Surrender

Oh the ever illusive blog post.

Yes.  I think this is how I shall start this compilation of thoughts.  And here’s why: I’ve attempted to write this multiple times (*cough* six or eight *cough*).  Yet, somehow, it never felt right.  I wanted to give the best possible picture of my first few weeks at college, my parent’s divorce, what God’s been doing through it all.  I had this idea in my head of the beautifully worded and polished piece detailing my escapades and bringing glory to God.

Hah.

The thing about trying to bring glory to God is that being fake humble NEVER works.  And every time I started writing, the words just felt…hollow.

So here it is.  The experiences that I’ve had and am sharing with you.  Raw, painful, funny, amazing, inspiring and difficult experiences.  It will probably take multiple posts before you hear them all.  If you choose to read through all those posts I give you props for endurance.  And if you glean anything from this modge podge of thoughts, we CANNOT say it was by my doing.

We begin:

And there is no better place to begin than at the beginning.  As I watched my mom and two of my sisters drive away it was surreal.  I walked back to my room, chatted with my roommate, and unpacked a few more things.  (I will say that my mom would have unpacked and organized everything if I’d asked/let her.)  I wish I could say that I instantly broke down in tears and sobbed out the agony of being alone.  But all I felt was…

…numb.

The first week of school was a wake up call.  Hanging out on campus and getting used to things for a few days before class starts is almost a worse idea then being thrown straight into it!  Eight fifty on Monday morning (yes, the morning), and my first class was ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY LECTURE.  Don’t get me wrong, I love AnP.  But being thrown into it the very first day as my very first class?

Needless to say I was quite trepidatious.

My dorm, though technically “residence housing” is actually four miles off the main campus.  This means that I have to get up extra early every morning to be sure that I catch the bus on time to get to my class.  Unsure of how the bus system would work during the school week, I was a bit overzealous in my timing.

Arrived at my biology class forty-five minutes early, and proceeded to sit in the hall and worry some more.

You know that feeling when you are totally freaked out by something, but also really want to turn it over to God?  The inner war of butterflies on steroids.

I cannot say that my prayer that morning was particularly deep or insightful (or even fully coherent).  But it was genuine and heartfelt.  Something to the effect of “God please get me through this.”

Walked into my classroom that will seat several hundred students, and chose a seat near the front.  The professor standing by the lectern talking with students was a shorter, portly, balding white man.  He looked nerdy and kind of quiet, but sweet (hey, I like nerds).  Internal thought, Okay.  I can do this.  Ten minutes before class starts the man turns to all of us gathered already, says “Have a nice class!” and walks out.

Momentary panic.

At that moment my professor (the one actually teaching the class) strides in.  A huge black man with a powerful build and deep, resonating voice. (I found out afterwards that he is a native of Nigeria who mostly works in medical missions!!)  He started class with a powerful devotion from Ephesians 5:15-16.

Live purposefully, resting in God’s will for your life.  

Wow.

Then the incredible prayer followed by delving into the wonders of God’s creation – the human body.  I swear I came out of that class glowing.

The swell of that experience carried me through until Wednesday.  Then things went…interestingly.  In anatomy lecture (which I have Mon, Wed, Fri) we covered around seventy regional and directional terms that we would have to memorize and have a quiz on THAT NIGHT.  Having woken up that morning feeling unwell and exhausted, I wasn’t doing too great.  But determined to stick it out, I studied like crazy for the quiz until my next class.  Music in, slides and flashcards going, I thought everything was going pretty well.

Until I found out that I’d studied right through my bible class.  As in, missed it completely.  No excuse, no nothing.

Talk about rattled.

Remember those buses I get to ride every morning?  Early Thursday as I attempted to catch a bus to my chemistry class, three buses came by, filled up, and moved on.  Without me.  Getting to chemistry ten minutes late wasn’t a huge deal.  But after entirely missing a class the day before I was…distraught…to say the least.

The remainder of the week went well.  No problems.  Got to all my classes okay.  Only looked like a total freshman a few times.  Success in many books.

But I couldn’t enjoy it with the weight of the missed and then late classes hanging over me.

If you don’t know me, I am a planner.  I have a schedule, I know exactly how many minutes it takes me to get ready and do a devotion (40), and how quickly I can eat a meal (I’ve done it in 6 minutes).  I plan ahead, plan for things to go wrong.  But I don’t show up unprepared, and I don’t disappoint if at all possible.

