If you’ve been following the blog for a few years now, you know that my husband quit his job as a high school teacher in order to go back to school for his doctorate in chiropractic. This was a really big leap of faith for us. And although we knew the risks we’d be taking, I don’t think we fully understood them; nor did we fully understand the sacrifices that would have to be made in order for him to pursue the dream God had placed within him.
It has been really hard. Like, really hard.
I know most of you do not know my husband. But if you did, you’d know just how ironic it is that he, of all people, is choosing to be a student for one more minute than he absolutely has to… let alone four more years. He’s not a natural student. He has no love of learning. He’s a terrible test taker with poor attention to detail, and a shorter attention span than our niece who is in the first grade.
I’m being so serious. The past few years have been one struggle for him after another. He is fighting tooth and nail every single day. And he’s making me so proud. He has already done so much more than he ever thought himself capable of. He tells me regularly that, had he known how difficult this was going to be, he would not have had the guts to do it.
I’m so glad we didn’t know how hard it would be, because I know this is where we are meant to be. But it’s still really, really hard.
The National Chiropractic Board Exams are divided into 5 parts, and each of those parts has several sections. Andrew will need to pass parts 1-5, as well as the Physical Therapy board exam in order to be able to practice in the state of Tennessee (not all states require chiropractors to take and pass the P.T. boards, but TN does.)
Andrew took Part 1 of his boards about two months ago, and the results came in at the beginning of this week. Of the six parts that this particular test was divided into, he passed three and failed three. This means he will need to retake the entire thing.
He was devastated when he found out. He could not have studied harder. He was mad at the situation, mad at himself, and frankly, embarrassed. I’m heartbroken for him, and it’s a pretty big deal that he’s having to take them over again. It’s a huge blow financially, but also a big blow to the timeline that we have in our minds. As long as he passes the next time he takes them, it won’t affect his graduation day, but it does affect his timeline between now and then. But since when have our timelines ever worked out???
Here is what is even more frustrating: The three sections Andrew did pass, he passed with flying colors. As in, he scored in the top 15% in the nation. Two of the sections he failed, he failed by a combined total of four points. He came so close. And then there was one section that just blew him out of the water.
Thankfully, Part 1 is the toughest, because it deals with basic sciences (although I use the word “basic” loosely.) Chemistry, physics, micro and macro biology, embryology, etc. These are what Andrew has struggled with the most during his time in the program. He took these classes his first year in the D.C. program and HATED every minute of it. The rest of the board exams will deal more specifically with chiropractic, and he knows his stuff when it comes to chiropractic!
After finding out about Andrew’s failing scores at the beginning of the, we’ve been handed one piece of bad news after another. By the time Wednesday rolled around, I felt like the Israelites of Exodus did: Grumbling and complaining to God, ready to pack my bags, head back to where we came from, and count our losses. I’d forgotten all the good things God has done for us and given to us over the past three years. And I’d forgotten all His promises to us that more good things are coming someday. (Jeremiah 29:11) I was ready to return to the captivity of fear, for the comfort of the familiar.
Throughout the week, as I’ve read scripture, read other blogs, and talked to friends, I’ve been reminded of many of the same passages I clung to when we were in the depths of infertility. Because even though our circumstances now are different, our God is the same.
When we were going through infertility, and especially when we were going through fertility treatments, which were indescribably difficult in so many ways, I told myself that if I could get through that, I could get through anything.
And I’m reminding myself of that again now. We got through that, and we will get through this. And we will see God’s hand and His might woven into every detail of this chapter of our lives. I was shocked and brokenhearted when I found out Andrew did not pass Part 1 of boards, just like I was shocked and brokenhearted when we were going through IVF, and I learned that, due to severe hyperstimulation, our fresh transfer would have to be cancelled.
When the nurse called to break the news to me, I hung up the phone and sobbed. And when Andrew called to tell me about his test scores, I hung up the phone and sobbed. In both instances I questioned whether we’d done the right thing, whether we were in the right place, and what our next move should be.
But God works all things together for the good of His children, because having to cancel our fresh transfer meant that we were able to learn some vital information about our embryos, through genetic testing. And without having done that, Bonnie would not be in our lives today.
God did not make Andrew fail that exam, but He works all things together for our good, and I know that we are covered under the shadow of His wing, even in times of disappointment and failure.
And just like there was a bigger picture we could not see when we were going through our IVF disappointments, there is a bigger picture we cannot see now.
“We know that in ALL THINGS, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28
“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.” -Isaiah 55:8-9
As I put Bonnie to sleep last night, I sang to her this song that many of you may remember from your own childhoods:
“He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole wide world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.”
And it’s so true.
God is good all the time, whether things are going our way or not. He is good even when you’re trudging through the muck of infertility, when you’re plotting your excuse for missing church this Sunday because you can’t bear being in public on Mothers’ Day.
He is good when your husband fails the biggest test of his life thus far.
He is good when your body is wracked with pain or cancer or fibromyalgia, or when your mind has been lost to Alzheimer’s disease, or when your marriage is hanging by a thread.
He is good. And He holds you in the palm of His tender, almighty, creative hand.