I’m so excited to officially announce the project I mentioned in my previous post! A significant part of my trip to the UAE a few weeks ago was to discuss building a clinic in rural Pakistan with my friend Timothy. … Continue reading
Hello Readers, The past few years have been a mostly private undertaking. They were full of adventures, changes, growth, and self-discovery. They were not rich in blog involvement. They actually were not rich in many of my talents. I left … Continue reading
“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian does make me a different kind of woman.” ~Elisabeth Elliot: Let Me Be A Woman.
Choosing to not follow the crowd is difficult.
How do I, a single, professional, Christian woman glorify God best in my daily life? This question has been on my mind in recent years and slowly answers come. I am thankful for the guidance of women, such as Elisabeth Elliot, who have gone before me and shone a forthright, honest, and no nonsense flashlight on my own path. In moments of growth, pain, and confusion their words often seem hard but as I walk farther through my life and the month build into years I find their wisdom standing the test of time.
Selflessness, humility and learning to love well are thoughts that occupy my mind. Understanding how to give burdens, dreams, and desires into God’s hands while walking in prayer has been a long lesson coming. I’ve realized God doesn’t change me in an instant. He changes me in phases and seasons. It has taken every second of my 29 years to bring me to where I am today and to prepare me for what will come tomorrow.
I walked this path because I chose it. Ultimately, in the end, I walked it because God ordained it for me but there has been no forcing. I have willingly prayed for patience, strength, love, and passion to follow Him. I accepted these hardships. I have said, over and over again, “Thy will be done. Let it be unto me even as you have said.” I offered my life in exchange for the one given for me in a small service of the debt I owe.
I have failed often. I have wept in the confused moments of my limited human sight. In my darkest moments, as the tears clear, there has always been a very small voice that speaks into my soul and reminds me that all is not lost. The hard season will end and with every death comes a resurrection. Growing pains and grief are hard. Life requires loss and death for it is the price of sin. With every death comes new life and resurrection if there is repentance. Peace returns in the darkest of moments and makes way for the light to shine in.
I am not a finished work. New lessons are to be learned and learned again. But it is a path I choose. I choose to be different. To stand out in a culture of death as a resurrected child of God, born again from my sin and ashes into His beautiful new creation. He slowly, in His time, shows me what having a gentle and quiet spirit means. He reveals the woman He created me to be in Him. He is where rest and love are found. He is the greatest comfort.
He is the one who made me different and He is the one who chose me to follow Him. It is a beautiful cycle.
Nate Wilson’s book, “Death by Living,” fell into my hands yesterday due to a 99 cent sale on my Kindle. To say it has been timely would be an understatement.
I stand on my balcony, looking out over the beautiful green of the tops of trees that refresh me on my day off. I can home from work yesterday exhausted, wanting to cry, and ready to walk away. It’s a common feeling recently. It makes me question the purpose in front of me. Why? Why, why, why? Over and over again I ask this question as I try to understand what the meaning is and what the next step should be.
Then, God reminds me that this is a story. He is the author and I am not the lead character. Maybe, in some way in my own small volume and chapter I am but in the series I am nothing but the smallest of side characters. The weight for the grand conclusion is not mine to bear for it was already born. Someone else did that. Someone who had to be a God for only a God could rescue His people that He loved so dearly from the horrible Evil that threatened to destroy them and their world for eternity.
I continue to look. I continue to question my part in the story. After all, the Author writes with a confusing hand to this poor character at times. He writes things into my part of the story that I do not understand. Moments that confuse, overwhelm, and threaten to leave me broken comes and in my fright all I can do is to grasp towards His hand and ask Him to keep me alive in my story a little longer. Then He sends me moments of ecstasy, love, joy, and laughter that draw me closer to Him than anything else could. Both of them point to my need to depend on my Author and also show how little I know and how much He loves me even though I am a small character.
With all of this in mind I am given renewed energy to continue walking my story. I take the rest the Author gives and I reach towards Him to give me a hint for where my character is to go next. Right now, the character is a little lost. She cant’ see through the fog but like most weather she is sure that it will change soon. There will be another chapter and in that chapter another battle or trail will come and will be defeated. After all, the Hero holds a sword to the evil villain’s throat. My little side character is very safe.
So, forward I go. Over and over again I take one foot and put it one step in front of the other. The fog will clear and I will be able to see the path again. No worries. I just have to wait out the weather. Winds and sunshine will return again. In fact I think that they are already beginning to clear and that is a wonderful and blessed thing.
