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.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

the wedding ring of faith

Martin Luther, must you be so cool??

Just read what he said:

By the wedding ring of faith, [Christ, the bridegroom] shares in the sins, death, and pains of hell which are his bride’s. As a matter of fact, he makes them his own and acts as if they were his own and as if he himself had sinned; he suffered, died, and descended into hell that he might overcome them all.

How cool to think of faith being our wedding ring to Christ!

Here this rich and divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness. Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him. And she has that righteousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, “If I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his,” as the bride in the Song of Solomon [2:16] says, “My beloved is mine and I am his.”

Jesus, I love You.  I am Yours and You are mine.

Thank You, thank You, thank You!

Monday, September 3, 2012

rejoicing in the moment

there are so many new puzzle pieces in life right now!

new roommates, no school, studying for the NCLEX, teaching new sign language classes, different involvement in ministry, pretty open days, seeing the boyfriend once a week, spending time in new coffee shops, studying on the couch, hanging out with friends.

this morning i met with the sweet woman who is discipling me, and she encouraged me to love and enjoy every moment of the season of life that i'm in now.

i want to do that.  i want to rejoice in the Lord in every one of these circumstances.

and i realized i can enjoy all of this, i can revel in every moment, i can experience all of this change and newness all at once.  it doesn't have to be compartmentalized.  i think it might make my mind explode, but i want to experience every new moment with open eyes and an eager heart.

this is exciting.

"...Now I declare new things..." Isaiah 42:9

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ready, Set...Go?

I was so ready this morning to start doing something that requires lots of time and energy and focus... the opposite of where I felt I was (discontent that I had nothing to do and all around me people had stuff going on).  I wanted to start my job at the hospital so that I would have something to be busy with (even then, I don't want to be busy with nursing just to be 'busy').

That time will come soon enough.

Right now is a time to wait on the Lord.  He's called me to soak up His presence.  I have practically nothing but intense NCLEX studying until November.  My mornings can be spent in His Word with almost no time constraints.

My calling right now: draw closer to Jesus.

(Oh, and study a mountain of nursing books)

Monday, August 20, 2012


Someone once said, "Disappointments are God's way of saying, 'I have something better for you.'"


But for me, disappointments are far more than just that.  They are somewhat of an alarm, a call for me to evaluate myself.

-Who or what am I trusting in?
     I need to constantly rely on my God who is working all things for His glory and my good.
     Proverbs 16:9 - The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
     The Lord directs my steps for that very purpose described above!

     God's plans are infinitely better than mine are.
     I want His ways over what I could humanly dream up or desire.
     Isaiah 55:8-9 - "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
     I need to trust Him for what He has planned tomorrow, five days from now, and ten years in the future.

-Then, am I choosing to glorify God in this situation?
     I need to not complain and instead be content with present circumstances.

-Look at the good in what happened.
     Maybe I was able to spend more time with people I love.  Maybe I was able to rest.

-Look for the lessons God wanted to teach me.
     By going through the steps listed above!
     Take them to heart, allow God to change me, be moldable clay in the hand of the Potter.

He is my God, and I will trust Him no matter what happens.

Isaiah 62

Today (8/14/12) is Isaiah 62.

For Zion's sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem's sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.

I picture the Lord saying that He will not be silent, that He will not give up on me, until I get to the point where He has begun the good work He began in me and righteousness and salvation are perfected.  [Jesus, even when my heart is so distraught and not eager to learn, would You please continue to speak to me, to pour into me and not be silent?  I want to learn more of You, Jesus!]  He loves me enough to shout and call out and whisper and encourage me as He makes me more into the person He designed me to be.  At coffee with a friend this morning, she mentioned how she loves that God never gives up on doing the things that are His absolute best for us; He never makes mistakes.  (And I just met this girl this morning - what a treasure she is!)  Another friend posted this quote on her blog this morning that was something Lila Trotman once said: "Pray that God will make you a woman of His, no matter the cost."  [God, no matter what the cost, would You make me into a woman after Your own heart?  That's who I want to become!  If this situation right now is what You need to make me more like You, then I accept it.]

God speaks of Zion as being "a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God" (verse 3).  [Lord, You treasure me this much?  Wow!]

It will no longer be said to you, "Forsaken,"
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, "Desolate";
But you will be called, "My delight is in her,"
And your land, "Married";
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married. (verse 4)

So comforting.  Thank You, Lord, for the encouragements!

