learning through the heartache.

Earlier this year it occurred to me that when I, or anyone, pray for patience, joy, or any one characteristic, the way God allows us to strengthen those qualities is much different than we think He should. We would never choose to suffer in order to gain true patience. We would never willingly choose heartache to learn real joy, but that is exactly how we truly learn these qualities. We must know what it feels like to be broken in order to fully appreciate being restored with joy.

This past year I have been on a journey. My heart has ached for someone whom I love more than most people in my life, my sister. One cannot explain the connection that siblings feel for one another. At the same time, I cannot choose her every move. I cannot change the things she has chosen for her life. I cannot make her be the person I know she is and believe that she is no matter how hard I would like. BUT, I can love her unconditionally. I can accept her no matter what happens. I can answer the phone when she does call. Most importantly, I can pray for her.

I have learned more than I can articulate. Among what I can articulate is true forgiveness, which is something I thought I grasped before this past year, but realized I hadn’t. The moment I realized I had (learned true forgiveness) was in the middle of bailing her out once again. It was a moment I will not forget, because we all need people in our lives that remind us that we are not smaller than the choices we make and are most definitely not defined by them.
No one needs judgment for good or bad choices. People need consistency. People need to know that even in their darkest moment someone is still there, because then there is hope. Hope is something I cling to, praying for and trusting completely that change and redemption is possible.

I am confident that this journey, with heartache and sadness, will make me a better person, and most importantly a person that God can be proud of.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

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thankful for great friends.

Today I got to spend time with one of my favorite people. It’s been a while since we were able to sit down and have a heart-to-heart, which happens to be one of my favorite things about our friendship. I am so blessed to know her and her family, and I’m oh so thankful we get to do life together.

I have learned over the past couple of years not to ever take the relationships and friendships that matter for granted. So blessed that I am surrounded by so many wonderful people in this life of mine, especially right now.

Also, thanking Jesus for perfect timing. It was just what I needed today.

endurance.

you know that feeling when your legs are burning, your body thinks it’s not getting enough oxygen and so your brain is telling you to stop running, but you don’t?

that, my friends, is a great feeling.

Life, Love and Determination

Life:
I am a firm believer in journaling, but my life for the past several months hasn’t allowed me the time to just sit and think and write. So, here I find myself finally making the time to journal some life happenings and thoughts.
The past few months have been some of the best and hardest months.
My family has been through so much. There have been days and are days when I think “ok, surely this is the day where I fall, because I’m out of strength to deal with anything else, ” but God always provides some sort of small  (or big) encouragement to me, to remind me that I won’t fall. He is my source of strength and He doesn’t fail. Amen.
In December, I went to the doctor for a check-up, the MD found something concerning, which lead to further tests. I spent the months of January and February praying that whatever the tests came back with, that I would be at peace. Thankfully, the tissue was just abnormal. NO CANCER. Those words were some of the best words I’ve heard. If I needed another reason to have focus and perspective in my life, God surely granted me that. Surgery is still needed, which won’t be pleasant, but I will get through it. God will get me through it. :)

Love:
I’ve said this so many times, especially here on the blog, but Tyler is how God has taught me the most about love here on this earth. Through Tyler I see the type of patience God must have for us when we’re stubborn to obey Him. Through Tyler I see the amount of joy God must take in watching us succeed at something He’s given us the ability to do. Through Tyler I see what unconditional love is, and how He gave us His most precious gift. I couldn’t imagine life without Tyler, yet God sacrificed His for me. How deep the Father’s love for us!
My friends. My dear, precious friends have walked with me through the past six months. Have prayed for me, cried over and with me and have laughed with me. I am thankful for each one. I am thankful for the people God blessed me with at GBCN. I love the realness (that’s a word, btw :) ) and honesty that comes with those friendships. I love that in nursing there isn’t time for BS, so all we have is who we are, take it or leave it. I love that.

Determination:
It wasn’t that last semester was easy, it wasn’t by any means. It was almost like the appetizer before the meal, though. This semester being the meal. It is 100% all or nothing. There isn’t time to play around; you have to stay on top of everything all the time. So, as you can imagine, it is mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting. About a month ago, when I went for my last (very painful and intense) biopsy test I was at a crossroads, and I didn’t think I could handle any more stress. My body was sick and tired with stress. It was on the drive home from the test that I decided that if God could endure His son being spared and if Jesus could endure the cross, I could indeed endure all of the stress that filled my life. Again, God reiterated that He alone was my strength. I know I was a good nurse before that moment, but the moments since then, I’ve been a better person and nurse. My heart is overwhelmed at the strength I possess when I allow myself to feel it. I will get through nursing school. I will graduate and pursue my dream of becoming a midwife.  I will do these things not because I will have anything to do with it, but because God put this huge passion in my heart for something I never expected and has provided a way to get there.

