Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lessons from Silence

In case you haven't noticed... I've been rather distant on here! Honestly, I've just been enjoying life. I focused on finishing my second-to-last semester well. I spent time with my family, enjoyed time with my friends. I haven't spent nearly as much of my lesure time on the computer as I usually do. Other things have been fighting for my attention. Life is on the brink of changing rapidly for me, and I'm trying to soak up all I can.

I think that a little time of blogging rest has been good for me. Sometimes it is easy to want to post things on here just because I'm trying to get the attention of those who read it. But that's not really what this blog is all about. I started this mainly because I want a place to write my thoughts on living life for God. But if all I'm doing is posting to please others, that kind of defeats the purpose. Paul talks about this in Galatians 1: "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." So, as a servant of Christ, I am going to try to please God and not man. Eternal praise is far better than momentary praise anyway!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hello Again

I don't have much time to write at this moment, but I wanted to post something on here to reassure the (few) people who read this blog that I am not dead! Things in my life have been changing fast, and I felt that it was better to give some attention to it! Also, I have been up to my neck in papers that I have been writing for school and, honestly, when I've had a break I've been so tired of writing that I just don't have any brain power to post anything on here. But I am about to take my finals, and then this semester will finally be over. So you can expect that I will be posting a lot more frequently in the future!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Praying for Casa de Amor!

I have posted several times on here about one of my favorite organizations, Casa de Amor. CDA is a children's home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, run by my friend Jennifer T. (Even though I haven't been able to do much, I like to say that I have been able to work with CDA a little--even from the US. :) So far, the Lord hasn't actually sent me to Bolivia. But I'm always open to that opportunity!!) Tomorrow Casa de Amor will be having a day of prayer and fasting. I wish I would have had time to put this up earlier so some of y'all could have known about it, but I thought it better late than never. Here is an excerpt from an e-mail Jennifer sent out detailing some of their prayer needs:

  • The continual paperwork crisis in government offices (child welfare, Child Defense, and the court) including lost papers and files; delays of months or even years to process basic components of a child’s file; dire lack of coordination between government offices and even from one desk to another; ridiculous mistreatment of all who they serve; constant change out of employees; new employees who often have very little experience with the work we do, the laws, child development, what challenges our children or staff face…..and I could go on and on!
    We pray for efficiency, honest hard work, and a true love of children for all working in the government offices!
  • Cochabamba desperately needs a new judge! To properly handle the case load for minors, three judges would be ideal. Since last year, we have limped along with just ONE seriously overworked judge but she resigned last week. It is complicated, but because of Bolivia’s new constitution and many changes at every level of government it’s not clear when a new judge might be elected.
    Pray for the proper judge(s) to step up to the challenge and handle all the child cases ASAP.
  • Casa de Amor’s Foster Family program has been in the paperwork stage since March 2009, but the challenges listed above couple with poor understanding and acceptance of the benefits of foster families (versus institutions) has made it a long uphill journey. Of course without a judge, it might prove impossible to transfer children into foster families.
    Pray for the speedy passage of our pioneer foster family program and the successful recruitment of several Christian foster families.
  • Currently six children from Casa de Amor II are in the process of returning to either their mother or father. We are very happy for them and pray that the family members will not grow weary during the long process of regaining custody.
    We pray that the entire process would go smoothly, that the families would be able to sustain themselves economically, that God would heal the hurts caused by years of neglect, abandonment, and other injustices. Also pray for the emotional stability of the children being “left behind”. And of course, for a JUDGE to be able to process the appeals!
  • If you pray for just one thing, pray that EACH CHILD WOULD HAVE A LOVING FAMILY!
As a side note, if anyone is interested in sponsoring a child, the wonderful workers at Casa de Amor have developed their own child sponsorship program! I currently privileged enough to sponsor a beautiful little boy named Gabriel. (Some of you may remember when his twin sister suddenly passed away earlier this year.) If you want more information on how to sponser a child or support CDA in other ways please visit their website.

Gabriel celebrating his first birthday last month

Another opportunity is for families/couples to serve long term by opening a children’s home for a small group of children--kind of a smaller scale of the larger homes. (The Alseth family currently runs a home like this, Casa de Amor III.) Jennifer also needs a long-term administrative assistant. So if you think the Lord may be calling you in either of those areas, please pray about these opportunities!!

A beautiful picture of all 42 children currently being cared for by
Casa de Amor (taken just a few days ago)
P.S. Jennifer, I hope you don't mind that I stole your pictures. They were so pretty I couldn't help it. ;)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Living out Faith

If I had to choose one woman in Scripture I would want to be like, I really am not sure who I would choose. There are so many amazing women in the Bible! But at the very top of my list of heroines is the faithful woman in 2 Kings 4:8-37.

In verses 8-17, we see her servant heart, hospitality, love for God's people--all throughout this passage we see her as a very humble woman of God. We are told that she is wealthy, yet she doesn't appear to ever take advantage of the blessings that God has given her. She didn't glory in her wealth but rather used it in the Lord's service. In fact, in reading this I am challenged by the extent of her hospitality. She regularly fed Elisha every time he passed through, and then even suggested to her husband that they build an extra room onto their own house for Elisha! One thing that really jumps out at me about this passage is that this woman wasn't waiting for her husband to tell her how to minster to others. While she was completely submissive to his authority, consulting him on everything, she was actively seeking out her own opportunities to minister to others. She wasn't just sitting at home waiting for her husband to suggest something. Instead she initiated opportunities; in doing that she even encouraged her husband to minister to others. The Lord blesses her for this, giving her what she had longed for--a son of her own.

Verses 18-37, however, really prove what an amazing woman of God she truly was. What incredible faith she had! The son that she had longed for for so many years dies with almost no warning. I can't even imagine the despair she must have felt. What anguish she must have been in that morning, only being able to hold her son as he died! Yet then she lays her son down and goes to find Elisha, hiding it from her husband! She simply tells him, "All is well." I believe this was not a lie. It really was well with her. She trusted in the Lord completely. Again, when she meets Elisha's servant, she tells him, "All is well." Only when she reaches Elisha does she show her complete brokenness, falling at his feet in agony. "She is in bitter distress," Elisha tells his servant. Then follows her to her home and the Lord allows him to raise the boy from the dead.

Psalm 50:14 says, "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” If you read that entire passage, you will see that what the Lord is saying here is that there is no true offering we can give Him. He owns all anyway! So what is the offering He most desires? That of trusting Him for every trouble, every trial. Trusting that He will bring us through and deliver us is the greatest offering we can give to our Lord. The Psalm ends with verse 23: "The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!"

