Thank you God for your favor, thank you Jesus for your daily mercy.

On February 27, 2015, I asked God desperately for Him to show me that He was with me, that I wouldn’t be walking into the test center alone. He told me to look up and when I finally realized He wasn’t telling me to just lift my hanging head, He was telling me to look up, I did so and noticed the clouds shifting and parting in front of me. I continued my morning walk and the clouds continued to push back and reveal blue sky. I will pave a way for you. With those words, I felt peace in my heart. All my fears left me and I was content to walk in the light.

Two weeks later, I wake up around 3am and despair. I had just dreamed that I passed the first exam with a 75. I know I can’t go back to sleep without checking my score so I look it up on my phone. I burst into silent tears immediately and refresh the page multiple times to confirm that I’m not seeing things. I’ve passed with a score of 78.

On Wednesday, I wake up before my alarm and check the score for my last exam. I take one glance at it, nod and let out a quiet, “hm.” You did it, Jesus.

Matt asks me how it feels to have passed all four parts. He is so excited for me that I can’t help but smile. “It honestly doesn’t feel any different,” I tell him. I explain to him how I felt in my heart about halfway through the exams that I had passed…even though I had only taken two parts at the time. I should have known when He promised me from the very beginning that I would pass without a hitch. He is faithful, hallelujah.

I wait at the train station for Viv to pick me up and as I walk along the curb, I hear a loud crash behind me. I turn around and freeze in shock as I see an elderly man on the ground with his luggage scattered around and under him. He had tripped over the curb while getting out of his car. I linger there, open mouthed and stiff and think to myself, “Go over and help him up!”

I stand still and watch as he slowly picks himself up. Another girl runs over to him and reaches for an overturned bag, asking if he’s okay. He assures her she’s fine when his wife runs out from the driver’s side of the car and fusses over him. I watch all of this with a pit in my stomach and wonder why my feet had stayed glued to the ground when it would have taken me two seconds to rush over and lend him a hand. Both the man and his wife thank the girl profusely for coming over to help.

My line of thinking had gone like this;

Go over and help him up! Nah, he’s fine he landed on luggage, he’s fine. No, he’s just lying there, go now! But, no by the time I get there he’ll be up and I’ll just be standing awkwardly in front of him. Oh come on, just be a human being! He doesn’t need my help!

I was right, he really didn’t need any help. But, the embarrassment of falling over, the upset of crushing a precious package in his tumble, and the callousness of an unmoving, silent woman standing three yards away from him probably hurt him…and I did nothing to alleviate it.

The girl who had run over to the man had basically done nothing but pick up an overturned bag. But, she had a heart bigger than mine and it was something the man’s wife recognized as she thanked the girl over and over again. And so I wonder who God was more pleased with in that moment and regret my state of heart as I realize I can’t even sacrifice ten seconds and ten steps to show a stranger common grace.

7:18pm rolls around and I sigh as I walk out the door. The whole 12 minute walk to dashley’s house I am sputtering, “Jesus, have mercy on me, Father, have mercy on me, have mercy, have mercy, have mercy.” I am scared and anxious. I am terrified that I won’t fit in, won’t make friends, won’t feel welcome. I suddenly remember that they happen to be dog sitting that week and proceed to ask God to give me affirmation that this group I’ve chosen is meant to be my family.

“I want that dog to love me, Jesus. I want her to just pick me and lay down on my lap and pay attention to nobody else.” And then I throw the thought out the window because come on, that’s kind of mean.

It is a much smaller group than the previous meeting and I am relieved. I feel at home. Sushi, the corgi that needed everyone’s attention and companionship, whines and moans as the bible study goes on. David finally has enough of it and pulls her onto his lap so that she’ll quiet down. The study continues with relatively less distraction and as it draws towards an end, Sushi leaves David’s lap and circles around the living room we are gathered in. Then, I see her look straight at me and then make a beeline for the couch I’m sitting on. She jumps right on and promptly drops her head into my lap. My arms automatically come down and they fit perfectly around her neck. Something clicks in my head and I’m suddenly grinning like a maniac. I momentarily lose focus in the conversation going on around me and tell God, “Dad, if this is you…you’re going to have to do it again because I want to know for sure this is you.”

Sushi stays on my lap for a few minutes then clambers down again in favor of chasing a tennis ball. The study ends and we break off by gender to share prayer requests. As we are nearing the end of our prayer requests, Sushi comes over to me again and comes up on my other side. She shifts as she finds a comfortable position and I wait patiently, wondering if she’s going to choose to lay down in Jinsol’s lap beside me. Finally, she settles herself and plops her head down into my lap. I shoot Jesus a quick thank you and glance around at the girls by my side. There is a quiet stillness in my heart and I know without a doubt these people are my family.

Carolyn tells me afterwards that the peace in my heart is probably more affirmation from God than Sushi was and I agree with her silently. But, it was graciously kind of Jesus to acquiesce to my silly demand. It brought me much much joy.

Jinsol yells at Andy and Sophia to wait for me in order to give me a ride back to my place. I reiterate when I catch up to them that it’s unnecessary since I enjoy walks (especially at night) but Andy mutters that there’s no way he’s letting me walk back after already waiting around for me. I guffaw internally and accede.

As we make the short trek to his car, I look up at the night sky and feel a soft stirring in my heart. It is the same feeling I had when I was with RoX. Adventure, peace, joy, and wonder mixed into one.

“I want to be a ball of joy and a beam of light,” I tell the Lord. I want more. I’m not satisfied.