Monday, July 23, 2012

where i'm at {and the truths that comfort my heart}

It's hard to miss people.  As I was putting away a long-overdue basket of clean clothes last night, I pondered what it was that I really miss about having people I like be far away.  It's the lack of shared experiences, of time spent together.  And even when time is spent together over the phone or Skype, it's catching each other up on non-shared experiences that have occurred.  That of course creates a shared experience, but it's just not the same as actually having coffee together or walking at school or driving somewhere.

Despite all of my human, selfish emotions and self-pity, God so graciously spoke to me through His Word this morning.  Isaiah 50:10 seems to sum up the lesson of the summer:

"...Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on His God."

Who am I to turn to in these difficulties?  The Lord.  What is to be my response to times where my heart hurts?  Trust Him.  Rely on Him. {how does it seem so simple and straightforward, yet so difficult to do?}

When I don't like the situations I'm in, Lord, please let my heart's cry be that of Jesus' in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26:39.  He was facing the biggest trial ever.  Lord, in these small things, please help me to be faithful and say,

"...yet not as I will, but as You will."

In Jeremiah 31:25, the Lord speaks of how He meets everyone in their time of need, and I've seen that this morning.

"For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes."

Thank you for refreshing my heart, Jesus, for strengthening me in my weariness.  Please empower me with Your strength to finish well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

lessons of the summer (part 1)

i've come a little past the middle of the summer.

and i thought i would be a lot stronger than i was when the summer started.

but in actuality, it's as if this point in summer is just as hard, if not harder, than the beginning of the summer was.

the waiting has been long. it feels like even though 6 weeks have passed (and there are only 3 weeks until the moment i'm counting down to and 5 weeks until the other moment), that the waiting is just as hard and seems just as long. it's hard to look back and see the victories and lessons God has taught me so far. it's hard to keep moving forward with an eager heart to learn more lessons from God. i think i've been stuck in a bit of a stagnant pool. (that's one of the grossest mental images i can think of).

but it's time to move forward! what lessons has God taught me this summer? in each of these areas, i can still continue to grow, and I want to still grow.
  • Priorities. Am I putting the good in place of the best? Is Jesus my #1 priority in life? How am I exhibiting that in the way I live? Am I showing that I treasure Him above all else?
    • One day I read Psalm 27, and verse 4 stood out so clearly.  The Lord is all that matters.  Even if I had nothing else in life but the Lord, I would be satisfied, fulfilled, whole.  How i want to long for the Lord above all else!  If I chose a life verse, it would be this verse:
          One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.
    • Isaiah 46:9-10 holds many reasons why I want to know the Lord. There is no one who is His equal. He knows all that will happen and has happened. His purpose will prevail. How I want my heart to be in tune with His!
       "...For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'" Isaiah 46:9-10

  • Loving others. God has put it on my heart so much that I need to love people the way that He loves them.  There needs to be genuine, Christ-like love exhibited in my actions.  I've realized that the way I want to love people is not necessarily the way that makes them feel loved and is essentially not loving them.  As various opportunities have come up for me to love people, God has graciously put it on my heart so that I consciously think, 'This is an opportunity to love,' and hopefully, by God's grace, I act on that!

  • Trusting God.  God is sovereign and He is good.  That is the comforting answer to the bewilderment of life and the situations I don't understand. It should be easier for my heart to accept that foundational truth.  I've seen sad and tough patient situations that are hard to surrender to God's perfect will, but I must do that.  There are some things I'm not going to understand this side of heaven, but I can pray.  And I can love those families like crazy during the 12 hour period I have with them.
There are many more lessons, but maybe I'll do this in chunks.

Okay, that was chunk #1. :)

Please keep teaching me more, Jesus!  I want to learn from You!

Monday, July 9, 2012


I've been reading the last 26 chapters of Isaiah recently, and today was Isaiah 44.  These chapters have been such an encouragement.

Again and again, the Lord says "Do not fear" for so many reasons... He formed me, He will help me, He is with me.  It's so easy for me to fear the future and the unknown, because I get scared that the things that I want to happen won't happen. But whatever does come in the next week, month, year, I know God is walking right through it with me. My Creator will not forsake me. Plus, He is sovereign over all these events that are to come and He is working in and through them for my good. That adds another reason to have peace.

Six weeks into the summer, six weeks of summer school to go.
Now's the time to choose trust, to choose to love God's way and His plan.
Please help me, Jesus! I can't do this on my own.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trusting God is not easy (by Ray Ortlund)

This is from The Gospel Coalition.  It's a super encouraging post that looks at trusting God, something I need to be encouraged so often to do!

