Hope for the Childhood Dream

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Author: Sarah Dohman

God has called me to care for others, specifically through a career in nursing. The call of loving people and taking care of the sick came early.  In elementary school, I drew a picture explaining why I should be the President of the United States. I wrote these sentences on it.  “Sarah is caring.  I love kids because they are cute.” (Not even making this up.) “I love animals.  I love people.  I will take care of … I will take care of the sick."

After I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to become a nurse.  I began chipping away at nursing school prerequisites.  At the age of 20, I began the process of applying to nursing schools.

  • 5.  The number of classes I painstakingly repeated in order to improve my undergraduate and pre-graduate school GPAs.

  • 15.  The number of my failed attempts at gaining acceptance into nursing school before I got one letter of admission.

  • 70+.  The ballpark figure of how many nursing job applications I submitted before attending 9 interviews, and having one offer.

I have faced failure on numerous occasions.  It has beaten me up from time to time.  Hot, salty tears have stained my cheeks, and I have screamed out to God in frustration.  I have been humbled again and again. And yet, God has been faithful in and through my failures.  

When I grew weary of applying to nursing schools and facing rejection over and over, I found another undergraduate program to pursue, community health education.  It was during one of my courses, Health & Health Systems, that we learned about varying health care providers.  Nurse practitioners were discussed, and I knew in my gut, after hearing about that particular profession, I had to try again.  I applied to three schools.  Waitlisted.  I began to question. Why in the WORLD would God ask me to pursue something without success?


Was God asking me to rejoice in my sufferings?

Absolutely! Scriptural truths apply to all situations. In Romans 5:3-5, it says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

So was God producing endurance?  Was there evidence in my life of character being created?

In March of 2010, I applied one last time to six nursing programs.  It was my last hurrah and attempt to attend, as my science prerequisites were due to expire (it had been a five year process at this point). Waitlisted and rejected times five.  One short email, however, said YES.

I began, and nursing school was spread out over 3 years.  It demanded time and sacrifice.  And it was well worth it. God’s purpose in my waiting was revealed.  The classes I took in nursing school closely resembled the classes I took during my previous undergraduate program.  I did not struggle, but I was allowed to be in an environment where I could flourish.

During my last quarter of nursing school, I began the arduous process of putting myself out there and asking someone in the world to hire me.  I passed my nursing boards, and over the course of the next 7 months, I applied, sat through hours of interviews, and waited.  This time, however, a joyful and trusting heart waited with me.  I knew God would not allow me to wait without purpose.

In January of 2014, I began my first full-time job as a school nurse.  God has led me to a position where there are cute kids, I care for the sick, and I get to love on a lot of people.  If someone had told me at 20 that I would not become a nurse until age 29, I might have quit, and I would have missed it all.  

God knew that my failures and my sufferings would produce endurance.  Endurance that spurs me on when there are tough work days.  Character that cannot be birthed by easy successes.  A steadfast HOPE in the God who sees His good work to completion.

If you are experiencing failure and cannot see with clarity, dear one, please, allow this truth to wash over you.  You will endure.  Character is being formed.  God will produce hope.  And you will feel NO SHAME.  

When God places a calling upon your life, He will see it through.  It does not guarantee an easy path, but you will not walk it alone.


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