My life hasn't gone according to my plan, but God's plan for it has been written and I'm just following a path prepared for me.

The above quote describes my life perfectly.

As I talked with my house-mate last night after an exhausting day of work and doctors appointments, I reflected on the past 4 years of my life and laughed halfheartedly as I told her that absolutely NOTHING had gone according to plan.

When I was in high school, I had the next 6 years of my life planned out. I knew where I was going to college, what I wanted to study, and I had a nice little idea of what post-grad life would be like.

But as it would turn out, I can’t think of a single thing that has gone according to plan.

I had planned to stay in Peru longer, but I was flown back sick.

I had planned to live overseas for a little bit after school, but I was told that with my immune system I would never be able to.

I had planned to start out my junior year strong, not skipping the first 2 weeks of classes because I was in the ER or at my grandfather’s funeral.

I had planned to have a job lined up for when I graduated, not to continue working as a lifeguard at the pool indefinitely.

I had planned to move out of Greenville after graduation, not live here for the next few years.

I had planned to be healthy again, not to be beginning my 3rd round of treatments for an unknown parasitic disease.

But let me tell you, God had different plans.

If I had never been flown back early from Peru, I would have never seen my grandfather alive again. I would have missed the chance to go to his funeral and be with my family.

If I had never been sick, I would have never met a Hispanic patient in the hospital who couldn’t communicate with the clinical staff. I would have never known that there was such a huge need for interpreters in the United States.

If I had been given a job immediately after graduating and moved out of Greenville, I would have missed the never-ending opportunity I’ve had to rely on God and His perfect timing for me. I would have missed the countless opportunities I’ve had to serve at my temp job. I would have never had the privilege of  meeting so many amazing co-workers.

And honestly, there are still so many things that I don’t understand, and more than likely never will.

About 2 weeks ago, I was spending time reading my Bible when I suddenly realized something monumental.  I can’t mess up God’s plan for me. God doesn’t look at the mistakes and sins I’ve committed and shake His head. He doesn’t look down from heaven and say “Well she really messed that up. Guess I’ll have to find someone else.” God doesn’t have a plan B because He doesn’t need one.

When I finally realized that, I can’t even describe the sense of liberty that washed over me. Life isn’t about me and my decisions, it’s about God and my willingness to embrace His plans for my life.

Working in neurosurgery has taught me a lot. But one thing that has always amused me is how the neurosurgeons I work with can perform a complex craniotomy or lumbar decompression, yet they are completely incapable of sending a simple fax from the fax machine. So one of my many responsibilities includes calmly taking the paper from their capable hands and showing them which button to press.

I have found that my view of God is often comparable to the view I have of the surgeons. He is very skilled at big things, and more knowledgeable than me. When I’m facing something big, I have no problem with going to Him. But when it comes to the little things, or the “faxes” in life, He is suddenly in need of my help. But that’s not who God is. I am so thankful that my God is capable of both brain surgeries AND sending faxes.

Only in him

That is the God I serve.

Next Friday, I will be walking across the stage as the first woman in my family’s history to receive an undergrad diploma. The Monday after that, on May 12, I will begin my new job with the Greenville County Sheriff’s office as a Communications Specialist- something I never imagined for myself.

It all seems kinda’ve unreal.

From preschool to elementary school to high school to college, God has loved me and led me.

Both of my names, “Anna” and “Caitlin” mean grace.  God has truly given me so much grace. I can’t help but to smile as I remember the lyrics of an old hymn that my dad used to sing to me each night,

“‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.