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Piano Music

As most of my friends know, I just love to play the piano. It's always my way of letting out all of my emotions and refocusing myself. So I just love to play very expressive pieces. The piece I'm learning right now is called "All of Me," by Jon Schmidt. It's a bit more showy than what I usually like to play, but it's just so much fun that I'm really just learning it for me more than anything. (I don't really play for other people, anyway, except for church music.) If you click on the link you will see that it is quite a fast, difficult sounding piece--and I have to say that I don't play it nearly that well or fast! I'm still learning to not get my fingers all tangled up when I play the part where the bass comes in. I don't know if I will ever get it right but I'm trying!

I've been searching for good sheet music for quite a while, now, so I thought I would share my findings with y'all. For my friends who are also looking for sheet music, Jon Schmidt has a lot of good music available to purchase on his web site. Another muscian that I'd like to try is David Nevue. I found his site just yesterday, and I see that he has quite a bit of church music available. I've been needing some new pieces to play for our church services, so I think I will give his music a try when I have a little bit of time to practice it. Right now, though, I have decided that this is what I want to play next. I've never heard of Yirma before today [and just a heads up--a lot of his site is in Korean! haha], but one of my friends played this piece and I just loved it! Isn't it so peaceful?! This is just the kind of music that I love to play when I need to let everything from my day just come out all at once. I "talk" through my fingers when I play music like this.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Sullivan's

I found this blog through a friend of mine. This couple's story has really touched my heart. Sara Sullivan went to be with the Lord today. I gather from what I have read on this blog that she must have only been only about 27 or 28. She was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Two days before her mammogram, she found out she was pregnant. She received cancer treatments throughout her pregnancy and delivered a baby girl about 2 weeks ago. Last week, after they were able to take the baby home from the hospital, Sara unexpectedly started having seizures. She was hospitalized, and her condition progressively worsened. Yesterday the doctors told her husband that her brain had started to herniate (the brain pressure is so high, it begins to press the brain down, compressing the brain stem). There is not much any doctor can do at that point, and this morning they declared her brain dead.

Here is what her husband wrote tonight:
The reality of the situation has yet to sink in, but Sara is now with Jesus and for this I am thankful...and at peace! I will miss my best friend and am sorry that Chloe will not be able to know her mother, but Sara's legacy will live on through our MANY happy memories with her. Chloe will know her mother through the impact Sara had on so many lives. She was an AMAZING WOMAN who touched the lives of everyone she came in contact with!

Thank you to those of you who have been praying for us. It is completely clear to me that the Lord was calling Sara home at this time. No matter what her diagnosis had been, it was her time to go. She delivered our miracle baby and we spent a few days at home as a family. I have never seen Sara happier, and I feel as though those few days were like heaven on earth.

Please be praying for her husband, Brady, and her new baby daughter, Chloe. They have a tough road ahead of them. From what I read on the blog, Brady seems like a strong Christian. I know he will need the Lord's abundant grace to guide him through these trials!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bluegrass Memories

This morning at church my mom pulled out copies of some old photos she had brought to give to an old family friend, pictures were of us and our friends at my Uncle Alvin's farm in Mississippi. We sat looking through the pictures and smiling at the memories they brought back. At Uncle Alvin's we loved to go see all of his animals. He raised almost every farm animal you can think of. (I can still remember being thrown off of his donkey. Not too many people can say they were thrown from a donkey!! Thankfully I was only about 6 or 7, and he caught me before I hit the ground.) Aunt Sandra even raised sheep for the wool, because one of her hobbies was spinning her own thread and weaving it into blankets on a loom.

My biggest memory from his house, though, is sitting there in their big living room, windows open (they didn't have air conditioning), listening to him, Aunt Sandra, and their bluegrass band practice for their next performance. Uncle Alvin would usually play the banjo, but sometimes he'd play the guitar or another instrument. Aunt Sandra could play the fiddle, but I always remember her playing the bass. She usually let one of her grandkids play the fiddle since she was teaching them to play. The 12 year old fiddle player always made me wish I could to learn to play the fiddle too! We went up to Vicksburg a few times to hear the band play on one of the historical days.

I wish I could hear Uncle Alvin play again. He passed away about 3 or 4 years ago. Aunt Sandra and the band still play, so maybe sometime I'll get to hear them again. It won't be the same, though, without Uncle Alvin on the banjo. I can still picture him sitting there, looking down his beard and picking away. I really don't remember if they were good or not. The last time I heard them all play together was at least 6 years ago, maybe more. They probably were good, but I just remember how much fun it was to watch the band enjoying their music so much!

I was listening to some music yesterday and this song came on. Its such a good example of bluegrass. Isn't it so fun to watch them play?!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Believe

I have been thinking a lot about faith today. In church this morning, our pastor mentioned the faith that the robber on the cross had, when he believed in the Lord moments before his death. Isn't it amazing how the Lord chooses to open some hearts to His truth in childhood, giving some of them 90 years to serve Him, while with others He chooses to reveal Himself in the last stages of their life? Yet He is still perfect in His plan, in all of His ways. One of my favorite verses (one that has been on my heart all week) is Isaiah 42:16: "And I will lead the blind, in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them." Oh, when He turns that darkness into light, it is such a beautiful thing!! I can still remember being almost wild with happiness the night that He saved me. I lay in my bunk at that Christian camp and just wept and wept for joy!

Tonight after talking to a friend about some hard times she is going through, I remembered a quote that I first heard a few years ago. It was actually made into a song by the Christian group Barlow Girl. But I just love the story behind it. This was found written on the walls of a concentration camp after WWII:
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining
I believe in love even when I don't feel it
And I believe in God even when He is silent.

The faith to believe, even when the Lord is silent. Even when He isn't shouting, making His presence known to us, He is still there, holding us and guiding us through every moment. I have been through some hard times in my life, and there have been days when I didn't even want to get out of bed and go on with the day. However I have never been through anything like the person who wrote out that statement. I can just imagine that person writing it there on that wall, for all to see and as a constant reminder to themselves. In a sense I do the same thing all the time--I write to remember. You can envision them reading it again and again: "...I believe in God...I believe in God." I don't have a clue what it is like to go through something like that, but I pray that the Lord would give me the faith to stand even through it. I want to live out my belief every day, even in the mundane tasks of daily living. I want to shout for the Lord daily, even if I don't hear Him speaking to me at that moment. Do I live like that in each and every day? I'm afraid that a lot of times it's easier to just walk through life with my head down and pick it up only when I walk into the church building. But oh, Jesus is everything to me. I want to live life shouting His name. Just before dying, Christ said, "It is finished!" Oh Lord, let my life say the same to everyone around me. Redemption is complete for all His children!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Faith Like a Child

I was looking at a website the other day and I ran across this link. I just loved reading the story of this little girl!! She's only 5 years old, but she was touched by the needs of the hungry people around her. She came up with a plan to raise money, and ended up raising enough money to feed almost 18,000 people! I don't think this is a Christian family, but it really reminded me of how the faith of a child is pure and simple.

