Posted in Uncategorized

The One Where We Graduate

“And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when He saw their faith, He said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” [Luke 5:18-26]

Now, that may seem like an odd passage to read for my graduation speech. But I’ll bring it full circle.

I can’t tell you how many people over my 3 years here have commented on my joy. And many of you probably don’t realize that every time you’ve made that comment, you’re reminding me that our God answers prayers. Prior to coming to IHI, I went through a rough season of life and I questioned His goodness. I felt Him leading me to Image, even though I’d had no intentions of moving to Tulsa and had only interviewed here because our family doctor back in IN (Dr. Brechner) was a former chief and spoke so highly of IHI. However, I knew that I wanted to obey God even if it went against what I wanted. So I ranked IHI #1. And then Match Day came and I matched and reality hit: I was about to move to Tulsa alone and away from my family and friends. I had so many fears: the biggest fear was that I’d be placed in a class of people who have no desire to hang out with each other. Boy, was I wrong there 😉 We’re basically all obsessed with each other to the point that it makes others a little scared of us 🙂

But in that season leading up to moving, I became consumed with doubt—doubting myself and doubting the God I’d always trusted–every previous situation that had caused any doubt suddenly resurfaced at once. I felt hopeless. My deepest prayer was that God would give me joy. I journaled every single night begging God to give me joy again. I read books about God answering impossible prayers, because I felt this prayer was impossible.

When it came time to actually move, I really didn’t think I could do it. I was paralyzed with fear and doubt. But my amazing parents—like the friends in the story—loved me enough and trusted Jesus enough that I remember them saying to me “We’re going to get you down to Tulsa because we believe this is where God led you.” And they lowered me through the roof of my doubt and despair into the midst of Jesus. Because you see, that’s the special thing about this place. Every single physician here knows and loves Jesus and lives as His hands and feet. So when you come here, whether as a resident, faculty, or patient, you are walking straight into the midst of Jesus.

I remember being on the way to the ice cream social and asking, “God, am I supposed to be here? I thought I was following you but I’m so filled with doubt, please just tell me am I supposed to be here?” And about 2 sentences into his talk at the ice cream social, Dr. Duininck starts to say “Now some of you may be wondering if you’re really supposed to be here. Doubt anything else you want, but don’t doubt the fact that you’re supposed to be here. God wants you here.” And it’s like a light switch went off in my heart and those words were the exact reminder from the Lord through Dr. Duininck that this is where God wants me. Thank you, Dr. Duininck, for sharing those words—they were so timely and changed the trajectory of my time here.

And to my parents—thank you for all you’ve done for me, for praying me into this world as your miracle baby after 8 years of praying and trusting Him. But wow, wasn’t I worth the wait? 😉 

Thank you, Dad, for keeping the vision alive of how I can serve Jesus through medicine even when I wanted to give up so many times along the way, for sending me a verse and encouragement every morning, and having dad jokes that most of my class has seen screenshots of. Thank you, Mom, for waking up early to call me when I’m driving home post-call or staying up late when I got off work late, so that I have someone to talk to on the way home, cry to about the hard patient stories, celebrate the exciting patient stories and mostly so I could stay awake. Thank you both for loving me when I’ve been hard to love, for trusting Jesus and following Him no matter the cost because you know He is worth it all, setting the greatest example for Roshan and me. Thank you to the friends and family who are watching who have sent texts, called me, commented on my social media posts, and spent time helping me along this journey. I love you all and guess what—I’m going to have a lot more free time to see you now!

The Lord has showed me that obedience to His plan—even if it wasn’t what I wanted or I don’t fully understand—leads to joy. Over these past 3 years, as you all can testify—God has restored my joy 100 times over. Most people hear my laugh before you see me walking down the halls. You see me dancing and having fun, but I remember the days and nights of tears. So I want to echo the sentiments of the man in the story and give God all the glory. Anything good or joyful you’ve seen in me these past 3 years, it’s all because of Him. He alone is worthy and the source of my joy.

And there are extraordinary things that happen here, when a bunch of imperfect people follow a perfect, loving, good God.

Thank you to Adam and Hillary Greer for graciously letting me be part of your family and live with y’all initially—you made the transition so much easier.

Norma, I know you wish you could be here tonight, but I also know you’re watching online. I will say a lot more in person, but thank you for the countless nights spent in your kitchen and living room, talking and laughing. I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it: you are the hidden treasure of Image. I sure am glad I found you early on—some of my favorite memories took place in your home. You have taught me so much about cooking, hosting, Jesus, and how to love well. I love you so much, Norma. You have been one of my best friends here.

Heidi Lee—I know you’re watching right now…from Hawaii. I am forever grateful to Jeremy for pairing us as mentor and mentee my intern year. You are my adventure buddy, my complete opposite in personality, yet you’re the friend that sticks closer than a sister. Thank you for walking alongside me the past 3 years.

Speaking of some of my best friends, please remember to pray for Leah Shell because, as many of you have recently been asking her, what is she going to do when I’m gone? Love you, Leah. Unicorns 4eva.

