Editor’s Note: DC Service Corps volunteer, Amy Brandt reflects on the unexpected ways a year of service with FMS has provided growth.

“Jesus, just provide.” A frequent prayer of mine that is often laced with expectations.

I often question the providence of our creator. As if God hasn’t carried me to safety and joy countless times. I almost feel like the Verizon guy (who now works for Sprint?) as I cry out, “Can you hear me now? Good. Can you hear me now? Good. What about now?”

A year ago, when faced with the unknown, I would flip a switch and go into survival mode. I would hand over the reins of decision making to my anxiety and I’d sit back and entertain the worst-case scenarios in my mind.

But over the past 12 months, I’ve received invitation after invitation to challenge that approach: To trust in the providence of a community of initial strangers. To trust in the providence of an old 15-bedroom house with a lot of character. To trust in the providence of a $20 weekly food budget. To trust in the providence of technology to stay connected with family and friends across the country. To trust in the providence of God. 

The challenge to surrender expectations is an endeavor I still wrestle with today. When I pray that the world will provide for my needs, I actually mean “provide for my needs in this exact way that I have pre-planned out.” Which, if you have had any sort of encounter with the world, you will know that wild cards and curveballs are God’s signature move.

So, this year, I have had the opportunity to learn how to see beauty in the curveballs. As I was prayerfully freaking out about the unknowns that will accompany this next chapter of my life, with the conclusion of DC Service Corps, I asked myself, “Am I scared that my needs won’t be met in the future because I don’t think God provided this year?”

As soon as the question came to mind I was flooded with the countless gifts and lessons of this year in DC: I have witnessed incredible kindness and patience from my many housemates, I had the time and space to explore the intersection between faith and work, I got to see so many new places and regions of this beautiful country I call home, I developed a foundation of sustainable self-care, I gained an appreciation for simple living, and I am learning how to better love others and myself. 

“Although my needs were met in ways that differed from my expectations, the way things played out evoked more beauty and personal growth than I could have imagined.”

My basic physical, emotional, and spiritual needs have been provided for in an abundant fashion. Although my needs were met in ways that differed from my expectations, the way things played out evoked more beauty and personal growth than I could have ever imagined. I am reminded that the curveballs and wild cards, as annoying and scary as they are, are just the voice that God has chosen to express His providential nature and unconditional love. And every once in a while, He will throw me a bone, answering my prayers in the way that my heart consciously desires, calling me home to my family and friends and the place that I love.

As I prepare to face a whole new chapter of unknowns, instead of handing the reins to my fears, I trustingly give them to God, to the world, and to the community I will be joining. Checking my expectations at the door, I brace myself for the providential curveballs that will surely make their way into my horizon.