will ultimately be at the site that He wills, but I admit that I have been a little overwhelmed by the thought of having to reapply and face the unknown once again.
A little over a week ago, I interviewed at my one and only site... the good news? I loved it. The bad news? I was one of many applicants. I have been "realistically optimistic" about my chances of actually receiving an offer from the site, knowing that even with a good interview, I was probably one of many good interviews.
So what did I do? Around 9:45 on Friday morning, I prayed. Convicted in recent weeks of my lack of faith in the power of my prayers, as well as my fear of God's answers, I have been keeping a prayer journal of specific requests and the answers God gives. Sometimes the requests are small, and sometimes they are what I call "risky"...the asking for miracles.
It's not that I doubt His ability to answer... I have total faith in that.... but I've realized that what I fear most is that I will ask and I will not see or understand His answers. Worse yet, He may not give me what I asked, and I fear being disappointed in my God. Better to never ask than hear His firm "No." In my mind, I have thought, Why not just let Him do His will instead of trying to convince of what I want? A silly thought, but true.
And by doing so, I have greatly limited the opportunities to see the little and big miracles my Heavenly Father has waiting for me.... The beautiful gifts that He wants to give me, and the ways that He wants to shower His love and provision on my life.
So, 9:45a.m., I asked for (what I consider) a miracle. I asked that, if it is truly His will, I would receive a call from the practicum site that very day telling me that I would be offered a position on notification day. I prayed a few-and-far-between risky prayer, knowing that God may answer "No," but dearly hoping that He might show His glory with a "Yes."
15 minutes later, my phone rang.
God said YES!
I never would have imagined that God would have shown His glory and goodness so perfectly. Every time I think about how I was chosen for this position and how God answered that risky prayer, I am humbled and in awe. Maybe it seems a little silly... but I know that many applied, and I never dreamed that I would stand out from the rest of the wonderful and highly deserving applicants.
And 15 minutes after giving my risk to Him? Is His timing beautiful, or what?!
I don't know why I didn't have several interviews this year, and I don't know what story God is writing for me in the years ahead... but I know that God had a purpose in my one interview, and He has a purpose for my story. Maybe this precious gift of answered prayer would not be nearly as sweet if I had interviewed at many places.... or maybe I would never have taken the risk to lay my burdened thoughts and desires at His feet. Clearly, I will not always understand the ways of my Father on this earth, but I am trusting in the knowledge that He sees the bigger picture. For now, I am more happy than ever to continue my journey to becoming a prayer warrior.
Do you believe in the power of your prayers? What miracle are you frightened to ask of God?
p.s. How do I celebrate a beautifully answered prayer? With a celebratory smoothie, of course! And this one made it to my stomach instead of the "Welcome" mat.