Roshan, I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. You’re like a brother to me. Thanks for watching the puppies tonight and for making me laugh every day and in every season. Sorry about that one time I washed your suit. Thanks for being gracious and forgiving. Thanks for coming to Tulsa, traveling to Italy, and calling me randomly to talk about everything and nothing. I love you, Roo!

Admin ladies, Suite 200 clinical staff (Jennifer, Brandy, Alexis, Hannah, Danielle, Misty, Siegrid, Tammy), Good Sam staff—thank you for all the fun, laughs, and stories we’ve shared over these years. Thank you for sharing your life with me and putting up with the endless pics of my fur babies Winston and Houston. Special extra shout out to Jennifer who has been my MA all 3 years, making everyone else jealous that I have such a great MA. Our patients love you and I love you. You have made my residency so full of laughter and fun. Thanks for going out in the snow with me, bringing in your piglets for me to hold, loving my Houston and Winston, and celebrating miracles in our patients’ lives. You sure you don’t want to move up north? 😉

Onto a few more extraordinary people I’ve watched these past 3 years.

I’ve seen the way Dr. Crouch cries every time he talks about God’s faithfulness and how he loves to sing the words that describe his life “I surrender all.” I’ve seen Dr. Place, Dr. Hildebrand, and Dr. Rylander work tirelessly to serve patients and serve all of us residents in the middle of this COVID pandemic—this is the best place to work when a pandemic hits because these are people who will welcome questions and respond with love.

I was once in a delivery with Dr. Howard and watched a patient get upset with everyone in the room, to the point that every nurse walked out once the baby was delivered and safe, then when we finally had dealt with the postpartum hemorrhage and were still being yelled at, I was so ready to take off my gloves and gown and walk out, then I turned back and saw Dr. Howard kneeling down and cleaning the blood off the floor because she didn’t want the patient to have to look at that after having a baby, even though Dr. Howard had been at the hospital since 8am and it was now about 10pm. That is one of the clearest real life pictures I’ve ever seen of servant leadership. Thank you for modeling that for me.

Amanda Cupp has faithfully prayed and texted me every single week of my 3 years here. She is a true friend—thank you for the countless dinners, laughs, conversation, and love.

Dr. Morgan—thanks for being real with me and being my academic advisor these 3 years. And for loving Starbucks as much as I do!

I love that Dr. Hildebrand actually catches all my pop culture references and makes many more of her own, all while pushing us to be the best doctors we can be—I remember telling her at the end of “feedback” my first week having her as my attending on FMIS: “hey, maybe we can be real life friends?” I’m so happy that “maybe” became reality.

Dr. Williston, I’ve seen you walk into the Report Room at midnight just because you thought I may be lonely on call and you’d stay up and talk with me; I’ve also seen the way you advocate for the people you love—I am so grateful for your friendship and the countless ways you have loved me so well.

I’ve watched L’dogg and Kim invest countless hours pouring into each of us residents—and I count y’all as some of my dearest friends. Thank you.

And to all the other attendings: I had written things about each of you, but you can blame this 5 minute time limit for me having to cut out some of my originally 10 minute speech 😉 [For those of you who were at graduation, you know my speech still ended up being over 10 minutes lol…but I blame a mic batteries dying and excess laughter as the reason for going so far over my time limit…]

To my class: you are each amazing and wonderful. Another prayer that God answered 100x over. One of my greatest joys has been living as one of the “12 disciples” through these 3 years of residency with y’all.

We have seen extraordinary things these past 3 years and I have no doubt we will continue to see God do extraordinary things in the future both here at IHI and wherever we all end up (and after last night’s speech: I guess now we MUST have a class reunion in Dr. Crouch’s backyard down the road).

So, to close, I will resonate with the sentiment of the people in the story—let me read verse 26 again: “And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.

God’s grace in my life today:

July 1, 2020: the first day I’m officially done with 25 years of education! He has been so faithful, kind, good, loving, and so much more along the way. It is by God’s grace alone that I made it to this point. Soli Deo Gloria!

Posted in Uncategorized

29

It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since my last post here.

If you’ve been around this blog for awhile, you know that I write an annual birthday post (if you want to see previous posts, just click on the age: 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28).

For those who are new here, I do this for the same reason I started this blog: to reflect on God’s grace and goodness in my life. Sometimes it’s so easy to rush past Him and get busy with the blessings, without realizing the error in that. 

So tonight is my time to pause, reflect, and remember. 

