Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Look.

In an effort to simplify the technological aspects of my life, I have consolidated my blogs into one blog via WordPress. Although I am slowly working on changing all those white-fonted posts to black font, all the previous posts are on my new blog... here's the address and the link for A Way in the Desert:


Enjoy! See you there!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Immanuel, God With Us

A sign shall be given
A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing
Undiminished deity
The glory of the nations
A light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace
His warm reality

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us

Immanuel, Michael Card

This song has been especially meaningful this week, as we trust in the Lord for healing for Katie's dad since his craniotomy on Wednesday. It's been a long few days for the Lewis family; lots of updates across the miles and trips back and forth. On Facebook, a friend of Katie's posted the reference of Psalm 91. It's meaningful as well in this time... Psalm 91:1-2, 4, 14-16:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
They say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
...He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart...
"Because they love me," says the Lord, "I will rescue them; I will protect them, for they acknowledge my name. They will call on me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will deliver them and honor them. With long life, I will satisfy them and show them my salvation."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And life just rolls on...

Life has been fairly interesting recently. Nothing profound, really, but it has still been interesting. This week I had a good experience at clinicals... which is a nice change from last week. One of my patients was absolutely precious and totally brightened my day... huge smile, big hand shake, fake cell phone and all. My other patient was determined and confident, but calm and cooperative too... and totally understanding of the busyness of nursing, but knew when to stand up for himself (which is good too!).

Today I spent the day in the dialysis unit, where patients in kidney failure come to lay on a bed for 3-4 hours and have their blood "filtered" because their kidneys (or lack thereof) cannot filter the blood as in a healthy human body. Although it was different, and not busy or entirely enthralling all the time, I enjoyed the chance to learn more about the process of dialysis... especially since one of my grandpa's was on dialysis in the 70s... it's interesting to compare the systems, and to find out that they're actually still quite similar (at least in concept and major mechanical components). My instructor didn't believe me when I said that grandpa had dialysis in his home, but, just ask dad. It's true.

We have our research final on Friday. And I'm trying to not freak out about it. The topic of research does not come easily to me; it is often more abstract and gray than my little mind can handle... that's why I chose nursing: I like black and white! I also made the mistake of reading the graduation website... specifically the details about graduating with honors, high honors and highest honors... and, contrary to my previous thoughts, I could actually graduate with highest honors if I manage to do well in my classes again this year. According the website highest honors is for GPAs of 3.9 and higher, and that's me. Forget the 4.0. Psh. That was ruined first semester, freshman year in a one-credit introduction to nursing class that required much more work than a 1-credit class ever should. Don't even get me started on that. But, yeah, trying to not think about the excitement of graduating with highest honors. Who knows what this research final will do?? I just want to PASS!!! Ha!

I should close for now, I need to get to bed and get some good sleep before tomorrow, which will be a long study day!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Singles, recognize the great potential to waste your singleness:

- If you fail to see your singleness as designed by God: You will not serve, you will not walk in freedom, you will not walk in joy
- If you believe that your singleness is a curse and not a gift
- If you cherish marriage more than you cherish Jesus Christ; Satan's and God's designs for your singleness are not the same... Satan's desire is to destroy your love for Jesus Christ, but God's desire is that your singleness would deepen your love for Jesus Christ as you come to abide in Him and love Him and trust Him in this area of your life
- If you seek comfort from your odds, rather than from God
- If you let it drive you into solitude, instead of using it to deepen your relationship with God's people
- If you fail to use it as a witness to the truth and the glory of Jesus Christ---Show others that Jesus Christ is worth more than life

From a sermon, Singleness: Blessing or Curse?
Jim Riggle, Shawnee Hills Baptist Church

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Effects of Starving Yourself.

In the last few days, I've been thinking about how what you do (or in my case, don't do) can really affect the condition of your heart.

I have never been consistent with taking the time to do daily devotions, and recently, almost any practice of prayer has faded out of my daily routine aside from meals and emergency pleas.
On Thursday night, a few close friends and I had a spontaneous prayer time, which was such a blessing. It was such a refreshment to my heart: to be able to share some of my struggles with contentment and relationships, as well as the opportunity to pray for the struggles of the others.

I think it was at this time that I started to realize what has been missing in my life, and how much peace and joy I am missing out on. I've also noticed my heart to be more bitter, more easily annoyed, more willing to hold grudges and it overflows into my life by filling my speech with complaints and making my actions self-serving. I'm sure it's due to not having devotions and practicing regular prayer. Some people think I am such a woman of God, and yet I know that I can be so complacent and practice such apathy. I have seen the effect on my attitude... it often stinks and I complain so much; I talk about others, especially when they, so often, get on my nerves. I also haven't journaled regularly for such a long time; the last entry in my journal was dated in August. I truly have seen the effects on my life because when I don't journal, I don't take the time to write and vent. But, when I journal, my mind and soul are better for it.

