Sunday, December 28, 2008


Today was one of those days where I felt everything had purpose. I was debating going to church this morning because my day way so full already, and besides, I go to church at night anyways ;) I woke up and felt like I should indeed go so I went about my morning getting ready. Lately I have been feeling the need to draw closer to God, a sense of longing you could say. On my way to church I had a few lines of a song learned when I was a kid stuck in my head.
"Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a right spirit within me"
Right off the bat I knew I had made the right decision in going to church. The first passage read was 1 Peter 1:1-11.
(vs. 5-11)
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Since the first time I read this verse it made sense to me, and I think of it often. The message today talked about all of the resolutions people make, and how without desire most of them fail. He challenged us to make this our New years resolution, and I thought it was a great idea. Then the kicker. He gave us a bunch of verses to reference how we could increase our chances of keeping this resolution and gave psalm 51:10-12.
"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."

Umm...wasn't that just stuck in my head right before church??

Tonight message was on gratitude and thankfulness. God commands us to have a spirit of thankfulness in ALL things...whew.
I am deeply grateful for so much, but I was challenged by the question posed of what that looks like from day to day. I have been delighting in the gifts God has given me, especially lately with all of His crazy provisions. The key though, is delighting in the giver, and that's where I can pinpoint my longing for more, I need more desire to know God.
The connection between the two messages seems to get deeper the more I think about it. In 1 Peter, the idea is that we already possess all of those things, we just need to add to them. To me this makes sense, a constant cycle of perseverance, goodness, love, etc... How can that not be a good thing? Then throw is a life that portrays indescribable gratitude? Sounds like a recipe for a good year (and I'm sure for much longer than that)
So there you have New Years Resolutions, to increase and add to my faith, get to know the Giver, and to have a spirit of gratitude in ALL things. Think people will look at me funny when I tell them that??

Sunday, December 21, 2008

From the Mouths of Babes

Just when I though I couldn't possibly love kids anymore than I do I got a little "gift" last night. One of my oldest friends is a teacher and runs an after school program at an elementary school. I told her an idea I had for kids here in the states to make get well cards that I could bring with me to the ship next year. I thought it would be fun for some of my supporters and their kids to get involved in a fun way. She took off with the idea and last night handed me a big stack of one-of-a-kind cards made from kids ranging from kindergarten to 5th grade. Even though we were at a Christmas party I managed to shed a couple of tears as I read through them. Last night before I went to bed I read them all again, taking in every picture and mis-spelled word. This type of thing makes my heart ache in places that nothing else can touch. Although I would love to share each one I thought I would give a few quotes to give you an idea.

~Hi my name is Breanna. My favrite color is turquise. My favrite food is ice cream. My favrite animel is a cat

~!!!Hello!!! Hi my name is Maria. I live in the U.S.A. My favorite color is purple. I hope you get better soon!

~Get well soon! Hi my name is Maria. My favorite color is hot pink. My favorite food is french fries. I am living in America. I hope you feel better soon! Bye!

~Get well soon. Hi my name is Emily I love to play in the park

~feel better. Hi my name is stephen I like to fish. I hope you feel better (his card had a picture of him fishing for what looks like a platypus
on the front)

~To: you From: Josie Feel well soon! Hi! My name is Josie. I like to go out to play. If you wot to sed me a letter it is ok.

~I wish you sunny days and happy days! A happy sun is a funny sun! My favorite colors are pink, blue, and brown. My favorite subjects are math and art. I am in 5th grade. My favortie things to do are play soccer, doing gymnastics, and making art. If you feel down grab a pencil and paper and draw what your imagination can think of. Their are no mistakes in art. I am sure you will be better soon! Be a shooting star

And then the one that put me over the edge... The Maria that loves pink must have made a few cards, each one with a different design.

Hi my name is Maria. I live in America. My favorite color is pink. I hope you feel better! Even though we are far away we still care.

Thank you so much Ms. Amy and class!

Mark 10:14-15
Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One Day at a Time

10 more shifts left at work
28 days until I leave for Texas
82 days until I take my first steps onto a ship in Africa I will call home for 9 or 10 months

I have to be honest. These numbers felt like the weight of the world a couple of days ago. I was out looking for a few things for my trip and felt this weird sadness. I'm not good with closure or saying goodbye. I know what you'll say, "its not goodbye" but I'm thinking "see you later" is also pretty freakin' tough. I couldn't explain why I felt sad, but I think Jenny was right in telling me she thought it was a somewhat normal emotion. I am ridiculously excited for next year. I have never been so sure of something in my life, which still amazes me as I write. I trust God so fully with my life, something which has been refined over the last year and a half or so. I am being called to do something that I can't do on my own. On my own I would never leave my mom and the ability to hug her and tell her I love her whenever I wanted. I would never intentionally miss out on my dads "bob-isms" as I call them which make me laugh and love him more every time one comes out. I wouldn't leave the special moments I have with my sister when we both laugh a little too long at someones joke or going out to eat "just because". I would never turn in a letter of resignation at a job I love so much. You wouldn't see me waving goodbye to girls who have become like sisters to me and have walked beside me in life the last several months. By myself I am not strong enough to do even one of the things on this list.
These little, everyday things that I will miss threaten to leave a lump in my throat every time I think of them.
Every time they come up I need to remind myself that God knew the plans he had for me before I was ever born. He knit me together to serve a very specific purpose. This is all a part of His plan, I am a part of His plan and He will provide all of the strength I need.
I am willing to sacrifice a lot, but am I willing to sacrifice it all? I'm scared God will call me to do this long-term. That after 10 months He will say I'm not done yet.
I am instantly reminded that God will never give me more than I can handle in one day. That's it~ One day. I can do one day.