28 may have been one of my most favorite years. It’s always been a favorite number of mine (truly, always loved 7 x 4 = 28 for whatever reason haha), so I was excited for it from the beginning 😉 But really, so many blessings:

Last year, I was scheduled to work at the health department on my birthday, then enjoyed a surprise party my sweet friends threw for me that night. After spending February on my Gyn rotation, I then entered a month I had been absolutely dreading–the month of nights. I still remember being so nervous thinking about being the only resident (plus my rockstar intern) managing a team of 30ish patients + any OB + any peds all night…I made an executive decision going into the month that I’d stay off social media to avoid mindless scrolling and potential comparing all night (especially since I knew ANYTHING would look better compared to working nights for this extrovert!). That was probably one of the wisest decisions I could have made! I was able to be much more productive in the “down time” at night…and I ended up actually really enjoying my month! This came as a huge shock to me since I’d been so hesitant to start, but I came out of the month (and each night) feeling like I’d learned a lot and it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. BUT I was still glad it was only 1 month 😉 

original

After my March month of nights, I jetted off to the UAE with my mom. In fact, can you believe that in 2019, I traveled to 4 different countries–Japan in January (technically I was still 27 at that time), UAE and Oman in April, and all over Italy in October?! How many people (much less busy residents!) can say THAT?! I don’t take that blessing lightly. Traveling brings me so much joy–not only because it fulfills my wanderlust and adventure spirit, but also because the bonds you form with others while traveling are unbeatable. The long conversations that happen in planes/trains/cars/walks/etc. are the fuel for the adventure and last much after the trip is over. The memories made will forever be treasured in my heart.

I was so thankful for the precious time with extended family in Dubai–so many great talks and laughs and memories created. For the first time ever, I learned to value my Indian heritage and felt proud to be Indian–I saw God’s heart for the beauty of diversity and learned to love my culture. Learned even more about my incredible mom while she was out there with me for the first 2 weeks. Gained many friendships with others there, particularly one dear physician friend who taught me so much with her wisdom, gentle nature, and calm spirit. I also got to enjoy being overseas with a classmate–one of my dear best friends and I spent the last 2 weeks of our month there together! The laughs, late night discussions and giggles, dreaming about the future, asking each other endless questions…those are the moments that cemented this friendship for life. I didn’t think I’d have the privilege of being overseas with a classmate, so that was such an unexpected, wonderful surprise–I love when my Heavenly Father surprises me with joy!

May was Peds ER and I also loved that rotation, but that was no surprise for me since it’s peds! June was my first month as a senior resident on our inpatient hospital rotation. I really enjoyed June–we were busy and there was so much unexpected DRAMA (I kept wondering if perhaps we’re being filmed for a reality medical show or something…haha) but once again, I learned so much! I think that month God really taught me to value His opinion above the approval of others–as a senior resident, I had to say and do things that didn’t always make me the most popular. But He gave me the boldness to do those things and the confidence that my identity is in Him, not in the opinion of others. All in all, we had a great team and I enjoyed the month, drama and all!

il_570xN.880614972_7gb5July was another inpatient month–our Aqua rotation, aka functioning as a hospitalist on the Aqua team. Once again, I wasn’t looking forward to this rotation but God gave me joy in the midst of it and one day I became very aware of why He had placed me there during that month. I was placed in a situation where a friend needed me and another friend needed to hear hard truth and I was really the only person in her life who could give her that truth. I realized that God had taught me some lessons in June to prepare me for July. Because I had learned in June to speak up and confront things head on, I had the boldness to do that again in a much more important and difficult situation in July. The Lord was gracious to give me courage and wisdom in a tough situation and I believe I obeyed Him and spoke His truth over that situation. 

August was ophthalmology and ER. I had the incredible blessing to do a few really cool things within a span of a few days: 1) be a birth photographer/videographer for one of my aforementioned best friends and put together her birth video, 2) Travel to Waco, TX with mom and visit Magnolia Market together! 3) Attend the Bethel Music worship conference in Dallas, TX and my spirit was rejuvenated with the joy that comes from His Presence. After returning from the conference, God spoke to me through His Word–truly, His Word is alive and active! September was ANOTHER inpatient month (I front loaded my schedule): cardiology. And this was the last rotation that I was dreading. But, you may have noticed a theme here…I ended up enjoying it 🙂 I learned a lot AND got all 4 weeks done at once rather than having to do two 2 week rotations. Our class also went to IHOP (prayer, not pancakes!) in September and had some really special moments together.

72603908_10156385778902321_4837689576954789888_oOctober was Ortho and then a whirlwind trip to Italy with my brother and our
c
hildhood friend. We started in Venice (which ended up flooding a month later!), then Lake Como (one of the highlights was renting a boat on Lake Como), then Cinque Terre, then Florence / Tuscany (another highlight was renting a car and driving down the winding country roads there) , then finished up in Rome! Still seems like a dream that we were even there…but we have some great pics to reminds ourselves it’s reality!

November was one of the most FUN months of residency–being an FMIS senior (aka running our inpatient service again, like I did in June) with one of my best friends and ENFP/unicorn/Type 7 twin. We had more fun that I thought possible–choreographed and recorded multiple music videos, spent so much time laughing, pulled off some pranks, and just had such a wonderful time–it’s a beautiful thing when work and play are intertwined!

