Whether you turn right or left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; Walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21). It was a Sabbath morning in the spring of 2008. I sat in the back of our family Nissan Quest minivan. Dad turned on the radio to Focus on the Family, and a lady was talking about how she rescued horses, performed psychotherapy, and used both horses and therapy simultaneously at her center in Oregon. Immediately, I told Mom and Dad, “I wanna do that!” I grinned as wide as I could and sighed, content at my plans for my life. I felt so fulfilled. I figured God had had it settled for me right there and then. But as we know, we grow up and get older, and sometimes our faith can become a little stale or on the backburner.
Fast forward to 2014. Eighteen-year-old Yvanna knew what she wanted to do with her life, in her way, nursing, because my grandmother was a nurse, and I wanted to be just like her. I decided to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. I studied in Costa Rica for my first semester and returned home. I then decided my ultimate vocation was social work. Working in policies for bringing justice to the world sounded exactly like what my personality was made for! Fight for the underdog, yell in the face of injustice, and bring down the lions that make a system corrupt and unfair. Then, I decided my dream job was being an English teacher. After a few quarters of education classes, I dropped the education focus of my career and graduated with my B.A. in Creative Writing in 2019.
Fast forward to 2020. I was teaching an eighth grade Spanish class at a middle school and realized, yet again, that I did not want to teach, but I needed a job, so I accepted it. In the spring of 2020, Covid-19 created havoc in the world and in my mind. My teaching job was done, and what did I have in front of me to do? Nothing. I prayed: “God, what do You want me to do? What should I do in life?” I then walked outside onto my family’s back porch. Mom was sitting, drinking some water, and doing her taxes. I sat down across from her and just sighed: “What should I do?” As Mom and I talked, I realized I still had that twelve-year-old’s dream of working with children and horses. “It never truly left my mind,” I admitted. I just never thought I could actually do it. My brother overheard the conversation and came to the porch door. “Yvanna,” he tip-toed. “What do you think of Southern’s master’s program in the following?…” He read from his computer screen: “Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.” That is the moment the world turned itself right side up again for me. Thank you, God! The peace that flooded my soul. My forehead now unfurled. The adrenaline rush of realizing that was the ticket between this dream job and me, all concluded in a word that holds an insurmountable value, one little word: Yes. No trumpets blaring, no fireworks, and absolutely no doubt that God had that twelve-year-old dream still within my twenty-four-year-old heart. I have never been so sure of any decision in my life as I have for this one because I knew God orchestrated it all. In that moment on the porch, my mind flashed back to that Sabbath morning in the car, listening to Kim Meeder from Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. I will be finishing my masters at the tail end of 2022 and then getting my PATH certification in Therapeutic Riding Instructor.
When God is directing, when you surrender your plans and agendas, your biggest childhood-like dreams can come true in bigger and better ways than we can construe. His grace, patience, and plans are more surreal than surrealism, holier than the idea of holiness, and more merciful than any human can comprehend. Dear reader, if you only get one thing from this story, let it be this: When it is from God, it brings peace and the assurance that causes a resounding, reassured: Yes.
God, let me hear Your voice and guidance– let it be loud to me. Let me be the most sensitive to the truth of Your plans for me, amen.