"And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:2-4

Oh God, give me faith like that! To step forward, not knowing what the outcome will be but believing anyway.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Loving hearts joined forever

I read a post the other day (thanks Kaylene for that link!) that brought back a lot of memories of things I've witnessed in my time working in hospitals. Some of the most beautiful, touching things I have ever seen are the old couples in the hospital. It's amazing to see the love they have for each other. So many people today just don't seem to love each other like that anymore. There is one story in particular that I think I will always remember.

I had never met this patient before, and I was completely shocked when I walked into her room that morning. I had never seen a patient so utterly wasted away as this elderly woman was--probably from cancer. She weighed only about 75 or 80 pounds. As one of the nurses and I worked with her, I literally felt like I was taking care of a skeleton. You could easily see every bone in her body. We pulled her to up in bed, and it was almost effortless because she was so light. Not only her body was wasted, though. She had terrible dementia, and couldn't communicate with us, recognize anyone, or understand what was going on around her. When we went back to the nurse's station, the nurse I had been working with told one of the other nurses, "Wow, did you see that woman? I have never seen someone look so terrible in my life! There is nothing left of her." Every time I went in that room, however, her husband was there, sitting by her side. If she was asleep, he would just watch her quietly. But if she was awake, he was whispering to her and softly stroking her hands. I remember one time walking in the room, and he was brushing her hair so, so gently. "She always loved it when I did this", he told me.

Later that day I was sitting at the nurses station, finishing up some paperwork. I heard someone talking and I turned around. It was the woman's husband. He was standing at the nurses station, going to each person in turn. In his hands he had a faded old black and white photograph of a beautiful young woman. Coming up to me he said, "Look at this! Wasn't she just the prettiest woman you have ever seen? That was my wife when I first fell in love with her." He sounded just like a little boy when he talked about her. He showed the picture to as many people as he could find to talk to, then he went back to her room to sit by her side again.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cohen

I read a couple of cute kid stories this week and I thought I'd share this one. I babysat on Tuesday for "my" little boys. Christian was at school most of the day, so most of the day it was just me and Cohen. He was so sweet. It was his 3rd birthday, and Mrs. Rebecca had to run some errands in the afternoon while he was napping. Well he woke up while she was gone, and he just sobbed like his poor little heart was breaking because she wasn't there. It made me so sad. :( I cuddled him for awhile and just let him cry. Then I started talking to him about a toy giraffe and telling him how funny he would look if he had spots like a giraffe. He finally cheered up and began to smile, and after that we had the best time playing together!!

I couldn't believe how sweet he was all day. He asked me to play a game with him, but I couldn't play until I finished the dishes. So I asked him if he could just play by himself for a few minutes. Well I did the dishes really quickly and when I looked back, Cohen was standing quietly by the game, not having moved and just waiting patiently for me to finish!! He never complained or anything. I have never seen a 3 year old boy do that! So I rewarded him with a big hug and a kiss and then by playing for as long as he wanted after that. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Abundant Blessings

Since I've been out of town, I am just now catching up on my friend's blogs. Today I was really encouraged by reading about my friend Jennifer's "dreams, passions, and longings." Jennifer is the director of the Hogar de Amor children's home in Bolivia. I was so blessed to read her joy in this season of her life. The Lord "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think"!!! (Ephesians 3:20) Each season of life comes with its trials and hardships, but He is so faithful to lift us out of each one of them.

Here is one portion of that post:
I just had a neat tiny glimpse tonight that God was pretty involved to have set me apart to be right here, right now, no matter how much it pains me to feel my other lifelong dream of a dozen children of my own slipping away. Cuz I'm here, living "one adventure right after the other".

I definitely relate to her finding joy in even the times we would never have chosen for ourselves. When I was a little girl, I would have told you I would have been married by 19 (the same age as my mom was when my parents married) and have 6 kids by 30. I had so many plans! I'll be 22 next month and everything has been different from my original plans, but I would not change one step of the way. God has been so close to me through all these years! His way is so, so much better than our own. Praise the Lord--He is so good!

Thoughts of God and Heaven

I was out of town this past week attending a mini conference and visiting with good friends. It was such a wonderful time of renewal and refreshment! The whole time I was driving up there (about a 4 hour trip) I kept worrying that maybe I hadn't made the right choice deciding to go. After all, last week was my only full week off of school. But as soon as I got there, I knew that this was where I needed to be. The Lord used that trip to encourage me so, so much! I was able to fellowship with good friends whom I hadn't seen in a long time. We even kicked all the men out of the house, dressed up and had a tea party!!

We were staying at a house way out in the country, and my friend Susie and I went outside to look at the stars. Seriously, I have never seen so many stars in my life. We could actually see the Milky Way!! We stood out there, loving the beauty and worshiping God. Then it hit me.
Isn't it amazing how God shows us things so gently? He is so tender and loving toward His children. And that very same God created all of those stars--each one a sun of its own--by just speaking a word! Yet our Lord came down and gave His life for us because He loved us.

"When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" --Psalm 8:3-9

What a wonderful God we serve!! I was amazed (once again) this weekend how He teaches me things in my heart, and then sends a preacher my way to re-emphasize or clarify it in a sermon. The messages were so good, and each sermon Bro. Don preached spoke to me specifically about something God has been showing me. The last message was about heaven and how we should long for it--something God has been showing me for over a year!! As much as I love being here on earth, serving Him and loving His people, I have an indescribable longing for heaven. I cannot wait to see my Lord face to face!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Feasting on the Lord

Today I had a really good Bible study on 1 Kings chapter 17, and I thought I would share some of what I learned.

1 Kings 17 introduces us to Elijah. In the previous chapter, we meet Ahab and are told, "He...went and served Baal and worshiped him....Ahab did more to provoke the LORD, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him." 1 Kings 17 starts out saying, "Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.' " Now what is interesting about this is that Baal was the god of fertility and the "storm god." By causing a drought, God proves that it isn't Baal who controls the skies, but the Lord God. The text notes in my Bible say, "[In the Baal worshipper's eyes] the absence of rain meant the absence of Baal."

The rest of the passage eloquently demonstrates God's care for His people. Because of his declaration, Elijah had to run for his life from Ahab. The only problem was, there was famine everywhere, affecting even God's people. But God's loving provision for His people is so merciful and rich! "And the word of the LORD came to him: 'Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there....And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.' "

It is so wonderful to read this and know that the Lord would do the same for me as He does for Elijah--no, He does do the same things for me, every day. I may not literally be fed by ravens, but He feeds me with so much!! In the middle of the desert of this world, He gives me the bread of encouragement when He helps me with even the tiniest of things: finding my keys just in time, so I'm not late for work; giving me favor in the eyes of a boss or a teacher, and countless other daily blessings. And He feeds me with the meat of His Word through the wisdom of men who walk closely with Him and faithfully preach the truth, and through the Holy Spirit's teachings to my soul. What a mighty, yet loving, merciful God and Savior!!

