The Mystery of Match Day and the Sovereignty of God

Today is one of the most important days for students graduating from medical school; it’s Match Day.  This morning, all around the country, each applicant opened an envelope with the name of the program that would become their home for their years of residency; in Hannah’s case, that is five years.  Over the past year I’ve talked to many friends who had questions about this semi- mysterious process, so I’ll tell you about it from my perspective.

Hannah is graduating from the University of Washington School of Medicine in June.  At that point she’ll be a doctor, but she’ll go on to study the specialty she has chosen, otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery.  Yes, my baby is going to be a surgeon.  Over the winter she flew around the country interviewing at sixteen programs.  She wasn’t able to accept all of the interviews offered due to scheduling conflicts, and had to cancel one interview when the flights became impossible.  She traveled constantly, sometimes taking red-eyes from one interview to another.  It was expensive and exhausting,  but it allowed her to see the programs, meet faculty and current residents, learn about the cities, and begin to sort out her thoughts.

When all of the interviews were done, prayer, discussion, and more research began.  Actually, prayer was ongoing, but it took on more urgency.  She consulted with her advisers and other wise people.  We talked a lot about the pros and cons of different programs, cities to live in, and the simple geography of how far she would be from her family.  In the end, we encouraged her to set distance aside and choose the programs that she felt most drawn to.  Some programs didn’t emphasize pediatrics, so they dropped down her list, others were in cities where she really didn’t want to live for five years, some taught specific skills that interested her – such as repairing cleft palates, while others didn’t, etc.

Eventually she made a list of the programs with number one being her first choice and on down, until she had ranked each program.  Every other student interviewing also made a rank list and those lists were submitted to a central database.  Meanwhile, the programs also made lists ranking the applicants in order and submitting their lists to the computer.  Then some sort of scientific magic happened and the computer spit out the results of where each student would go for residency.

During the wait, Hannah went to Africa for four weeks to work in a rural hospital, which was the perfect distraction.  Her belief in the sovereignty of God gave her great comfort.  In the end, she was thankful that she did not have to choose where she would go but could simply trust that God had good plans for her.

The results were sealed until today at 12:00 EDT, which was 9:00 PDT where we live.  We knew she would open her letter at 9:00, and she would text us the results.  We waited to hear…and it felt like we kept waiting, although it was actually only minutes.  We hoped it wasn’t bad news, and she was simply hugging her classmates and celebrating.  Then finally, we got a text – with a photo we couldn’t see.  Russ called her and we learned that she got her very first choice…

The University of Minnesota!

This may not mean much to most of us, but for those in the otolaryngology world, this is huge.  The program is one of the very best in the country and they do the most amazing procedures.  She is going to train under the very best and we could not be happier for her.

I have many reflections on what it is like to watch our children grow and become who Jesus wants them to be.  They are each unique with their own gifts.  I am learning to let go of what I think they should do with their lives and surrender them to seek what God wants for them.  He made my children and gave them their skills, interests, and talents.  As their mother, I have insight into that, but I am also not nearly wise enough to know the future.  I’m humbled and thrilled Hannah’s success today.

Tonight Russ and I are taking the older kids out for dinner to celebrate.  Noah is in New York City on a business school field trip, so he’ll miss it, but we’ll send him a picture 🙂

Thank you for letting me share Match Day with you.

Lisa

 

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

46 Comments

  1. Beth Cieslak Olson
    March 16, 2012

    Thanks for sharing how the process works! We live in MN, and are on the waitlist to adopt from Ethiopia. (We actually met at Empowered to Connect in Denver last April)

    The U has a fabulous reputation! Will Sweet Pea know anyone in town? I'd love to show her around if she doesn't!

    There's a great Ethiopian restaurant called Fasika in St. Paul, too, for when you are in town!

    Beth

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Hi Beth, Sweet Pea knows a couple of people, but that's it. As I'm reading comments, I'm excited to see how many people I "know" who I didn't know were in MN! I think we'll all have to meet for coffee one day. She'll love checking out Fasika! It's beginning to settle in that MN is very far away – we googled it tonight and it is 1400 miles. I'll keep taking deep breaths and trusting God.

