Tuesday, December 1, 2009

So much to say... so few words to communicate!

Welcome back! Thanks for checking in on this blog, even though I admittedly fail to write as often as I should!

I've got my composition window open, all the while listening to the "Desert Song" via my home page. Ahhh... it is so refreshing to listen to the mantra of provocative lyrics that makes this my theme song for this "desert season" of my life. As the song so beautifully illustrates, "All of my life, in every season, you are still God. I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship!" Praise God!

First thing's first- my knee/knees update. For the most part, I've felt like things are progressing well; two steps forward, one step back- indeed. But, I'm disappointed to report that I have re-injured my right knee. To catch you up quickly, I have had 5 surgeries on the left knee, 2 surgeries on the right. The most recent was the bone transplant on the left knee, quite often referred to as the "bad knee". But on Thanksgiving Day, all I did was take a step forward, and something inside my right knee most definitely tore. I can no longer bear complete weight on that side. Oh goodness, I can't believe it! Each day I tell myself it is getting better, refusing to call the surgeon. Today, however, I've reluctantly come to the realization that nothing gives. And so I will be calling the nurse first thing in the morning to schedule an appointment. This essentially means a very minimum of one more trip to the OR. Since I am acutely aware of every sensation present in these feeble knees, I don't even need a scope to diagnose the problem. Pray for me, if you will. The road ahead seems to have lengthened significantly. "You are still God. I have a reason to sing. I have a reason to worship!" These words are so incredibly true today. They are true for me. And they are true for you. Did God lead the Israelites into the desert to leave them high and dry? NO! He brought them into the wilderness, guided their way, fed them daily bread, and consistently demonstrated His faithfulness. When it was time, He led them into a land flowing with milk and honey. And that is exactly what He is doing for me! Here's the deal, folks- without suffering, there are characteristics of God that we could not possibly understand. If we never suffered, we wouldn't know what it is like to need His new mercies to carry us through every day. We wouldn't understand the many promises He gave us in the holy Scriptures. If we never suffered, we wouldn't need to experience His comfort, and thus be equipped to provide comfort to others when they suffer. Honestly, I could probably take hours to journal my thoughts and yet never completely communicate everything that I have learned about God through my suffering. I would love to sit down and chat with you about such things. Would you like to meet with me?

I keep ignoring this blog, knowing I have so much to say but so few words to communicate my heart! My daily times with God have been beyond incredible. I praise Him that this time off work has afforded me the opportunity to bask in His presence as much as I want to! I am studying the book of John in BSF. Wow! There are pearls buried deep within the words of this blessed gospel. I could probably study this book every day for the rest of my life and still find something new to be impacted by. Where do I start? I'll post one pearl today that I gathered in my quiet time about two weeks ago. When persecution for my faith comes [and regrettably it has oft stayed distant], my pain is greatly alleviated by the deep understanding that it isn't really me who is getting persecuted, but rather it is my Jesus to whom that persecution is directed. After all, the truths I share are not my own but belong to my Savior in heaven. That knowledge removes the load I would otherwise carry. However, from the time Jesus began His earthly ministry, He himself was sorely rejected by men. Can you imagine? Can you even imagine being blatantly rejected by person after person, despite the fact that you truly are the Messiah? As I sat in my comfy lounge chair one morning, I began to weep for my Jesus. He had nobody to bear the pain of rejection for Him. It was He who accepted it and carried the full weight upon His shoulders. My heart is again pierced with the stabbing truth this reveals.

During this Advent season, an old Christmas carol rings true to my spirit.

O Come O Come Emmanuel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

There are several more verses to this beloved song, but this one in particular stirs passion within the depths of my soul. I love how the prophetic words in the Old Testament brought life to people in Biblical times who were waiting for their Messiah. And these very same words bring life to us as we also eagerly wait for His coming- this time His second coming. Meditate on these lyrics for a moment. Do they also speak to your heart? What in the world are we doing? Why are we muddling around in our comfortable homes and cultures when there are millions of people who have yet to even hear the name of Jesus? Our Messiah has already come to this earth to bring life to all men; to save them from the depths of Hell and give them victory over the grave! Oh, sweet Jesus, here I am! Send me!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Always a New Adventure!

The title of this post definitely sums up my life pretty well! Even when I'm not working, there always seems to be a new adventure around every corner I encounter. Some people think I'm indecisive. For onlookers, that may seem altogether true. Quite frankly, though, that isn't really the case. As my aunt always says, "there are too many things you want to do, Jessie." And I am here to tell you, that is the honest truth! I actually don't struggle with discontentment, contrary to what others may perceive. I simply want adventure, and changing things up now and then allows for that. So, moving from this home to that city to another job and so forth is just what I enjoy. As you can imagine, life is never boring in our household! Funny thing is, when I lived in China, I swore I could never be nomadic like the Tibetans I knew. Now I'm married to a nomad! God definitely has a sense of humor... one which I'm trying to embrace instead of fight!

