Hurting Through the Holidays

“I had a friend who went through a bone marrow transplant”

That’s how I start it off every. single. time. one of my patients ask why I chose to be a nurse on the BMT floor. The holidays can be hard when I think of Danny and notice he isn’t here….especially when his presence was always so expected, so well known. I spent so many days after his death turning my nose towards the sky, Why did You let Danny have leukemia, God? Why did You let him die?

Since I became a nurse and started working with patients just like Danny, I’ve found myself asking the “why” questions again. Why this family, God? What are You doing with this?

I know I’m not alone in asking this.

Some days are hard, no matter who you are or where you are in life. Some days we all cry to the heavens “Why me? Why my family? What are You doing with this?”

What are we supposed to do during these days? What are we supposed to do when life gets so hard and so confusing? When you can’t see, can’t believe, that God has a purpose, or that God is listening, or that God cares? What are we supposed to do when everything is spinning out of our control….and neither God nor His rescue mission is on the horizon?

Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!”

Then the angel went away.

Luke 1:38

Before Jesus could be born, before Jesus could walk among us, before Jesus could die for us and save our souls, there had to be a willing servant. And that servant was Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus.

The virgin who never knew a man, the girl who had done nothing of her own doing to conceive a child out of wedlock, the [i can imagine] frightened, little Mary who had to go before her friends and family and attempt to explain that she had not sinned, but rather was carrying out the work of the Lord — she had to be willing to accept what was happening to her, regardless how confusing, how difficult, how scary the Lord’s work might have been.

And praise God for her willingness despite it all!

In my heart, I know this is the answer to my, “Why?”

The Lord’s work does not have to make sense to us. It doesn’t have to be fair, or easy, and it certainly doesn’t have to keep us from all harm. We don’t even have to see it come full circle later in life. Not if He can accomplish what He needs to accomplish through it.

It’s been a year and a half, and to this day I still don’t know why Danny died from cancer. It doesn’t make sense, it wasn’t fair or easy, and several people were harmed in the process. But I can be certain that God used it for His glory in some way.

The truth, just like for Mary, is that God promises to be with us through the challenge. Emmanuel is His name.

In every tragedy, every confusing, heartbreaking, earth-shattering situation that we endlessly cry to God, “Why, why, why, why!?”

God is there – even when we don’t understand or feel it. Like Mary, we have to accept the pain, accept the scary and confusing, and trust that Emmanuel is with us after all. Emmanuel is working somehow.

I am a servant of the Lord, my heart whispers through the pain. Let this happen to me as You say!

With much love to my BloggerFam & extra hugs for everyone hurting through the holidays,

Allie

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The Beginning of the Tunnel

I want to quit, she whispered through the tears. You don’t understand how unhappy I am.

She lifted her gaze up to the heavens and questioned if He was really listening to her. A piece in her heart struggled. . . . .Maybe He isn’t.

Have you ever been stuck in a place you desperately wanted to escape?
There is no “light at the end of the tunnel.” At least not any light in sight.
There is no happily ever after.
No reassurance, no hope, no divine intervention from God that either
A) promises you are exactly where He wants you to be
or
B) whisks you away from the situational unhappiness you’re experiencing

Has this ever been you? Have you ever wanted to just quit? Have you ever been so confused and heartbroken that you wondered whether or not God could see you, hear you, let alone rescue you?

Recently, I ran into this girl. The girl who endlessly searched the clouds for heaven, in total disbelief that God had His hands on her life. The girl who had no hope or answers.

Why are You doing this? she begged Him again and again.
Silence.
Can’t You see that I don’t want to be here?
Silence.

This girl would ask, “What should I do?”
But I didn’t have any answers for her, either.
This girl would doubt God’s goodness, God’s plans, and sometimes, even God’s existence.

Has this girl ever been you?

Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.

Hebrews 10:36

Right around the time that I ran into this girl, I simultaneously ran straight into this verse.
In the middle of my every day morning devotion, I discovered, maybe?, an answer for her restless heart.

Patient endurance is what you need now, I recited to her.
Endurance, I would tell her, not quitting.
Patience, I’d remind her, not right now.

And even though the Lord spoke His Word through her soul and super-glued back together her broken heart, there were some days that were still hard. There were some days where she still questioned. There were some days she still didn’t understand God’s goodness or His plans.

