I graduated from law school on May 15. Many of you followed my journey through Tirzah and my instagram account. And if you have, then you know that law school was never in my plans or part of my ambitions. It wasn’t even in the fringes of my wildest day dreams (and I had quite the overactive imagination growing up!). But somewhere in the last few years, God began transforming my heart and making dreams come true that I didn’t even have the courage to think about. He took my deepest, most private, unspoken hopes and He quietly lead me deeper than my feet could ever wander. Above all though, He strengthened my faith and that alone has made the last three years so worth it.
But, let’s back up for a minute. If you have the time to spare today, I’d like to share some of my life story with you. After I graduated from college, I wrote this article and the feedback I’ve gotten has humbled me, so think of this article as an update on the last one.
In high school, I wanted to be in fashion. I sketched designs in my spare time, took sewing classes, launched a fashion blog, organized a charity fashion show, and stalked design school websites. But unfortunately, there isn’t much of a market for high fashion in Missouri. With nine younger siblings and my family going through some difficult times then, I knew leaving home for college was not an option. So, I stayed and attended a local university, which although I ended up loving, did not have a fashion program.
I chose the major I thought could get me to fashion and still be practical: business. I aced my accounting classes in high school, so that’s the major I began with. But I quickly learned that I didn’t have the attention span for accounting and my creativity was stifled. So, I switched to marketing and management, but those classes were incredibly easy for me.
That was sophomore year, also known as the year I got my first C on a test. Ever. It was in one of the required economics classes, and it took all my self-restraint not to burst into tears during class. Afterwards, I thought it was a sign to drop out of college. I was a perfectionist, an insecure one at that, and it seemed like I was waiting for proof I wasn’t good enough to be where I was. But I’m also not a quitter, so I resolved to do better, even if it meant I didn’t sleep and when I did, I dreamt of supply and demand graphs. I ended up getting an A in that econ class, and it changed me. The next semester, I switched my major to economics. At my school, the finance classes overlapped with the econ classes, and so by adding just a few more credit hours, I could double major. At that point, I knew nothing about finance, but it sounded interesting, and so I decided to major in finance too. It would be three years later that I would learn that this wasn’t a coincidence (because of this degree in finance, I ended up teaching finance to undergraduate students while in law school and it was the best job I could have asked for in that season of my life!).
It was around this time that reality set in. At some point, I realized, fashion was not going to work out for me. I thrived in my business program, and it showed me how lucrative it would be for me to go into business, and what a risk fashion would be in comparison. As my family continued to struggle financially, I felt the pressure to get a good paying job so I could make my parents’ burdens a bit lighter.
But at that point of my life, that wasn’t the task God had for me. Instead, my senior year of college, I felt the prompting to apply to law school. You see, before sophomore year of college, I knew very little of lawyers (other than what I’d seen on TV and that they make a lot of money and wear nice suits). What I knew though, told me that it would never be me.
Nonetheless, I joined the pre-law club because of a cute guy. Then, I learned a local attorney was looking for help, so I applied and got the job. That first exposure to law opened a whole new world to me. I wish I could tell you this was the point I decided to go to law school. But when I left that job junior year, I still didn’t feel good enough and so I went back to my comfortable business zone and focused on getting a job with a bank after graduation.
During that year though, God kept putting law school in my way. A friend I made through the pre-law club was applying to law schools, and I tagged along with her to visit schools. Finally, I gave in and took the LSAT….and scored way too low to even apply to law school. Being me, I took that as a big fat no from God.
That summer, I traveled back to my home country of Ukraine for the first time since my family had immigrated from there when I was eight. The world I encountered there blew my mind – the corruption and poverty made America look like heaven in comparison. Growing up, I heard stories of what my parents and grandparents left behind, but for the first time, I saw through adult eyes for myself and I understood just how blessed I was to have the life I do.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11
Law school was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my entire life. Some days, I thought I wouldn’t make it. Many days, I doubted God and myself. But when I did finally finish, it all came flooding through me. He was always there.
When I was born to parents who would eventually move to the United States in hopes of a better future for their children.
He was there freshman year of high school when academics weren’t cool. But He embedded in me the desire to learn and gave me strength to keep studying even when peer pressure made me hide my good grades.
He was even there when my parents decided to move to Missouri. Maybe He knew the only way I could focus on my studies is if I didn’t have a single friend to distract me from my studies.
He was there my senior year of high school as I navigated the college admissions process on my own. As the first in my family to go to college, I knew nothing of higher education and I am so grateful for the counselors and mentors God put in my life during that season who guided me through it all.
I thought I did college well on my own, but it was only when I looked back that I saw He was there too. In the thousands of scholarship dollars that paid for private school. In my majors – the ones I struggled with so much, yet still graduated in honors with. In the leadership positions that forced me to step up and be seen. In the opportunities and relationships that made me grow so much as a person. In the internships and jobs that came with such ease. Or the time freshman year when neither I nor my parents could afford to buy me a car to get to school on, but God could and He did.
He was definitely there with law school. Because I could have never dreamed this up on my own. He was there my first year, when I cried nearly every day from loneliness and stress. Most days, He was the only thing that kept me going. He opened doors for me with internships, jobs, scholarships and relationships. He gave me hope, peace, and confidence when I felt insignificant, dumb, and so small. He somehow molded me into this woman that I never thought I would ever be.
All these years, He’s been laying puzzle pieces one by one. Knowing which ones I needed at just the right time. Looking back, I see His hand in all these tiny moments I though were insignificant. Like remember those accounting classes and the major I first started with? In the fall, I’m starting work for a big four accounting firm, which combined with my law degree and tax certification is opening up some amazing opportunities ahead for me! At the end of my education, it’s all come back full circle, just as God intended it to be.
I’m starting to see – or perhaps just finally acknowledging – the brush strokes of the picture He’s painting of my life. I don’t know what it’s supposed to look like, but I know it’s going to be beautiful. Because it already has been.
Thank you for letting me share a part of my story and the work the Lord has been doing in my life. I pray it encourages you to seek God first, because the plans He has for you are more than you could ever imagine. Maybe someday I’ll design a clothing line, but today, I have a profession and career I love, that challenges me and God willing, someday, will make an impact on many lives. The high school freshman me would have never thought this is how her story would turn out to be. But I am so glad that my God knew better and that He never gave up on me all these years.
Friend, God is doing amazing things in your life too. Every moment has had its purpose and shaped you into the woman you are becoming. Someday, I pray that you’ll look back and see His fingerprints and brushstrokes on the canvas of your life. Because it is good indeed.
PS. Would anyone be interested if I put this in greater detail into a book? My family and friends always tell me that I should, but I need an unbiased opinion 🙂