Proverbs 3:5-6
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."

I can do that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Philippians 1:3

In the last few weeks I have been steadily trusting God to provide for my trip to Africa. Each day I feel my faith grow and I can thankfully say my trust has increased and I am much more at peace regarding provisions. A few weeks ago I got a card from my Aunt. On the front of the card Philippians 1:3 was written. It made me smile when I looked it up, and feel very special as well. Last night I prayed again specifically for continued trust (I need to do this a few times a week when I feel doubt start rising up in any form). Today I got a piece of mail with a sweet card and 100 dollar bill. I was instructed to use the money for my trip. No return address. No name anywhere. At first I thought maybe the person forgot to sign the card, but after thinking about it, it would appear as though they made an effort to be anonymous. No name, no address, cash instead of a check. I sit here smiling at the gift and promise for prayers while I am away. What really made me smile is that the person wrote Philippians 1:3 on the back of the envelope. This person/couple/family (???) has made my day and the only thing that bugs me is I can't thank them. I can't give them a big hug and tell them they were an answer to my prayers. So if you are reading this and happened to send me this card...thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. God used you to increase my trust and be comforted at a time when the weight of preperation was getting me down.

Philippians 1:3
"I thank my God every time I remember you."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Little Light of Mine

This morning I woke up before work and while checking my email I felt convicted to pray for my day. In 5 minutes I quickly journaled my prayers and went to my knees before God. It was only a few words but they proved to be a very powerful few words. I asked God to fill my heart and soul completly and let me be a light so that other people can see Him through me. I was excited to see snow falling when I went outside and went on to have a happy, joyful ride into work. Sundays are always good on the floor, one of my favorite days. I came into the same three patients I had yesterday and after my initial rounds I settled into my morning routine with a little special needs kid who I adore. I've had him in past admissions and I get along well with the mom so it is always a real pleasure to see them (aside from the fact the kiddo has to have surgery in order for this to happen).

When I went into the room Raffi was playing and my little patient was laughing and laughing. With him there are no spoken words, no simple gestures to help us know what is going through his mind. When he smiles and laughs you have this overwhelming sense that all is well in the world. A familiar song came on and mom and I sang along.
I like to eat, eat, eat, apples and bannana's

I like to ote, ote, ote, opples and bonnono's

That got him belly laughing, and my heart swelled.

I had 5 minutes left for a med to finish infusing so I hung around and did some tasks in the room. I am so happy I did.
Before I left "He's got the Whole World in His Hands" came on. "so sweet" I thought to myself. Then the kicker.
"This Little Light of Mine" came on and I got the chance to sing one of my favorites to my little friend. This time there was no contagious laugh, only a sweet smile at a nurse on the verge of her heart busting open with joy.
A few weeks ago I had a craving to listen to some black gospel...don't ask, I don't know why. I think I wanted something different and exciting. I couldn't find anything I recognized so I just downloaded this Little Light of Mine by a southern choir and put it as the first song on a new mix. I've been humming it for a week and listened to it just this morning during my ride. My prayer this morning was to be a light, and I'm gonna let it shine,
Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Something to Think About

I have been taking some serious notes on the book I'm reading (Irresistible Revolution) and in looking back I wanted to share one of the more profound things I happened across. I am a big fan of people who push me to think and challenge me in different ways, which makes this book a pretty good fit. Here's something to think about:

Two guys are talking to each other, and one of them says he has a question for God. He wants to know why God allows all of this poverty and war and suffering to exist in the world. And his friend says, "well, why don't you ask Him?" The fellow shakes his head and says he is scared. When his friend asks why, he mutters, "I'm scared God will ask me the same question." Over and over, when I ask God why all of these injustices are allowed to exist in this world, I can feel the spirit whisper to me, "You tell me why we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet."


Later on the author somewhat quotes Gandhi by saying, "I heard that Gandhi, when people asked him if he was a Christian, would often reply, "Ask the poor, they will tell you who the Christians are."

And since I'm on roll, here's a part that broke my heart when I read it, something you would never think about(at least it had never crossed my mind). As a preface I remember the first missions trip I ever went on. I was at an orphanage in Haiti and immediately noticed when I picked up one of the kids, they didn't instinctively wrap their legs around my waist. This happened again and again, until I realized they hadn't been held enough in their life to have that automatic instinct. I still remember that as if it didn't occur nearly 10 years ago, and it still saddens me. The author at this point in the book is in Calcutta spending time in a leper colony:
"It (leprosy) is a disease of the outcasts, the untouchables. One of the lepers explained to me that oftentimes lepers don't even know the words thank you because they have never needed to say them. They had rarely experienced occasions when they used language of gratitude."


How do I even end this post? I've read these passages over and over and still my mind races with so many thoughts. This world needs love, compassion, mercy...God. Whether it is your next door neighbor, or an orphan in some far off land. We are His hands and feet and we are called to serve, to put others before ourselves, whatever that looks like and wherever that may be.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7
"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good."