And consider this--How loving and personal God is in His care for His children. He could have just sent Elijah to a place where there were animals to kill for meat and where wheat was growing for bread. But instead He allowed Elijah to see His overwhelming love and care for him. He did not even allow Elijah a chance to doubt that it was indeed the Lord who was providing for him! Later in this chapter, the Lord does the same thing for the widow. His provision for her left no room for doubting. And the widow lived in Zarephath--an area considered at the heart of Baal worship! But the Lord was so tender with her, even raising her son from the dead! After, listen to what she says: "And the woman said to Elijah,'Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.' " She trusted in the Lord--because of the death (and then the raising) of her son! The Lord knows just what we need. His care for us is perfect!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Finally a Post!!

Somehow with being so busy in my summer classes, I have gotten behind in posting anything on this blog. I've been in New Orleans 2 or 3 days a week for clinicals at Children's Hospital, and the other days I have I'm either studying like crazy (since we have a test every week) or in class. My final is Monday, though, so hopefully I'll get to catch up after that!

I think I will end up with a 92 in my Pediatrics class. Unfortunately, I need a 93 to get an A. So I probably won't have an A, but I'll come close.

I have a cold right now and I have a bad headache and I can barely breathe. It doesn't really help me study for my final too well!! I'm also really achy from an especially strenuous workout I did on Wednesday.... It makes me kind of nervous to be sick and achy at the same time, especially considering that there are numerous Swine Flu patients at Children's Hospital! I'm sure I don't have it (no fever or anything), but it definitely makes me stop and carefully assess my symptoms!! haha

I really loved my pediatrics clinical experience, and I received a huge complement from my instructor yesterday in my end-of-the-semester evaluation. He told me that he thinks I do really well working under pressure! He said that if someone came to him and asked for a recommendation for an ICU nurse from our current nursing class (with 43 students) he would recommend me without hesitation! That was so encouraging after my past bad experience with instructors who like to intimidate their students. I really needed a teacher who was confident in my abilities. Since failing, I have had a hard time finding confidence if I make even the tiniest of mistakes--because that was why my teacher failed me (an automatic "D" because she wasn't happy with me)! But this teacher was great. Even when I had a bad day, he just took me aside and said, "We all have bad days, I know you will do better next time because you are a good nurse."

Praise the Lord, He has been soo good to me! He never fails to amaze me with His grace toward His children. I was laying in bed Wednesday night trying to fall asleep, and absolutely terrified of going to clinicals the next day. When I failed, it was on the last day of clinicals, so the last day of clinicals always makes me nervous. (If I were to fail again, I would be kicked out of nursing school--for seven years!) Suddenly a song popped into my head. It says, "Jesus' blood never failed me yet...He won't fail me yet." I knew everything would be okay. And it was!! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

In My Heart

I have been so busy lately I haven't had any time to write a post. Hopefully when I finish up this class in 2 weeks I will be able to catch up on some posts!! I am doing really well in this class, though. So far I have had better grades in my Pediatrics class than I have had in any other nursing class!! (That really surprises me, since this is supposed to be one of the hardest classes.) I'm really praying I keep an A in the class.

I have been listening to a lot of praise and worship music while I'm studying, and I've been humming this modern hymn all day. I just love the words. It really expresses what God has been working in my heart the past few weeks:

In my heart there is a stirring
One that did not start with me
A love to worship my Creator
To show His love for all to see

I will worship

I will honor

I will exalt the Lord above

All my days
I’ll sing the praises
Of His great redeeming love


In my heart there is a treason

One that poisons all my love

Take my heart and consecrate it

Wash it in Your cleansing blood


Tie me to the Rock unchanging

Tie me to His wondrous Cross

I’ll fix my eyes upon the Savior

All other things I count as loss

Tie me to the Rock unchanging

And His great redeeming love


"In My Heart" by Eric Grover;
Sovereign Grace Music (this is a division of Sovereign Grace Ministries--Joshua Harris' church, for those who are familiar with him)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Giving Thanks