So here I am, in the FIRST week of school – already that student. 

It was when I tried to write about all of these experiences in that polished and well phrased blog (version number one) that I totally broke.  Just snapped.

That was when I laid in my bed and sobbed gut-wrenching sobs that cut to the very core of my being.

Stripped of my support system.

Unsure of my ability to perform.

Afraid of failure.

Crying out to God in wordless pain.  He brought me here, so clearly.  I’d just recently heard that of the twenty thousand students that applied to this school, only TWENTY PERCENT were accepted.

But why would He bring me here, only to have me struggle?  If His plan was for me to succeed, why was I doing so poorly?

The thing about pouring yourself out to God, utterly broken, is that you are completely open to Him.  Desperate for any wisdom or comfort.  And in that place, it was as if a light bulb finally went off in my brain.

Just because God brought me here doesn’t mean that I’m here to succeed.  All I know is that I am here to glorify Him no matter what.

It was there, with that realization, that my prayer changed.  Not, “God help me do well so I can praise you.”

God, here I am.  Unable to bring anything to the table but the shattered mess of my life.  If you want me to succeed and go on to be a Certified Nurse Midwife on the mission field I will sing your praises and tell everyone who pulled it off.  But if you require of me to flunk out of all my classes, return home in humiliation, and flip burgers at cheap fast food restaurants until I’m forty, then your will be done.

Seems simple.  And you’d think that release would be easy for me by now.  In a way, it has become easier than it used to be.  But giving up EVERYTHING – dreams, expectations, plans – everything.  Even the plan that I’ve made from what God’s given me.  What He gave me was a dream to serve, and the gift of education.  Who’s to say that the steps in between will be my idea of what should happen?

That was when everything changed.  I am still studying hard (up to 50 hours a week on top of 17 credit hours is my goal).  And I want to do my best.  But succeed or fail in the eyes of the world, as long as I’m inside of God’s will nothing can go wrong.  

This is the beauty and assurance that I have.  This is what gives me strength every day.  This is how I can surrender my life and know with confidence that everything truly will work out.  Not luck.  Not chance.  Not by works.

Faith.

Sure I’m taking biology, chemistry, psychology and nursing courses.  My declared field of study is nursing.

But my main ‘course’, the degree I am truly earning is “How Much Do You Really Trust God, and Are You Going to Surrender Everything to Prove It.”  Week by week.  Day by day.  Class by class.  Minute by minute.

I am being stretched and strengthened for I don’t know what.  It hurts and it’s hard and I don’t know if I can survive.  Fortunately,

WHERE I AM WEAK, GOD IS STRONG THROUGH ME.

Me

Who am I?

The soul-searching question that many ask themselves and few are able to answer.  Scientifically we know that our past actions and surroundings play a part in who we are at present, and our actions now change our future.  We are genetically set up from birth to look a certain way, to have a distinct personality, to become a specific person.

But how can we sum up in just a few words the complexity of human nature?  Is there one word that is capable of capturing past, present, future, mistakes and failures, hopes and dreams?

I WAS so young and unsoiled.  I loved nothing more than to enter the magical lands of my books or to create worlds of my own.  I believed in fairies and truly thought Peter Pan would come for me one day.  The world was good.  Life was beautiful.

But through years of sickness and hardship I became hardened and afraid.  An insatiable depression swallowed me alive, burying my hopes and dreams in its inky despair.  I would lay in bed and not even have the energy to cry.  I didn’t dream anymore – my daytime imaginations had dried up and turned sour, and the only dreams I’d have at night were nightmares.

Only by the power of Christ did I come out from under that weight of Darkness.  His Grace poured over me, cool and sweet, soothing the crack and sores of y spirit.  He lifted me out of sickness and despair and set me in a safe place.  Trials of life still reach me, and sometimes drag me down.  But I face them stronger and wiser than before.  On days I fall back into the trap of hopelessness, I know there is a way out, a place of Salvation.  I AM alive!

So it is there, in Him (my Savior) that my hope for the future rests.  One day I would like to have a husband to call on and children of my own.  I would love to publish my writings (nonsensical scribbles though they may be).  I want to go into ministry and pour into the lives of others.  But all of that comes after and through One Person – MY HOPE – Jesus.

We move, we change, we love, we hurt, we stumble our way through life trying the best we know how.  Each one of us is so different, strange and complex.  But we share one thing, the one word that encompasses our lives, troubles, mistakes, hopes and dreams – who we were, are, hope to be.

