Someone said something to me today to the effect of, “Are you sure the Lord wants you to go at this time?” So I thought I’d better write down the experience before I forget.
Before I contacted Dr. CR on January 8th in request of an appointment to re-discuss the possibility of a LoA, I asked for the saints’ prayer in this way: “If this is His will and timing, may the details be worked out and my parents be at peace. If not, I’d like to accept that without any disappointment.” So it was different from September 2016, when I begrudged the Lord for putting me through an arduous process but not letting it go through. It was an opportunity — the last within the 4 years — and I just left it up to the Lord to open or close the door. The refrain in my heart was, and still is,
She took opportunity / To love You, Lord, with her best.
Dr. CR was supportive as always and observed that I had “clearly thought this through”. She did mention, however, that the special phenomenon this year of reaching class capacity could happen again next year.
I took some time to consider whether and how to write my letter to Dr. AS; my draft was reviewed by Dr. CR on January 17. The approval came only a day after I sent my letter, on the 19th. I took this as a confirmation from the Lord. In hindsight, I wonder whether my request was the “solution” to a class capacity issue.
The next hurdle would be my parents. Sr EC and br WSC suggested that I ask for a “guarantee” in writing that I would be able to return in 2019, which could further reassure my parents. This, however, was not to be borne: Dr. AS wrote back within minutes to say that he could not make such a promise. This was January 23rd.
At the moment of seeing that response, one could say that my faith “deflated”. I was instantly filled with all kinds of fears of the worst possibilities. I wrote to sr Esther: “I feel that I don’t yet have the full assurance of faith… Especially yesterday I felt the enemy was throwing a lot of doubts at me. I need the Lord to speak a definite word if He wants me to take this step.”
Well, the Lord knew how deep of a pit I had fallen into because, funny enough, right around that time br PD responded to my message from the night before asking whether I could call him.
That fellowship was my salvation. I’ll never forget when he asked along the lines of
If I gained the world and lost my Saviour / Were my life worth living for a day?
But I was just so fearful. When he asked “What do you want?”, I could say nothing except “…I don’t know.” Looking back, that felt like my Peter-denying-the-Lord moment. Br PD said, “If everything is perfectly smooth-sailing, then what need is there for you to contact the Lord?” And that’s how I later looked at it, but it didn’t convince me at the time.
But then my precious brother/spiritual father led me to pray-read. Romans 8, of all places.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery bringing you into fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship in which we cry, Abba, Father!
The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God.
And if children, heirs also; on the one hand, heirs of God; on the other, joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified with Him.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed upon us.
For the anxious watching of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God.
By the end, even my heavy-running tears couldn’t hold back my released spirit. I’m a son of God! Why should I be brought into fear again? God has made me His child, and He’s making me His heir! What in the present time could be worthy to be compared with that coming glory?
That was faith-infusion at its best. I then went into my “private room” and wept, more for my lack of faith in the faithful One than anything else. He then gave me these verses:
“Behold, now we are children of God, and it has not yet been manifested what we will be. We know that if He is manifested, we will be like Him because we will see Him even as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
“We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
“And the grace of our Lord superabounded with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1:14)
Oh, what a God He is, and how I need to see Him as He is! This One loved me — otherwise how could I even dream of being for Him? Where fear formerly abounded, grace has superabounded!
And, very honestly, my anxiety about not being able to return just dissipated. I knew I still needed to talk to my parents, but I was no longer inside the “suction vacuum” of the enemy’s well-woven lies. Two days later, on the 25th, I wrote to sr Esther: “I’m much more at peace now. 2 Cor. 5:7 we walk by faith, not by appearance. This is an opportunity for the Lord to increase as faith in me. Praise Him, He is the Author and Perfector of our faith!”
Talking to my parents was, of course, my biggest anxiety. The shadows of the hurtful things that had been said in May and September of 2016 still hung there. I was in a bit of a limbo because I thought I had plenty of time to wait before being “ready” to have the conversation, which almost made it harder because the thought would linger at the back of my mind.
But then, the Year 3 track results came out.L
Update February 2019:
There wasn’t too much more to it, actually. The track roster came out, and my name wasn’t on it — that’s when I realised the program had already assumed I was taking the leave. That forced me to have the conversation with my parents (mom first, then dad, separately) right away. Long story short, the Lord opened the way on His part; on my part, I took the leave by faith.