When I was seven, I read a book about Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. It lit a spark in my heart for the field.
From that time on, I told anyone who would listen, "I'm going to be a nurse!"
By the time I started college, my big brother and personal hero, Alan, had become a doctor.
Now I had two long-term goals. First, I'd become a Registered Nurse, and then I'd follow in Alan's footsteps and work toward a medical degree.
But, as often happens, God had other plans for me, plans that have worked out far better.
During the summer of my sophomore year,
Alan, who was interning at St. Joseph Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, got me a job as a volunteer in the hospital's laboratory. As soon as I walked into that busy department, I felt at home.
Through those exciting summer months, I was like a sponge, absorbing everything I could about laboratory work.
When classes started in the fall, I changed my major from nursing to Medical Technology.
My final year was spent at Terrell Laboratories, an outstanding training facility in Ft. Worth.
I've often thought of how different my life would have been had I taken one of the paths I had originally focused onnursing and medicine.
I must admit, there are many things about nursing that still inspire me, and being called "Doctor Joyce" has an impressive ring to it. But I wouldn't be the person I am today if I hadn't had the experiences and met the amazing people I got to know along the road I've taken.
For instance, while I was still in training, I did a research project that became my first piece of published writing. The topic would put you to sleep, but at the time it was at the cutting edge of lab procedures. In fact, I had requests for reprints from all points of the globe. It was all part of the exciting field of medical technology.
Another blessing of my career: I met the love of my life, George, during my training year at Terrell's. That would never have happened had I taken another pathway. And nothing could have equaled being his wife for 57 years.
And, if I hadn't had my training to rely on, we wouldn't have had the knowledge and understanding of diabetes we needed when we adopted our priceless son, Tim.
The years I spent as an Emergency Medical Technician with the Findley Lake Fire Dept. Rescue Squad were based largely on the understanding my training had given me in hospitals and laboratories.
And, had my early years of training been in a different field, in a different place, we would never have had the wonderful experience of living in the warm and charming little community of Findley Lake.
Those are just a few of the many blessings that resulted from following where God led me. Take a moment to think over the "roads not taken" in your life. You may be surprised, as I was, to see how many blessings have come from following God's plans instead of your own.