 

78240031_10156518260552321_3993160317772234752_oDecember I went home and rotated with our family doctor (and former chief resident at my residency program, he’s the reason I knew about this program in Tulsa!). And HUGE highlight of 28–God brought sweet Winston into my life!! My family came to visit for Thanksgiving and while they were here, we discovered that the family we bought Houston baby from as a puppy had another litter of puppies…and they happened to have 2 males available for pick up the weekend I was driving home to Indiana! So I worked my last day of FMIS on Friday, drove home Saturday with mom, and then Sunday we all went to pick up Winston…whose name I decided on about 20 minutes before we got there! Winston has brought me SO MUCH JOY. I never knew that having my own puppy would make me this happy. Houston is my sweet baby boy but he’s our family dog and much too attached to dad to ever live permanently with me. But Winston is all mine. And he is such a perfect match for me. Everyone who meets him comments on how chill he is–especially for a puppy! One of my best friends actually commented that she thinks he has my personality haha! 

I spent the first week of January home on vacation, then dad drove down to Tulsa with me and we had some great bonding time. I’m so grateful for my dad’s gentle and generous nature--he helped me get Winston settled here while I started back at work. We enjoyed some quality time together before he headed back home to Indiana. I spent January learning outpatient pediatrics from a preceptor known to be tough; but I really enjoyed working with and learning from her 20+ years of experience.

February kicked off with practice management–aka a rotation that gives me some half days including a half day today which was an amazing birthday blessing! I walked in to clinic this morning and was surprised by decorations galore at my station, then my MA’s took me out for lunch and came to meet Winston and see my place, then I napped, and celebrated with dinner at one of my favorite Tulsa restaurants, surrounded by people who make me feel so loved. 

And that brings me to now, the first night of 29. 28 was a great year (as evidenced by everything I wrote above…that phrase is for the friend/teacher who I know will be reading this!) and I’ve learned so much.

Here is one of my biggest takeaways / lessons that I’m bringing with me to year 29:

He reminded me that He’s always working. He did this in a very powerful way–I was 78968479_10156525953532321_9160945619215319040_ositting in church with dad on January 5th and was suddenly hit with the thought: “You had no idea the last time you were in this church with your family (aka Nov. 24, Thanksgiving week when they had come down to visit) that the next time you’d be here, you would have a puppy.” I stood there during worship and thought, wow that is so true. In fact, if someone had told me that, I would have said that’s impossible. I had REALLY wanted a puppy and had talked for months about getting one in December since I’d be done with all my inpatient rotations. But every time I looked, nothing was working out. Then at the end of October, I even stopped by PetSmart’s adoption day and held a puppy and strongly considered getting her…but realized it wasn’t wise to get a puppy right before I start FMIS and work crazy hours. So I put that puppy back (and noticed someone else swoop in to adopt her), and decided this just must not be the right timing so I’ll put this dream on hold and consider a puppy after I finish residency. 

I mean, I’d literally given up on having a puppy in December. And I was okay with that. But then God swooped in and surprised me. Who knew that while I was holding that puppy on October 26 and then feeling sad putting the puppy back and essentially giving up on the puppy dream my future puppy was about to turn 1 month old? God knew. Who knew that Winston would have the perfect personality for me? God knew. He always knows. And I was reminded that even when I don’t see it, You’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working. You never stop, You never stop working…You are Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness. My God, that is Who You are.”

Dad started singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” to help Winston go to sleep within the first few nights after we’d brought him home (that song would somehow almost magically lull him to sleep, believe it or not!) and those words have become a theme for our lives–Winston is a constant reminder of God’s faithfulness in my life!

Now, you may be reading this and thinking: “C’mon, Rosh, don’t make this a big deal. It’s just a puppy!” But I believe that sometimes God uses even “just a puppy” to teach us big lessons about Himself. He is the God who sees. He is the God who knows. He is the God who provides…even when there seems to be no way. So just like He surprised me with joy with “just a puppy,” I can trust Him more in other areas. I can love Him more because I know Him more deeply. And the more I know Him, the deeper I love Him. So truly, He has increased my trust in Him and my love for Him through “just a puppy.”

9670cba2fb39da70e187c6e3a4d05592

This morning, I woke up with this song in my head:

“For I know Your thoughts and Your plans for me are good. I know You hold my future and my hope. Your promises never fail. I am standing on every promise that You made. I will see it come to pass in Your Name. Jesus, I will trust every word I hear You say. I will see it come to pass in Your Name.” 

And, as is tradition–I pick out a Bible passage based on my age…is it a coincidence that the above song that I woke up with in my head is very similar to Jeremiah 29:11? I think not 🙂

Multiple times during 28, I have been convicted to pray big prayers. Most recently, at our residency winter retreat when the speaker told story after story of God coming through in huge ways and providing for His people. Previously, as mentioned above, He spoke to me during and after the Bethel Music worship conference. Specifically, He spoke through Exodus 33:12-16. I wrote a long journal entry on 9/2/2019 about what He spoke to me and I believe I will see the fulfillment of those promises soon. Ha, I’m just realizing 9/2 is 29 backwards 😉

I am believing in faith that 29 will bring with it a deeper knowledge of Him, promises fulfilled, prayers answered, and more “surprised by joy” moments. God has increased my faith during 28. I am so thankful for every lesson He taught me along the way. But I am most thankful for His Presence. The bonds He and I have formed while traveling this past year together. He is my favorite travel Companion, my Faithful Friend, my Good Father, my Adventure Guide. I am ready for another year of adventures–another year filled with testimonies of His grace in my life.  