Wow, I haven't posted anything for a while! I have been so busy lately that I've barely even had time to think about posting anything on here. I actually started 4 different posts but none of them were finished. So since most of them had to do with nursing stuff, I thought I'd combine them into one big post. As I was looking through the different things I'd written, I realize that most all of it had to do with being thankful for what the Lord has given me. I think that is one of the best things about nursing; it constantly makes me aware of just how much the Lord blesses us every day.
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I just finished my OB class. I've always been interested in labor and delivery, but I didn't have any idea just how much I would enjoy that class. I think I would really love being an OB nurse. It is just so wonderful to help a child come into the world! I cared for a teenage girl one day in my clincals. She was having her second baby; her first child was already 4 years old. That would have meant she was only about 14 when she had her first. The whole day I took care of her, I kept contrasting her experience with that of women around the world. I couldn't help thinking, "How do they do it?" I mean, birth is work. How in the world do some mothers do it without help? Here with our Westernized health care, we monitor the entire labor process with extreme precision. If one thing is off from what we'd like it to be, we know just what to do to get back to the "normal" range. It is so easy for something to go wrong! The same girl that I was taking care of was fine for this birth, but her last birth wasn't okay. She gave birth to a healthy baby, but she came close to dying after the birth due to seizures she had--a complication of her abnormally high blood pressure because of the pregnancy. I kept thinking of the hundreds of girls around the world that literally give birth at 14 on the streets. If she had been one of those girls, and she wouldn't have had a chance.
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I started my pediatrics class this last week. I have been looking forward to this class for a long time!! Because of my previous experience, I knew I would love this class. Although I hadn't officially had pediatrics, I've already had a lot of pediatrics experience through my job. (When I started school I didn't expect to like it because I didn't think I could handle seeing sick children all the time. But at work, I realized one day that I'm always sad if I'm not assigned to take care of the kids!) Today in my class we were talking about the end of life care of children. It reminded me of the time about 6 months ago that I cared for a toddler (about 1 1/2 years old) who was dying because of the abuse he'd received from his parents. That was definitely the hardest case I have ever had. He had been shaken when he was 6 weeks old, leaving him so brain damaged he basically had no normal functions at all. The only responses he could give was to sneeze or cough. Other than that, he couldn't cry, move any part of his body, or even blink his eyes. At the time he was shaken, his parents were about 15, and the court couldn't prove that they purposely shook the baby (rather than just ignorance--the father claimed he shook him because he stopped breathing). So the parents took him home after the shaking incident. In the year since he was shaken, however, he has had both hips dislocated, legs broken, and obvious neglect. He was extremely underweight because his parents had still (from ignorance) been giving him the same feedings through his feeding tube that a newborn should receive. Because of technicalities in the social care system, we had to send him home with his parents again after we cared for him in the hospital. It was so hard to send him home. I struggle so much with anger in situations like that. But I think more than anything it's just sad. Sad that the parents didn't know how to care for their child in the first place. Sad that they are 16 and exhausted and clueless about how to care for this baby. Sad to watch a girl who should have been in school try to love her baby who couldn't even respond to her (she seemed so awkward, so lost--almost like she was just playing with a doll). And sad that there isn't really anyone who can help them. When I asked the social worker why we had to send the baby home with his family, why couldn't we allow him a better place to live, she said probably the saddest thing of all. Really, who would we have sent him to? No foster family would want him. Who else could care for him? The "best" thing was just to send him home to die.
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I spent the 4th of July working a shift at the hospital. As is usual on holidays there were a few crazy cases down in the ER (some minor stabbings, etc...), but everything was mostly quiet up on the Med-Surg floor where I work. At the end of the day, however, we admitted one little patient that just gave me the chills. She was 3 years old, and had come in for a near drowning. Her family had all gotten together for the holiday and I guess they just weren't watching her closely enough. Somehow, when they weren't watching she got into the pool. They ended up having to do CPR on her and everything. Praise God she's fine now! By the time we got her up on the main floor, she was just there for observation. When I heard what happened to her I just went cold all over. I have seen a lot of things since I started working in the hospital, but I this one for some reason hit me really close to my heart.
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God has really been reminding me lately of how much He has blessed us with modern technology. Almost every time I take care of a patient in the hospital, I think, "This person would most likely be dead right now if it weren't for _____". When I think about that little girl, I realize that without CPR she would not be alive right now. There are so many times throughout the day I have stopped just to thank the Lord that He has placed me where He has. Just last week I was able to use Skype twice to talk to friends in Europe. (I love Skype, by the way. It was so wonderful to be able to talk to family when I was working in Prague last summer!) I was reminded of the thousands of men who fought in WWII who would have done anything to be able to hear the voice of the people they loved. And I can click a couple of buttons and talk as long as I want. How blessed we are!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Picture from a church in Germany (taken when I was there last summer)

I am Barabbas

Man of scorn, enchained by sin
My thieving ways had stolen lives.
I did not care what happened to men
Imprisoned by lusts and my self-pride.
Barabbas, I’m called (when names were used),
That man shoved in a dirty cell.
Expecting death, I was accused
Of more radical crimes than I could tell.
Less than human yet more than dead
No living man cared at all.
I waited for the end with dread
As I heard the yells outside the walls.

Suddenly, a closer sound
The door opened, a man stood there.
Though blood flowed from His gaping wounds
His gentle eyes caught my stare.
A soldier pushed the Man inside
While another yanked me from the floor.
He touched my arm as He passed by
Then they pulled me out the door.

“What is this—am I to die?”
I asked the guard (who seemed the head)
His answer took me by surprise
“No, this Man will die instead,
Though Pilate finds no guilt in Him.”
“Then why is He to take my place?
His face so meek—how did this Man
Commit crimes worse than my disgrace?”

Then it seemed I felt His hand
Resting on my arm again
Looking down, I gazed in awe
Hardly believing what I saw.
Jesus’ blood covered me—
The very blood that had set me free!

[This is what I promised to share about Barabbas.] A few months ago, my pastor preached a series on the passion of Christ. Just as a side note in the course of the preaching, he briefly mentioned Barabbas. God suddenly spoke to my heart on hearing the story of Barabbas again. I have never really given a lot of thought to him, other than thinking of him as a criminal. But I realized that I am just like him--and I also have been freed by the death of Christ! I wrote down "I am Barabbas" as a little note in the back of my church notebook, and I've been wanting to write this poem ever since. Last week was the first time I was able to sit down and actually work on it. It really didn't turn out anything like I would have liked, but I really haven't had much chance lately to practice my poetry skills. Anyway, I thought I'd share it, not because it's really any good but just so that others can benefit from the blessing that God gave me when He allowed me to see how I was just like Barabbas--a thief, liar, murderer. But He took my place!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blowing Bubbles

I never put pictures on my blog from other sources, but I found this on the internet today while looking at something else. I thought it was such a cool picture that I decided to post it. I don't know how they made bubbles like that. It's pretty amazing!!

Probably the main reason this picture caught my attention is it's from a country in Central Europe, which has been on my mind a lot because I've been really missing that area. I would love to go back to the Central/Eastern European region someday... I just love the people over there!


"A couple blow soap bubbles during the international music festival "be2gether" held near the 16th-century Norviliskes castle, 50 miles from Vilnius, Lithuania, at the border with Belarus, on June 13."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Problems?

Hey is anyone else having problems with scheduling a post? I tried to schedule a post, but it gave me an error message and wouldn't let me post it at all. Then I re-set the date, and it published it even though the date was "June 20"! I ended up just saving it as a draft..... So just wondering, has anybody else been having problems?

P.S. Do you like the new layout? I'm still trying to find one I really like...

The Aroma of Sacrifice

Some of my good friends could probably tell you that every so often I get obsessed with someone from Scripture. For a while, it seems, God will keep sending Scriptures my way that emphasize a particular Bible character. Sometimes, it can even be someone really obscure. Several months ago, that person was Balaam; it seemed that every time I studied my Bible I found Scriptures to do with him. (Did you know that besides being listed in the story in Numbers, he is also spoken of at least 6 or 7 other times throughout the Bible?) Another was David, then Jeremiah, then Barabbas (hopefully I will be able to share some of my thoughts on him soon), and now Mary.

For a long time, now, I have almost been jealous of Mary. She was able to be with Jesus, touch Him, and show Him her devotion in person:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-7)

How I have wished that I could also kiss the feet of Jesus and prove to everyone how much I love Him!! What an amazing sacrifice that she gave, to literally pour out all of her savings in loving Him.

On my hour drive to school, I usually listen to a sermon. Not really noticing what I was putting in my CD player, yesterday I popped in one that I hadn’t heard in a while. It ended up being on this very passage, and God spoke to me so much through it. Some of the things I realized where things the preacher said, but most of them were just things God told me in my heart.