We are HUMAN.

Above is a writing assignment I completed a few weeks ago, and I was fairly pleased with the way it turned out.  We were supposed to analyze ourselves – who we were, are, and hope to be.  I tell the story, vague as it is, of my life.  I became a Christ follower when I was very young, but only just a few years ago did I learn to love and rely on that Christ as my best friend.  This is my story.  This is me.

And this is the story of all of us.  We are human.  Human nature is not a bad thing, no.  We are created by a Great and Powerful God in His image, just the way He’d have us.  It is our SIN nature that drags us down and causes us to be less than He intended.  Yet we find REDEMPTION from all in the pure and beautiful Savior – Jesus Christ.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

A Day in the Life of Me

I am super special.  And amazing.  And talented.

(For those of you wondering, what I just said was TOTAL sarcasm.  Read on to find out why.)

Just in the last week and a half I have injured myself in way too many major ways.  I slipped in a creek and fell on one knee, on a rock, with my full weight.  I slammed my hip into the corner of a counter.  I sliced the front of my leg on a rabbit cage.  I bludgeoned my toe with a block of ice, effectively flattening it.  And just as my knee was recovering, I hit it on the corner of the coffee table.  Needless to say, it hurt to walk.

I do not usually admit to being clumsy or accident prone (and usually I’m not).  But this was just about the most painful week I’ve experienced in a long time.  And then things got really interesting.

You know that “game” where you jump into a pool, and someone throws you a ball in midair?  (I can already see you imagining what horrible thing I managed to do to myself here).  I was at a youth pool party on Sunday, and my dad was throwing a football to some of the guys.  So I went up on the diving board for my turn.  Despite what you may be thinking, I’m actually pretty good at throwing and catching footballs.  Not good for a girl.  Good for anyone.

I was all set to show off my skills, and God was like “Haha, no.”  You know that whole, “pride before a fall” thing?  Yeah.

All set, I jumped out over the pool.  I saw the ball coming right to me.  The perfect throw.  All I had to do was keep my hands open to receive it.  Guess what I didn’t do.  The ball hit my pinkie, ring, and middle fingers of my right hand.  Directly on the tips.

I went underwater and thought “Ow, that feels jammed.”  After resurfacing I grabbed the ball, swam to the side, and threw it to my dad.  For the record, it was a perfect spiral and landed right in his hands.  I had no time to feel pride over my perfect throw, however, because my fingers felt like they were broken.

As it turns out they weren’t all broken.  Just one of them.  Having only been in the pool for about ten minutes, and not wanting to leave yet, I packed my hand in ice and stayed for the rest of the afternoon.  I did splint my finger that night, but didn’t go to the doctor until the next day.  He then referred my to an orthopedic specialist.  It was there that I learned the amount of damage I’d caused.  Seriously, I didn’t think it was that bad because I didn’t get hit that hard.  I was wrong.

Turns out, I fractured the bone severely and partially tore the tendon from the bone.  This is a condition known as “mallet finger”.  In most cases it never fully heals properly, and the end of the finger is permanently crooked.

The instant I heard this the girly girl in me blanched.  She thought Oh no!  An irreversible deformity?  What guy could ever love a girl with a mallet finger?!  Yes, I do have one of “those” inside me, but I usually drown her with logic and reason.  Which is what I did in this case.

I realized that this is something a lot of girls struggle with.  How could a guy be attracted to you if you are overweight?  Or have cancer?  Or a prosthetic?  Or a birthmark?  Or a mallet finger?

Well if he doesn’t, THAT’S HIS LOSS.  If he’s not man enough to accept you despite your faults, no, if he doesn’t love you for them, he is not worthy of you.  There are too many girls who settle for the guy willing to overlook “defects” in order to get what he wants.  I am not one of them.  Mallet finger and all.

Not many guys will admit it, but they have their things too.  I know guys are supposed to like their scars as proof of “man cards” or whatever, but even males are susceptible to insecurities.  For all the dudes reading this, you know what you hate about yourself.  But someone out there loves it.  So think twice before you try to hide/remove/despise it.

As it turns out, if I wear this specialized brace for ten weeks, there’s a good chance that I’ll make a full recovery and regain full function in my finger.  If it happens that I’m stuck with a mallet finger for the rest of my life I know that the people around me will love me anyway.

Because if they don’t, it’s their problem.

/sīˈkädik/

Because murdering people is frowned upon, a blog is much safer for everyone.

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