The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
This is posted in every room in my house. This has become one of my motto’s, to remind me that everything I am comes from Him. Everything I do should reflect Him. He is the reason I am in nursing school and He has a plan.

silence.

sometimes i need to be reminded to stop and breathe. i need silence so i can just exist in this world. 

my life runs away from me these days because i’m so busy. the problem with that is i feel robotic, that the life inside of me is slowly decreasing. clearly, it’s not. this is just a VERY busy stage of life.

but sometimes like tonight when i’m tired and stressed, and my plate seems too full, i have to remind myself that God is my comforter. He allows me this stress to make me a better me. He always provides, always. 

 

loved.

i wanted to document this moment. this feeling.

yesterday was a hard day for me mentally, physically and emotionally. but from the time i woke up until i went to bed i felt so loved, so encouraged, so moved by the people, old and new friends, i’m surrounded by in this life. they provided the hugs and support i needed; they were the hands and feet of Jesus to me yesterday.

God is so gracious to me.

hiding the Word.

I remember when i was little, say 5 or 6, going to school and/or church and learning about hiding God’s Word in my heart. I continued to hear this throughout my life. But until about a month ago, did it really sink in what that meant. At a moment when life came rushing at me, and the very Scripture that I needed to be reminded of (that I hadn’t read in sooo very long) came to the forefront of my mind, did I understand the true meaning of it.

I have never been more grateful for the private, Christian education and church I grew up in that reiterated this concept over and over. It made me even more grateful for my third graders at church, and it made me value all of the times that i probably didn’t want to be at church as a teenager.

On a different note, i’m especially thankful for all the notes, texts and calls from so many that i love this week. i’m abundantly blessed.

peace.

in the midst of ensuing chaos in every facet of my life, i find peace.
this just goes to show how awesome God truly is and how faithful He has been to show me grace.

this week’s song is extra special to me because the first time i heard it i was traveling through South Africa. South Africa is and will always be special to me. Even now, I cry at how wonderful my trip there was, and how i’m still reaping the benefits of those (awesome, loves abundantly, my cup runneth over) children.

Enjoy.

You’re Beautiful.

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say
You’re beautiful

I see Your power in the moonlit night
Where planets are in motion and galaxies are bright
We are amazed in the light of the stars
It’s all proclaiming who You are
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

I see you there hanging on a tree
You bled and then you died and then you rose again for me
Now you are sitting on Your heavenly throne
Soon we will be coming home
You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful

When we arrive at eternity’s shore
Where death is just a memory and tears are no more
We’ll enter in as the wedding bells ring
Your bride will come together and we’ll sing
You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

I see Your face, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
I see Your face, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful
I see Your face, I see Your face
I see Your face, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful, You’re beautiful

where I belong.

this song has been part of my morning devotion the past week.
I just love it…so i thought i would share.

Sometimes it feels like I’m watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I’m breathing but am I alive
I won’t keep searching for answers that aren’t here to find

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I’m lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

A trip does the heart well.

Some things just can’t be articulated. Take my trip to Colorado as an example.

Im so thankful that I could spend 8 short days with two of my best friends. Laughing until my sides hurt. Honest conversation. Cooking and baking. The ability to speak and act without judgment. Seeing them as parents and praying I’m as relaxed as they are. Getting to feel so proud of my friend when I saw his face as the operator of a Chick-fil-A. The best sangria. Spending the beginnings of the new year by having a family devotion. Talking out Gods wants for our life, praying over the year and each picking a goal we would like to meet.

These are just some of the things that I can write out, but can only truly be felt deep within the soul. I’m so thankful for these friendships.

I think when you find people who understand you and manage to always remind you of how important, loved and proud they are of you and you of them, you have to hold on to those friendships. Even when they move thousands of miles away. (and for those not thousands of miles away) :)

My heart is so grateful. Full. Overwhelmed with goodness. Just what I needed to begin this next semester (because it’s going to be a doozy).