Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015: "Open"

1) Allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up.

2) To move (as a door) from a closed position.

I will open my hands, will open my heart! I will open my hands, will open my heart! I am nodding my head an emphatic yes to all that You have for me! - Sara Groves, "Open My Hands"

Hello, 2015.

As I picture the word "open," I see green fields stretching out in every direction, tall grass, and sunlight pouring down in the special glimmering way that you view through a camera as it catches the sun's rays.  The temperature is warm with the most perfect of breezes.

And I see a girl in a white, flowing summer dress walking through that field, sometimes running, and then just twirling around, enjoying the sun with her arms outstretched and her hands wide open.

And I want that girl to be me...someone who doesn't hold back and is:
-open with what she's been given
-open to all the adventures God leads her in
-open with her career
-open to God's timing
-open to giving of her time and talents
-open to saying "no" to her selfish desires

My words for 2014 were “Come Along” from Song of Solomon 2:10 – “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along.”  (In prior years, I chose “Blessed” and “Trust,” all of them stories for another time, and all of this because of Joanna Wang’s inspiration).  I didn’t know that as 2014 unfolded, God would call us to so many new things, nor did I expect my heart to be so resistant at times.  God said, “Come Along” to a move to NorCal, a season of joblessness, that thing called ‘fundraising,’ and a new group of students and staff to interact with.  I won’t deny that there were times of frustration and doubt and tears.  There were also periods of excitement for change and new adventures.  Looking back at all of this, I am reminded that God is faithful; He hears prayers and answers them.  As God said “Come Along,” I saw Him provide funding, housing, and a job, among many other things.

As 2015 starts and I sit here on the couch typing away, I LOVE my life.  I love where we live, I love our home, I love being married to Cavin, I love my job, and I love the weather in NorCal.

In fact, I think I love it all a little too much.  I hold most of these things with closed hands, as if I could protect things from changing or as if I had control over them.  I know I’m not in charge of any of it, and it hurts to realize that after all these years of walking with Jesus, I still try to control things and doubt His good sovereignty.

Even though it was clearly God who gave me this job in September, my heart really wants to work here until I retire, and I’m resistant to thoughts about moving.  I know we’re in full-time ministry, and that involves change.  But guys, I really love this job; it’s my dream job here in NorCal.  Yet I know God has always provided and led me in paths that prove to be more fruitful than where I came from, even though the journey has uncomfortable moments.  And I love being in ministry; I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  But honestly there are times where I just want to be settled for good.  In these times, I remind myself of truth and the path God is leading us on.  I want to hold my job with open hands.

I love my husband a lot too.  Sometimes I ask myself whether I love him more than God, and I am often convicted that I do.  He is so good to me, takes care of me so tenderly, and serves me daily.  I don’t actively worry about it, but sometimes the thought crosses my mind that I don’t ever want anything bad to happen to him, and I get worried because the future is unknown.  I don’t know what paths God has for us to walk down, but in every step I want to say, “Jesus, You are my first love,” as I walk hand-in-hand with my husband, learning how to respect him and love him more deeply.  I want to hold my husband with open hands.

I love where we live.  Davis is the most adorable small town, and I’ve always wanted to live in a small town (maybe I’ve been too influenced by Gilmore Girls).  Really though, where else can you see toddlers bike riding?  Babies bike out of the womb here.  I love our home and how cozy we’ve made it with our thrift store and Craigslist finds and the twinkle lights strung around the living room.  I could see raising kids here; I’d want to raise kids here.  Life just seems so good, and I don’t want to let go of it.  I want to hold my life with open hands.

Lastly, ever since getting married, I have learned more every day how selfish I am, whether it’s with my time, talents, gifts, or possessions.  When I have time off of work, I want to do things that make me happy.  Sometimes I don’t feel like investing my time in college ministry.  I’m not very generous with money.  I don’t like going to the gym.  In all of these things I see my selfishness, and I don’t want to live this way anymore.  This year I choose to be open and to grow in selflessness in each of these areas.  Praise the Lord that I have such a generous husband, so that I can learn to be more giving!  I want to hold my time, talents, gifts, and possessions with open hands.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in 2014 that I want to apply in this new year, it’s saying yes when God says, “Come along with open hands, daughter.”  His ways are always good and His love is unending.  I have experienced it time and again.  I have so many testimonies of His greatness and provision.  I’m sure 2015 will unfold with many more opportunities to sing the praises of the Lord.

