Friday, November 30, 2007

True Salvation....

"...The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." Luke 17:20b-21

"...there are those who get their eyes off of Christ, and onto any facet of the Christian life outside of an intimate walk with God, and then have the audacity to call it the straight and narrow."

"Look! That man has a prayer life! That woman has a wonderful ministry at that mission. That new convert put away drugs and alcohol. That young lady just surrendered herself to God's standards of femininity and modesty. There is the kingdom of God!"

"Amen. Those things are in the Bible, but they are not what make up Christianity. The Kingdom of God starts in our hearts, and the moment it stops growing there and finds it's identity in dogma, doctrine, or lifestyle instead of in Jesus Christ, it is no longer the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God may and will cause outward manifestations, but those changes in and of themselves are not what makes and defines a real Christian. It's an inner heart condition and relationship that makes a child of God...."

Friday, November 23, 2007

CNA Snapshots - Every Good Gift

"...Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment
I've no cause for worry or for fear."

Worry and fear could have been a big part of my time in Indiana. I won't deny that I never experienced those feelings. Circumstances at times seemed nearly overwhelming, but through them, God, as always, taught me a valuable lesson.

One particular instance comes to mind. I believe it was my third or fourth day of clinicals. Learning the ropes at the nursing home was challenging, and I had just been switched to a new resident. I had just started to feel comfortable with the one I had, and now I had to learn a whole new set of procedures. It didn't help any that this lady did not speak English.

To top it all off, my white uniform looked like an oil canvas that a two year old had just finished playing with. On the way to clinicals that morning, I had left an uncapped pen sitting in my lap, resulting in an ink spot on my white skirt about the size of Texas. During lunch I spilled mustard down my front, and sometime during the day, my resident had sneezed chocolate shake all over me to complete the painting! Oh my....I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

"Lord, why in the world do you have me here? This isn't what I'm interested in! Your leading seems to be towards midwifery, so why am I wasting all this time learning how to take care of old, completely dependent adults? This just doesn't make sense!"

Upon returning back to the ITC that afternoon, I found a devotional waiting in my e-mail inbox that clearly spoke to what I was facing. Oswald Chambers has been precious to me this year, and that day was no exception.

"If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others...It will mean not knowing why God is taking you that way, because knowing would make you spiritually proud."
-Oswald Chambers

This started my mind on a thought process that is still continuing. Around this time, God gave me a word picture. In my mind, I saw every circumstance walking before me like a parade. I saw the hard times; the things I didn't understand; the blessings; the times I knew God was there, and the times when I wondered. Then the parade changed form. Instead of seeing each thing as an individual circumstance, to be categorized in my mind as good or bad, they all became gifts. Some of them were beautifully wrapped, complete with bows and ribbons. Others were covered in paper that was torn, ripped, and tear-stained. Yet, they all had one thing in common. They were gifts.

Then my eyes were pointed toward the Giver. Each gift was given with one intent. Fruitbearing. Despite the outward appearance, that fact made every gift take on a beauty of it's own. Then I realized, gifts are meant to be received with gratefulness. With acceptance. With delight. With joy. The gift's merits are not to be measured with our senses, but with the knowledge of the heart behind the gift. That makes each one precious and to be desired.

"We have need of patience, and our faithful God brings us into experiences which, improved by His blessing, may cultivate us in this grace. Though we seem to be tried at times almost beyond endurance, we never find Him unable or unwilling to help and sustain us; and were our hearts entirely submissive to His will, desiring it and it only to be done, how much fewer and lighter our afflictions would seem."
-Hudson Taylor

And how much more beautiful our gifts become.....

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

CNA Snapshots - Day by Day

"Day by day, and with each passing moment;
strength I find to meet my trials here..."

...50 medical procedures to memorize in two weeks
...4am mornings
...a looming test
...uncertainty of the future

Any one of these things could be overwhelming. And they were if I allowed myself to dwell on them too much while going through training. Grace was there to meet the day I was in, but it was always absent when concerning a day that had not yet come.

Daily The stories I could tell. The one that sticks out most in my mind is God's answer for physical strength. Two days before my training started, I badly strained my foot. Large airports and heavy luggage did nothing to help the situation. In the days ahead, the pain migrated to every part of my foot possible, and even with the week of mostly classroom, it was not showing any signs of rapid improvement. How was I to face 10 days of 8 hour clinical shifts with a foot I could barely walk on? This question loomed, and became a heavy weight whenever I chose to stop trusting for 'grace for today, and strength for tomorrow.'

One thing I learned. God is not too small to handle the large issues in life, and not too big to care about the little things. After a week and a half of significant pain, it left about as suddenly as it appeared. It was gone, right as my clinical shifts became physically demanding. Once again, I stand in awe at God's faithfulness.

"Strength I find to meet my trials here..."

Faith untried may be true faith, but it is sure to be little faith, and it is likely to remain dwarfish so long as it is without trials. Faith never prospers so well as when all things are against her: tempests are her trainers, and lightnings are her illuminators.

Faith increases in solidity, assurance, and intensity, the more it is exercised with tribulation.
Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back Home Again...

After a long, vigorous month of training, I am back home, with my feet happily planted once again on WI soil. My heart is full of things to share. I'm considering starting a file labeled 'To blog about.' It would be chock full.

Thoughts unravel slowly. Even more slowly when time is limited. Stay tuned for a gradual unweaving of quotes, lessons, photos, interesting tidbits, and verbal snapshots. I can hardly wait myself for the opportunity to finally be able to turn my many thoughts into writing! Hopefully it won't be long!