Sunday, November 21, 2010

The One With Encouragement

The last few weeks, I have felt an overwhelming feeling of being "burnt out" and tired of my same old routine. Tired of being in Nashville while all of my friends are in Chattanooga and other places, and also tired of Nursing School and having no life other than school, studying, and work.

Every week our VP of Missions at Saint Thomas Hospital sends out a word of encouragement, and this weeks email caught my attention. Just thought I'd share it with you, and hopefully it will be as encouraging to you as it is to me.

Keeping Your Heart Alive

We are all familiar with the concept and phenomenon of “burnout.” It is the place where we find ourselves bereft of even one more single ounce of physical, emotional or spiritual energy. It is what happens to us when we have given, or been robbed of, all the strength we have, and the only identifiable characteristic that remains within us is an overwhelming sense of exhaustion.

We reach this point sometimes in our personal relational lives. Neighbors, friends, family members – those who inhabit the significant realms of our relationships – are experienced as needy and draining. We are overtaken by the complexity of their problems, by their inability to cope, and by the seeming absence of our being able to offer practical, effective and relatively immediate solutions.

We sometimes find ourselves in this situation when we are overcome by the tragedies, disappointments, failures, and setbacks experienced in our own lives. Often we are not able to see any way out from under the huge mound of troubles that are thrust upon us from almost every side.

At other times we experience being burned out at work. The tasks and opportunities that once excited and enlivened us have now become dull, tedious, boring. There is no sense of satisfaction, no enjoyment, only daily drudgery followed by more daily drudgery.

There is nothing wrong with having found yourself at one or even many of these dead-ends of life. In some ways these situations are unavoidable hazards for those who are willing to be open and genuinely engage in the lives of others and for those who are so generous as to put their “heart and soul” into their work. And so, the question becomes, “how can we keep our hearts alive in settings and among circumstances where it is so easy to lose heart?”

While not a “cure-all” formula, permit me to offer some observations that may offer relief and antidote:
-We need to be vigilant against the natural tendency of us all to view ourselves as powerless over the external forces of life circumstances. It is true that we have no power over sickness or death, no necessary control of global and national economic forces, no regulation of the behavior of others. But we do have complete control of our own integrity, a relentless persistence in our deep beliefs and convictions. In times of difficulty it is, indeed, easy to be overcome, but, for those who have taken time and effort to identify and cultivate roots in rich and immutable values, external adversity suggests that life may be very well changed, even radically changed, but certainly not at all ended.

-There is also a tendency within us to want to understand and interpret the events of our lives in the most simple of terms. We want things to be clearly right or clearly wrong, happy or sad, noble or base. We look at ourselves that way too, fairly consistently avoiding recognition of those unpleasant and painful sides of anxiety, anger, guilt, and grief. Because we regularly tend to ignore the “shadow” sides of ourselves, they become larger than life and more debilitating when they occasionally cycle into inescapable prominence. We do well to cultivate regular attention to all of our feelings, including the more distressing and negative ones, so that our hearts do not become untowardly dominated by any one or small group.
-We should take time to “polish” the vision planted deep within our hearts. The youthful idealism that promised so much hope and enthusiasm does not have to become dull and extinguished over time. We periodically need to remember those motivations and aspirations that prompted us to seek after love and to set high and lofty goals. The circumstances of our lives have certainly added more complication to their pursuit and attainment, but periodic remembrance, revival and resetting will keep the passions of the heart burning, providing sustenance and support throughout all our life.

Periodic exhaustion is to be expected in those who enthusiastically engage life and work. Incorporating regular rituals of reflection and rejuvenation provide the necessary periods of rest that build resilience and balance. Life is given to us as a gift. It may feel tattered every once in a while, but it is still a gift. Cherish it; care for it; keep your heart alive.

Jerry Kearney, Vice President of Missions, Saint Thomas Hospital

In Christ,


Monday, November 15, 2010

The One With The Long Over Due Update!

Ok, so I realize how long it has been since my last post... and that I need to update you blogsters on my life, so here we go!

My last post ended with a lot of uncertainty. Well... this summer I had another fabulous summer at camp, followed by my official move back to Nashville. I got accepted to nursing school at Aquinas College in Nashville, and I started in August. EXCITING EXCITING EXCITING!