Onward goes the story written by the most loving Author imaginable.
What would happen if, and I pose this as a rhetorical question for myself as much as anyone who happens to read this, if I actually took living faithfully seriously?
What if I said “God’s word is good and is truth and I should live it out no matter what my depraved and dead sin nature thinks?”
I imagine that it would have life-changing effects. I imagine that I would come to know God more closely and more deeply than I ever have. I expect that my life would in some ways become harder as it would cause conflict with the world.
But what if I truly did love my neighbor and chose not to gossip and instead chose charity and love?
It would be a blessing to many.
If He is the way, the truth, and the life why don’t we run after Him? Why don’t we seek Him with our whole hearts.
Holiness…being set apart…our call as Christians. Let us run towards Him, not against and away from Him.
Amen and amen…
In considering recent emotions, I have discovered once again that I am generally what most people would consider to be an emotional basket-case.
So, with that in mind and determining, once again, to get control of my emotions I have decided to become much more purposeful with my time. In recent months I have noted that a lack of a purposeful watch over my time leads to me thinking too much. Now, if you are someone who has ever been able to spend time with me when I have had too much time to think, you know that two things are possible. One, is that I work out all my emotions and I am fine. I also usually end up writing something beautiful. The second option is that I start obsessing over every little thing that comes my way and it all ends in tears because I discover once again that I cannot fix the world. It’s really a good bit bipolar…and thus the pendulum swings.
With all of this in mind and with the encouragement of two very good friends who seem to be right in sync with their advice to me lately, I have set out again down the path of maturity and growth. Thoughts are as follows.
1. Spiritual Life: When I actually pay faithful attention to this particular aspect of my life it yields incredible results. When my soul is peaceful the rest follows and very few things can shake me.
2. Eating Properly: As many of you know, I am a comfort eater and many years of grief and disruption in my life lead to an extra 80lbs (36kg). Over the last year I have managed to loose 40 of those bothersome pounds and now I am setting out on the final quest to watch my calories again and maybe even to start exercising again. I am about to draw up the most amazing grocery list that anyone has ever seen for a single girl. You would think I was planning for a family of 12.
3. Keeping the House Clean: Elisabeth Elliot said it well when she spoke of how the environment reflects the mind. The new apartment is beautifully organized and since I moved in I have made a conscious effort to keep things clean. It has helped me so much more than I realized. Also, having the maid come weekly keeps the corners clean and forces me to pick up my stuff at least once a week. It’s also pretty much the only way that this place will get dusted and have to toilets cleaned in any sort of acceptable frequency.
4. Removing Empty Distractions: This translates to less wasted time on Facebook and the cell phone. Now, realizing my international situation I am not about to cut off many people’s main way to contact me. Facebook messenger is still on my phone and logged in. Whatsapp, instagram, and twitter will remain because they do not drain my time the way facebook does. Facebook however, is majorly getting the ax. I even uninstalled it off of my phone. I’ll still have everything update there but I will probably limit logging in to once a week. This is in an effort to just be more purposeful with my internet time since I spend countless hours staring at the same irritating, boring, and pointless updates (not everyone’s but a great majority).
5. Getting Back Into the Books: Fall semester will start soon and that will automatically require focus but also I need to pick up my informational reading. I have a huge test to study for as well. I think that keeping my mind well-focused with useful things will be better than killing it on facebook and netflicks (but good for the occasional day off).
6. Being Purposeful in Relationships: Seriously, I need to get out more and use my talents much more. I need to actually be a good friend and serve my community well.
To start with that is the plan. We shall see how it goes. I am going to make an effort to really start blogging more since I do often find it to be a productive outlet.
Off I go now to finish dropping and freezing chocolate chip cookie dough since the friends love them and I hate mixing them up.
I need to start blogging again in at least somewhat of a more consistent manner.
It’s not that I have no ideas of what to write or nothing of import to say but I just have not felt that it needed saying or publishing. Granted, I have been busy but really not that busy. My life is in one of those never-boring, ever-changing patterns right now. Lord willing, very soon I’ll actually get around to posting a full update but the brain cells aren’t functioning enough for that tonight.
