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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The more we learn to fear God. . .

"The more we learn to fear God the less we fear anything else." -Elisabeth Elliot

The Power of a Smile

According to an article on, here are some of top ten reasons to smile:

1. Smiling makes us attractive.

2. Smiling changes our mood.

3. Smiling is contagious.

4. Smiling relieves stress.

5. Smiling boosts your immune system (possibly by relaxing you)

6. Smiling lowers your blood pressure.

7. Smiling releases natural endorphins, natural pain killers, and serotonin.

8. Smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger.

9. Smiling makes you more successful. (Rational: smiling people appear more confident, are easier to approach, and are more likely to be promoted.)

10. Smiling helps you stay positive. (Test it: Smile. Now continue to smile & try to think of something negative without loosing your smile. It was harder that I thought. Your body is sending you the "Life is good" message while you attempt to worry.)

What stood out to me? Happy feelings can follow your smile! Not just the other way around. I've heard this so many times before, but it's so easy for me to get mixed up and think "When I'm not so stressed or when I'm having fun, then I'll smile. I have so much to do right now." Maybe smiling a little extra  would help take down those stress levels. Maybe choosing to smile would remind me how much fun I am having, even when surrounded with deadlines. There's so many benefits of smiling. Maybe they could even be contagious  Hmmmmm. . . . I have a  new theory to test for  for finals week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What if I had Given Everything

we went to elementary school so
we could go to middle school so that
we could attend high school  and head on to
college for degrees so we could get the
job we wanted and thus have money so we
could get the things we thought we wanted and
age in comfort,
seeking the joy we thought it would bring
but when we reached that point, there was no joy
all the work and stress only took away
our health, our time with family,  and our best years

And so we used the money we'd made to try to salvage our failing health
And we regretted the way we lived our lives
And we tried to spent the last of our time with those who mattered most,
Making every final moment here count for eternity
But it seemed so weak. So limited. And as this life came to a close, we could only ask weakly from a hospital bed,

"What if I had given everything?"


I've met these people. I see them all the time. I see people jogging in circles, chasing dreams that will  never bring them joy. I've jogged these same paths. I've been there, chasing what I thought would bring satisfaction. There's nothing in it.

What good things people might think of you? Not worth it. What money might buy you? So cheap. Living for our self? So purposeless. This life is way too short to live it without a God-given mission. Too short to live for ourselves.

What if. . .

Every moment of elementary school was spent learning about the greatness of our God so
middle school could be spent learning how to share God's love for the rich, the poor, the weak, the strong, the lost, the found, the world, the church, everyone. What if high school became a training time for young leaders to learn to lead God's work?

And if the degrees sought in college was sought only to bring honor and glory to God by doing His will, wherever He would lead? What if  our strongest, most adventure-seeking years in, after, and in-between college were spent passionately sharing Jesus? Here. And overseas. And to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people

What if our incomes went to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, support the struggling?
What if we woke up every morning and said "God, I'm Yours. Who can I love for you? How can I best represent Your love to this broken world?" What if we were His hands to our hurting world? His feet to seek the lost His comfort for the broken? His tears crying with those who have suffered so much. His listening ears to those who have never been listened to before. His eyes to see the potential in others. His passion for the lost, that they might learn of the Savior. His love.

God has so much in-store for those who will dedicate their lives to Him. And there's so much more in-store. His service becomes our passion. His mission, the fire in our veins. So much more life & joy than in these crazy cycles we get ourselves in.

And just think, if someday, by God's grace, years later, we could lay our our death beds and look back on our life and honestly say beyond a shadow of all doubt, "That was a life worth living. I gave everything." It would be so worth it.

Ponder it this week---a life giving all for God. He's already given everything for you.

If you found a cure for cancer. . .

"If you found a cure for cancer, wouldn't it be inconceivable to hide it from the rest of mankind? How much more inconceivable to keep silent the cure from the eternal wages of death." -Dave Davidson

Friday, December 7, 2012

The God of Angel Armies

I know who goes before me
I know who goes behind
The God of angel armies is always by my side.
The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises
You are faithful

The song caught my attention as I drove to Southern. Maybe it was because I was nervous about my nursing exam that morning. Maybe it was due to the confusion of sorting out the many options for next year. Maybe it was because I’ve been realizing more and more how weak I am and how much I need His grace  & strength. For whatever reason, the lyrics gripped my heart more than ever. 

I know who goes before me. I know who stands behind. The God of angel armies. . . It was that simple. All my worries at their cores were faithless. All my confusion seemed so small. . . is always by my side. What a paradigm shift! A God so great. A God who will never leave us. My heart sang all the way to school.

I think sometimes I’m a lot like Elisha’s servant (2 Kings 6). The city was surrounded. A whole host was after Elisha and his servant cries out, “Alas, my master! How shall me do?” Yup, that sounds like me—the one longing to see the instant answers when God has them hidden for my own good. Me, the one who sees the enemy, but sometimes forgets the Savior’s mighty power. Are you tempted to forget? Elisha’s reply is for all of us.

Elisha answered, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” The he prayed, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round Elisha.

I’m praying that same prayer & hope you’ll pray it with me. “Lord, open my eyes that I may see.” Grant me the eyes of faith that look beyond the problems, the trials, and the confusion of this earth. Give me the sight to see my Savior and His matchless love. Give me the vision to see the God of angel armies.