Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Three Years Later

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.   
~ Proverbs 31:25 ~

Three years ago…so hard to believe it’s been 3 years already.  I remember the day he asked me to marry him like it was yesterday.  I couldn’t tell you exactly what he said but remember the hurt that came along with that weekend…from being told what I would wear, hearing all weekend about how much this weekend was costing him, when we called to tell his parents we were engaged and it was made very obvious that they were not happy for us, to the hurtful words that pierced my heart more than anything.  Its truly funny to think back to a time in life that is suppose to be one of the happiest times of your life and see three years later that it was anything but happy.  I held on to this relationship until my hands were blue.  I held as tight as I could, trying to hang on for dear life, one handed at times, praying as I held on, crying and crying some more and begging for this to work.  It was as though my hands were rope burned from hanging on for so long.  I was tired and emotionally spent.  Everything I thought I had wanted was slipping away and there was nothing I could do.  I was convinced that he was all I was good enough for.  I simply couldn’t picture life without him.  I kept going back to all the good times we had together and all the sweet moments we shared.  I had convinced myself we were meant to be together.  I was blinded to all the sorrow, pain and dysfunction this person brought into my life.  All the hurtful words over and over again, the control issues, and the continuous reminder that you aren’t good enough for me…the cycle of abandonment that went along with this relationship.  Through all the pain, lonely nights and tears, God finally brought me to a place where I had to lay this relationship and the person I wanted so badly to love me at the feet of Jesus.  I had let go and trust in the Father’s love like never before.  I told God that with or without him, I would praise Him and love Him with my whole heart.  I bravely chose to serve Him anyways, to fully trust that His plan was what was best for me.  I no longer sought this person, but left him at the feet of Jesus to deal with his heart.         

This was so freeing and brought healing because that’s what trusting in our Heavenly Father does…It frees us!  The weight of this relationship was lifted.  Throughout the next year I would learn my value and true worth in the eyes of God.  This value and worth were not based on if that person loved me or not.  I began to see that I deserved so much more.  I deserved God’s very best for me.  Anything less than His perfect plan would bring more pain, confusion and devastation in my life.  For the first time in my life, I broke the cycle.  My sweet surrender to Jesus has sweetened my life like never before.  No matter what, I don’t have to try to earn His unconditional love.  I am LOVED.  I don’t seek love because I’ve already found it in Christ alone.  I don’t have to attract love because it’s all around me.  I see His love for me everywhere I go.  The beautiful thing is that God loves me so much that He has taken my mistakes and made something so beautiful out of it.  He has granted one of the desires of my heart to travel working as a nurse.  Whether be through work or through being in unfamiliar territory I’ve encounter situations that I pray I’ve helped people understand their true worth and helped them feel loved when they felt unloved.   

Today, three years later, I’m still single but I’m living a life that was just once a “well that would be nice but I’m just not good enough to do that” thought.  I’ve gotten to travel to the great state of Texas three times, fulfill a lifetime dream of working at one of the top ranked cancer hospitals, and now gotten to work in my home state at a place that I’ve fallen in love with.  Working in a cancer center most people would consider depressing but every time I walk through the double doors, I feel the presense of God Almighty.  Whether it be in a cafĂ©, praying with a patient in the court yard or hugging a patient that just got the news everyone fears “There is nothing else we can do”, Almighty God is ever present.  What an honor and privilege it is to get to walk through those doors and say  here I am Lord, may I bring glory to you this day. 

The day I laid that person I thought I want at the feet of Jesus, He promised me that He is sending me a godly man who will love and cherish me.  I don’t have to go looking for him because I know he will be where Jesus is.  If we’re both seeking God’s heart, our love and passion for Him will collide like two flames turning into a fire.  God has a perfect love story and plan unfolding for you.  Let go of trying to walk through life holding onto things that are your will instead of His.  When God sends that person, he will gently place his palm onto your palm and together you both will walk right into His blessings and destiny. 

Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us. ~ Nicole Reed ~ 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

No Matter What

“They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:19  

Early one Wednesday morning in June, I went into work only to find out I had been removed from the schedule.  Details do not matter and all I will say in regards to the situation is that I chose to uphold my professional integrity and patient safety no matter what the cost.  When I took the nursing pledge on the night of pinning, I vowed to care for the patient as a WHOLE person, which includes not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.  Often times, it is the few minutes that we actually spend talking to patient that does the most healing.  I was told that I cared too much.  God calls Christians to be bold, strong and courageous examples of His unconditional love and I will never back down from my call to first and foremost, love people!  Patients don’t remember nurses for giving them medications, emptying their drains, hanging IV fluids, dressing changes, etc.  However, they do remember the extra time we spent with them showering them with love.  So, I left knowing that I had given it my all and with my head held high.  As I walked out for the last time, I had a sense of relief as I knew God was protecting me.  I knew that this situation went through His hand before it reached me.  I knew He shut this door and trusted that he would open a new door. 