I think it’s natural for us to wonder what God is up to when we’re stuck at the beginning of the tunnel. We’re human. He knows that.
I think it’s common for us to be “miserable” in the places we sometimes find ourselves. Especially the places that don’t go as planned, or the places that are smack-dab in the crossfire of the devil’s schemes to break our hearts.
I think it’s easy, during these times, to question God’s plans for our lives. It’s easy to throw our hands to the sky and shout, I want to quit! I hate this! Can’t You even see me, God?!

It’s easy, but it’s probably not the best route we should take. If I’ve learned anything during my short twenty-two years of life, I’ve learned that, sometimes, when you are exactly where God wants you to be, that is when you can be the most “miserable.”
It’s during these trying times that God tests us, shapes us, molds us, teaches us, grows us, and gives us so many new pieces to our testimonies.

Can’t You see that I’m hurting, God?!
Rest assured, He can. He knows. And He is preparing you for greater.
He is pushing you towards His will, designing a God-sized story you can tell, and pulling you closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. . . . .where He is already standing.

If you’re in a place you want to quit,
enduring a heartache you don’t understand,
questioning the plans God created for your life,
and wondering if He hears your endless cries for rescue:

 

Patient endurance is what I need right now, she whispers softly to herself. So that I can continue to do God’s will.
Then I will receive all that He has promised.

With much love to my BloggerFam,
Allie

Many of you may remember my girl Caroleah Brister from my back in prime during my Co-Lin days — she is getting married this weekend!!!!!
I LOVE YOU, CAROLEAH! I can’t thank God enough for your friendship, and I can’t wait for the excitement to come!!!!!IMG_5089

Disclaimer: I’m still terrified of airplanes

We’d all had a fun time that weekend. Celebrating the bachelorette trip in Nashville for my friend’s upcoming wedding was the best way to get us all re-excited for the next few weeks to come.

I noticed that the stress bumps on my fingers had started flaring up again. Even more so than lately. I get these bumps every now and then when something horrific or nerve-wracking is standing in my near future, and this time was proving to be no different. I boarded the plane towards home with the rest of the girls and quietly scratched my fingers. I scratched them so feverishly that they started to ache, and finally I forced myself to stop. I clenched the seat instead. Tightly.

I hate flying. I can’t stand feeling out of control, I’m uncomfortable being stranded in mid-air, and I’m really, really terrified of heights altogether. So I despise flying in airplanes. Lucky me, that was where I found myself.

We hit a lot of turbulence as we were descending through the clouds, and I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest. Then the alarms started sounding from the cockpit. First there was only one alarm, but soon there were two and then three going off all at once.
None of the other girls seemed to mind too much. I heard laugher and chatter coming from the tail end. In the seats beside me, they were telling jokes and stories. I tried to smile but couldn’t focus for very long. Eventually, everyone picked up on my discomfort. My frightened expressions were hard not to notice, I’m sure.

In these moments of panic and internal chaos, which are actually super comical now when I re-watch the videos they recorded of me, all I could think was: I am going to die.

Very few times in my life have I had this thought. There have certainly been flashes of fear, anxiety over hearing “something” making noise in the house, semi-near-death-experiences, and even a bad dream or two where I faced sudden death. But very rarely have I truly thought to myself, This is it. I’m about to die.

This was not a fun thought.

In the weirdest way, it’s possible God used this to start some sort of revelation in my heartsoulmindstrength. I had a pretty enormous reality check.

My worries these last few weeks weeks will not matter.
My stresses these last few weeks will not matter.
The money I’ve been making will not matter.
The house I’ve worked so hard to set up will not matter.
The grudges I’m holding will not matter.
The “perfect” instagram account will not matter.
None of this stuff is about to matter!

Reality check, indeed. Thanks, God.

I recently came across Hebrews 11. We all know the famous verse of this chapter— “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
But as I kept reading, God revealed parts of scripture I’d never seen before. And suddenly, my reality-check-nightmare made total sense.
The rest of the chapter goes on to list all the important Bible characters we grew up reading Sunday School stories about. It mentioned Abel and his faith in the Lord. Noah, Abraham. Sarah. Isaac. Jacob. Jospeh. Moses. (Shall I continue?)

And smack dab in the middle of this chapter, the Lord slaps us all in the face with this truth:

All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,
admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.
Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one……..

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:13-16‬

Hmmph. All of these people lived by faith, and all these people did that because they were focused on a lot more than these earthly things I find myself handing over my un-divided attention to. In fact, the Bible says, they went as far to consider themselves “strangers and foreigners on earth.”