God’s grace in my life today:

I am so overwhelmed with how far He’s brought me. When I first started this blog, I was studying for my MCAT in college. Now I’m ~4.5 months from finishing my FM residency. Unbelievable. God’s grace has carried me through every moment. No one else can worship Him for what He’s done for me–so I’ll keep worshipping and testifying that He is good and He is my King. I love You, my King .

Posted in Uncategorized

28

“All my life You have been faithful, all my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”

These lyrics have been on repeat for me lately. As I reflect on another year, I see His faithfulness and goodness in so many ways. 

27 started with a surprise party (as did 28 tonight!). I felt so loved by so many that day/night–parents had chocolate-covered strawberries delivered to the children’s hospital I was working at, my friend Heidi brought me Thai food for lunch, and then we had the surprise party that night! 

2 months later, I took a big leap of faith and jetted off on an adventure with Jesus to Africa. I was going alone, but the Lord so perfectly provided people at each step of the journey. The surgeon I worked with there in Ghana was such an encouragement and inspiration to me in the way she loved her patients and humbly served them. While I was in Ghana, I had time to think and pray and I asked God to remind me of my passions. It was that time in intern year where I was a bit ready to be done, and felt like I’d forgotten why I’m doing what I’m doing. The Lord brought to mind my passion for children with Down syndrome.

This led to me sending an email to a developmental pediatrician I knew of at IUSM to see if she had any idea of who I could work with in the country…she responds and tells me that the national expert on Down syndrome is down the hall from her (seriously, what a God-incidence)! Long story short, this led to me being able to rotate with that expert physician in September–meaning I got to live back in Indy and have my bro back as a roommate (even in the same apartment complex as where we had lived before!) for a few weeks! And to fast forward a bit, I’m now joining a board for a post-secondary education school (Shepherds College) that is specifically for those with special needs–such a full-circle moment!

October involved rotating with one of the most giving people I know–a physician who invested in me as a learner, as a future teacher, and as a friend. I had the blessing of getting to know him and his family quite well and am so grateful for their friendship and prayers!

December brought a surprisingly fun month of ICU and then I got to go home for a whole week for Christmas! Then I flew to Fort Myers to meet up with one of my best friends for NYE, stayed up all night after ringing in the new year on the beach, then we jetted off to Japan on Jan. 1. We traveled Japan with no previous agenda–we made our plans and reservations each night for the next day. The trip was one-of-a-kind filled with beautiful sights, gracious people, invigorating conversations, and all around fun!

Returned stateside and started my surgery rotation–another one that turned out to be an absolute blast! I loved the surgeon and team I worked with and was once again grateful to see how the Lord had paved the way for me. 

tumblr_pem9h4cc571s91yx0o1_1280

That brings me to February–my birthday weekend kicked off with the PGY-2 girls surprising me with a cake during our girls’ night, then spent the weekend here with mom/dad/Houston (they made the 10+ hr trip Friday just to be here for the weekend!)–we went to a worship night Friday, then some of my favorite restaurants over the weekend, then they headed out this morning. I worked all day then one of my best friends picked me up and drove me to what turned out to be a surprise party! 

I was continually surprised by joy this weekend. God is good. I’m excited for the other “surprised by joy” moments that I believe this year will bring. And as is my tradition, I found a verse to match my age: Psalm 28:7 (see above picture).

He has been so, so good to me–I feel like I’m recognizing that more and more recently as I look back. I’m especially amazed at how often people comment on my joy–because there was a season when “God, give me joy” was my deepest prayer and that prayer seemed impossibly out of reach. Yet now I’m living out the answer. I’m living in the overflow of the joy of the Lord. Every time someone comments on my joy, it reminds me of that season of tears when joy seemed so out of reach–and I remind myself that the same God who was faithful to me then to bring me to this point is the same God who hears my prayers now and will continue to be faithful. Here’s to a year filled with even more adventures! 28 and feeling great 🙂

“All my life You have been faithful, all my life You have been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”
-“Goodness of God” by Bethel

 

God’s grace in my life:
He answered the prayer I thought was impossible. Every laugh that wells up within me is a reminder that nothing is impossible for Him. He is good to me, He is faithful. Thank You, Father–Your grace abounds to me.