First of all, I don’t need to be jealous of Mary, because I can do the same thing for Jesus even now! Mary’s devotion was shown, not by what she did, but her attitude in doing it. It was willingness to give up everything for Christ. She even gave up her dignity, because in that time, for a Jewish woman to uncover her hair was degrading. Also, the very cost of the perfume was a huge sacrifice. It says it was worth about “three hundred denarii”, or three hundred day’s worth of wages (almost a year’s salary!!). If you consider that here in the US, minimum wage is $6.55, three hundred days of working only eight hour shifts would mean that a worker would make about $15,720!! And this is what she “wasted” on Jesus.

Second, when we sacrifice something this costly for Jesus, it is an aroma to the world. It says in verse 3, “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Everyone who was near knew what she had done, and how much she had given up for her Savior. Even those around her considered it a “waste” she knew that her Savior was worth so much more.

Third, Mary did not give any thought to what those around her would think or what she was sacrificing. She knew that she would be thought of as crazy, but she did not care what others thought. I’m sure she felt just as Paul, when he later said, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8).

Fourth, from great trial comes great love. Look at what had happened only a chapter before. Jesus had allowed Lazarus to die (verse 6), then raised him from the dead. If Jesus had simply healed Lazarus, do you think that Mary would have felt such love for Him? But oh, He raised him from the dead!! How could she help but love Him with everything she had? I am sure that this is why Jesus allowed Lazarus to die. At the time, it didn't seem loving, but He knew that the greater blessing was for them to feel the greatest possible love for Him.

We should all be like Mary. We can all come before Jesus, and pour out everything we have, even if it means losing our worth before other people in loving Him. He is worth it all!! I want my love for Him to be an aroma of sacrifice, just like Mary’s.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend of Blessings

I spent this past weekend in at a conference in Bentley, LA. My sister and I started going to the tri-annual family camp when we were about 12 or 13, and we have been going ever since. It has always been a special place for our family, a time of renewal and fellowship. (I was converted the first time I went, too, so I guess I have an extra-special link with the camps.)

As many times as I have been in the almost 10 years of my attending the Bentley camps, I have never seen the Lord move quite like He did this past weekend. Friday night after the main speaker preached a very powerful message, the Lord moved 7 or 8 young people to conviction of their sins and they were brought to Christ!! Most of them were teenagers (1 or 2 were much younger), several of whom I've been praying for for several years. It was such an amazing event! I was so blessed to be able to be a part of it. Most of us there didn't even go to bed until after 2am because everywhere there was crying, praying, and rejoicing!! After we had a time of praise, several of us older girls got a group of the new Christians together and had an impromptu Bible study, where we were able to encourage them all in the Lord. It was such a blessing to be able to pour into their lives. I pray that God will give these baby Christians strong support, so that they will grow daily in their faith!!

It was such a blessing to see God move in such a powerful way! I just want to remind you all--the Lord is still on His throne, and He works everything out according to His will!! And it is so wonderful to see!!! Praise the Lord--He is worthy of all glory and honor!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Update on Burma Orphanage:

Thank you for praying for the children who were attacked last week in our new orphanage in Burma. We are pleased to report that all 90 of our children have been safely accounted for! We're so grateful to the Father for his provision and protection and to you for praying for their safety.

It appears at this point that our orphanage was caught in the middle of a major offensive by the Burmese forces against the Karen people. News reports have surfaced that three to four thousand Karen have since fled into Thailand to escape attacks on camps along the Thai border. Please continue to cover them in prayer.
Here's the report from our representative on the ground with the kids:
First of all, we thank God that all children and many other families survived. ... Our first stop was to see and help the KT children from Burma. The children were gathered at a Christian orphanage on the Thai side, which is just across the river of KT, Burma. The children were so happy to see our family, we brought them food, clothes, medicines, mats and plastic. Our children (90 of them) can stay here but they still sleep in the open, there is not enough space for them, this orphanage has already 55 children of their own.
We are allowed to build new dorms and a new school for our 90 children. We hope to start with this asap. This property belongs to a Christian based NGO and because of the current situation, the Thai government allows us to have our KT children here as well.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Please Pray!

Just the other day I posted a portion of an e-mail I received from the IJM. I am also signed up to receive e-mails from the International Christian Concern. The e-mail I got today chilled me to the bone. I don't understand why anyone would attack an orphanage, but this world can be so evil sometimes. I have a few friends (who are now in America) from this part of the world, and they have told me the persecution of Christians in this area is definitely really severe. Please be praying for these people!!


I just wanted to let you know that one of our worst fears has been realized. Our orphanage in Burma was attacked by the Burmese army last night.

The orphanage was a new project for us. The buildings (dorms, church, and a school) had just been finished in April. We had 30 kids in the orphanage. Their stories, such as the ones below, are heartbreaking.
  • My name is Kham Loo, I am 13 years old. I have been here for eleven months. My parents were killed in Burma. I am an only child. It was very dangerous for me to get here. I had to avoid the many landmines. I saw the Burmese soldiers come into my village and have witnessed many of my friends being murdered. Many girls have been raped and then killed by Burmese soldiers. Other girls who were gang raped became crazy. The Burmese soldiers also took our harvest.
  • My name is Seng Mon. I am 11 years old. I have been here four months. It took me one day to travel here. My father died and my mother was taken away by the Burmese soldiers. I came here, because in Burma it is very dangerous. I have seen the Burmese soldiers raping girls. There are many landmines around our village in Burma. I feel safe here and I want to learn to speak English.
orphans and riverThe project was such a success that another 60 kids (persecuted and traumatized by war but not orphans) had come to the orphanage for an education and relative safety (compared to living without defense in the jungle on the constant run from the army).

But last night, these kids were trapped and had to flee in the middle of the night. The only way to safety was across the river into Thailand (photo at right). Not all of the kids knew how to swim so we are on pins and needles waiting to hear what happened. The initial report is that most survived (Praise God!!).

A few days ago our representative on the ground had warned us that there were fears that the Burmese army might attack because the fighting was getting increasingly close and the Burmese army was going to make a final push this year to defeat the Karen people.

Well, last night those rumors became reality. Here is the report from our partners on the ground.

As far as we know, we have 400 children and some adults on the Thai side, somewhere in hiding in a ____________. It is rainy season and kids need to get clothes and plastic tarps and rice for now.

The army attacked the camp in Burma first, then went and crossed the river and went into Thailand! They then crossed the river again from the Thai side into the other camp, our kids were trapped and could not run deeper into Burma because there were landmines placed around the camp.

The only way to escape was to cross the river into Thailand. This created, of course, major panic. Many of the little ones cannot swim and it was pitch dark. (The initial report is that) most of the children survived though they are traumatized and don't have dry clothes or food to eat. Please, Please, pray for this urgent situation.

