It’s been on my heart and mind to do some writing lately, but it seemed strange to write under the Notes from the Netherlands moniker as we have returned to the United States. Mercy & Grace seemed a worthy sequel in terms of a name.
So why Mercy & Grace? Well, those of you who have followed my writing over the years may remember that these were the names of my trusty boots with which I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2011. However, these words have come to encompass so much of what I have experienced in my life. I want to provide a glimpse of that here today.
Three years ago, finding an internship to complete my master’s program overseas seemed like a hopeless cause. The Army hospital in Landstuhl wanted social workers, the local substance abuse counseling wasn’t taking interns, and a promising lead at a local behavioral health hospital with an English speaking international program withered on the vine. In desperation, I finally turned my thoughts to the idea of taking an internship in the U.S. I called dozens of places in Boise but no one wanted to consider a counseling intern who wasn’t from one of the local universities. I prayed and prayed. “Okay God,” I said, “You’re the one who set me on this path to be a counselor, right? What’s the deal? I’m confused!”
Eventually, a door opened.
At Catholic Charities of Idaho.
God, in his own perfect time, held open the perfect door for me.
Naturally, I responded to this Grace by flipping, flopping, flailing, and fretting to my family and friends…”But what does it MEAN about me if I leave my family for 9 months?” Or the even darker thought “What if my family is happier/better off without me?”
Fortunately, by the grace and mercy of God (and the patience of said family and friends) – I was able to GET OVER MY DAMN SELF and say yes. “Yes, Lord, I will walk through this door that you have opened for me. I am scared and I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do…but I will do it.”
The river of blessings that flowed from that “Yes” is nothing short of astonishing.
It’s like watching hundreds of painstakingly-placed dominoes fall in perfect order.
To list all of these blessings strikes me as unseemly or boastful although I know one can never give as much glory and credit to God as he deserves. Suffice it to say that I am grateful every day when I see my husband happy, fulfilled, and valued in his new job teaching theatre as well as being in close proximity to his parents and siblings. I am grateful every day to see all my girls so well-adjusted to their new life in the U.S. And lastly, I am grateful every day to be doing work that allows me to use the gifts that God has given me in the way I believe he has called me to do so.
Mercy & Grace indeed.