Friday, December 21, 2012

A Grateful Heart

With another semester of nursing school behind me and with it exams and finals, countless clinicals, and uncountable hours of study, I am welcoming Christmas break with open arms. Sometimes, I have to stop to rest before I realize how exhausted I really am and how badly I need a break!

I was reflecting today on this past semester and its many adventures, and as I did, endless God-given blessings started coming to mind. God has been so good to me. I'll share just a few of the many people & opportunities I'm thankful for tonight.

Michelle: Michelle (far right in the picture above) was my first nursing classmate to greet me and introduce herself. After being gone as an SM for a year and returning Fall of 2011, I was slightly overwhelmed by a new class of 70+ future nurses I'd never met, especially when all my old classmates were a year ahead of me. Michelle was so quick to befriend me that we sat together not only the first day, but nearly every day of nursing classes since then.  She's such an amazing friend, so full of sunshine, life, and most importantly, a deep passion for Jesus. The challenges of nursing school has definitely strengthened our friendship as we've overcome a lot together. We've had too many adventures to list here, but it's definitely safe to say that nursing school never would have been the same without her.

Maria: A prayer, a last-minute trip to Chiang Mai, (when I lived in Thailand) and a week living together in a hospital with a very sick little boy brought Maria and me together as close friends. I thank God that neither time nor distance has pulled us apart. When I returned to Southern after my SM year,  leaving a big part of my heart in Asia, God alone knew how much I'd need a cross-cultural friend. Maria's been that friend, the one who could understand things from an American view and then swap over and completely re-evaluate things with me from a Karen villager's perspective. I've treasured every minute of our sometimes record-long phone calls this semester. She's just the trustworthy kind of friend who makes it so easy to be completely genuine and real. She helps to keep my passion for missions alive as well as my love for the medical work.

So many other dear names are pouring into my thoughts as well. I wish I could write about them all. Friends to go running with and to cheer you on at half marathons. Friends who are eager to practice IV starts on you (and are happy to let you practice on them too & even are willing to re-offer their arm even if your first IV didn't go so well.) Friends who send frequent updates from Thailand. It has been said that "If you have one true friend you have more than your share" but if that's true than I have been richly blessed.

Future opportunities:

Nicaragua Trip 2013: In an answer to prayer, after being on the waiting list for weeks, I got accepted for the School of Nursing mission trip to Nicaragua over spring break! I'm so excited for the chance to use my meager nursing skills for God's work internationally. And an extra-special bonus--my brother, Ellis is also going on the trip as part of the auto-mechanic team!

ER Clinicals: God worked a miracle, and it looks like I'm going to be able to do my nursing management clinicals in the ER! I'm stoked. There's something about ER: the assessments, the fast-pace, the you never-knowing-what-is-coming-through-the-doors-next feeling, and the steep learning curve that makes me love it. But I think the reason I love it most is because it reminds me of the work a village nurse does, constantly assesssing patients and never knowing what he or she will treat next. Some of the best village nurses I've met got their training in the ER.

But that's the future. And as excited as I am about the future, I know I am not always promised it. I do have this moment. So in the moment I do have, I want to thank God so much everything this semester: the friends, the challenges, the teamwork, struggles, the joy, and now the victories. Praising Him for another semester now complete.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul:
and all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities:
Who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction:
Who crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things;
so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103: 1-5

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