Claire came for a visit, we went to Europe, saw a lot of the world, and then came back to the UAE. I went back to work and she hung out with my friends. We fed her strange food and she lived through it. Then she left me. 😦
I moved into a new apartment. Both of my former roommates saw fit to enter the blessed state of matrimony and so I needed a new home. God blessed me richly with a perfect floor plan, a lovely view, and money to actually furnish the place properly. As I type this I am happily ensconced on my lovely new couch which gets full points for practicality (because that is always the first thing we think about a white couch) and comfort.
I went back to the Special Care Baby Unit at the hospital. After a season of more change at Oasis Hospital and me running through three different clinics we all agreed that me going back into the SCBU was a great idea. I was quite happy and then another change came my way. I will be rotating into OB for 6 weeks since they are short-staffed and need some help. So off I go to learn another new skill and see what God has planned with this latest change.
That’s really it. I’ve just been doing my best to enjoy life and immerse myself in the new quiet and routine I have had. Having my own place makes it so much easier for my thoughts to run free and for me to find the stillness I need to write again. We shall see if I actually do blog more frequently in the near future.
Currently no vacations are planned and the are no adventures to look forward too other than God’s great plan for my life. I think that this is going to be a good season. New friends, the ability to be more hospitable again, and to make a home beautiful has just made the UAE just that much more of a home. Praying that it continues in this way.
Love to all…
They say that all good things must come to an end.
Tomorrow this precious soul leaves the UAE and thus will end our summer adventure as she goes back to her life in the states and I continue in mine here in the UAE.
We have made unbelievable memories, laughing, grumbled, had real sister talks, and enjoyed being with each other so much.
She is, and always will be, one of the most precious people in my life…forever.
Because she is the best little sister that anyone could ever have asked for.
I love you, Claire Rose!
There is actually a hashtag with that title. In summary, Rome was magnificent, Florence was divine, Monaco was delightful, Marseille was picturesque, Barcelona was unique, and London, well London was absolutely everything. Claire and I went to Europe for three … Continue reading
Life is full of decisions. Big ones, small ones, everyday ones, sometimes ones, important ones, and unimportant ones.
And I am about the worst person in the world to ask to make a decision. Basically because I have huge trust issues.
A decision is asked of me and immediately my mind runs to the worst possible case scenario. About 500 times over. The prospect of a choice or a decision that might have to be made in the future makes me panic. Decisions are probably in my top 5 least favorite things.
The problem, of course, lies in the fact that I have trust issues. I worry. I willingly forget that there is a God and Savior who loves me and cares for me beyond my wildest dreams and who has already worked all things together for good for me. I forget that He will not allow anything to come to me that will not draw me closer to Him. I don’t trust God. And there we have the problem.
I wish there was an instant fix. I wish I knew how to simply just take trust and faith up and never look back. Why are these lies of distrust etched so deep into the lines of my heart? Why don’t I just believe His promises and know that He will take care of me? Logically and intelligently I can give you all the answers to each of the questions and predict the “helpful” advice that may come my way from this post. But the truth is, none of it will actually help the problem. None of it will do any good because the problem is in my heart and soul. The answer does not lie in advice or logic. It lies in the faith that I obviously lack.
There is no other recourse other than to continue in prayer. Most days are not weak days. Most days I am fine. I see Christ’s love, guidance, and blessings. I see His strong hand in my life. Most days, the faith is stronger than it is today in this moment.
So, decisions and big questions come. Life brings them because their purpose is to bring you closer to Christ. As I look at the plethora of changes facing me in life, moments of discussions that are coming, and relationships that are building or changing, I find that I frequently feel overwhelmed and afraid. My humanity comes into play. In the face of these decisions the truth of it all is that I, by myself, am not enough and I will never be enough. There will always be something bigger than me in this world for my to deal with. There will always be things out of my control. There will always be days that I fail, disappoint people, and forget to trust. That is why a Sovereign God gave up His life for this world. Because He was the only thing in it all that was enough. In the whole mess of this life, He is the only thing that can be enough.
Perhaps that is why I forget to see. My limited sight keeps me from remembering and seeing His bigger picture and all that He has done for me and my life. I judge first with emotions and through their lens I see the hurt from all that has ever gone wrong. I an overwhelmed because I don’t remember to see through the new eyes that He has given me.
Daily I will go on. I will move forward and live this life. Decisions will be required of me still and there will still be days that I forget. Lord willing, however, those days will grow fewer and farther between. Lord willing, one day they will, on this side of eternity, disappear altogether. That would be beautiful.
May He build my love and trust in Him each and every day. May He continue to grow me into the woman that He has created me to be.