Today in Sunday school we talked about James 4:11-12, where James rebukes the church for judging others within the body and speaking down on others.
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgement on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?
We discussed that humility is the opposite of judging others, because when we judge others our heart-motive is a seeking to serve ourselves by elevating ourselves as we tear others down. Our teacher showed us that in verse 11, the command is in present tense which denotes that slander was happening at that time. Even though the church was saying that they were not of the world, they were acting worldly, which is pure hypocrisy. James was calling them out on their motives and their hearts.

One thought that stood out to me and challenged me at the core, was that, if I want to know if I am humble, I should consider how I speak about others. That challenged me greatly. I ended up skipping the actual church service and heading back to my room right after Sunday school to spend some time journaling because I needed time to mull over what we had just talked about. It was so powerful and convicting to me.

Another thought was that by speaking about others or criticizing others with friends, I have, in fact, already condemned the characteristic or action of that person in my mind prior to speaking because speaking and judging go hand-in-hand; one is the source of the other.

I should be praying for humility, but that's even scarier than learning patience! Yet, as much as it scares me to ask for humility because it terrifies me to imagine what struggles and challenges I might face as a result, I stil believe it is necessary because my heart is not where it needs to be--hidden in God. The motives of my heart clearly need to change because my actions do not reflect Christlikeness. I need to learn to shut up (in the context of talking about others, that is).

I also need to pray for faith; I need to learn to trust. Especially in the area of desiring to be dating, I want to trust that the Lord has the absolute best in store for me and deep down I do trust--but you would never know it from my actions, words, or complaints. A part of a song by Jenny&Tyler that I listened to this morning says "We want to taste and see the plans You have for our little lives." That is so true! As much as I recognize that it's not best to know the future, I still wish we could know parts of it. Had I known nursing school would be so hard, I probably would've given up and quit. And I should be grateful for the time here, today, as a single woman. But, I am always trying to speed up time, bring the future closer and rush through today. The other day, a friend reminded my roommate and I that it is an honor that God considers us strong enough to live with the challenge of singleness right now. It's true, and I needed that reminder because it can be hard to remember the struggle as an honor.

Most of all, I want the Lord to be glorified in this struggle, in this part of my walk towards more and more Christlikeness.
Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom's cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Few Things About Life.

- Only 189 days left until graduation, which is an entirely exciting thought! But, I also find myself always rushing onto the next thing, so I'm trying to slow down my heart and remind myself to enjoy the few days left here in this place. 189 sounds like a lot, but will go by so quickly.

- It's raining today. Pouring torrents at times. I'm soaked just from walking from class to work. It would be an excellent day for sweatpants, a hoodie, snuggling and watching a movie. Maybe it will rain on Sunday, when I am planning to take my day of rest!

- It's almost November. Crazy. I'm almost one year older. If time keeps passing at this speed, soon I'll be old.

- It's almost lunchtime and I'm hungry. It's time to find out what I odd combination I can cook up out of the same-old-same-old ingredients. Hooray for college cafeterias after 4 years of the same things. (Although I must say, at least we have all the options we do... compared to other schools!)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

At this exact moment.

I thought I would write a little bit about my thoughts on singleness at this exact moment in time. I'm not referring to the world's definition of single: that state of freedom that allows to you casually hook up with or engage and disengage with person after person without any commitment. Rather, I'm talking about the definition of single according to the way it applies to many people, old and young, in the church... but yet a label, often undesired, that causes so much frustration and hurt.

Currently, I am immersed in a culture of predominantly 18-23-year-olds and yet the staggering rates of dating relationships and engagements popping up in the strangest of places never ceases to astound me. Yet again today, the phrase "another one bites the dust," as another friend is now "officially" dating. In spite of feeling excited for the friend and her-now-boyfriend, it only adds to, multiplies, and emphasizes my singleness. Had you told me I would be here today, saying these things, writing these things, I would never have believed you. Although I didn't think it guaranteed (I like to think I'm not that naive), I would be a fool to pretend I didn't imagine or wish that I would be happily on my way towards a life-long relationship of marriage-material by my senior year of college.

It's certainly not easy to be in this environment, in the midst of all the relationships (some good, some scary), and be single. I consider it the curse of an environment like this; it's not very forgiving or considerate when it comes to these kinds of things.

Don't be worried; I know, deep in my heart of hearts, that "everything will work out," "God's timing is perfect," "singleness is a blessing," "enjoy this season," etc. etc. etc. Trust me, I believe that this is a blessing and I certainly believe (and hope) that it is a season (for all seasons come to an end at some point). But, it's rather hard to stomach those cliche (even if they are true) statements when the majority, if not all of them, are made by people who are currently dating, engaged, or happily married.

I know I'm young, I know I have so much ahead of me, I know I've got time. I don't remember ever praying for patience, but apparently I asked the Lord for it at some point, because this is certainly one of those times that I am supposed to be working on it. But, I have to be frank and say, goodness, I'm getting tired of this. My heart is ready, and waiting.

And, so, I will wait.

And hope.