So, what does all this mean? Let's just say that John and I are praying about our future. Not that we haven't been praying all along, but we have a new sense of vision to focus in on during prayer time. I love it! I love, love, love the adventures that I take because I'm willing to be flexible with my life. I have often said that I'm not a risk taker, but in actuality, I must be! I love the fact that God has chosen me, for whatever reason, to be one of those nomads that has the ability to move frequently, be shaken up, and spilled out wherever I'm needed. Of course this type of living can be stressful, but it is often a matter of the mind. Did Paul ever stay in one place? NO! So, there you have it. For those people who raise their eyebrows at the fact that John and I move here and there to do this and that thing, for the kingdom of course, can simply pull out the Bible and see that some people are called to this life... namely missionaries. Yes sir, I am quite content! Now, read on my friends :)

Here I am, at a crossroads. I've been accepted to Nurse Practitioner school. I like that. It makes me feel confident and assured. But wait a minute. Is this really the right time for me to go? I don't know. I really don't know. One might say "yes, you got accepted, so that is your open door." I'm skeptical. Yes, we often have a wide open field to play life in. I do believe that in the perfect will of God, He sometimes allows us the chance to make our own decisions. But I'm not so sure with this one. It sounds great, but do I really believe that this is the will of God for my life right now? Not so sure. There is a specific avenue that John and I are sensing a strong leading toward, and at this point, to say "no, I've been accepted to NP school, so I'm not going" would be clearly opposing His plan. So, what do I do with this? Choke it down that even though I really want more education, this just isn't the time? I'm thinking so. We're praying about it. Please join us in prayer, even though you really have no clue what I'm talking about. Thanks!

In other news, my rehab is going so well! Last Tuesday was my first day off crutches. I do have a significant amount of muscle soreness, but that is to be expected. My lower back has taken the brunt of my malalignment, and even massages don't seem to be doing the trick anymore. So in addition to working out every day, I started yoga classes this morning. This is my new favorite hobby! Really, I feel so much better after those stretches! I've realized that health, in-shape people who are new to yoga experience extreme soreness after beginning, but those who enter the class with extreme soreness already experience great relief. Yay for me! I'm embracing my time off work by taking yoga, pilates, and spins classes. I'll go to my first spins class today and pilates later this week. SO wonderful! I need this renewal in my life. I love the meditation at the end of class. It really gives me the chance to be still in the presence of my LORD and listen to what He is saying to me. Despite the skepticism of many Christians, I am confident in my relationship with the LORD that I can go to yoga, focus on the usual mind, body, spirit, and have it all be connected to my God. After all, He IS the Creator of our minds, bodies, and souls, right?!

Ok, gotta get to spins class. Have a good week in communion with our LORD!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I have 3 things to share quickly, then I'm offline for a bit.

#1: I saw the surgeon yesterday and he gave me the clearance to walk!  I immediately ditched one crutch and use the other one to get around when walking far distances.  At home, though, I seem to be doing well without any assistance.  We'll see how my calves feel tomorrow.  They probably don't like me too much right now!  The praise about this is that I wasn't even allowed to bear weight on my left leg until yesterday.  How could I get off crutches so quickly?  In short, I have been working out EVERY single day, and I think the combination of exercises has restored my muscle strength enough to promote walking.  Woot woot!

#2: John was diagnosed with H1N1, better known as the swine flu :(  Poor thing is so sick, and after only 48 hours of symptoms, he already has bronchitis!  Do pray for him if you will.  I have progressively become more achy and chilled as the day has worn on.  At this point I'm not sure if I have been infected, but the odds are definitely not in my favor.

#3: Since John's business has considerably slowed down, we are really pinching pennies.  I kind of freaked out a bit last week, worried that we would be out on the street soon.  With all of the support we have from family, I highly doubt that would ever happen.  Nonetheless, we are taking the financial challenge of significantly cutting back, and that means lots of PB&J and tuna sandwiches and even unhealthy Ramen noodles.  Despite our current situation, we know that God always provides for our every need, and I really believe that means He'll never let us go hungry.  Today, John's mom showed up at our door with a huge pot of congee and tons of miscellaneous groceries.  Since we haven't communicated our need to her, she didn't even know that our diet has been quite limited lately.  I see this as just one of many ways God takes care of His children.  Thank you, LORD!

In Hope (for many things indeed),

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is it summer yet?

