Surrender the Need for Answers

Today, I welcome author and podcaster, Vanessa A. Harris. I met Vanessa in a local mastermind group and we connected further as I launched a book called Unstuck and she launched her podcast Motherhood Unmasked just as everyone was becoming stuck and wearing masks! Her podcast has become one of my favorites and I look forward to each episode. Today she is sharing a post about surrendering dreams, plans, and the need for answers.

Thank you, Vanessa, for sharing your story with us.

———- Surrender the Need for Answers by Vanessa A. Harris ———-

Surrender is only surrender when (1) you’d rather not and (2) when it’s complete. 

I gave my life to Christ at age 19—in the thick of pre-med in undergrad. I’d dreamed of Pediatrics since age 6, and though college humbled me, nothing dissuaded me from the white coat in my future.

Trusting in Him, God gave me uncommon favor with faculty and foes. I heard, “We don’t normally do this, but…” often. And despite the odds and the disbelief of my parents, I graduated undergrad headed to medical school in the Midwest. Quite the change for this Bronx girl, but I was up for the challenge.

Was all the hard work and the struggle, so far from the comfort of friends and family worth it?

Yes! If it brought my dream to pass. The one I alone believed in, sitting across from my high school guidance counselor who seeing my A average and top 10% school rank suggested I join the military and stop entertaining such silly dreams as medical school.   

4 years pre-med —

5 years to complete medical school (a real nail biter) — 

well over $100,000 in school loans —

3 years in pediatric residency —

Then one year into my preventive medicine residency, walking through door after door only God could open—I was poised, excited, and on the verge of living the dream. 

The Lord gave me the desires of my heart.* 

But, after taking my husband’s hand in marriage, we found out I was pregnant a couple months later. And that rocked me since I thought Jesus and I were on the same page. 

All that grace, all the favor, all the strength and wisdom. 

Didn’t He hear our plan to enjoy a couple years as newlyweds while I built my career before we’d have children? 

He did. But I mistook His silence for agreement and now I had to surrender the plan I held dear—so His would prevail.**

So, I busied myself with plan B. A family friend would look after our son while I finished my second residency. I’d stay home with him for two months and then he’d go to childcare at 6 mos old. 

But God knew different, and He started speaking.

“You need to raise your own children.” 

Not an audible voice, just sort of rose up in me. 

I’d heard the whisper enough times before to know it wasn’t my mine. But these words weren’t welcome.

What do You mean raise my own children? As in stay home? But, but what about the career in medicine I worked so hard for and for so long?

The silence that followed was uncomfortable, to say the least. Some days later I heard the whisper again but with more urgency. Not a suggestion, but an invitation to surrender my Isaac—the long-awaited promise.

And when I took a deep breath, I saw the wisdom. 

As a military family, who knew how often we’d move and for a physician, that wouldn’t be feasible. Plus, when we moved, who else but me would settle the family in, especially when my husband went underway.

But all that reasoning wasn’t enough to answer the biggest question. Why?

Why did you create me with such fierce perseverance? Why the “knowing” I’d be a pediatrician since age 6? Why the miracles along the way and the people You gave to encourage me, if You wanted me to walk away and raise my family?

It’s an answer I still don’t have 17 years later.

But what I have is a beautiful family who’s lived around the country, making amazing memories. I have the honor of being present for all my children’s firsts, being the one who introduced them to Jesus, and being the primary shaper of their character. 

So, do I miss medicine? Aspects of it, for sure. Would I have had the impact on the masses I’ve had on my children and their future children? Definitely not.

Do I still ask God why? Sometimes, but I’ve surrendered my need for an answer. Will you?

*Psalm 37:4, **Proverbs 19:21

Vanessa A. Harris

Vanessa enjoys helping women break negative cycles to build healthy community. Visit her at her internet home, vinelifefaith.com. And if you’re a mom who’s ready to drop the perfectionism mask and admit her overwhelm, get real talk from Vanessa on her podcast, Motherhood Unmasked.  

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