If they had focused on earthly things, their faith would’ve had ample amounts of opportunities to be wavered. To “return” again and again to their old ways, their old worries and fears and silly, little stresses. But instead, these faithful ladies & gents were unwavering in “longing for a better country — a heavenly one.”

My worries these last few weeks weeks will not matter.
My stresses these last few weeks will not matter.
The money I’ve been making will not matter.
The house I’ve worked so hard to set up will not matter.
The grudges I’m holding will not matter.
The “perfect” instagram account will not matter.
None of this stuff is about to matter!

And none of your “stuff” is about to matter, either. We’re all living this life on earth together, but someday soon we’ll face our own death. (Whether or not a mini-plane crash takes me out is still to be determined). Someday, none of this “stuff” will matter in comparison to what is to come in the Heavenly country Jesus went ahead of us to prepare.
So, stop worrying. And stop stressing. And stop giving yourself over to all the earthly “stuff” that could easily change in the blink of an eye. Neither your money, your grudges, nor your perfect Instagram accounts are gonna make it through the Pearly Gates.

Reality check. We are foreigners in a country that is not our home. It’s time to start living with eyes fixed towards our Heavenly Home.

With much love to my BloggerFam & a shoutout because my best friend gets married in 18 days!!!!!!!,
Allie

One in a Bagillion

Folding laundry, picking up around the house, making lists – doing all the things I usually do when I’m not distracted and sleeping during the day, i.e. like I am when I’m on my work week. This last week went by rather smoothly and even a little fast. It was unusual (lol). 

I’ll skip the attempts I usually make at a cool/funny introduction and say what’s on my heart to share: during one of my easier work weeks, I somehow found myself feeling a little lonely. It was odd, because I was stuck on the floor for 12 and a half hours at a time with tons of other nurses, healthcare workers, and duh our patients. It’s hard to feel lonely in the hustle and bustle of the hospital…..even in the “stillness” of the night.

So how did I feel so lonely?

When I’m sleeping all day and working all night for seven of these bad boys in a row, I’ve discovered that it really does get lonely.
I feel disconnected from all of society, out of the loop from everything going on in the world, and completely engrossed with what’s happening on the BMT unit.
And that’s it.
I only think about my patients, I try (and probably fail) at carrying their burdens on my back as I get them what they need all night, and then I go home to sleep and prepare for a few more nights of the exact same routine. 

Call me crazy that I have constant interaction with all kinds of people, yet still feel so darn lonely. I still feel like a nobody, that nobody else sees or hears, lost in a mix against the hundreds of other doctors and nurses and healthcare providers that our hospital’s patients have to answer to. That my patients have to answer to. In the giant melting pot that is UMMC, I’m just a first-year nurse. I’m just a nobody, doing the job I was trained to do.

My friends don’t care that I work all the time; they have other friends.
My family doesn’t care that I miss nearly every event; everyone else is there.
My church doesn’t care that I’m not as involved as I used to be; someone is always there to take my place.
My husband doesn’t care that I’m not at home, or that, when I am home, I’m alseep; he’s got school work to do.
And worst of all, my patients don’t care if it’s me or their other nightshift nurse coming in; they are stuck in the hospital for weeks on end. They see nurses all the time.

(I know this seems a little dramatic. Please forgive me). 

I’m writing all of this down, and I’m embarrassed to share it with someone other than the voice inside my head. It comes across rather selfish.
But it’s vital to the lesson God’s been working on my heart, so I have to be frank about my feelings of feeling like a Nobody.

And I’m willing to bet we all feel like a Nobody at least once or twice in this life. We all feel lonely. We all stop and wonder if anyone sees us, misses us, recognizes the hard work we’re putting in. We all feel the weight of our own sorrows sometimes. We all question if we are noticed at all.

But rest assured, Jesus notices.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched His cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch His clothes, I will be healed.”
Immediately…..she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from Him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched My clothes?”
“You see the people crowding against You,” His disciples answered, “and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”
Mark 5:27-31

Boy, can I relate to the woman in the story. She didn’t expect to have a full conversation with Jesus. She didn’t dare ask Him to stop and give her the time of day. Instead, she figured if she could ease her way through the crowds and simply touch His garment, she would be healed from the great suffering she was experiencing.