Posted in Birthday

27

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” [ESV]

“I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God.” [MSG]

“[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living! Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.” [AMP]

-Psalm 27:13-14

acef124413062fa0b7c3c77d88367cde

Those of y’all who’ve been following this blog know that I’ve been doing annual birthday posts [which you can see if you click on the age: 23, 24, 25, 26] for awhile. I’m a pretty sentimental girl in general, so I get extra sentimental around my birthday each year and like to reflect on the previous year. My somewhat silly custom is to find verses with my birthday number to claim for the year. Last year, I chose the following:

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord, forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” [Isaiah 26:3-4]

“For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness.” [Psalm 26:3]

And wow, how true they proved to be. Last year around this time, I was so torn over and filled with confusion about what God was doing in my life. Every time someone asked how they could pray for me, I asked for “peace and clarity.Match Day was coming up and I had no clue how to create my rank list. Top that with some other “wrestling with God” heart struggles. My heart felt like a washing machine–thoughts spinning round and round and round. And then one night, I begged God to speak clearly. And He did. But He didn’t say what I wanted to hear. He said the opposite and then left the choice of obedience up to me. Can I just say–it’s one thing to hear the voice of God, it’s quite another to obey His voice. But once you’re sure it’s God’s voice, is there really any [wise] choice but to obey Him? And so that night, a few days after turning 26, I made this big decision and said, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

8310936688d60fea34c92430082b93e2

That led to a month or so of immense peace–knowing that I had heard the voice of God and knowing that I had obeyed Him brought me great peace after weeks/months of uncertainty and confusion. And then all of a sudden that decision became my reality…and suddenly hypothetical obedience became practical obedience and I realized how “not my will” this really was. The doubt and confusion and hurt came crashing in like waves knocking down my carefully constructed sand castle built on my well-intentioned blueprints.

What do you do when God asks you to do something you don’t understand and His top priority really isn’t to make you understand?

I sulked. I questioned. I regretted obeying Him. I looked every direction but at Him.

“For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness.

Even though I didn’t realize it, His steadfast love was before my eyes–I just refused to look. Even though I was doubting Him, in His grace and mercy, He continued to have me walk in His faithfulness.

To walk (okay, drive) miles away to a new home, crying the whole way down and questioning whether I made a huge mistake obeying Him…yet He was faithful to give me parents who lowered me down to where God had called me, like the group who lowered their helpless friend down to Jesus. He was faithful to give me a goofy brother who could walk in the door of the apartment we shared and make me laugh even if I’d been crying all day. He was faithful to bring me to my new home and surprise me with a community of very different, yet very united people who have become family. He was faithful to reveal to me: “My child, obedience is for your joy. Don’t you think I know best? I’ve been a Father for a long time. ” He has taught me time and time again that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I’ve heard from God in very specific ways at very necessary times. He has spoken as I’ve waited on Him. I mean, I’ve asked specific questions and He’s spoken specific answers to me. That’s insane–that the God of the universe would care enough to get close and whisper His answers as I waited on Him. Mind-boggling.

4a0e48549b2bc64f6913f1e1ab284a22

He has given me countless opportunities to love people, to watch Him work in their lives, to join Him as He loves people. He allowed me to watch Him bring an almost 100 year old women to salvation as heaven erupted with celebration–days before she passed away from this earth and joined the party in Heaven. He’s given me friends who have loved me so beautifully. He’s given me mentors who make time in the midst of their busy schedules to keep me accountable, love on me, and talk to me–some on the phone from across the country, some over dinner in the same city.

26 was the year I learned that God is a GOOD Father. He is so good. He is so loving. He is so kind. In my deepest need, He met me. In my darkest doubts, He stayed. In my confusion, He spoke peace. In my fear, He taught me love…and He showed me the unconditional extent of His love.

What would have become of me had I not believed that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!” [and I really didn’t believe it…I doubted it…yet, He still brought me from death to life and lavished His goodness on me.]

Hallelujah, You have saved me–so much better Your way. When I thought I’d lost me, You knew where I’d left me. You reintroduced me to Your love. You picked up all my pieces, put me back together. You are the defender of my heart.

His way is not only better, it’s the best. “I want what You want, Lord, and nothing less.” So this year, I enter 27 with a confidence in my Good Father. I have a renewed understanding of His love. I know better now how deep His love reaches because I know it reached me when I was low. I believe that my obedience is for my joy. I believe that He speaks when I wait. And so I will wait on Him–He always shows up. I know that He will show up this year and once again go beyond my wildest dreams or imagination. This year, I will see the goodness of the Lord as I wait for and hope for and expect Him.

Faithful You have been, faithful You will be.

God’s grace in my life:

How gracious of Him to lead me when I fought Him, to love me when I left Him, to restore my heart when I broke His. It’s all grace.

 

Posted in medlife

Match Week

So for those of y’all who have been following my med school journey, this week is a pretty big week for 4th year med students around the world…

It’s Match Week!

Which means we all get matched with our soul mates.

JUST KIDDING.

Basically, this is the week we find out where we matched for residency.