The last 3 months have been very challenging between changing schools, moving back home, and starting nursing school. I have had some wondeful ups, as well as my fair share of downs, however, God is at work! I finally feel like I'm beginning to adjust to this new chapter in my life, which lifts a huge burden off my shoulders. I don't feel like... "ugh, I'm back in Nashville" anymore, but more like, "YES!! God is doing GREAT things in Nashville!"

So, I know that this is a super short, lame post, but I promise I will post again soon... lots of clinical paperwork to do tonight!


Friday, April 16, 2010

The One With All The Goodbyes...

The last few weeks have been full of memories, "lasts", and goodbyes. The UTC Chapter of my life is quickly coming to an end, which is exciting, but mostly sad.

I had my last bible study with the girls that I have been with for three years. They have meant more to me than I could ever describe. These are the women in my life that truly know me... the real me. They have been here for me through everything, and I am forever thankful for all of them. They have been a huge part of my life, and they have taught me what it means to have a real, unbelievable relationship with our wonderful Jesus Christ. They have held me accountable through many stages of my life, which has taught me so much about the importance of my relationships with Godly women.

My bible study leader, Andrea Lamb, has made a huge impact on my life. We met a while before she and her husband, Ben, joined staff with Campus Crusade. She and I started meeting together once a week just to talk and share about our lives, which began a beautiful relationship. She and I came to find out just how much we really have in common. Not only are our personalities oh so very similar, but we are both extremely OPEN with bodily functions (haha), which added to our bond! She is one of the most real, beautiful women I have ever met, and she will be incredibly missed, but I know we will continue to stay close.

At our last bible study, Andrea gave all of the senior girls (plus me) a plant. She the proceeded to read us the Parable of the Sower from Luke 8:5-15 that says,

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown." When he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

His disciples asked him what this parable meant. He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,
" though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand."

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

This is a picture of my plant. Jamie Williams and I went to Walmart, bought pots and soil, and planted out little plants! They are beautiful! Let's just hope that it's planted in good soil!

I have also had some of my last Chi Omega events... including Scoops for Wishes, our Sisterhood Retreat, and my last family dinner of the semester!

Kristin and Cara came to Cold Stone to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation!

This was my tent.... Jessica, Sara, Kasey, and Me! I love PC '09 Girls!

My Beautiful Family (minus Kat)

During these last weeks, I have also closed a chapter with my First Pres small group girls! Although I will see most of them this summer at camp, I will still miss them so much when I'm back in Nashville next semester.

I had the wonderfully unique experience of GPS May Day 2010.... enough said!

This is a picture of the girls I intern with and the girls in our small groups!
Me, Emma, Kristin, Jessie, Cara

As I close this chapter of my life, I am very sad, but so excited! I cannot wait to see what God has in store for... even if it's not what I have planned. I found out this week that I was placed on the waiting list for Nursing school, which means that I won't find out if I'm accepted until May 25th. Yes, at first I cried and was very upset, but I God has brought me to a place where I am at peace with whatever happens. As my wonderful aunt Kristen reminded me, I do not want to be where God doesn't want me to be. If Nursing School at Aquinas Fall 2010 is not where the Lord wants me, he has something greater planned for me. I'm just waiting on the Lord!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The One Where He Puts The Pieces Back Together...

"Everyone longs to give themselves to someone-- to have a deep soul relationship with another -- to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But to a Christian, God says, "No, not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with being loved by Me alone-- with giving yourself totally and unreservedly to Me. I love you, my child. And until you discover that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not be capable of the perfect human relationship I have planned for you. You will never be united with another until you are united with Me-- exclusive of anyone or anything else, exlusive of any other desires or longings. I want you to stop planning, stop wishing and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan existing-- a plan you cannot imagine. I want you to have the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you. You just keep watching Me, expecting the greatest things-- keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am. Keep listening and learning the things I tell you. You just wait. That's all. Don't be anxious. Don't worry. Don't look at the things others have gotten or I have given them. Don't look at the things you want. You just keep looking off and away up to Me, or you'll miss what I want to show you.

Then, when you are ready, I'll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you would even dream of. You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready at the same time-- until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me and the life I have prepared for you-- you won't be able to experience the love exemplified in your relationship with Me, and is thus, perfect love.

And dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love. I want you to see in the flesh a picture of your relationship with Me and to enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting union of beauty, perfection, and love I offer you with, Myself. Know that I love you utterly. I am God. Believe it, and be satisfied."

-Author Unknown

These beautiful words were sent to my by my dear friend Nancy Thompson. I just recently grasped the truth and the power of what this says. Here is my story of what I've learned...

Two months ago if you had asked me to describe my life, I would tell you that it had been shattered into pieces. My world was completely and utterly ripped apart after a sudden and unexpected break up with John. This beautiful life that I had planned out for myself was gone within a blink of an eye. I was confused, shocked, and most of all angry with God. I couldn't understand why God put something so wonderful in my life, only to take it away.

After two long months of tears, pain, fear, and confusion, I finally realized this (taken from the writing above): until you discover that only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not be capable of the perfect human relationship I have planned for you.

WOW... How powerful AND true are those words? Although I thought that I was finding my satisfaction in the Lord, I realized that I was looking for all my needs to be met by John. This is no way to honor God through an earthly relationship! As I looked back on my relationship with God, I realized that instead of going to my Heavenly Father, who loves me perfectly and unconditionally, to meet my needs, I was looking to a human being, who is imperfect and who will continuously fail me and leave me unsatisfied.

First, I have realized that I am in no way ready to be in a "serious" relationship with someone here on earth until I am first and foremost in a serious relationship with my Lord and Savior. My sweet, loving Father wants me to fall in love with Him first and foremost, and He will provide someone here on earth for me to love and to love me in His perfect timing.

Also, I have learned that I have to stop making huge, elaborate plans for my life. These plans that seem to be perfect keep me from being open to God's plans for my life, and when God redirects me to where He wants to be, I am left feeling confused, feeling like I have to rework the pieces of my life to find a better fit. NO! It's not my job to make plans or to work out the pieces of my life... It's GOD's job.

So this is me... letting go of the broken pieces in my life and giving them to God to put together in HIS perfect and wonderful plan for HIS glory!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The One About Me...

thought I would take some time to update you guys on my life and what's going on!

Currently I'm living in the wonderful city of Chattanooga. Here, I am involved in Chi Omega, Campus Crusade for Christ and I intern with the youth at First Presbyterian Church... oh yeah... I'm also in school (I forget that a lot!) It's hard to say what year I am in school because of the eventful college career I've had, but I should be a junior... key words "should be." I am a nursing major and If I get accepted (which I will find out end of April or beginning of May) I will start nursing school in the fall at Aquinas College in Nashville.

I have mixed emotions about leaving Chattanooga. I know that Nashville is where the Lord is calling me to be, and I'm ready to take the next step toward nursing, but I'm so sad to leave my dear friends that I've made here. I know that saying I'll come back and visit a lot is easier said than done, but I definitely want to be intentional with my friendships. These are the people who really know me, the people that have had an influence in my spiritual growth, the people I can be myself with, and the people that love me unconditionally. My friends here in Chattanooga have impacted me more than they will ever know, and they will be truly missed.

My Chi Omega Family

CRU friends from Spring Break 2009

On a lighter note, this summer I will be returning to Camp Vesper Point... my favorite place in the entire world! I will be a counselor again, and not only will I be spending the summer with some of the greatest people I've ever met, I will also be sharing Christ and pouring into the lives of kids, which is one of the greatest passions of my heart. Camp is such an amazing experience. Although I will be sharing with the kids and teaching them about Christ, I find that I learn from them more than I could ever teach them. Seeing God move in the hearts of these kids is an amazing, heart-warming experience that I wish that everyone could have.

The view from Vesper Point

Giving my testimony

Being silly with Jackson, my youngest boy during Family Camp

My boys from Family Camp

One of my sweet campers, Kayla

My last cabin of the summer

Some of the girls at the end of the summer

A big group of us saying goodbye after a WONDERFUL summer!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The One Where It All Began...

Ok, so I'm new at this blogging thing, but I'm so excited to share my life with all of you bloggers out there!

I was first introduced to the world of blogging by Anna Cleland this past summer, but I didn't start exploring these shenanigans until my dear friend Kristin Mardis motivated me!

So... here it is... my first blog... short and sweet!