Believe it or not, I'm already asking that question!  Even Autumn in Texas is too cold for me!  Today was 74 degrees outside, and that was enough to cause a deep chill in my bones.  I got cozied up in a long sweater, fluffy socks, and my wonderful down comforter :)  Oddly enough, a temperature of 68 degrees inside was too biting, so I decided to turn on the heat for the entire afternoon.  John thought I was crazy, and honestly, I really don't blame him.  I feel pretty crazy myself each year as the days become shorter.  Annually, my doctor insists that I get my thyroid levels checked, and of course they are normal- every time!  Hmmm... maybe there is some other hormonal imbalance that contributes to my cold intolerance.  I don't think I'll ever stop saying that I was created for the tropics.  Ok, John, when can we move?!

Let me answer that rhetorical question myself... not for at least 3 years.  Why, you may ask?  Well, I got accepted to graduate school, and I'll be studying to become a Nurse Practitioner!  This is something I have thought and prayed about for years.  It was never a good time... until now.  So I have been admitted to begin my studies in the spring semester and will initially take Advanced Pathophysiology.  Despite it's reputation for brutality, I'm quite excited to expand my knowledge base!  As a side note, I am so thankful for the enlightenment that I had last month.  I think that it took severe honesty with myself, scrupulous thought and meditation, to acknowledge my source of pride.  In doing that, I was in a sense relinquishing control of my academic goals that have driven my spirit.  It was in freedom that I arrived where I am today.  Thank you, LORD!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Too Much!

Wow!  Has it already been a few weeks since my last post?  I can't quite decide if time has flown by or slowly drifted by.  This blog hiatus was definitely not intentional.  Life has been crazy lately, and I'm a bit overwhelmed with the complication of it all!

Billdad, my beloved grandfather, finally got to pass through the pearly gates last Thursday.  For about a week prior to his passing, we kept a daily 24 hour vigil at his bedside as he became unable to eat and take care of himself.  His physical deterioration was quite rapid and severely difficult for me to handle.  I may be a nurse that deals with death and dying in my profession, but when it comes to family members, forget about it; I'm off duty!  I think Billdad's death has been especially trying for me because I am the oldest of the grandkids on his side.  There is a lot more to being the oldest than one might think.  As I spent the last few days keeping watch, John asked me what my wish would be.  I simply stated, "that he would be able to hear me when I tell him I love him."  You see, Billdad lost so much of his hearing in his last few years on Earth that he got to the point where he was completely unable to hear and understand a single word that I spoke.  We would have to use a translator, someone with a lower voice.  As he lay on the bed that evening, I quietly spoke into his worst ear, "I love you Billdad."  He gently replied, "I love you too."  The tears began flowing from my eyes as I knew that the LORD had done just what John said he could do... open Billdad's ears to hear that treasured expression I so longed to speak.  After that, he never heard another word I said; not one.  How beautiful it must have been to hear the words "I love you" as the last he would ever audibly receive from me.  Thank you Jesus!

I could probably verbosely express so much more about my precious grandfather and the events surrounding his entrance into eternity, but I think I'll allow myself some more time to process everything.  For those of you who knew about his death, thank you for your support of our family.  We have been blessed by many amazing meals, gorgeous flowers, desserts galore, and so much more.  The community of believers has been the body to us that Christ calls it to be.  We are so thankful.

Well, I haven't given an update on my knee in quite some time.  I still go to physical therapy 3 times per week.  I am almost 5 weeks out from surgery and still not allowed to bear weight on that left leg.  A return visit to the surgeon next week almost guarantees the go-ahead to start trying to walk again.  As soon as I get an answer, I will post it for all of my faithful prayer warriors to read.  Unfortunately, my right knee is not doing too well, and my doc says that there is a high probability that I'll need a bone transplant on it as well.  If you're keeping score, I've had 5 surgeries on the left knee and 2 on the right knee.  Some days I have to stop and think about the numbers... too many to keep track of!  I'll hopefully be having an MRI done this month to determine the problem.  Keep praying!

John's business is going uber-slowly right now.  I so do not enjoy watching our savings account dwindle to nothing.  I struggle with the fact that I cannot return to work yet.  The LORD always provides for our every need, and I have to daily remind myself of this.  The fact of the matter is that I feel so out of control and there seems to be nothing I can do to handle the reins.  I've never been a coupon-clipper, but maybe I need to start doing that.  Help me, LORD, to refrain from frivolous spending and find alternative ways to cut costs.  Feel free to pray for our finances however God leads you.

Despite everything that is going on, I continually praise God for his faithfulness to us.  I am so thankful for BSF- the in-depth study of the Word I get and the wonderful women who also attend and spur me on.  God is good, isn't he?!