“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.”  Isaiah 40:31
Trusting God is not comfortable.  It doesn’t belong in a Hallmark card picture — a colorful valley, a quaint village, a church steeple, with a sentimental slogan.  Trusting God can be extremely uncomfortable, even painful.
Rabbi David Kimchi, one of the early Hebrew lexicographers, defined the verb “wait” inIsaiah 40:31 with reference to the medieval German verb for “twist.”  That is, waiting on the Lord can involve tension and pressure and stress.  How could it be otherwise?  Waitingis pent-up irresolution.  It is not easy to wait trustingly for the Lord:
“Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, . . . so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.”  Psalm 123:2
“My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”  Psalm 130:6
“I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.”  Psalm 143:6
My point is this.  You may be going through hell right now.  You may be bewildered, gasping, frightened.  But that doesn’t mean you aren’t trusting God.  It might mean you are trusting God.
Isaiah really understood something.  He understood that it’s in this tension that our strength is renewed.  How so?  There is something about coming to the end of ourselves and our own strength and wisdom — that’s when our hearts finally crack open, and the love of God pours in.
When we have nothing of our own left, when nothing will suffice but that which is directly and immediately of God, that’s when God alone is our sufficiency, and we find him to be so.  He’s worth the wait.

Monday, June 25, 2012

so comforting.

And He will be the stability of your times,
A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge;
The fear of the Lord is his treasure.
(Isaiah 33:6)

Such comfort and peace.  God is my stability.  Always.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

it's time to stand

I read Isaiah 36 and 37 today.  It's a fascinating story about Hezekiah and the people of Israel, and it is sandwiched between prophecies of judgment and prophecies of healing.  Hezekiah and the people of Israel are surrounded by the Assyrian armies.  It's a dismal situation, and to top it off, they are being taunted by Rabshekah (don't you just love the names?).  He is a servant of Sennacherib, the king of Assyria.  With boundless pride, Rabshekah questions why the people are following after the Lord and whether they're doing it right.  He tries to persuade them to surrender to the king of Assyria.  This king would offer them drinks, land, food, bread, and vineyards, "a land like your own land." (v. 17)  Rabshekah points out that the other nations' gods could not save them from the hand of the Assyrians; what made them think their God would save them? (v. 19 & 20) He even announces this in the Judean language so that all the common people can understand what he is saying...and hopefully become fearful and tremble and forsake the Lord.

What was the peoples' response?  They didn't answer Rabshakeh (v. 21).  Some of the king's staff tore their clothes and reported to the king (v. 22).

And when the king heard, did he and the people quake in fear?  As they could see the Assyrian armies over Jerusalem's walls, as the ridiculing words of Rabshakeh echoed in their minds, this is what their king did: "...Hezekiah...entered the house of the Lord." (37:1)  He instantly went to seek the Lord!  This involved talking with Isaiah and receiving the word of the Lord.  Hezekiah prayed to the Lord and asked for God to deliver them "that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God." (37:20)

And God uses Isaiah to speak to the people and assure them that He will deliver them and destroy Assyria.  In verses 36 - 38, the angel of the Lord destroys thousands of Assyrians in their own camp and Sennacherib is assassinated by two of his sons as he worships his gods.  What an answer and what a deliverance!

This applies to me so much right now.  I don't have an army surrounding Park Place, nor do I have an enemy standing outside our house walls yelling at me.  But I am on a journey of trusting God this summer, and it has modern-day parallels to the people of Israel.

The people are trying to seek the Lord (and have certainly made mistakes along the way, like allying with Egypt), but even during seeking the Lord, they go through this difficult time.  My circumstances this summer aren't always easy, even as I am seeking the Lord.  He allows tough times to happen.  Hosea 2: 6 says "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her so that she cannot find her paths."  Israel was following after idol-lovers instead of the Lord, and God orchestrated her situation in such a way that she would then seek Him.  I think this summer is a call for me to seek the Lord even more fully, to place Him as my first priority, and to learn to fully rely on Him.

Rabshakeh was tempting the Israelites with what seemed like the best option at the moment. Surrender to the king of Assyria; he promises so many good things; these troubles will be over.  My temptation this summer is to wallow in sadness, to feed any discontentment in my heart, to have a "woe is me" attitude, to not look for ways to love people, to complain, to not choose joy, let the hospital hours and those fleeting moments pass me by, where I could have shown someone ignore the lessons God gently and repeatedly shows me, to not allow the head knowledge to be applied in my heart, not trust God.

