Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Honesty Hour

I am struggling. My heart hurts. I feel so selfish saying those words because I have everything. I have the love of my Lord and Savior. I have a roof over my head. I have a family who is supportive, encouraging and loving. I have incredible friends. I have enough to eat today and tomorrow and all week. I have money in my bank account.

Why is my heart so sad? Why am I so discouraged?

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God! (Psalms 42:11 NLT)

I'm struggling because I'm lost. I'm lost and confused and hurting. I've known since 5th grade what I wanted to do with my life. I had it all planned out. I was going to grow up and be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Well things change. Life takes a turn; but I was still on track to become a PA [physician assistant] -- and work in pediatric orthopedics. It's been my dream. Since fifth grade!

Well here I am. One year away from graduating with my bachelor's degree and I'm lost. I'm confused. I'm discouraged. I'm struggling. Is this really what I want to do? Is this what I'm made for?

I so badly want to live a life of purpose. I strive for a life of meaning. Will this life be the life I desire?

I have new dreams. Dreams to join the Peace Corps. Dreams to do the World Race. Dreams that give my life purpose and meaning. I want to help people in a tangible way. I want to be the hands and feet of Christ -- to the ends of the earth.

We all have seasons of life. Bright ones. Dark ones. Easy ones. Difficult ones. The highs and the lows. I know this is a season. A season of growth and change; one where I am discovering my calling.

I believe The Lord speaks. I just need to listen. He will guide my steps and direct my path.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27 ESV)

And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” (1 Samuel 3:10 ESV)

Speak Lord, your servant is listening.


Sunday, July 27, 2014


How was your trip? What did you do while you were there?

Two questions. Two simple, innocent questions. Questions I have been asked countless times. Questions that seem so easy, so harmless; why are their answers so difficult? Why are the words so hard to find?

It's difficult for many reasons. I begin to describe my trip and what I did, then I see the friend I am talking to start to lose interest. Do they really even want to know about my trip? Or do they just ask because they know it's how I spent my summer?

Those two months changed my life. I can't water it down. I can't give you a reader's digest version. It was 2 months FULL of love, FULL of life, FULL of healing, FULL of meaning, FULL of friendship, FULL of Christ. I don't ever want to downplay those 2 months.

But it's hard - it's so hard to put into words my experience.

Ernest Hemingway once said, "write hard and clear about what hurts." I do my best. Here is my greatest effort to capture the adventure of my life in Uganda. Why does it hurt? Because I'm no longer in Uganda. Because I left the people I came to love. Because the Lord broke my heart for what breaks His. Because my eyes were opened to the great need of so many people, while I live in surplus at home.

How was your trip?

Incredible. Amazing. Fantastic. Fabulous. Radical. Awesome. Stellar. Excellent. Spectacular.

What did you do while you were there?

I built friendships.

While in Uganda, I created lasting friendships. I still speak with my friends from Uganda regularly. The people there made a lasting impression on my life. They live in such a way that inspires me. They inspire me because they truly rely on The Lord to show up every day and provide for their every need. They are so  filled with joy. It was impossible to walk around the hospital or a village or into town without seeing several people smile. But these people truly cared about me. They wanted to know about my life and who I am and what I do and how I live. I became sick once I came back and they have covered me in prayer and ask almost daily how I am feeling and what the latest update is. I developed deep friendships with some of the most incredible people on earth -- and it happened in such a short time. I am so thankful for the conversations I had and the relationships I developed. The Lord was at work in each conversation and in each friendship.


Miriam. Spiritual Mother



I shared Christ.

I was able to witness people give their lives to Christ. What a joyous occasion to be able to celebrate individuals enter the kingdom and become a part of the family forever! The week-long outreach in Gulu impacted me as much as it impacted the people we were teaching. They taught me just as much about love and faith and service as I could show them through the life of Jesus Christ in God's word. The small group conversations with the women in Gulu were truly incredible - they showed their faith as well as their faithfulness to The Lord. It was inspiring. I was touched and I saw The Lord show up several times as they shared personal stories. Our God is great.

I held babies.

I'll let you in on a little secret. I have always LOVED kids. KIDS. Never been a fan of babies. They cry and pee and poop and puke. Sometimes they're cute, but I've never had the urge to hold one. Until Uganda. Oh boy did I fall in love with hundreds of babies. They captivated my heart. I held babies and loved on them like the Father loves me. It was so heartwarming to see the moms of each child smile so big each time I held their son or daughter. It's not often someone outside the family wants to hold their child; so for an outsider to come and show their child love is a really big deal to them -- especially if their child has hydrocephalus or spina bifida. But how can you not love those precious babes? It's a direct look into the Father's heart. He loves them. I love them. Each child was so filled with joy. Oh how I love them. I wanted to keep them all.

Did I mention I love kids?

I worked in a hospital with the most incredible staff.

