My journey to Newlife started in a very unusual, but utterly wonderful way. I was on a completely different track, headed in a direction I believed God was leading me in (after already having been "rerouted" by God once in my high school years.)
It was November of my senior year of high school. I had just returned home from one of two college visits I had planned. I believed that God was leading me towards getting a two year nursing degree, and after much research, I was trying to decided between Campbellsville University in the middle of nowhere Kentucky, and Beth Israel school of nursing, in New York City. I was praying that my trips to visit the schools would clarify the feelings I had. I felt an equal pull to both school, for very different reasons. But instead of feeling peace after going to look at Campbellsville, I simply felt more unrest. I was pouring my heart out to my best friend/accountability partner in an e-mail, like I had done so many times before, and like I still continue to do to this day.
In her response, she included something I was not expecting. I'm going to paraphrase here, but this is basically what she said at the end of the e-mail:
"I know you are looking into nursing schools, but I heard of this school from a friend, and I immediately thought of you. Here is the link: midwifeschool.org"
I clicked on the link and spent the next hour or so scouring the website. How can I say what I felt in that moment? All at once I felt incredible peace and horrible unrest. Peace because I felt like this was in my future; that this was somehow meant for me. Unrest because all of my dreams and hopes and fears about nursing school- the ones I had spent the last months focusing on - suddenly seemed completely irrelevant.
I sent the website to my mom in an e-mail and asked her look over it. She came back with another unexpected answer-"Bekah, this looks perfect for you." So here I am, thrust into a whole new world of college seeking. I now am thinking about midwifery, not nursing. I am also thinking about moving across the world to become a midwife. I think in my mind what many other people have asked me since then. "What about a midwifery school here in the US?"
Though I had already looked into becoming a midwife a couple of years ago, I looked into it seriously now. But every school I came across just did not seem to fit me. And then I would return to the website for Newlife, and I would instantly feel at home. It literally was everything I was looking for in my dream school.
- Small class size. (Really small. 10-15 girls a year admitted)
- In the medical field
- Strong emphasis on missions
- The opportunity to travel
The next step in this new crazy idea was my dad's approval. Probably the biggest step of all, as not many fathers want to send their 18 year old daughters off to the Philippines to study for 2 years. I prayed and prepared and gave him all the info on the school I could. On Christmas eve of 2011, we sat down and talked about the school. To my great astonishment, he said he loved the school and thought it was a perfect fit for me. His only request was that I wait a year to apply to the school. My mother and I had been discussing wether I should wait a year or not and his answer seemed to come at the perfect time. Over the next few months I decided that I was going to live in Nashville as a nanny for 4 months over the fall of 2012. Though this decision was made with much prayer and guidance, I had no idea at the time I made it that it would be one of the best decisions of my life to date, and that it would bless me in more ways then imaginably possible.
Whoever came up with the saying "hindsight is 20/20" was a genius. Because hindsight truly is amazing. As I look back over my past year, I see many wonderful experiences that I would not have gotten if I had gone to Newlife in Fall 2012. Like my amazing summer trip with Rebekah. Or my trip to Europe. Or even the little things like peach and apple picking. And of course, Nashville.
I moved to Nashville in August of 2012. While I was there, I got to see my first ever live birth, which also happened to be the most beautiful birth I could imagine. The end result of that birth is a precious little girl named Eva that I could not fathom life without. After I witnessed Eva's birth many people asked me if it had scared me out of becoming a midwife. My very quick answer to each of them was "no!". But in fact, her birth did much more then not scare me. It had the opposite affect. I remember the moment the midwife pulled Eva from the water and placed her on Aunt Molly. As I was frantically snapping photographs, my breath stopped in my throat. It stopped not only because it is a ridiculously beautiful thing to witness someone's first moments, but also because in that moment, I remember thinking "I SO want to do this. I want to be a midwife and help moms with this very moment over and over and over."
So there I was. I now knew what my calling was, I knew the school I dreamed of going to, and I had peace about my future for the first time in a very, very long while. If you think this is where the story ends, think again. Although I know you already know the "happily every after" part, you do not know the many miracles that came between this time and the riding off into the sunset.
The first miracle is this: I got in. Now while some of you told me over and over that you had no doubt I was going to get accepted, I was not nearly as sure. I knew the program was very competitive, but I did not even know until after I got accepted just how blessed I am. The more and more I get to know my fellow classmates, the more and more I am astounded by God's blessing. Compared to the 16 girls I am going to school with, I do not deserve to have gotten in. All of them are over age 20, while I am a young 19. Many of them have doula and medical experience, some of them even have college degrees. Many have already worked in the mission field, and some of them are moms. When I look at all of them, I have no idea how I was accepted. I only have one answer; God. I prayed unceasingly over the last few months that if God wanted me to go to this school He would let them accept me. His answer couldn't be more clear, and I am thankful every day for it. (Probably not as often as I should be!) I am completely humbled and SO excited to work along side all of my amazing classmates!
Miracle number two comes in a little bit different form. When I moved to Nashville in the fall, I found a church. I fell in love with the church, the people, and everything about it. When I returned home after my time in Nashville, I just did not feel at place in my family's church anymore. I told this to my mother, and though she was a little disappointed to see our family go separate ways on Sunday mornings, she agreed to me trying another church. I started going to church with my best friend and her family, and quickly realized that was where I belonged.
Now one of the requirements for attending Newlife is that you have your pastor sign a form. Because I had just started a new church, I decided to ask my old pastor (at my family's church) to sign the form. We talked with him before I applied, and he said it all sounded good. After I got accepted, we sent him the form. He took it to his superiors, and came back with a very sad answer. Because of some complications with the government (he is a military pastor) he would be unable to sign the form.
Now at this point, I hate to admit I lost faith. I become frustrated with God and asked Him over and over why He would allow me to get accepted to the school if He was just going to slam the door in my face a week later. (The form for the school is absolutely required in order to attend). How hilarious is it to look back just a few short months later and see how God was simply weaving another beautiful miracle into my story.
The same week that our pastor wrote us, I suddenly started feeling more at home in my present church. So when my mom approached me with the news, I decided to go ahead and ask the pastor of my current church to sign the form. (Though I doubted it was even a possibility as it was extremely short notice). Just about a week later, my church contacted me with a response that blew my mind. (I can just see God laughing up in heaven when I was on the phone with the church. Saying: "You really doubted me Rebekah? When I've let you come this far? You think I would just leave you hanging? HA HA HA")
The church came back with a resounding yes! Though there was a process, they would love to fill out the requirements on the form for me. Not only were they willing to help me, but they went out of their way to work with me around my very busy traveling schedule.
At one point over the past few weeks I looked back and realized just how big of a miracle my God had performed. If He had not given me that uneasy feeling at church when I returned home from Nashville, I would have never searched out a new church. If I had never come to my current church, I would have been left hanging with no one to fill out my form. Once again, all I can say is: "All I have is Christ"
So here I am, coming the end of a journey, but starting a much bigger one. My journey to find God's calling for my life was filled with many twists and turns, but looking back I can see how God took my messy life and made it something beautiful - for Him.
~~ I know many of you are interested in what I will be doing in the Philippines, and also ways you can help. I will be posting a few follow up posts over the next few days just for you! :)