We will keep you updated as we learn more. Obviously, we want you to pray and ask for help for these kids. Also, if you want to help with financial needs for the kids, you can go to http://www.persecution.org/suffering/donation.php and include in the note that your gift is for the "Burma orphanage."
Thank you,
Jeff King
President, ICC

Negative Purity

I found an excellent quote the other day from Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 1. It really convicted me that as a follower of our Lord, not only should I be keeping myself from evil, but I should also be devoting myself (far more than I do) to delighting in the Lord and His Word. Oh, I do love the Word of God (Psalm 119 is one of my favorites)! But do I meditate on it day and night? Do I follow the Lord as if He were right beside me every moment? I know that I don't. Lord, I pray You will teach me to follow You as I should!

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

From Charles Spurgeon:
And now mark his positive character. "His delight is in the law of the Lord." He is not under the law as a curse and condemnation, but he is in it, and he delights to be in it as his rule of life; he delights, moreover, to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night. He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. "The law of the Lord" is the daily bread of the true believer. And yet, in David's day, how small was the volume of inspiration, for they had scarcely anything save the first five books of Moses! How much more, then, should we prize the whole written Word which it is our privilege to have in all our houses! But alas, ill-treatment is given to this angel from heaven! We are not all Berean searchers of the Scriptures. How few among us can lay claim to the benediction of the text! Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you--Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God's Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand--your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing belongeth not to you.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

IJM Rescue

I received this e-mail yesterday from the International Justice Mission (IJM). They are
"a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems. IJM's justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems." (Taken from their website.)

I am signed up to get prayer updates from them, and I always rejoice to see God's work being done. Praise the Lord for this latest update:

IJM Rescue Update
Location: Mumbai, India
Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Result: Trafficking ring crippled - 8 suspected perpetrators arrested, victims freed

Dear Katie,

I'm pleased to share that in a carefully planned, multi-stage rescue operation conducted last week in partnership with the India Central Bureau of Investigations, IJM struck a blow at an organized trafficking ring that had entrapped victims from as far away as Bangladesh. In cooperation with IJM staff, police arrested the suspected perpetrators and safely removed 34 women and girls from a restaurant, a hotel and the trafficker’s apartment and brought them to a safe location where they are now receiving counseling and care.


Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord !
~Psalm 146:5-10

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Amy's Lily

Pretty much anyone who knows me will realize that I love to read. I used to read a lot when I was in high school, but in college I haven't had as much time. One thing I still make time to read though, is biographies--especially biographies about missionaries. I am always encouraged by the reminder that these people struggled just like I do. It is so easy to think of the missionaries we read of as some kind of "super-Christians." But they were everyday people, only accomplishing and overcoming what they did through Christ.

Last year I was really impacted by the lives of the Elliots. I read Passion and Purity, The Journals of Jim Elliot, and The Savage My Kinsman. Through Elisabeth Elliot's love of Amy Carmichael, I became interested in her life. So when I finished my books on the Elliots, I started reading books about Amy Carmichael. I've finished a few written by her, and I'm currently reading a wonderful biography about her, A Chance to Die (which was actually written by Elisabeth Elliot).

Today while I was reading, I ran across an event in her life that really impacted me. It reminded me so much of all that my Casa de Amor friends are going through right now.


"A few weeks later an epidemic struck. Two babies died, and Indraneela ("Sapphire" in Tamil), the only baby left, lay very quietly on Atah's lap....'She held out her little hands to be kissed, and then, tired, fell asleep. In the few hours that followed we could not help noticing the other-world expression deepening in the baby's eyes....Then there was a sudden breaking of the silence, one little cry, the baby's mother-word, "Amma!"'

An angel came for her, Amy said--gently touched her so that she slept and woke to the music of heaven. Amy took the children to the garden and showed them nasturtiums and convolvulus which were not flourishing as they should have. But one beautiful lily, the first that had ever blossomed there, had opened that very morning.

'If Jesus came to our garden,' she asked, 'which flower would you give Him?'

They ran to the lily. 'We would give Him this!'

Would she give Him her lily?....We would give Him this! We would give Him this!--the words kept repeating themselves in her mind. Would she, could she give Him this? As she was resting in her room later that afternoon, trying to gather strength for the baby's burial, she heard Mr. Walker's schoolboys reading aloud from the book of Exodus the description of the breastplate of the high priest, which had four rows of stones. In the second row was a sapphire. It was the word she needed. Her Sapphire was "set on His breast." The child would be safe there.

Dear little feet, so eager to be walking
But never walked in any grieving way,
Dear little mouth, so eager to be talking
But never hurt with words it cannot say,
Dear little hands, outstretched in eager welcome,
Dear little head that close against me lay--
Father, to Thee I give my Indraneela,
Thou wilt take care of her until That Day"

(A Chance to Die, by Elisabeth Elliot; pp. 184-185)

Jesus I am Resting



A friend of mine introduced me to this beautiful hymn a few weeks ago. It has really meant a lot to me lately, so I thought I would share the blessing.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

Refrain

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Refrain

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Refrain

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Refrain

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Heartbreak

Another baby from Casa de Amor has left this world to be with Jesus. Oh, my heart hurts so, so much right now!

Please pray for all those who are grieving his loss.

Go here to read what Jennifer wrote about beautiful Joel's passing.

"I love my sins too much"

I've been wanting to post for a while about an experience I had a few weeks ago. My sister and I just moved back in with our parents, and I had gone up to our on-campus apartment after work to pack up some boxes. A international student friend came by and offered his help, and since some of the boxes where pretty heavy and I was by myself, I let him give me a hand. He ended up staying for almost 3 hours, and we had some really good conversations. I love learning about new cultures and comparing them to my own (I guess my clinical teachers would call it becoming "culturally competent"), so we talked for a long time about school here, his family and home country, transition to the US, and learning English.

Finally, the Lord led me to ask him about his faith. I expected him to give me a quick answer and leave it at that, but (I think partly through our previous conversation) God opened up a door for me to witness to him for nearly an hour! He described himself as being an agnostic who thought of Christianity as "too simple of an answer for a complex problem" and he was seeking for the answers. I was encouraged to hear that he was seeking, and explained to him that Scripture says those who seek Christ with their whole hearts will find him. But it really saddened me when he said, "I just love my sins too much" to follow Christ.

He has just moved back to his country. I pray that the Christians he saw here will have left a lasting impact on his life, and he really will seek after Christ. There were several people here who were witnessing to him. I've been praying for him a whole lot the past few weeks. Maybe God will place other Christians in his life back home that will continue to witness to him.

Babies and such...