There is too much to say.  I think I'll stop here tonight :)

Thanks for sticking with me,

Friday, September 25, 2009

Jesus Saves!

I love these words from Travis Cottrell's heart moving song, "Jesus Saves".

He will live our sorrow sharing, "Jesus saves. Jesus saves."
He will die our burden bearing, "Jesus saves. Jesus saves."
"It is done!" will shout the cross, Christ has paid redemption's cost!
While the empty tomb's declaring, "Jesus saves."

You can listen to this song here.  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chills, Work, Life, Spice, and Everything Nice!

Random Childhood Memory #2:
Ooh, I haven't thought about this one yet.  Give me a minute.  Ok, here we go.  When I was 2, yes you heard it right, 2 years old, I lived with my parents in a small village in Papua New Guinea as they did Bible translation.  Since my mom is white, everyone in the village presumed that she knew how to deliver babies... where they got that idea, I really don't know!  Nonetheless, she faithfully made her way to the ever-so-tiny birthing hut each time a woman was in labor.  I'll never forget one particular day, she quickly left our small, tin-roof home to head to the center of the village for baby day.  I wanted to go, but she refused to let me.  So in my sneaky (or so I thought) way, I quietly pitter-pattered behind her until I reached the hut.  Since I was already there, my mom let me enter the hut, and that became my very first birth experience.  From that day on, I always wanted to be a nurse.  Never have I let that desire get away.  I'm SO happy that I became an RN!  (As a caveat, I want to quickly mention that my psychology professor in uni absolutely doesn't believe that I remember that situation.  She insists that children do not have the capability to remember anything prior to the age of four.  I highly disagree!)

Here I sit, all snuggled up in pants and a sweater, trying to arm myself from the chill in the air.  I know, I know, it's like 75 degrees outside.  But like our friend Marcus says, my body thermostat only allows for a 2 degree shift in temperature, or else it gets angry!  This has been a great day for pondering.  Bear with me as I attempt to formulate a blog post out of the seemingly random spectrum of thoughts that I have today!

So society in general escalates people with advanced degrees.  We're all aware of this I'm sure.  I don't know if my desire to excel in academia is rooted in a societal value or if I truly have a calling to pursue higher education.  For quite some time, probably the past 5 years, I have longed to return to school for a Master of Public Health degree.  Furthermore, I would like to earn my Ph.D. eventually.  Why is this?  Here's the dilemma I'm facing: I want a greater education, but I severely struggle with discipline.  If you know me well, you know that I love structure and organization; these two things keep my life void of chaos.  But I must admit that I am unable to provide that kind of environment for myself.  I always seem to need external help!  Why am I writing all of this?  I think that although I want a Ph.D, I'm not a brainiac!  And I am completely removed from leading a disciplined life!  So I wonder if this really isn't the calling God has for my life.  Let me expound even further...

In recent years, I have begun to realize the unique gifts that God has given me as a part of his body.  Though having fought it for quite some time, I am finally acknowledging AND accepting my gift of hospitality.  I think I have always thought that having said gift and using it to serve others means that I am incapable of doing a "respected" job, such as teaching at the university level, performing scientific research in a lab, getting an advanced degree, etc.  But for the very first time today (pathetic, I know, being 29 years old!), I see that the Lord has indeed called me for his service, a call that requires me to minister to my brothers and sisters hospitably.  I am starting to understand that each of us really do have different roles in life.  Obviously!  The fact of the matter is that most of us Christians say those very words, but RARELY do we live them out!  How many of you pursue seminary degrees because that is "the thing to do if you're a 'good' Christian?"  Or how many of you get higher education because that is "what you are supposed to do to get ahead in life?"  Or which one of you reading this is teaching Sunday school or leading worship or serving on the deacon board because there is a need, but you really are not gifted in that area?  Why in the world do we purse options that only give us earthly glory?  Shouldn't God be the one getting glory anyway?

All that to say, I'm actually learning that it is ok to be less educated if that means following God's call to serve in another, less academic capacity.  God has been speaking to me and softly telling me that he will equip me for the work he has called me to, and that doesn't necessarily mean equipping me through education.  Wow!  I cannot believe I'm saying this!  I want to learn how to embrace this gift.  Guess I'll keep baking, hosting parties, entertaining guests, etc.  Ahhh... this is so freeing.  SO freeing!

Do I give up my career as a nurse?  No way!  As soon as I get back on my feet, you'd better believe I'll be headed straight to the hospital to apply for a job!  Nursing in itself is a call!  But for now, I'll simply be content with my "lot" and staying at home.  I do enjoy autumn days, sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee and a good book :)

To my few but faithful followers, thanks for reading.  I enjoy sharing my heart!