But I am so, so encouraged by the Israelites' and Hezekiah's instantaneous turning to the Lord.  How I want that to be my heart's solution to every tendency to take the easy way out.  In a song by Laura Story called "Make Something Beautiful," she says,

"I admit there is a yearning
For the hurting to subside
But not at the risk of missing
What you're doing in my life

Yes, there are going to be tough moments this summer.  There will be "Rabshakehs" everywhere, tempting me to focus on the present, to look at the world, to choose the easier path (with fleeting happiness and without true joy).  But I want God.  I want His voice and His ways.  As someone once posted on Facebook, "In trials, is your end goal freedom, or are you more concerned with what He forges in you during the process of the fight?"

With the encouragement that the Israelites sought the Lord and He answered them, I similarly want to seek His face and soak in the lessons and love that He has for me.  As they were able to stand upon His faithfulness through His strength, I want to do the same!  This summer is a test of faith, a call to arms, a time to stand, while saying,

"Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O Lord,
We have waited for You eagerly;
Your name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls." Isaiah 26:8

And I want to be found at the end of this summer saying, "Behold, this is our God for whom we have waited that He might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation." Isaiah 25:9

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

well, if i WERE to write a blog, this is probably where i'd begin

The way this summer is laid out was not my ideal summer.  If I could create the perfect summer it would not involve school or having my boyfriend be 8 hours away.  It would not have a nursing research class that’s 4 hours twice a week and makes pretty much no sense.  It would not have 2 ½ months of not spending time with the aforementioned guy.  It would not have 12-hour nursing shifts that start at 7:00 a.m.  It would not have coffee pots randomly going off at 1:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 a.m. when I need my coffee.  It would not have a girl who’s discontent.

And that’s what it comes down to.  Am I content with these circumstances, am I joyful with where God has me, and do I trust His guidance over these 100 days of summer?  That’s where I want my heart to be and that’s what I’m striving for.  This is the beginning of that journey.

Back in January, I chose a word for the year, and ironically (actually, more like God-knew-I’d-need-this), my word was “trust.”  I figured that since there would be so many life-changes this year, I’d need to practice trusting God.  As this year set off, little did I know how much more I’d need to learn to trust God; I thought I had it down pretty well, but I don’t.  All semester long, He gave me little treasures of Scripture or tidbits of knowledge through Bible studies, sermons, or songs that were all related to trusting God.  I started compiling them into a flowchart, or as we nursing students call them, “concept maps.”  (I’m such a nursing nerd.)  These lessons have been a sort of foundation for the path of trusting God that this summer holds.

Barely three weeks into summer and I already have a million things to add to the Trust concept map.  I am so amazed at how God reveals lessons and truths to me right when I need them.  And He doesn’t stop with just one amazing Scripture.  He gives me several to meditate on and revel in.

I want this summer exactly as it’s unfolding.  I know this is God’s plan, and deep down I want His will for this summer, rather than some cheap plan I could think up instead.  I know that His will is what is best for me.  He is using all these circumstances for my good (Romans 8:28).  He also does exceedingly, abundantly above all that I ask or think.  I am not able to comprehend how He’s doing it, but I know He is.  I am not able to understand the ‘why,’ but I know He does.

I know that God has so many sweet lessons to teach me during this time that would probably not be possible if I were in different circumstances.  I want to learn these lessons, I want to soak them deep into the recesses of my heart, and I want to be changed as a result of this summer. 

He’s teaching me to love Him above all else and to put Him first in my life.  He’s teaching me what it means to be wholeheartedly abandoned to Him and to follow after Him without hesitation.  He’s teaching me to trust Him with my future; my having ‘control’ over anything is really just an illusion.  He’s teaching me contentment in all circumstances.  (Stay tuned for more lessons to come…)  Backing up all of these lessons are some of the most applicable and relevant Scriptures God’s ever shown me in my times with Him (Hosea 11:12, 14:8-9; Isaiah 30:18, to name a recent few).  What sweet, precious truths.

And that’s just it.  I mentally know all these truths.  They are there, embedded in the neurons of my brain.  But I want to apply them in my heart.  As someone once said, the twelve inches from your head to your heart is one of the farthest distances to travel.  This is the journey I’m on this summer, hand-in-hand with Jesus, and I’m excited for where we’re going to travel together.