Thursday, September 26, 2013

You are my hiding place

I can't believe it's been almost five months since I wrote last. I suppose that happened because I talk with many of you on a regular basis, which is okay, it just means that I don't write posts like this. Five months is a whole lot of time, and so much has happened.

I finished my sophomore year back in May. Yeah, that was a long time ago.
The Lord answered a tremendous prayer I have had for many weeks, months, years. He gave me my best friend back, and with him, the ability to determine what our role together may be.
I worked for three months at White Sulphur Springs, a Christian military retreat center located near Bedford, Pennsylvania, as the preschool and kindergarten teacher. What an adventure.

The most recent is that three weeks ago, I came back to Messiah for the start of my junior year of college, of nursing school. This is the semester where everything steps up a couple notches. And remember how I posted about needing to surrender one day at a time in order to get through last semester? Yeah, I'm needing to do that just as much now as I did last semester.

There are two songs I've been repeating to myself. One is called "I can't do this" by Plumb, and the other is an older hymn.

You are my hiding place
You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance
Whenever I feel afraid, I will trust in You
I will trust in You
Let the weak say "I am strong
In the strength of the Lord."
I will trust in You

Pray for me when you have a moment. Going through nursing school is hard work.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This Oozing Ache

Several months ago, I counseled a young woman via email about the "oozing ache" of lovesickness. The email that I wrote ended up doing wonders for myself as well as this other woman, and many of the points mentioned, I think, should serve as help to others in the same or a similar situation. Most of the quotes are from either Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot, or Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman. Both books have been a constant companion to me, and I would highly recommend both of them, but that's a post for another day when I'm not preparing for finals. I've edited it slightly for anonymity, but otherwise it is still in the complete, original form. May this comfort you as well as it has comforted me.


“Lovesickness may seem a trifle compared with other maladies, but the one who is sick with love is sick indeed, and the Heavenly Father understands that.”
-page 72 of Passion and Purity

Thank the Lord that He understands this pain, for “waiting silently is the hardest thing of all” (62). We are in a position where we see that our hearts are changing, angling themselves towards this greater love for which we have been created, but we cannot speak. It is not time. It is not our job. So we sit patiently, waiting. What else can we do? We should not wake up Love before its time (Song of Songs). Patience is a forever fruit. And the fruit will bear if the season is right.

“Steadfastness, that is holding on;
Patience, that is holding back;
Expectancy, that is holding the face up…”
-S.D. Gordon

“Hold on, my heart, in your believing--
Only the steadfast wins the crown;
He who, when stormy winds are heaving,
Parts with its anchor, shall go down;

But he who Jesus holds through all,
Shall stand, though Heaven and earth should fall.

"Hold out! There comes an end to sorrow;
Hope from the dust shall conquering rise;
The storm foretells a summer's morrow;
The Cross points on to Paradise;

The Father reigns! So cease all doubt;
Hold on, my heart, hold on, hold out."

I found the poem above in Streams in the Desert by C.B. Cowman one morning early in the school year when doing my devotional. The poem struck me so much that I wrote it in my notebook, wrote it on a dry-erase board, so that I would see it and memorize it. I memorized parts of it, but those parts stick with me “only the steadfast wins the crown” and “hold on, my heart; hold on, hold out.”

Hold on dear friend. These trials do not last forever. It will be difficult. Not because of the separation. Perhaps for reasons entirely different. At college, surrounded by some of my friends already in dating relationships, I found it hard to be single at times. Overall, I was content, but there were moments that would hurt. Hold on, dear heart. Hold on. Paradoxes occur. Once I found myself “both wishing for an earthly dance partner and yet [was] glad that the Lord was the only one.” Your heart goes in two different directions. But one direction, the direction of peace in God, pulls stronger, and that’s where you can finally rest, content.

2 Cor 4:17-18 “For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”

I think this verse can apply both to the weight of glory in being with Yeshua finally, and also to this prayer and hope for love. This pain that we feel now is momentary – will last only a moment in comparison with the rest of the journey, let alone the rest of time! (I say this to encourage both you and me!) And yet, we must be careful, because, “by reliving the past and anticipating the joy of the future, it is quite possible to waste away the present entirely. As Jim said, “Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living”” (p. 78, p. 80, Passion and Purity).

We shall continue living then, “casting our cares upon Yeshua, for He will never let the righteous fall.” I wrote while at school, “Oh, will this period of waiting never cease? Not now, not for a long time. The trials have not yet come. They have seemed like trials, but they are not. Oh, they are far from the trials that will come. It will be hard. It will be difficult. It will be painful. … My spirit groans in agony – when will this end? O beloved Lord and Savior, give me the strength to hold on and fight while I am able. O help me press forward!”

Yes. We must stand firm and steadfast. Lord Jesus, take us by the hand and help us stand firm and courageous, even in the pain of silence.