And so she crept to His side, reached out and touched His clothes. She was probably grinning at her success as she started to turn around and head back home when–

Who touched My clothes?

Jesus knew. Jesus noticed her. Out of all the people crowding Him, Jesus still saw the Nobody. And the story didn’t stop there; He searched for her. Jesus called out for the Nobody.

I don’t know you or your story. I don’t know what you’re experiencing today. I don’t know if you’re in a rut of the mundane, wondering if your contribution matters to anyone. I don’t know if you’re questioning your worth, your place, your position God has given you in life right now. I don’t know if you sometimes feel like a Nobody lost in the world. One nurse in a hospital full of them. One person in a bagillion different faces.

We can all feel like a Nobody sometimes. We can all feel lonely. We can all stop and wonder if anyone sees us, misses us, or recognizes the hard work we’re putting in. We can all question if we are noticed at all.

The disciples couldn’t believe it. They didn’t understand. There are people crowding against You, and yet You can ask, ‘Who touched Me?'”

It’s true. Jesus notices. Regardless of how it feels in the everyday routine, you are not a Nobody to Him. 
Who touched My clothes? He asked, His eyes searching through the crowd.

Jesus notices. And that’s enough for me.

With much love to my BloggerFam,
Allie
I’d like to add that this has nothing to do with anyone making me feel lonely or left out. It is mostly all subconscious and in my head. I am not depressed and I do not hate my job! This post is brought to you by my pride that demands a constant need for recognition.

Unsatisfactory Thoughts at 3am

I write this post to you at 3am on a Friday morning. I’d like to say it’s because I’m one of those nightshift vampires, and my body still hasn’t had time to re-adjust to my off-time. But I know this is not the truth. 

The truth is, God needed some alone time with me. So He put Thomas to sleep with the rest of my town, and He gave me un-interrupted time to sit at the Throne. 
(I would’ve done my quiet time once Thomas left for school, God. But if it’s now that You’re asking for my heart, it’s now that You will get it).

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the girl I was just a few months ago. Before nursing school ended, before I got married (!!!), before I moved away from the quietness of Harrisville and to the noisy streets (and trains) Clinton offers. That girl was so different from who I am today.

That girl dreamed and wished. She had spent her entire life doing so. 

As a child, “If I could just be a teenager….”
As a teenager, “If I could just get to college….”
As a college student, “If I could just get through nursing school….”

I’m here now – on the other end of these wishes. I became a teenager, and then I grew into a college student, and finally I graduated and became a nurse. I’m here now. But I’m still not wholly satisfied. 

That girl dreamed and wished, but she put her dreams into the wrong basket. She was confident that if she could finally reach the next stage in life, she would become satisfied. But here she is – three different stages deep – and she is not. Nor will she ever be, if she continues to dream and wish for things that belong in this temporary home.

But godliness with contentment is great gain,
for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.
As for the rich in this present age,
charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches,
but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6-7, 17‬ ‭

I was so sure that growing up would give me satisfaction. I was positive that starting my own life – with my own “things”, my own money, my own riches – would fill my heart with joy. But here I am, on the other side, and I’ve yet to find joy in any of these things. . . . .and that statement holds truth for each of the different stages I’ve drifted through thus far. 

I am not satisfied that I went to high school. High school did not give me joy (lol). I am not satisfied that I went to college and then completed it. Nursing school most definitely  did not give me joy, nor does the fact that I’m a real-live-working-gal now. And to continue on, I’m not even satisfied now that I’m married to a dude who puts freshly-baked cookies directly in my lap and turns on a Harry Potter movie. But the old me really believed that these things would make her happy. 

The truth to my discontentment lies behind the old, old story about going home to glory. I am not satisfied, I am not content, because there is nothing on earth that can satisfy my deepest longing – or yours. 
At the roots of our core, we long to see God. The old, old story promises that one day we will finally see His face.

And we will never be truly satisfied until we do.

With much love to my BloggerFam,
Allie

Those Days

You know those days. . . . .
You get off work, walk to your car, climb in the driver’s seat, and completely break down in tears. 
Defeated. Discouraged. Helpless. Fruitless. Joyless. Confused. Frustrated. Angry. Abandoned. 

Is it possible to feel so many different emotions all at once? One might ask.
My life is a living, breathing testament that can easily answer you, Yes. 
You know those days. We all have those days.

And today is that day for me. 