      Reply
  2. Eileen
    March 16, 2012

    I can well remember the excitement of match day! We were living in Iowa at the time and were lucky to get matched to our first choice—University of Washington (where she's leaving!).

    Congratulations!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      It is exciting! We love UW and secretly wished (or not so secretly) she would stay, but her heart was some place else. I'm going to miss her terribly!

      Reply
  3. Chrissy
    March 16, 2012

    How very exciting!!! Minnesota is a wonderful place to live in addition to having such top-notch medical programs!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      I've only been there once, but I have a feeling there will be many trips in my future. Thanks, Chrissy!

      Reply
  4. Lori
    March 16, 2012

    So excited for Hannah and her news. Isn't this such a crazy thing, watching our kids spread their wings and take those next life steps? Allison has another month of decision making ahead of her with 4 university visits in the next couple of weeks. None of those are close to home and the reality is that she will most likely never live close to home again. Guess our little one will be arriving just at the right time! (Not that Allison can be replaced, but it will certainly provide a distraction.)

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Yes, it is crazy, and amazing, and a little scary. We are so excited for Allison, too. Love to all of you.

      Reply
  5. Jillian
    March 16, 2012

    I had no idea the process was set up like that, I don't know how anyone could get through it without prayer and God…just the anxiety of it all. I know you must be beaming and moving joyfully…celebrating with you in spirit! Congrats!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thanks, Jillian. We are heading out for dinner now – fun!

      Reply
  6. gretchen
    March 16, 2012

    Well I'm excited cuz my sister in law lives in that city and my in laws are only 2 hours away so visits to my bestfriend are still very possible 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      That is very good news Gretchen! I'm happy you two will see each other.

      Reply
  7. Jessica Rudder
    March 16, 2012

    Congratulations! That's such a blessing that she got her first choice. I imagine the school is probably happy about it too since it's likely she was one of their top choices.

    I cannot imagine all the great things she's going to be able to do with her training!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      We were trying to be prepared for her to get her 15th choice – just in case. So it was a super wonderful surprise for her to get her first choice! Thank you, Jessica.

      Reply
  8. Lisa H
    March 16, 2012

    So happy for you as parents and for your girlie! I'm sure God has GREAT things in store for her!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thank you, Lisa.

      Reply
  9. Arabah Joy
    March 16, 2012

    Oh, Lisa, this is so wonderful!! I love how you demonstate rest and trust in God's sovereignty and in His plans for your children. "All who hope in the Lord will not be disappointed." Congrats~ I'm jumping up and down for you guys!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thank you, friend. We are excited too.

      Reply
  10. Heidi
    March 16, 2012

    How exciting! My dear friend lives in MN, so I've been there a few times.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Heidi, I need to see you sometime when I come through town. Thanks for the nice comment.

      Reply
    2. Johanna
      March 17, 2012

      Yes! I do! 🙂

      So happy for your daughter to come to our wonderful state and be in the program she was hoping for! I'm sure she will quickly find community and connections, but if not, I know lots of great people and churches in the U of M area. Blessings on her as she starts a new adventure with the Lord!

      Reply
  11. Marlene W
    March 16, 2012

    I have to say that I was excited to hear that God is sending Sweet Pea to Minnesota, where we live! If she needs anything in the transition or a home away from home, let us know. I also work in healthcare and we've lived in the Twin Cities area for 30 years now. We are at your service…

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thank you so much, Marlene. You never know if she might need to call on you – or maybe I will!

      Reply
      1. Marlene W
        March 16, 2012

        It would be our pleasure. 🙂

        Reply
  12. daysofwonderandgrace
    March 16, 2012

    Lisa,

    Congratulations! God's leading is always good 🙂 ! If/when you come out here, I hope you'll let us know. I know a bunch of us would love to meet you and your daughter in person. Let us know how we can help! And please: stop in and hear John Piper live while you're here before he retires :)!–Carrie

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thank you, Carrie. It is so exciting to know you are there, too! I expect I have many trips to MN in my future, and I definitely hope to hear John Piper – one of my heroes.