The staff at CURE Uganda is absolutely stellar. To have a group of so many incredible individuals in one workplace is like a dream come true. I fell in love with each person I met. They all extended such a warm welcome and they exuded the love of Christ both to me as well as to each patient and their family. They truly are healing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God. These spectacular people taught me so much about medicine, life, and Christ. They are so selfless. They work long, hard hours and they truly do love each and every patient that is brought through the doors of CURE Uganda. Each patient received fantastic care because the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, surgeons, and other hospital staff prayed over them and took careful care of them. It touched my heart and made me want to be a healthcare professional just like that in the future.

I was adventurous.

I was so blessed to be able to live a life of adventure. God created such beauty in His masterpiece called Earth. Uganda doesn't disappoint. Sipi Falls. The Nile. Jinja. Bungee Jumping. Hiking. It was all amazing and it all brought me closer to His heart. I crave a life of adventure. Uganda will forever be in my heart. I hope and pray that one day I may return.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

I prayed. He answered.

I prayed. I prayed that God would place a dream in my heart so big that if it came true, it would be clear to me; it would be clear His love is deep, it would be clear HE made my dream happen, and it would be clear I was made for this.

He answered.

I prayed. I prayed, "Break my heart for what breaks yours." And Jesus wrecked my heart. He wrecked my heart and he wrecked the perfect little life I had planned out for myself.

He answered.

I prayed. I prayed that God would reveal that people like me are out there. People that love, and love hard. People that desire travel. People that require adventure. People that write. People that understand what life is about. People that don't need things; people that get it.

He answered.

I prayed. I prayed that God would radically change the way I live. That I wouldn't come back home and return to a life of normalcy; but rather make important and intricate changes - changes like living on less and living for more.

He answered.

The Lord is funny sometimes. We pray and pray - at times expectantly and other times not so much. He always answers. He always answers. He doesn't always answer the way we expect or the way we hope; but He always answers.

The Lord is funny because I prayed my prayers and His answers were, at times, completely unexpected.

I prayed about a dream and The Lord answered. He answered by placing a dream in my heart so big that I knew I could never achieve it on my own. The Lord placed a dream in my heart to do medical missions in Africa. I didn't know how I would get there. I didn't even know where on the continent I would go - but I KNEW The Lord placed this dream in my heart, and I KNEW He would see me through. And He did. He finished this work in me. The Lord allowed me follow this dream and fulfill this dream. He gave me the incredible opportunity to go to Uganda for 2 months and work in a Pediatric Neurosurgery hospital. It was the most incredible trip of my life. It was the most fulfilling time of my life. I met the most amazing people. I fell in love with a new place and a new people. The Lord showed me His love for me through this dream of mine. He showed me His love is deep. He made it clear to me that I was made for this.

I prayed. He answered.

I prayed, "Break my heart for what breaks yours," and He did. He broke my heart in more ways than one. The Lord revealed to me areas in my own life where I was not putting Him first. This breaks His heart - and that broke my heart too. He revealed this to me through certain events that wrecked my heart and turned my little life upside down. I thought I had everything planned out - but the thing is: you can't plan out your life without The Lord. His plans are greater.

  Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

I tried to plan my future on my own. But the Lord's plan for my future is way better than any plan I can dream up myself. Though my heart hurts at times and feels broken, I have hope and I'm excited for what HE has in store for me - because His love is deep and His love is wide. He knows my every need.
He broke my heart in other ways when I went to Africa and saw true poverty, real sickness, and what it means to be abandoned. This breaks His heart; it broke my heart too.
But seeing these things allowed me to know the need and be the light. We are called to be the light of the world - and being in a third world country in the middle of all these things, it was amazing to be able to share Christ's hope and love and light.

I prayed. He answered.

I prayed that God would reveal people to me. He did. He revealed to me that there are people like me. People who love, and love hard. People that desire travel. People that require adventure. People that write. People that understand what life is about. People that don't need things; people that get it.

I prayed. He answered.

I prayed that my life would change once I came back from my trip. He answered. But I am still a work in progress. The Lord answered this prayer by changing my view of what is important in life - but I constantly find myself frustrated. You see, in Uganda, I never saw a child complain about anything. That is not an exaggeration. Being back at home, I work as a camp counselor for children going into kindergarten. My days are filled with whining and complaining and crying over things hardly worth the tears. Now, I find myself constantly frustrated at people feeling entitled, people's greed, and how spoiled our children are. Don't get me wrong - I love them with all of my being, and they still bring me joy; but I can't help but think of the precious kids in Uganda who have next to nothing and never complain. They find something in the trash and it will be their toy and most treasured possession for days.

My life did change radically. My heart changed. Everything that is important to me shifted. My priorities changed.
Money doesn't matter. Material things don't matter. Where I live doesn't matter. What matters is my relationship with the Lord and that I make those around me feel loved.
Love and Christ matter.

I prayed. He answered.