By Carol Li
This past winter break, I went home for the first time in six months and by the time I was getting ready to come back to school, I didn’t want to leave. The fall semester of 2019 was difficult. I had failed in my role as a leader, I felt discouraged because I was feeling lost and unsure in my decision to be a nurse. On the plane ride back, I was listening to a Spotify worship playlist and I was just praying out of desperation but all I heard was silence. As the plane was landing in Eppley Airfield, a song started playing and I smiled. God was reminding me that He has a plan for me, and I need to do was trust in Him.
Flashback to early spring 2016. I had been fervently applying for various colleges in southern California for different majors. During this period, my mom tried a few times to talk to me about Northwestern. My brother was attending Northwestern and he was about to go into his super senior year, so mom thought it was a cute idea if we went to the same school for a year. She said I would like the small-town vibe and it would be a great place to study Nursing. I told her she was crazy, but I’d think about it. That night, I was in my room listening to a worship station on Pandora and just browsing Northwestern’s webpage. As I was scrolling through, a song started playing and the lyrics kind of startled me. Chris Tomlin’s song, “Love Ran Red” was playing through my headphones and the lyrics that stuck out to me were, “I owe all to You, I owe all to You, Jesus”. To me it sounded like he was singing, “I-o-wa– to You, I-o-wa– to You, Jesus”. Call me crazy but if this wasn’t a direct message from God, I don’t know what else it could have been because I don’t believe in coincidences. I said to God, “Okay, I hear You” and I filled out the application and submitted it that same night.
Fast forward to the fall of 2016, I’m driving through Nebraska with my brother fast asleep in the passenger seat at two in the morning and I started getting a little nervous. ‘What if I got it all wrong? What the heck am I doing in Nebraska? There’s literally nothing here.’ These kinds of thoughts were running through my mind at 4am when I finally pulled into the tiny Dutch town of Orange City. It was dark, I was tired, and it smelled like manure, and oh my Lord it was so humid. I believed that I was crazy for allowing a coincidence to decide the fate of my education. It wasn’t God, I told myself, it was just my brain making connections where it shouldn’t be. I had decided right then and there I was going to call my mom later in the morning to tell her I wanted to go home. I didn’t want to be in Orange City.
Later in the morning arrived, and as I was putting my hairdryer in my brother’s trunk I noticed that next to my brother’s friend’s house (where we stayed for a few hours to sleep), someone was rebuilding their front porch. The radio was on, but I didn’t think much about it. I looked around and I thought to myself, “Oh I am definitely going home. This was a crazy idea.” Right in that moment I heard, “I OWE ALL TO YOU, I OWE ALL TO YOU, JESUS” playing from the radio. Oof. It felt like a slap in the face. Kind of like God saying, “Helloooo? Can you hear me? I’m trying to tell you something.” Alright then. I said to Him, “Fine. I’ll try it out but if I don’t like it I’m leaving.” Needless to say, I ended up staying.
Sometimes when we become absorbed in figuring out what we want for ourselves and what we want to do, we forget that there is a He. He already knows His plans for us, and all we must do is ask and we shall receive. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” I didn’t want to become a nurse. It wasn’t in my 10-year plan, or even my backup plan. But here I am about to graduate with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While these three and a half years haven’t been easy, I don’t regret my time here at all. I’ve made lifelong friendships, discovered my passion, and am working towards my dream all because I put my trust in His plan for me.
The plane had reached the gate and I gathered my things to disembark, but not before restarting Chris Tomlin’s song. A sense of peace washed over me as I walked through the dark and chilly airport. At that moment I knew that everything was going to be just fine.