To back it up–Med school is 4 years. During your 4th year, you’ve hopefully picked out your specialty (I chose Family Med) and you start looking at different programs for residency. You can even do rotations at some of those programs to get a better feel for them. Then you get your application ready so you can hit “submit” the day ERAS opens (that’s the online application portal). Then you start receiving interview offers and start scheduling them–pro-tip: Schedule based on location! Clump all the Carolina ones together, the west coast ones, the south, etc…as much as possible.

Starting around October, you start interviewing. Interview season is really fun until it gets tiring haha.

I met tons of awesome friends and we all still keep in touch and will hopefully be co-residents with some of them!

So after interview season wraps up in January, you have until the end of February (this year it was Feb. 22 at 9pm) to make a rank list. This is exactly what it sounds like–you think back on all the programs and rank the ones you’d want to end up at in the order you feel is best. This was by far the hardest part of the process for me. I had my top 5, then top 3, and then I got stuck. 2 of the programs were fairly similar, 1 was a bit different…and depending on the hour, I was sold on each one. I kept trying to imagine my life at each program and could picture a good life…just a different life at each one.

I prayed and talked ad nauseum about my options. And I still had no clue what to do!

I was losing sleep, had no appetite, and just overall stressed about this decision.

As is almost always the case with me, I finally felt the Lord make things very clear…at like the last possible moment. Sometimes I wonder if God is giving me a taste of my own procrastination medicine…other times I convince myself that procrastination must be godly if it seems like God does it too (mostly joking because obviously God’s timing is perfect).

But yeah, I pulled an all-nighter praying in my closet (fun fact: my closet is my go-to place for crying and for praying without distraction)…and around 5am, I felt the Lord speak to my heart pretty clearly about what I need to do and how I need to rank. I journaled about it immediately because I know I’m prone to forget. I felt specifically convicted that I should make a decision based not on fear, but on delighting in the Lord, obeying Him, and trusting that He is going with me.

So I finally certified my list at like 5am (pretty sure I get the award for stressing out my school the most…I really waited way too long to certify haha). And then I fell asleep, woke up a few hours later and freaked out, then talked to a sweet friend (who I had already told about my decision and who knew I would second guess everything…man, praise God for people like that who know when to call and what to say to help us trust God!), then prayed again and felt convinced that I need to leave the list as is and trust that I’m following the Lord to the best of my ability.

Then I actually made some calls to people from the other programs, sent some emails, and wrote some texts. I felt that so many had loved me so well and been praying for me, so I wanted to be upfront and tell them how I felt the Lord leading me to rank everything. They were encouraging beyond belief and prayed for me and cheered me on. Immense blessing to have such amazing support from so many people I didn’t even know before interview season started.

So back to the timeline, rank list was submitted on Feb. 22. Each program submits a rank list too, ranking all the students who interviewed with them. Some nebulous computer algorithm plays with everyone’s rank lists and generates a match list that is supposed to be in the applicant’s benefit.

Monday of Match week (i.e. tomorrow) at 11am, we’ll all get an email saying whether or not we matched. Ideally, 100% of applicants matched and all the programs fill, but in the event that someone didn’t match, there’s this thing called SOAP that becomes really important…essentially, students find out which programs have openings and attempt to match with them. But let’s be optimistic and idealistic–so tomorrow, every med student gets an email saying, “Congrats! You matched!” (or something like that)…

Then we wait until Friday…which is Match Day. This year it’s on St. Patrick’s Day which is pretty fun. IU does this awesome Match Day ceremony where we all gather together with friends and family, then we each pick up an envelope with our Match info. At the same time, we all open our envelopes and find out where we matched. Then we have the option to announce to everyone where we’re heading for residency. It’s a sweet celebration of lots of hard work and support!

So yeah, it’s a big week for us! And not gonna lie, I’m mostly excited about our exclusive matching T-shirts that a group of my friends and I will be wearing:

tshirt

Thanks to all of y’all who’ve been with me through this process–super grateful for those of y’all who’ve stuck by me through thick and thin.

God’s grace in my life today:

Somehow He graciously brought me to this point.

Posted in To my littles

To my littles

To my littles,

Today the world celebrated International Women’s Day. Well, some of us celebrated women, some criticized women, and some ignored women. So it was a fairly typical day. The theme was “Be Bold for Change.” And that got me thinking about what kind of world you will grow up in.

I don’t know what the world will look like in the future when you get here, but I know who I want you to look like when you get here. And darling, I’ll spend every moment of my life pointing you to Him. I want you to look like Jesus. I want more than anything to look like Jesus.

Because let me tell you about Jesus–He cares about everyone, but He went out of His 88caa51d34d753ef4de1b74d816d5e70way to care for the marginalized. He was surrounded by crowds wanting His attention, but He stopped to give attention to a woman who had spent her life seeking out doctors who could not heal her…and Jesus healed her and called her “daughter.” He stopped to sit with a women who had incorrect beliefs, who had lived a sexually promiscuous life, who was considered different and unworthy…and Jesus met with her and spoke truth. When other men accused and condemned a woman caught in adultery, Jesus spoke words that caused the accusers to retreat until He was alone with the woman…then He spoke words of forgiveness and new life: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on, sin no more.”