I’m no stranger to vulnerability – so here it goes. This morning, I got off work, walked to my car, climbed in the driver’s seat, and completely broke down in tears. Eventually I cranked up and drove a few miles down Woordrow Wilson; the tears didn’t subside even a little. I threw every question in God’s face that I could muster words for. 

Why did You put me here?
Why did You pick me for this?
How did I even get to this place I’m stuck running through in slow motion?!

The rest of my questions, my feelings and tears, I wasn’t able to physically verbalize. The huffing and puffing from my chest to my throat were, honestly, out of control. I decided the Lord settles for my thoughts and prayers just the same, so I continued on my drive in total silence – but my mind was racing and active. 

How could You put me here?
I’m surrounded by so much heartache!
I’ve been thrust into a place where I have to fight daily with the devil – and I am losing!
How could You leave me here!?

Buzz.
It was probably unsafe to check my phone while driving with uncontrollable tears down the interstate, but  l ignored my safety precautions and did so anyway. 

“Hey, how can I pray for you?” 

Those are the kind of friends you need on these kind of days.

You know these days well, I’m sure. Who doesn’t experience the struggle every once in a while? Who could possibly be exempt from the heartache and confusion and chaos that this life has to offer?!

The real question, though: Who are you when these days come around?

I’ll tell you who I am, who I’ve been–
I am frustrated, and I am discouraged.
I am, more often than not, joyless and helpless.
I am the one who sulks and smirks when these days are standing at my door.
I am not much of a warrior in the midst of the Spiritual Battle that I know I’ve been called to fight in.
And, now, I am tired of being that person.

Who are you?

Today, during one of “those days,” not only was I re-focused back to the Spiritual – not fleshly – battle we are fighting, but I was reminded of the opportunities provided because of it.
The opportunity for growth and self-relfection.
The opportunity to be a friend when being a friend is the last thing you want to be.
The opportunity to share the undeniable love of Jesus Christ when the love of Jesus Christ is nowhere to be found.
The opportunity to re-group, re-focus, and start again.
The opportunity to minister to someone who might really, really need it.
The opportunity to practice service, all the while practicing how to never growing weary of doing it.

I worked all night and got my day started [what feels like] a long time ago, but my day is actually just beginning. It might be one of “those days,” — but the Lord can turn any one of them into an opportunity instead.

Will you let Him do the same for you?

With much love to my BloggerFam,
Allie

Bigger Than Politics

I’m beginning to believe it’ll never stop. As long as there is breath in our lungs and voices from our throats, it just won’t ever stop. 

The hatred, I mean. The name-calling. The fighting, yelling, screaming, cussing, beating. The incredibly, undeniably draining, stresses and struggles that go hand in hand with racism, violence, and all the emotions and feelings surrounding us today. 

Where to even begin?

Maybe, before I lose most of you, I’ll start by saying this isn’t a political post. Frankly because I’m sick and tired of politics. Republican, democrat, conservative, liberal, flipping independents — it just doesn’t matter anymore. There are far greater issues at stake than voicing my opinion and beliefs about which side of the fence I rest my feet. Especially when I don’t fully condone any side. Or political figurehead.

That’s my point to this whole post, really. All sides, both sides, every side — there are faults no matter where you point. There are problems and lies and concerns and issues and just plain wrong no matter what you look. Because none of us are Jesus Christ, and therefore none of us are perfect, and therefore each of us are consumed by the weight of this sinful world – and usually act upon it. We all have faults and we all tell lies and we all are wrong in some way, shape, or form. Because, if nothing else can unify our division in political parties, the fact that we all belong to the Guilty Party certainly will. 

The devil is ecstatic, and that’s where my heart splits in half. Whether it’s the NFL or the policemen or the other hundreds of protestors around the country, there is drama and opposition. And the devil is ecstatic. Because nowhere in these events – even in the peaceful protesting of taking a knee during the national anthem – is Jesus’ love spread. There is only more division. More opinions. More stress. 

Jesus commands to “love your neighbor as yourself,” but I don’t see His heart’s desire being practiced. Not even from outspoken Christians. Not even from me. And, probably, not even from you.

Thomas brought me to my knees last night when he reminded me of the love I’ve been called to share. The love I haven’t been sharing. The love of Jesus Christ. The love where we love our neighbors as ourselves. This is bigger than politics. It’s bigger than your opinions and beliefs. It’s bigger than needing to be heard and understood. 