Song of Songs 8:7 “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the rivers overwhelm it” and Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I am there. You are mine.”

I hope some part of this brings you comfort. May the Lord see us on the other side of these fires, cleansed of the dross so that our joy can be made complete.

To finally end this, another quote from Passion and Purity (I think Elisabeth quoted from someone else, but I can’t remember) that kinda summarizes how it feels with love…

“I cannot love you if I love not Him
I cannot love Him, if I love not you.”


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Surrendering one day at at time

The spring semester started last month with a bang. By eleven am Monday morning, I had already been through three hours of nursing class orientation, including signing a HIPPA form (confidentiality), as well as other confidentiality agreements for our clinical sites, received our nursing uniforms, nametags, and lab coats, and a huge blue bag full of medical supplies for us to practice on.
Maybe not hit by a speeding train, but this
is a pretty good representation of how I'm
feeling some days.

No wonder I was overwhelmed.

By the end of the first week, I felt like I had been hit by a speeding train. I got myself into this when I picked this major, I reminded myself. God, are you sure I can handle this?

For those who might not know the story, I did not grow up imagining myself as a nurse. I think we had a pretend doctor's kit, but I had plenty of other ideas for when I grew up.

When I was nine, I wanted to be an astronaut. Okay, okay, the love of the stars has always been with me, but by twelve years old, I was convinced that I was going to be an author. I wrote stories by the dozen, many of them starting off as fan fictions, and later developing into independent story lines. I had several notebooks which I always carried around with me, should I stumble across a new idea during algebra, or history, or dinner, or carpool. By the time I was fifteen, I had already been to one writer's conference and was preparing for my second.

I loved everything about being a writer. I loved delving into imaginary worlds, allowing myself to go where I had never been before. Some say that reading can take you on any adventure you have ever wanted to go on. Writing does the same, except you are completely in charge of the adventure. It was a wonderful place to escape. I loved what other authors had done for me, and I wanted to pour that out on the world and allow children to be swept away by what-ifs and let their imagination soar.

But by fifteen years old and my tenth year of school, there is a certain question that nearly everyone asks:
Me in my nursing student uniform on the day
I got it. I officially wear it for the first time

"What are you thinking about for college?"

Ah, the college question! What does a young writer say? One does not need a degree in creative writing in order to publish a book. In fact, far from it. One author I know started out as an computer software designer. So I started thinking about what else I could get a degree in.

I had no clue.

So, just a few weeks after that writer's conference, I asked God a question. A really big question. I asked him to give me a vision of where he was going to take me in life. And he answered, in the most unexpected ways. First, a love for the wayward child. Second, the desire to be a midwife.

I did some research and discovered that the best way to become a midwife was to become a Registered Nurse, and then later do a Master's Program in Nurse-Midwifery. As I started looking for schools and preparing myself for nursing school, I realized how much I really loved the idea of being a nurse and caring for people.

So you see, it was God who brought me here. I have questioned it several times. Nursing is a scary field. I could do any host of things wrong, and it could really hurt somebody.

God has been working on my heart. The fear of hurting somebody is tempered with the joy of aiding somebody in their recovery. The fear that this isn't the right career for me gets flipped around once I slow down and realize how much I love the material. It is completely nerve-wracking at times. Entirely and completely. Most days, I have no idea how I'm going to get through.

When I look at pictures like this, I remember how peaceful
it was to look out over the Makhtesh Ramon. The same
slowing-down of life reminds me to surrender each day.
God has been teaching me. He has been teaching me to surrender each day. To give every day to Him, so He can take care of things.

Nursing school is tough. It is meant to be, and I wouldn't want it any other way. The more rigor I endure in school, the better nurse I will be someday. If I were to leave things to myself, I would be scared stiff, and might not do so well.

However, I am convinced that God has brought me here for a purpose. He would not continually show me how right the nursing field is for me if he did not intend me to use these skills someday. So I walk forward in faith. And I walk one day at a time.

It's a funny lesson. It has popped up in many places of my life. I remember a cassette tape I listened to in a friend's car as a kid which had a song for different memory verses. I remember one as Psalm 139:13-14 "For you knit me together in my mother's womb, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (I pause here to say YES! This is EXACTLY why I love learning about the human body!)
I didn't have any pictures of birds, but this beautiful,
majestic olive tree is a wonderful representation of how God
cares for every bit of his creation.

The other is "Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink. Look at the sparrows in the field. They not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them." (By the way, ALL of that was remembered because of that song. I am so getting memory verse song CDs for my kids when I have them. :D )

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

Walk by faith and not by sight.

I read recently in a devotional out of Streams in the Desert that ancient oil lamps only cast enough light to see one step ahead.

Just one step.

Just one day.

One day at a time. That's all that is needed.