I want this to be a year that I am poured out for others.  I want this to be a year in which I look confidently to the future because God has always been faithful.  So today I say, “God, here I am.  I’m open for You to use me however You see fit, and I am convinced that Your guidance is best for me.  I will open my hands and my heart to all that You have for me.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013



I struggle with this SO MUCH.  I get to the point where I think I have it mostly under control, where I end up wondering, "How can I possibly have to learn this lesson all over again?"

I so desperately want to be where Paul was at when he said, "...I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am."  (Philippians 4:11)

I realize it's a learning process, that there will be multiple opportunities that God gives me to practice contentment.  My current situation is another lesson in the subject of contentment.  I spent a wonderful weekend in Foresthill with my fiance and his family, and I absolutely loved being there with them.  I didn't spend much time in the Word over the weekend, but I was humbled and blessed by God's grace in giving me a heart of peace as we drove to the Sacramento airport for my flight.  I didn't cry.  I meditated on Paul's learning to be content while I was sitting at the airport.  I spent more time in the Word on the flight.  I got home, cleaned my room, talked with my mom on the phone, and went to class at the hospital.  From there I went to Lifegroup.  It was just so go, go, go! that I didn't have time to contemplate contentment much.

But on days like today, with very little going on, there is time for my emotions to seem stronger than usual and for me to really contemplate what's going on in the depths of my heart.

I want my contentment to be founded solely in Christ.  I want Him to consume me so much that I have every desire and longing satisfied in Him.  But sometimes I long for other things or people. I don't want my contentment to be based on future earthly events that I am eagerly anticipating. Lord, please transform my heart to cry out, "Whom have I in heaven but You?  And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalms 73:25-26

It's just so hard in the moment.  But I will press on, my God is here with me, and He is mightily at work.

How do I go about learning contentment?

I will meditate on God's truths.  Memorize, repeat...meditate on them in the night watches at the hospital.

1) "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." Philippians 4:11 [In Christ I have everything I need, and in Him I am content]

2) ...Being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," so that we confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What will man do to me?" Hebrews 13:5-6  [Because the Lord is my helper, I am content]

3) "Whom have I in heaven but You?  And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalms 73:25-26 [The strength of my heart is drawn from the Lord - He is my portion]

Jesus, please help me to learn contentment, to sit at Your feet, to rest in You, to be fully and completely satisfied in You no matter where I'm at in life.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Psalm 111

I love moments when I turn to Psalms and God so graciously points me to one that is very much what I need to hear, one that points me to Him and gets my eyes off of my circumstances.

Encouragements for my heart:

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart,
In the company of the upright and in the assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord;
They are studied by all who delight in them.
Splendid and majestic is His work,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonders to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will remember His covenant forever.
He has made known to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.

The works of His hands are truth and justice;
All His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever;
They are performed i truth and uprightness.
He has sent redemption to His people;
He has ordained His covenant forever;
Holy and awesome is His name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments;
His praise endures forever.

This is my God.
I want to be a part of bringing Him the praise that endures forever.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

what does a nurse do all day?

it's so hard to describe what a nurse does in the span of a 12-hour shift.  sure, i take care of four patients and their families, coordinate their care, get them what they need, document everything, administer medications, empty urinals/hats, answer call lights, talk to doctors, and bring cranberry juice or jello when people want it.  but it's more than that, and this is one of the ways i know how to explain it...

here are snapshots into my first week as an RN:

-as i was taking vital signs, this little guy was singing Katy Perry's "Firework" song to himself as he watched TV.  i couldn't help but smile.

-a girl in rehab had a full-on conversation with me, to the surprise of her therapist.  people with improving conditions make my eyes tear up.