In the end, at the Pearly Gates, I really don’t think you’ll give this struggle a second thought.

So put down the hatred. It’s getting so old. It doesn’t matter if you love Trump or if you hate Trump. It doesn’t matter if you’re red or yellow black or white. We’re all precious in His sight.

Until we start treating each other in that way, we will only continue being divided. 

With much love to my whole darn BloggerFam,
Allie

Make Me Rich

Was it enough?

I’ve wondered this too many times to count these last few shifts. Adding the first mere weeks to my lifetime dedication of being a nurse, I’ve watched patients come and go. And it’s been eventful – life changing, even – to say the very least. 

God’s been teaching me a lot more than time management skills and the perfect tilt in holding an empty syringe juuuuuuuuust right in order to draw a few milliliters of blood. He’s been teaching me how to love on people who have lost hope and faith. . . . .especially when I question my own hope and faith.

Was it enough?

Did I love them correctly? Was I there when they needed me? Did I let them cry on my shoulder for the right amount of time? Did I ease their troubled minds? Did I answer their questions honestly but effectively? Did I help at all? Did I make a difference at all? Every movement, every word, every tear, was any of it enough for them?

I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll never know. Maybe I’ll spend my entire career wondering these same thoughts. Replaying the scenarios over and over again in my head – until I can’t see or hear anything besides my patient from three days ago. Clear breath sounds, I documented. States “feeling uneasy.”

But was that enough?

I don’t want to live in the world of complacency. I don’t want to spend forever “just makin’ it.” I don’t want to deprive my patients of the excellent care they deserve when my mediocrity and laziness could have changed. I don’t want to extend only a helping hand when his or her family members needed both arms extended into a hug.

Was it enough?

Probably not. But I can keep striving to reach my goals of excellency. I can keep learning, listening, reading, watching, doing, so that the next time, maybe, it will have been enough. I can keep hiking until they each get the care I prayed Mr. Danny to receive from his own nurses before the good Lord called him home. I can keep fighting until the good Lord calls me home instead.

Are you doing enough? Whether it’s school or your job or your friendships or your marriage or your life altogether: is it enough? Can you get better? Can you pray to be a little bit stronger?

Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Proverbs 10:4

O, God! I see my patients’ faces, and I cry, Make me rich.

With much love to my BloggerFam,
Allie

Flooded with Thoughts

Today is Thomas’ birthday, and there is no other relevance in this post with regards to that statement whatsoever, but the guy deserves a shout out. I love you, Thomas!
I’m laying here on the couch, Harry Potter playing softly in the background, with not a thing to do but continue laying here. This is bliss. 

I feel so disconnected. I already felt disconnected, after graduation, when I started working at the hospital every other weekend. [I just thought nursing school made me unsocial]. But now that I work seven nights straight, still including every other weekend, I feel completely cut off from all of society. I forgot that life existed outside the hospital, and I forgot that life carried on during the day while I slept comfortably in bed. This schedule is weird and is taking some time to get used to. It’s also taking some time to catch back up on sleep. I repeat: this moment on the couch is truly bliss. 

With all the recent flooding and demolition going on in Houston, I had to stop and really ponder what I’ve been seeing. There has been obvious destruction, tears, questions, and heartache. Peoples’ homes, vehicles, and “things” have been carried away, going with it all their stability, comfort, and sentimental memories. I truly can’t imagine. 

Mostly, I’ve seen the revolving question– Your “loving God” flooded Houston and killed a lot of people. How can you still call Him loving?

Alas, I can. 

My loving God is still just as loving. My loving God is still just as all powerful and all knowing and all seeing as ever before. Though the weather and the seasons and the things in our lives may change, my loving God has yet to do so.  Even with tragedy, He is still my loving God. And He is still good. 

It’s difficult to watch the struggle. It’s horrible to see the news, the photos, the truth that people are suffering and they are lost with nowhere to go. But my loving God did not flood the city. My loving God is not an evil puppeteer laughing from behind this catastrophe. Rather, He is the lighthouse and refuge to turn to. He alone is the answer through the mess of questions. I say this confidently and boldly.

Billy Graham once spoke, “Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are exempt from the tribulations and natural disasters that come upon the world. Scripture does teach that the Christian can face tribulation, crisis, calamity, and personal suffering with a supernatural power that is not available to the person outside of Christ.”

I think Billy pretty much sums it all up. 