      Reply
  13. Stephanie
    March 16, 2012

    I so enjoyed reading this post. Our 9-year old daughter, a living breathing miracle, has wanted to be a doctor since she could talk and we would not be at all surprised if God brought it to pass. So this is exciting and encouraging to see how God has led and supplied for your daughter!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Sweet Pea knew she wanted to be a doctor as a very young child. I had to give myself injections twice a day when I was pregnant with Isaiah, and Sweet Pea would beg to give them to me. She loves telling her colleagues that she gave injections when she was seven. Some kids have a clear calling! Thank you for the kind comment.

      Reply
  14. urbanservant
    March 16, 2012

    We are here in minnesota waiting to greet her with open arms….do you know we are five minutes from the um medical center? And its 80” here today!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thank you, Dorothy. I expect we'll take you up on that! I can't believe it was so warm there today; we're still limping along with mixed snow and rain.

      Reply
  15. Emily
    March 16, 2012

    I'm so happy for your family tonight, Lisa, and especially for Sweet Pea. One of our children recently had to have surgery, and I have been so humbled by the wonderful doctors who cared for him. I know Sweet Pea will be a fabulous surgeon!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Emily, thank you so much – yes, a good surgeon is a gift and I'm so pleased that Sweet Pea will be able to serve in that way.

      Reply
  16. Laurel
    March 16, 2012

    I know all about big kids living across the country and around the world. 🙂

    It is exciting to see all that God is going to do in them and through them.

    You and I should take a trip to MN together. I have 2 daughters there. 🙂

    Laurel

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thanks, Laurel. Have you traveled there yet?

      Reply
  17. theinnermostbox
    March 16, 2012

    It is such a sweet blessing to see the desires of your children's heart satisfied. Thank you once again for giving me something to ponder about my own children as well. The idea that I get to help to foster the creativity, passions and intellect that God has given to my children is magnificent and wonderful. The idea that ultimately God guides them down the path He has chosen for them, and that I merely usher them there, is comforting. I can't wait to read the stories that God has authored for my children! Thank you for sharing your daughter's story here! Loved reading this!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 16, 2012

      Thank you for the kind words. I think you put it better than I did!

      Reply
  18. Emily
    March 16, 2012

    YAYYY!!!!! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 17, 2012

      Thanks, Emily!

      Reply
  19. Blanca
    March 17, 2012

    I'm so excited for Sweet Pea! I've been praying for months that God would give her the desires of her heart in this area. How wonderful that He gave her her first choice of the best University for her specialty. He must have great big plans for her using her gifts, talents and acquired skills. God will give you the grace you'll need to deal with the distance.

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 17, 2012

      Blanca! I've been thinking of you lately – thank you for your prayers. Lots of good things are happening with wells. Thanks for being part of The Water Fight!

      Reply
  20. Karmen Saski
    March 17, 2012

    We've never met but I've been following your wonderful blog for a few months. Our family of 5 is in the process of adopting 2 from Haiti and I've been so encouraged by your insights into parenting, as well as your faith clearly on display. We live about an hour south of the U of M and would be happy to provide a welcoming home and a home-cooked meal for your daughter anytime! MN truly is a wonderful place to live and I hope that she'll be blessed by her time here. Blessings to your family!

    Reply
    1. Lisa Qualls
      March 17, 2012

      Thank you, Karmen. This outpouring of love from my MN readers is amazing! I hope I'll get to meet many of you during Sweet Pea's five years there.

      Reply
  21. Lisa Qualls
    March 17, 2012

    Johanna, thank you for your kind words – she is really looking forward to MN.

    Reply
  22. Laura
    March 19, 2012

    Congratulations!

    Reply
  23. Mary Andrews
    March 19, 2012

    When she was 7 years old, Hannah told me a secret that she said I could not tell anyone. She told me that when she grew up she was going to be a doctor and cure her mommy. After 18 years of love, nurturing and home schooling, years in college and at the U.W. med school SHE IS THERE!!!! Add to that she is going to her first choice program and we are all thrilled with how God has blessed her and all of you. What a glorious work. Love you , Mom

    Reply
  24. Heather
    June 18, 2012

    I have been WAY behind in my blog reading, so I apologize that this is so late. My daughter was born with a cleft palate and is treated at the University of MN. We live in Brooklyn Park, about 10 minutes from Minneapolis. I would be happy to help her in getting settled any way she needs it. :). It's a great place to live!

    Reply

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