-there was this little toddler who said some of the cutest things, and i couldn't help laughing because she was so adorable.  she said, "stop laughing!" with the cutest, serious pout.  that only led to more laughter.  sorry, sweetie.

-i put the movie "Brave" in the DVD player multiple times for a teenage guy.  who knew guys were so into Disney movies?

-i met the nicest most loving mom who had a child with a chronic condition that required continuous care.  she said that the way their life was now was normal to them, and they wouldn't trade him for anything...they love him to death.  such family loyalty makes me want to cry.  she gave me a hug at the end of the shift.  i love hugs from patients and their families!

-sometimes you take care of patients whose parents are nurses and that can be intimidating.  but this one family was so nice.  the mom told me, "thanks for taking care of us. you're the best!"  things like this make my day.

-there are certain things that we don't normally carry on the floor.  but when a mom with a super active infant wants some syrup and applesauce, it's totally my pleasure to scour the unit to find some for her.  mission successful.  also, holding the baby so she can get some rest cannot be called work!  i love chubby babies.

-i love being able to teach things, like how IV pumps work, what certain conditions entail, information people need to know to be discharged, how the doctors' rounds work...

and i have a job that lets me love people and serve them and i pretty much get to wear pajamas (aka scrubs) all day.  what's not to love?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

over and out.

the nclex is over.  it's over.  it's over.  i still can't believe it.  it ended around 1300 after 75 questions.

shouldn't i pick up that review book upstairs and start reading it?  shouldn't i answer some practice questions?



Saturday, September 29, 2012

hello nclex.

in just three days i will be taking the biggest, hardest test of my life, aka the NCLEX.

breathe in, breathe out.

"hello, nclex.  i really hope we can be friends!"  (shake hands, give the NCLEX a warm cup of coffee, a fresh pastry, a warm blanket, a crackling fire, anything anything anything that will promote friendship)

breathe in, breathe out.

but really seriously, NCLEX, what would you like? i can share with you random facts about the renal system or different classifications for antihypertensive drugs...or perhaps you're more interested in details about labor and delivery or why infants receive a Vitamin K injection after birth?

no fear, no worry.  why?  because my God is bigger than the NCLEX.  He's written me so many verses on the topic of fear and anxiety, so many beautiful truths that i want to permeate my thoughts with as i face this 75 to 265 question test.

i want to be flooded with peace during this possibly-6-hour-long test.  i will not worry what the future holds, because i know Who holds the future.

thanksgiving & prayer --> peace. (phil. 4:6-7)

Jesus, this test is Yours.   It's in Your hands, Your capable hands.  And I'm in Your hands too.  That's a peaceful thought!

Saturday, September 22, 2012


i'm at viento y agua right now, studying for the nclex.  i got a medium iced coffee with a shot of caramel syrup for here, which means it comes in a cute glass jar.  the little ice cube squares tinkle against the sides of the jar and a generous splash of half-and-half makes such a lovely picture.

this crazy love for coffee got me thinking about where it started.

when i was little, we spent a lot of time with our good friend mrs. kelley.  she would cut our hair, teach us how to feed dogs biscuits and not be afraid of them, let me eat grapefruit with sugar, learn how to dissect animals in 2nd grade and peel skin off a frog, ride horses, watch 'where the red fern grows,' and see puppies be born, among a myriad of lovely childhood memories.  she also introduced me to my love for all things kiwi-jam-related.  the first time i ate kiwi jam at her house, i loved it so incredibly much that i literally licked a drop off the table (it may have been  my plate, but i think it was the table).  i was reprimanded for that, but i also got to take home a jar of jam.  instant love.

well, i think she is where my obsession for coffee began (did i just say obsession? um yes, it's true).  she would always have a cup of coffee near her.  i remember it being in a white mug with that creamy look of deliciousness from the milk or cream she would add to it.  and her breath always smelled so sweetly and distinctly of coffee.  that may be weird, but i absolutely adore coffee breath.

and now i love coffee.

and she bakes and cooks all the time.  i think that rubbed off on me too, but that's another story.

thank you, mrs. kelley.