The Bible is clear that in this world, we will have trouble. It’s inevitable. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. But we can “Take heart!” For Jesus Christ has already overcome the world— and along with it, all the tribulations to come. 

God is still good in the tragedy? Even though He didn’t save us? Even though He didn’t put a stop to it? Even though He sat back and watched the tragedy unfold? 

Malcolm Muggeridge put it well when he said, “Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness.”

My heart is broken for Houston and the people affected by the storm. It is horrific. But my heart is broken more for those who don’t trust God’s goodness despite it all and God’s faithfulness through every tribulation before now.

My God is still good and He is still God, even in the midst of tragedy and uncertainty. When the floodwaters rise, when the rain falls, there is some kind of “greater good” that God has in mind. So grow through the pain. Trust through the storm. Cry, scream, but rebuild again. 

His love surrounds us still. 

With much love to my BloggerFam,
Allie

Overcome It

With all the violence and hatred that’s going on in the world and especially over the last few weeks, my heart has pretty much stayed at a completely-broken-in-half state. It’s heartbreaking to work all day long in the hospital, caught up in the problems my patients have to endure, then get off work, watch the news, and be reminded of the other problems in this world. I mean, seriously. It’s taking a tole on me big time. 

I can’t get on twitter without reading vicious, awful words from both sides of opinions going back and forth at each other. (and, Fam, I love getting on Twitter!). I can’t turn on the television without seeing some ridiculous commercial or a newscast that tells us all how to think. I can’t even hardly eat dinner with friends without the difficult conversations about politics and differing beliefs being brought up. Voices raised. The silent treatment eventually in play and final.

I sat down to read my Bible and felt the breath of God sweep across my shoulders. I heard His still, small voice speaking directly to my heart. With all the violence and hatred in the world, with all the heartache I see every day at work, with all the frustration over our differing opinions that I’ve let my mind be wrapped up in, Jesus pretty much literally bent down from Heaven and whispered, Just remember My truth instead.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: ‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭5

This verse sums up the world’s problems in one sentence. Have the same mindset as Jesus Christ. When it comes to violence and hatred, have the same mindset as Jesus Christ. Put down the clubs and bats. Lay down the idea that your voice needs to be heard over someone else’s. Stop being so self-consumed and start viewing your relationships within the mindset of Jesus Christ.

—–> so what does that look like? <—-

Love must be sincere (Romans 12:9). It’s not enough to fake being nice in person but setting loose all the hatred when sitting behind a cellphone. It’s not enough to be kind and generous so that you can post it for all of social media to see. Your love, my love, must be sincere. How else are we gonna solve this Hate disease we all know our world suffers from?

Romans continues on, saying, as far as it depends on you, to live at peace with everyone (verse 18). This is difficult to do. Especially when you are the only one agreeing to live in peace. This is where differences cause arguments and where violence stems from our need to be heard. But, if we’re having the same mindset as Jesus, He tells us that being heard, being right, being loudest and smartest and strongest, is not the important recipe to making friends. A sincere love and a desire to strive for peace with everyone – these are what Jesus teaches are vital components to that “world unity” idea we all talk about and crave.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (verse 21). The hard part. The final puzzle piece that we struggle fitting together. Rather than sinking down into the arguments, the Facebook battles of what we think, the Twitter matches over who is right and who is wrong, the clubs and bats and chanting going on outside my window– overcome the evil with your good. Because that’s what all of this is. It’s evil. And Satan is turning upside-down-beside-himself with joy over it all. 

We don’t always have to have our voices heard. We don’t always need the world to understand why we are right. We don’t even have valid reasons why choosing hatred, name-calling, and violence are ever good ideas to resort to. Jesus reminds us to take on His mindset instead. To make sure that our love is sincere. To have peace with everyone. To overcome the evil in this world with the good living within our hearts. 

The next time I log into to Twitter, I’ll probably avoid the harsh conversation threads mocking President Trump and in turn mocking whoever was originally mocking President Trump. I’ll do my best to strive for sincerity in my words and actions– that are bathed in love. I’ll keep the peace with everyone, even when I want my different opinions voiced. I’ll overcome the evil that Satan has presented to this world with the good that Jesus Christ put inside my soul.

When the world is shouting that we should carry ourselves, selfishly, one way, Just remember My truth, He whispers.

With much love to my BloggerFam around the world,
Allie

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”‭‭ Romans‬ ‭12:9, 12, 18, 21‬ ‭