Looking Back: An Alumni Reflection

IMG_3244RMC Alumni Mary Clare Weiner (2014-15) shares her reflections on 2015 with us.  Mary Clare currently works as a nurse in North Carolina.

As a new year starts, I reflect on the twists, turns and sprinklings of grace that have been my past year.  I moved back from Philadelphia at the end of July and started working in Durham in August. The further removed I am from my year of service, the more I come to appreciate the role it played in my life. It gave me a year to grow in community with amazing women and to see how respect, simplicity and kindness of heart can foster a true sense of joy and belonging.

I also grew in my ability to trust in God’s plan for me. I remember the anxiety I experienced as I applied for jobs at the end of my year as an RMC. When I got the interview offer in Durham, I was very much torn between this opportunity and those that may have lied in Charlotte, my home city.

I remember taking a break from replying to emails and getting ready for my interview to go on a run. After my run, I was sitting in the sand at the beach, watching the sun go down. I closed all of the applications on my phone so that I could sit in silence for a while.  Despite closing all of my apps, music continued to play on my phone. I checked  to see if all of the apps were closed on my phone – they were. I was tempted to turn my phone off to see if this would fix the problem, but on a whim I decided to listen to the music, just in case it was playing for a reason. The lyrics I heard were: 

“Lay your head down tonight

Take a rest from the fight

Don’t try to figure it out

Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart.

Cause I know this is not anything like you thought the story of your life was going to be

And it feels like the end has started closing in on you, but it’s just not true

There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

And this is going to be a glorious unfolding

Just you wait and see, and you will be amazed”

I felt at peace and I walked back to the house my family was staying at on vacation. I decided to place my worries in God’s hands for now and enjoy the rest of my vacation. The next Monday, I went to an interview in Durham and accepted a job on Wednesday. It really wasn’t what I had expected to be the next chapter of my life. I thought I would be in Charlotte right now.

Looking back after five months spent working and living in Durham, I realize how much God knows what he’s doing. I have learned so much as a nurse and I am working in an environment that is supportive and full of new opportunities.

There are also small ways that I have seen God’s grace since being here. When I was in Nursing school, I switched a clinical assignment so that I could work within a prison setting. The clinical ended up not working out, and I found myself doing my final clinical at the hospital at which I now work. At the time, I was upset. I really thought that I was supposed to be working at a prison, and this change in plans made me doubt that God really has any plan at all – dramatic as that may sound. Now, I laugh at this because I would not be working where I am today had I not switched my clinical! I am also about to begin volunteering within the medical center at the prison that I originally would have completed my clinical. To top it off, in my interview for the volunteer position at the prison I learned that the woman interviewing me used to work where I volunteered as an RMC! I just see God sitting in heaven, smiling at how He plans things out.

Now I am beginning to look into my future and ask the same questions that I always do: what’s next, when will this, that or the other thing happen in my life. I hope as I go into this New Year that I can walk in trust that God knows what he’s doing. When I have placed my heart and will in His hands, the outcome is always surprising, to say the least, and glorious, to say the truth. I hope that others who are reading this can also lean into trust a little more in this coming year. It is a beautiful place to be. 

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Mid-Year Retreat

Despite an unusually bustling weekend in Sea Isle City, NJ, January 8-10 was a peaceful weekend, both spiritually and physically, during our “Lavender Springs” mid-year retreat weekend.  During the retreat, we were invited to focus on deepening our relationship with God through a focus on the Psalms.

Ashley and I were blessed to be joined by an RMC alum, Kelly, for the retreat weekend.  This made for especially rich discussion and sharing, as each one of us is at a different stage in our lives, with unique perspectives on the Psalms and how they apply to our lives.

Thank you, God, for beautiful weather, good companions and signs of your presence all around us!

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