As the day went on with phone call after phone call with my company, fear began to take over.  What was I going to do, where was I going to live, how was I going to pay bills, I have no job to fall back on.  The list could go on and on.  I began to allow myself to fall back into believing all my insecurities… you are a failure, you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough, etc.  Needless to say, by that night I was falling apart.  The pain of feelings of uncertainty, rejection, loss and even disrespect began to set in.  That night I sent a dear friend a message saying I needed to talk.  As our Christian friends do best, she called and talked with me for over an hour on the phone.  She was such a blessing that night and helped me not let Satan have control!  As I sat down that night for some time with Jesus, he sent me the word, EXPECT.  Little did I know what it meant that night but that was the word I would cling to during this difficult time. 

So the packing began. On Monday, June 22nd, Lillie & I began the journey back to NC.  I took my time traveling back as I was worn down.  We arrived back in NC on Thursday, June 25th and crashed my mom’s house. 

On the drive back, I received several calls for open positions I had asked my recruiter to send my information to.  My mind was spinning because just a week ago, I was without a job and now I have 3 hospitals making offers.  After asking many questions, I felt these were not good matches for me.  I continued to cling to the word EXPECT.  I had received a call which I really did not expect to go anywhere because I was lacking two certifications they were requesting.  After our phone conversation, she stated she would get back to me if the directors were interested.  Well, I didn’t think much more about it because normally that was their polite way of saying “Thanks, but no thanks.”  A few hours later the lady called me back with more questions.  Again, I didn’t think much more about it.  Then came the call from my recruiter…Kristin, you have an offer from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.  There it was…EXPECT!!  Since nursing school, my love has been in oncology especially pediatrics.  This is an opportunity that I’ve only dreamed about.  I’m still in disbelief!  I worked on a med/surg/oncology floor before I felt God was calling me to travel.  I left NC in November 2014 with lots of uncertainty but trusting God was in control!  Now I stand in awe of how God sent me the word EXPECT and little did I know I would be EXPECTing to work at one of the best cancer hospitals in the US.  God is so good! 

Lillie and I started our journey to Houston, TX on July 23rd. 

So to answer the burning question, what did I do with a month off?  It was a WONDERFUL month mostly spent with my family.  I was incredibly blessed with the ability to take a month off.

Some of the many blessings from that month include:
  • Many quality hours spent with my grandmother as her health was rapidly declining.
  • Ability to help our family from a medical stand point make hard decisions that needed to be made regarding my grandmother’s health.
  • See my grandmother’s wish come true to have all of her children and grandchildren together for our July 4th cookout and getting to hear her several days later say “that was the best day ever”. This day came about because she knew her health was not well enough to attend our cousin’s wedding.   
  • Spent quality time with my other grandparents.
  • Spent quality time with my mom’s brother’s family and got to go to my cousins’ swim meet.
  • SLEEP!!
  • Living with my mom for a month, enjoying late night talks and quality time together, a trip to the mountains, buying me a bag full of candy to help with the drive, literally changing her house (imagine all my stuff still packed in bags and boxes), and for taking in not only me but my sweet Lille.   (We had a house full…1 cat and 2 dogs!)
  • Time spent with my mom’s neighbors at their cookout.  She has an incredible group of people living in her neighborhood!
  • Attended a childhood family friend’s daughter’s funeral.  She was 19 and killed in a car accident.  It was one of the best celebrations of life I’ve ever attended and I left that place feeling very encouraged and most of all totally felt God’s presence during that service…more to come on this in another blog post! 
  • Witnessed the first out of eight cousins tie the knot!  Blake & Kelly’s wedding was a blast!  Our table (made up of the other six cousins and dates) will forever be known as “Table 6”.  We all enjoyed dancing the night away which brought back tons of memories from our many beach trips together!  
  • Spent quality time with my sister and her boyfriend…bonfires into the late night, roasting marshmallows, crawdad’s baseball game, fishing out on the lake, and sharing the famous “last dinner” at Carrabba’s.  
 If you find yourself enduring difficult times, don’t lose heart or be afraid.  Your Father is using these circumstances to strengthen your faith, equipping you for higher service.  Just keep trusting Him and EXPECT great blessings to come from this adversity. No matter what comes, He will bring good from it.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nurses are called…and we are answering.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

~ 1 Corinthians 15:58 ~

Many people would say that nursing is a job just like all other jobs and a profession which nurses made the choice to enter, nurses make good money and can live comfortably, don’t have to worry with a job as there are many nursing jobs, and nursing has some many options.   