Wow, it's been awhile since I've been able to post on here. I haven't even been on my computer in over a week. Summer school has been keeping me really busy since we have been having our OB class from 8-5 every day. But I'm loving it! I can't wait to actually get to the hospital next week and start delivering babies!! I didn't expect to like OB this much, but I have a great teacher, and the class is so fascinating. I think my teacher is a Christian, and having a decidedly pro-life OB teacher is very refreshing. She is has said several times that the beginning of life definitely points to the Creator. At a secular school, it is so wonderful to study about pregnancy and birth from that perspective!! And just in case no one has realized it yet, I love babies. I'm sitting in class most of the day trying not to smile because I'm having so much fun!!

I'm partnered with one of the guys in our class for a presentation project, and we choose topic of how pregnancy and birth affects fathers. Sounds pretty fun to me!! :)
[Haha I was thinking I should try to get my partner to wear one of those father "empathy suits" but somehow I don't think he would like it too much....]

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finished with finals.... :)

So I don't have much time but I wanted to say how happy I am to be finished with finals!! I didn't do as well in my main nursing class as I expected. I had a really high B the whole semester but the final was a killer and I made an 84.2 (I needed an 85 to get a B). So I basically had the highest C possible. :( However in Nursing 440 (Nursing Research) I was expecting a B, but got an A instead!! I did much better on the final than I expected. :) So that was encouraging!

But I'm tired--my sister and I just finished packing up our apartment we lived in for the past year. We are going to be moving back home with our parents. It's been convenient to not have to drive an hour every day, but the way things are working out now it will be a lot better to live at home. Plus, I've missed my family a whole lot. Just being able to see them on the weekends has been a big adjustment for our close family. I will be glad to be around for my little brothers and sister.

Now I'm finished with the apartment but I'm at home packing my suitcase for an impromptu trip to Austin to visit our grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. :D I'm so excited! Because of nursing school I haven't gotten to go to Texas for almost 2 years!! So it will be wonderful to see my extended family again. :) Gotta go pack and then get some sleep--hopefully I'll post more soon!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Twin Things

Since I come from a "twin" family, I thought I would answer the "twin" questions out there for anyone who wants to ask. We have two sets of twins in my family--my sister Emily and I, and my younger brother and sister, Steven and Laura, who are almost 14. We also have a little brother, Ryan, who will soon be 7 [he's a poor, lonely, singleton. haha].

I have heard a lot of stupid questions over the years. So if you are thinking of talking to a twin about what it is like to be a twin, then you might want to read this first. ;)

1. "What is it like to be a twin?"
How in the world do I answer that? It's not like I have anything to compare it to. Maybe I should ask you how you like being a singleton. Of course I like it, but I've never experienced anything else!

2. "Do you hurt when your twin hurts?"
No!! We are just like anyone else. Like my dad says, we are just "womb mates"!

3. "Do you think the same thoughts at the same time?"
Of course not.... Sometimes we finish each other's sentences, but I also do that with my little sister. That just comes from knowing someone very, very well.

4. "Are you identical?"
This one is my absolute favorite. Me: blond haired, light blue (almost gray) eyes, and a round face. My twin sister: dark brown hair, deep blue eyes, and a more oval face. We are obviously not identical.
The one that really takes the cake though is when people ask this question about my twin brother and sister. No they are not identical. Do you need a biology lesson??!

5. "How could y'all have different majors/hobbies/tastes? Aren't you twins?"
Once again, we are each very different people, with definitely different callings in life.

6. "Since you're twins, y'all must share everything."
Once upon a time, when we were 2 years old, yes we had all the same things. But we each have our own very distinct styles and tastes. And there are things that we each have apart from the other one.

7. "Why don't y'all dress alike?"
When we were little, we were almost thought of as one person, "Katie-'n-Emily." We wanted desperately to be known for the individuals we were--and we didn't want to confuse that any more by dressing alike.

8. "Why don't your names rhyme?"
Because my parents didn't want them to. (What else should I say?)

9. "Don't you get tired of being a twin?"
Nope. You don't get tired of having the family that you have, do you?

10. "Do you have a 'twin language'?"
I really can't say that we have ever spoken to each other in a different language. I don't remember ever even trying to create our own language or anything. I do know that the worst punishment Mom ever gave us for fighting was our being banned from speaking for the day. (We never had bad fights, just sibling squabbles.) But we couldn't stand to not speak to each other for an entire day! We wrote notes on those days and passed them under the table to each other during our homeschool classes. :) Another creative punishment for arguing was her tying our arms together with a cloth and making us clean the kitchen together (forcing us to cooperate and stop fighting). It worked, too! ;)


There are a whole lot more things I could say about being a twin. But definitely, the biggest blessing is just being able to say that all my life I've been able to grow up with my best friend right beside me the whole way!! :)

P.S. As this is Mother's Day, I add a huge thank you to my wonderful mother--for giving birth to 5 children in only 3 pregnancies, raising us to fear the LORD, and being the most beautiful Proverbs 31 woman I can think of. I love you Mama!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Dream Wedding


Yesterday, my sweet friend Leah married her best friend. I have loved watching them over the years, growing in love and together in Christ. Their wedding was a testimony of love, and it is a day I will probably remember for the rest of my life.


It was a beautiful Southern wedding, at her aunt's huge plantation with oak trees covered in Spanish moss. (I love being a Southern gal. ;) )



But more than anything else, it was the love and absolute joy they felt that made it such a perfect day!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What a Beautiful Savior!

The Lord is so beautiful to me, more and more every day. He picked me up when I couldn't do anything good on my own and has lead me through life in such a loving way!

As I was doing some Spanish study today, I ran across this verse in Matthew 8:2--"
¡Señor, si quieres, puedes limpiarme!" ["Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean."] The man speaking was considered unclean by those around him. He was marred by "leprosy" (although the text note in my Bible says the Greek referred to a skin condition, not just leprosy), and unable to do anything about it. That is just the way that we are in our sin. But Jesus, who doesn't have anything making Him unclean, chooses to heal us with only a word!! He died to cleanse us. How beautiful is that!!

This afternoon, as I was studying for a nursing test, I was listening to some worship music, and one of my favorite songs came on. I thought I'd share it. It always reminds me of how, without Christ, I am no better than anyone else. I am an orphan, adopted by my Father, a whore, sought by my Husband, and a runaway, lost until He found me. He has given me everything. Praise Him!! How could I refuse to share His love with those around me?

You are on our side (Bethany Dillon)
The orphan clings to Your hand
Singing the song of how he was found
The widow rejoices
For her oppressors are silenced now

You sit at the table with the wounded and the poor
You laugh and share stories with the thief and the whore
When You could just be silent and leave us here to die
Still, You sent Your Son for us
You are on our side

The runaway falls at Your feet
You are what he has searched for
The rich man is broken
When he stands beneath a sky full of stars

You sit at the table with the wounded and the poor
You laugh and share stories with the thief and the whore
When You could just be silent and leave us here to die
Still, You sent Your Son for us
You are on our side