I went from elementary school to freshman year of college thinking that veterinary school was going to be my end goal. I thought that I was going to help animals because I didn’t want to help people; I was more frustrated by them and didn’t want anything to do with them. When I got to college I got involved with a wonderful church group and found my identity in Christ. I was born again, and with this, I came to the realization that I have a much greater purpose. At this point, I wasn’t sure what that was. I started to realize that vet school was not the path that God had planned for me; He had much much greater plans for me. Realizing this was one of the hardest things to come to terms with, due to the fact that I had gone all this time with MY plan of becoming a vet. Suddenly everything inside of me was saying that was not where I was supposed to be going. God started to reveal to me that I do in fact care about people. I started to find myself constantly heart broken by the people who were pushed aside by society. That was those who were living with life changing circumstances like autism or spina bifida or just going through the process that is life and being forgotten because they don’t move as fast as they used to and their hair was graying.
After much praying, I was sure of one thing I was to transfer schools and go back home. I finished my freshman year at Purdue University and then transferred to East Carolina University. I hope to one day become an occupational therapist; I’m not sure what population I want to target yet, but I know I want to make a change in the lives of people who are forgotten.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
I’ve struggled heavily with the lies that I can’t make a difference in the lives of people who refuse to believe that there is a God. I continually tell myself that it is hopeless to work with these people when you can’t “fix” them without God. I’ve been so accustomed to the secular view of medicine that everything is for money and you just hand someone pills, give them the most expensive test and move on. While I knew this was not the approach I wanted to take in whatever profession I end up in I was sure that any other way would be near impossible. God, however, has been continually showing me otherwise. When I believed that I can’t make a difference in people who don’t have God I was right in part, I can’t, but HE can.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
We are called to look for those who aren’t always noticed, but at the same time stand out. Jesus never went to those who were “perfect” He went to those who were known sinners, those who many people hated. How can this apply to medicine? I wasn’t sure, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that the people that God has broken my heart for are the people that those in the medical field don’t want to deal with. The “sinners” of the medical world include the mentally ill, the elderly, and the prognosis that calls for just leaving them in a home or sending them to an institution.
What really encouraged me to write about this was a comment made by a pastor, he said: “These people aren’t sick, they are simply experiencing a bigger circumstance than we are.” What a way to look at it. We have become so calloused to the vision that someone with autism is helpless, the elderly are slowly deteriorating, they just aren’t worth the time and effort. But does it have to be that way? Why can’t we see them as if they are like everyone else, treat them like they aren’t sick, like they can get better, like they can do more than we limit them to with the jaded standards and biases we have chained them in.
He doesn’t care how great a person may be, and he pays no more attention to the rich than to the poor. He made them all.
Something that I love so much about occupational therapy is that it reaches people wherever they are at. It isn’t trying to push them to be somewhere or something they aren’t. It is finding a way for them to accomplish the goals that they aren’t sure is possible. The stroke patient that believes they will never be able to walk again, or the child that no one believes will be able to live on their own, there is a way to accomplish their goals, and it is never impossible.
God still has a lot to teach me, and I still have a while to go, and who knows He might change my path to something other than occupational therapy, but I know one thing for sure that He has changed the way that I view people. Sure, there are still days where I am endlessly frustrated with the let down that comes with humanity. However, God reminds me that He is in control despite my worry and doubts.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.