And these statements are true but nursing is so much more.  It’s a calling…my calling.  A calling that as nurse’s week comes to an end, I’ve reflected on.  Over the past several weeks, I’ve had very sick patients,  rapid response calls, days with three discharges and four admissions, patients with pain meds every hour, and the list could go on and on.  I’ve left at the end of long shifts wondering if I really made a difference for my patients and if I did my best are letting people see Jesus in my place.  Through God’s grace he used this week to remind me nursing is a privilege and calling. 

I’ve seen death and worse…its messy, its hard, its gross, but most of all, its brokenness at its finest.  This week I reflected on why I keep coming back.  The answer is being able to see beyond all the sadness, secretions, chaos, complaining and see that this work is so much more than completion of tasks.  It’s a unique position of being able to let people see Jesus as the Great Physician through your action of listening, touching, validating and soothing.    

I never truly understood the power of touching until the day I hugged a patient with AIDS.  Watching an adult burst into tears just because you offered a hug and told them that you cared about them and shared the love of Jesus.  It’s heartbreaking and will bring you to tears at the thought of someone feeling so worthless but this is God’s unending Grace and Love through Jesus!  And that, my friends is glorious and makes the call to nursing worth it! 

I’ve learned in my five years of nursing that listening is as much of a skill as starting an IV.  While gaining competence is important, doing nursing well is more like participating in an intricate dance, relating and responding to my patients with humility and patience.  Even though many days are difficult, focus on what is beautiful and scared in our nursing career, occasionally catching a glimpse of what lies just below the surface of our ordinary days of caring for our patients. 

We are called…and we are answering.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Seek His Love First

We love each other because he loved us first. ~ 1 John 4:19 ~

Valentine's Day makes it very easy for us to focus on a relationship that fell short of our expectations, the desire to be in a relationship, or loneliness.  We let these situations fill our mind and become our focus.

But we have to reminded ourselves that human love will never fulfill that need.  Through the last year, I have realized that God has blessed me by letting go through heart break because it has made me recognize how much I need His perfect and unconditional love.  

People can provide the care, validation, and acceptance that you long for but only the Lord can truly fill you with love that never ceases.

So this Valentine's Day, if you find yourself longing for someone or the emptiness inside, don't focus on the person that caused you pain or on how alone you feel.  Rather, use this Valentine's Day as a day to focus on just how much you truly are loved.    

No matter what the circumstances you face today, the Father's love is sufficient to sustain you!

Make this a day to allow Him to drive out fears and bring you peace!  

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Broken things become blessed things if God does the mending.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7 ~ 

What a year it has been!  I can’t believe 2014 has come and gone.  During my time with the Lord over the past few weeks, I’ve reflected on the past year.  If you were to look at it in the eyes of our society, it should have been one of the worst years for me.  But it turned out to be just the opposite!  I started 2014 off by just barely treading water and ended it totally trusting God and stepping out into the unknown. 

2014 turned out to be a year of healing for me.  The Holy Spirit was continuously reminding me that God was working through me.  It was a great year but a hard year.  I found myself thinking, there is no way God can use someone as broken as me for his glory.  How often do we as humans do that to ourselves?  I know I do it a lot!  But it’s just the opposite, he wants to use people that live their life in total dependence on Him.  You may ask, what does that look like?  It looks like this: be humble, look to God for your strength instead of earthy things or people, and trust that He will achieve what he set out to do. 

Your response to that statement may then go a little like this…but you don’t know what I’ve done, I’m worthless, I’m not smart enough, I don’t have enough money, I’m fat, I’m not pretty enough, I don’t have an education from a well known school, I don’t read the bible enough, I don’t fit into this family… the list could go on and on but these are just a few that have I’ve experienced in my own life.  Satan loves to fill our mind with our faults and failures but this is not God’s nature.  Romans 8:1,
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  
I realized in my own life that I was focusing on the wrong things.  I had to question myself…I am really letting the world define who I am or am I looking to God to define my worth?  I love getting in God’s word as it is so rich and clearly defines our worth.  2 Corinthians 3:5,
It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own.  Our qualifications comes from God.
The Lord can and will work through us if we just let Him.  He longs for each of us to accomplish His purpose for our earthly existence.  All He asks of us is to trade our weaknesses for His strength and to be obedient to His calling.  For my life, being obedient to His calling meant leaving my home, my family and most of my possessions to walk into the unknown.  I won’t lie…I had a lot of “what ifs” go through my mind in the five weeks I had to prepare for this new journey.  Then one night he gave me a clear question, do you TRUST me?  So I placed my faith in Christ and look forward to how His glory can shine through my life.    

What broken parts of your life are keeping you back from experiencing God’s unconditional love, forgiveness and grace?  Broken things can become blessed things when we let God do the mending.