Monday, September 22, 2008

Seeing the other side...

Since making the decision to become a long term missionary there have been a million thoughts running through my head. At any given point if you asked me what was on my mind I would have about 10 things to talk about, some ridiculous, some really important. I have been so happy for the peace I have had covering everything thus far. I had one minor meltdown a few weeks ago but I think it was due to a major build up of anxious thoughts during a two day period where I hadn't made time to be wrapped in God's word or on my knees in prayer. Even that meltdown didn't last more then 15 minutes and ceased only because God heard my tear-filled prayers and covered me yet again with his grace. I had a major change in my thought process yesterday concerning all of this and therefore wanted to share. My line of thinking and praying up until now has been to be free of anxieties and fears, for financial provisions, health and safety of family while I'm gone, etc... I was at a concert last night (Brook Frasier, really good) and it hit me all of a sudden. She is a big supporter of World Vision and when asking people to check it out she said something along the lines of how children in the third world countries may be praying for help, for just someone to make life a little bit easier, and by supporting one we could answer those prayers. I just cried at the thought of that image, a little child praying for help... I realized last night that there is a whole different side to this spectrum of missions. There are people, brothers and sisters of mine in Christ, literally dying and praying for help. Next year is not about me, my financials, even my family. Next year is about God and showing the people of Africa how powerful His love and mercy are. God is answering the prayers of these people by sending a ship of doctors and nurses to them, I can't even tell you how powerful this line of thinking is for me, I can hardly keep myself from just crying about it. I am going to start praying for my time there, to be prepared and let God use this time over the next 3 months to work in my heart. I have not had issues with trust concerning all of the preperations, however I need to just surrrender it and not let my thoughts constantly be on all of these logistics. I read this poem just a few minutes ago and again find myself holding back tears, this is emotional stuff!! haha, I am just happy to be so encouraged by seeing the other side of this, I am thankful that my eyes have been opened to the "bigger picture".

A Prayer for the Children… by Ina J. Hughes
"We pray for the children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak Popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes. We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who give hugs in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off-key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup. And we pray for those who never get dessert, who watch their parents watch them die, who have no safe blanket to drag behind, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real. We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, who never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don't like to be kissed in front of the school, who squirm in church or temple or mosque and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry. And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who aren't spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being. We pray for children who want to be carried, and for those who must. For those we never give up on, and for those who never get a chance. For those we smother with our love, and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it."

Monday, September 15, 2008


The other day I got home from doing errands just as an awesome song was playing in my car. It was a beautiful day, sun was shining..the whole bit. I left the car running and stood outside while the song played. I was instantly brought back to a time in my life when I spent a lot of time standing around outside a car listening to music. Actually, in high school, the majority of my time was spent doing just that. Whether it was in a parking lot while skipping class to lay on the hood of the car on a sunny day, or while tailgating for a concert, some of my fondest memories were those times hanging out with friends enjoying good music and good times. I had this overwhelming feeling of nostalgia. I remembered how I felt during those times and remember being happy, even joyful. I thought to myself how at that very moment my past sinful life seemed appealing. Instantly the message from church a few days before came back to my conscious mind. The pastor quoted a saying that really impacted me. I can't find the original source, but I found the quote:

"Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, it will keep you longer than you wanted to stay and will cost you a lot more than you wanted to pay."

I realized that this is exactly what had happened to me. Those days that felt carefree turned into dark, troubling times over the course of 10 or so years. I ended up in a pit of insecurity, shame, and doubt, I was so lost. It was only by grace that I was saved. Sin took me to places no one would ever want to go, it kept me there for 10 years, and cost me so much that I still have healing to accomplish from decisions in my past. I know temptation will always lie around every corner, I also know that because of my past I will never turn my back on my savior and redeemer. While doing my bible study this morning (Experiencing God-highly recommend it), I came across an analogy I really identified with.
"Suppose you had to cross a field full of land mines, and a person who knew exactly where each one was buried offered to take you through it. Would you say to him, "I don't want you to tell me what to do. I have free will!" I don't want you to impose your ways on me" I don't know about you but I would stay as close to that person as I could and certainly would not wander off. His directions to me would preserve my life. He would say, "Don't go that way, because that way will kill you. Go this way, and you will live." This is the purpose of Gods commands. He wants you to receive life and have it abundantly. When the Lord gives you a command, He is trying to protect and preserve the best He has for you. He does not want you to lose it. When God gives a command He is not restricting you. He is freeing you."

At times sin seems appealing because it is "freedom" from rules or the standards of being a Christian, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. Sin is binding, it brings you into a dark captivity that is filled with lies and hurt. It starts off fun and seemingly innocent and before you know it, it has taken hold of your life. I am amazed everyday at how powerful God is. I am also excited because by spending time with Him everyday I am growing and maturing in my faith which is the most important thing in my life. In a way I am thankful for my past because there is no question in my mind of what life looks like without God, therefore I never want to pay that price again. I keep saying Psalm 119:105 in my head while writing this post, so I'll leave off with that.
Psalm 119:105
"Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The "P" word

I don't even know where to begin, I literally feel like I have a million thoughts running through my head. Tonight I finished my BSN. I have been going full time for 3 years which brings my grand total of school + work to 6 years. I obviously didn't take the traditional track when it came to school, but first things first...
Growing up my mom brought up the word potential about 10 times a day (not really, but it seemed like it at the time). I hated it so much I asked her not to say the word 'potential'...ever. Instead she called it the "P" word, which we still laugh about when we talk about it now. I barely graduated high school due to pure lack of desire to even show up for class. I think my GPA leaving high school was 1.2 or something just as pathetic. The prospect of nursing came into play about two years later and the rest is history. Once I was dedicated to becoming a nurse I went full-force, nothing could stop me. I wasn't walking with God yet he was undoubtedly guiding me and "carrying" me through the trouble spots. I tried the other day to write out my life and all God has done has done throughout the years, I couldn't even scratch the surface! One thing I do know is my becoming a nurse was Gods plan all along. Nursing isn't a job for me, its who I am, through and through. God is using me and my profession in really awesome ways, and I don't think I could have appreciated it had I not gone through all of the other "junk".
Thinking about it now I think it is awesome that my mom saw my potential even when I was screwing up, it is just one of the many signs of her love for me. What's incredible is God also knew my potential and even though I had turned my back on him He continued to be faithful, every day. His love astounds me. Tonight when I finished my final quiz I was shocked. I couldn't believe I was done. I felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. Right away I thought about thanking God (after I thanked Jenny for helping me with the math quiz). My thoughts were immediatly on Him. A few years ago I would have thought about how to celebrate, likely with a night out at some bar. Tonight after I said I felt like jumping and collapsing all at the same time a friend suggested I do both. So...after the quick jumping up and down I took her advice of lying outside and star-gazing. Although there were no stars I had a really special moment. I just got on my knees and prayed, right there in my front yard. I just kept thanking God for where I have come from and where I'm going. I thanked Him over and over again.
I am so grateful to the people in my life who never gave up on me and believed I had potential. I am most grateful to God who gave me the potential to be and do more, even when I wasn't looking to Him for guidance. Looking ahead I know life won't always be easy, but I do know I will always have God leading my steps and helping me live up to his "potential" for me ;)