August 25, 2012

My Thoughts Exactly


Someone posted this picture in my facebook group and it made me laugh. There are many times when I feel this way!

August 10, 2012

A Long Road

My sweet hubby is finished with his 27 months of Physician Assistant school. When they said it would be a hard, long road, they weren't kidding! It has been a harder season than either of us would have ever thought. It's almost surreal to think that it's actually coming to an end!

I thought I would share a bit of Ben's and my journey along this road. When I first met Ben, we weren't in the kind of position that would have typically resulted in marriage. He was finishing up his pre-med courses and preparing to apply to medical school (his previous degree was in economics). I had some fresh emotional scars from a past long-term relationship with a driven medical student. After years of constant reminders of how low I was on the priority food chain, I was eventually left behind, heartbroken and with feelings of inadequacy. From that experience I developed a cynical view of the type of personalities I thought medical school drew: perfectionists, workaholics, people prone to criticism or unrealistic expectations. Not for me, I thought. So when I found out Ben was pursuing medical school I was wary. I wasn't sure I was willing to go down that road again.

Eventually I realized that my perceptions were of course faulty. Ben was nothing like what I thought he would be, and I soon realized that no matter what career field he choose, he would always make his family feel loved, emotionally secure, and a priority. What people sometimes don't understand is that you don't have to sacrifice career goals to give those things to your family. It doesn't have to be one or the other - you can have both. There just has to be a balance. Ben has this maturity that's allowed him to find that balance, and I really respect him for that. I started to realize that I could marry a future doctor.

Ben ended up studying only a few weeks for the medical school entrance examination. If you know anything about the MCAT, that is an unusually short time to prepare. He ended up getting a good score, especially considering what little time he put into it. He only applied to one competitive school, however, and was wait-listed. At this point there were a lot of questions. He knew there was a good chance he would get in if he waited. He also knew he could get into other schools without a problem. But at this point, God came in and caused him to reevaluate his path.

Ben decided that he wanted to get married and have a family sooner rather than later. He knew that 4 years of medical school and the subsequent 3+ years of  residency during the young years of his children's lives would take a toll on his family. He sought God's wisdom and decided to pursue Physician Assistant school. While there were lots of factors that contributed to the decision (quality of life, financial investment, length of school, job description, some feedback from current doctors on wishing they had chosen PA, etc) the primary factor was God, as it should be. It just seemed to be the right thing for us.

The school Ben attends has a very competitive PA program. It is difficult to get a spot, yet Ben was one of the 40! It was a great feeling. Then we felt God call us to India. It didn't make sense. We decided to give up the PA spot and put one foot in front of the other wherever God led us. Ben requested a deferment, so as to let God leave open or close that door. We didn't think it was even a possibility with such a competitive program as they don't typically offer deferments. Then we found out because of our long hours in India, that he wouldn't be able to fulfill all the standard requirements for deferment such as shadowing medical professionals during his year off.  Despite the barriers, he was allowed a deferment without fulfilling any of the usual requirements! With a lengthy waiting list of applicants it was definitely a little miracle from God. When we returned home from India, the opportunity was still there waiting for us, and this time we felt it was the right time.

I won't repeat what I've said in other posts about why it has been such a long, hard road. I couldn't put words to it even if I tried, and I think it's good to maintain some level of privacy :) I'm so proud of what Ben has overcome and what we have overcome as a family. Sometimes I feel like we are weaker because of the experience and resulting pain-filled scars, but in the end I believe we are stronger. Many times I want to feel bitter about how hard things have been, but I am often reminded that the tears have not been wasted. One of my all-time favorite verses has been a constant reminder for me that those who walk through the lowest of lows are rewarded with a fellowship with Jesus that is otherwise unattainable:

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him...... I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3)

Congratulations Ben on your graduation from Physician Assistant school!

August 5, 2012

In the Spotlight

Anna watching Oscar run the 400m.

I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics this year. Partly because Anna's hero (or more like my hero), Oscar, is running as the first amputee ever in an Olympic games. As I've mentioned before, Oscar has Fibular Hemimelia in both legs and his surgery followed a similar timeline to Anna's.

Some of the things I love about Oscar are what a hard-working, faith-filled, humble man he is. He is always giving back. And he represents himself so well in front of the camera. Though he has faced tons of ridiculous scrutiny suggesting that his prosthetic legs make it easier for him to run (a bit silly if you know anything about prosthetics), he has persevered and made it to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

I especially love how he's brought physical disabilities into the spotlight. I've seen numerous commercials that highlight both Olympic AND Paraolympic athletes. It's amazing to see an amputee swimming for a Coke commercial. Or BP's commercial highlighting Jerome Singleton (I added these commercials to my FH Resources page if haven't seen them). I am inspired that people with physical disabilities are being portrayed in the media so people realize no matter what your difference is, you can still accomplish your dreams.

Thank you, Oscar, for being such a wonderful influence on our country and for not being afraid to stand up for what you believe it. We are cheering you on!

Here is short, wonderful video from NBC about Oscar's journey to the Olympics. I love the part where they show him helping other amputee kids:

And in case you didn't see his amazing first race, I posted the link below. The best part was listening to what the commentators had to say beforehand, the roar of the audience, and his interview after. Unfortunately those things aren't included in the video! But the race itself was awesome and brought tears to my eyes. Such an inspiration. Check it out.

"I never really grew up thinking I was disabled. I just thought I had different shoes." -Oscar