Those are just a few examples (and there are more) of how He showed us in His life on earth how much He valued women. He was willing to stop and take the time to hear their stories…to look them in the eye…to love them enough to speak truth into their lives…to show up when others sat out.

And that’s what I want for us as women. Let us be bold for change like Jesus. Let us stop for the ones left out. Let us speak truth when others accuse. Let us show grace when we’re hurt. Let us run to Jesus with our hurt and broken heart and be healed by Him. Let us bring compassion and forgiveness to the table. Let us welcome all to our table. Let us fight injustice and choose life in every matter. Let us be the ones to say: “You matter to Jesus and you matter to me.

Though the world may make us want to sit out, let’s stand up and stand out and show up. Because the world needs us women. The King designed us with unique gifts that we can bring to the table, and Jesus went out of His way to help women see their worth…to see that they are invited to the table, that they are wanted at the table, regardless of what others have said or done to them. That’s the message the world needs to hear.

I don’t know what the world will look like when you get here, but I know who I want to look like when you get here. I want to look like Jesus–and by His grace, I will.

xoxo

Posted in Bible study

Look at Me

At church tonight (s/o to Traders Point!), the guest speaker gave a very powerful analogy. When a parent takes a child to the doctor and the child needs a shot, the parent never encourages the child to look at the needle. The parent knows the needle is going to sting…and so a loving parent will tell his child, “Baby, look at me. Look at me.” Look away from the needle and look at the face of one who loves you. If I’m in the room and I’m allowing the pain to occur, you can rest assured that the pain is necessary for a higher good.

Saw a movie (“The Shack”) after church (yes, I know it’s controversial and perhaps another post will address my thoughts on why I think it’s worth reading/seeing)…and one particular scene featured Jesus telling Mack those same words–“Look at Me.

How easy it is to focus on our pain, to wallow in doubt, to wrestle with anxiety…yet how simple the solution is: Look at Jesus.

cc410da48b24f294081ba0e0496d68f9-2“Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowds. And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water. He said, Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

-Matthew 14:22-33

Multiple lessons to learn from this story:

1) Jesus sent them into the boat, knowing it would be beaten by the waves because the wind was against them. Friend, don’t assume that opposition is a sign you’re not in the will of God. In this case, the will of God involved sending his beloved disciples into a storm. Don’t jump ship, but strain your eyes for Jesus, lean in to hear your Savior.

2) He came to them. He did not abandon them–He never leaves His children. That’s a promise He made and He’s the Promise Keeper. And He may appear in your life in an unusual way–remember that though this story may be familiar to some of us, it’s never normal to see a man walking on water…yet that’s how Jesus came to them. He literally WALKED on water in the midst of a storm. He will stop at nothing to get to you, friend.

3) A word from Jesus dispels all fear. Initially the disciples are freaking out that they’re seeing a ghost. What we see now as a miracle, they saw then as a terrifying event. Perhaps there’s stuff happening in your own life that you view as terrifying/discouraging/unwanted…but will one day be able to see it more clearly as a miracle in the midst of the storm. Jesus knew they were afraid and He IMMEDIATELY spoke to calm their fears. The storm hadn’t ceased yet, yet Jesus instructed them to recognize His presence and not to fear. It’s easy to live by faith when the storm ceases…but that’s not real faith…it’s rearview mirror faith. Jesus wants us to have faith in Him even in the midst of the storm. He allowed the storm to continue–He wanted them to trust His presence rather than rely on circumstances. And He gives us the same instructions today: “Take heart, it is I; do not fear.”

4) As soon as Peter hears Jesus, he’s ready to jump out of the boat. There’s a storm going on, but Peter is focused on Jesus’ voice. The fact that Peter says, “Lord, IF it is You…” makes me wonder if he still couldn’t see Jesus clearly. Which makes this even more amazing. Peter was ready to jump out of a boat simply because he heard Jesus. The voice of God can still lead us today even when we can’t see Him.

5) Our focus determines whether we sink or swim. For some reason, I’d always imagined this story as Peter attempting to walk towards Jesus, then getting scared before he reached Jesus. But as I’m reading it tonight, it seems like Peter made it to Jesus, then got scared. “Peter got out of the boat, walked on the water, and came to Jesus.” But then he saw the wind. When his focus turned from Jesus to the wind, he became afraid. Now remember, the wind hadn’t ceased when he was walking on water. But he hadn’t noticed it when he was focused on Jesus. As soon as he noticed it and became afraid, he began to sink and cried out for Jesus to save him. And IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out His hand and took hold of Peter, asking him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And only once they got in the boat did the wind cease. The wind was not the determining factor in this story–Jesus is the determining factor in every story. Don’t just look away from the wind…look away TO Jesus. 

I don’t know your situation today–but Jesus knows. And He’s not abandoned you. You may feel like He has–believe me, I’ve been there. But He has never left my side. Not for a moment. He’s always there, ready to IMMEDIATELY reach out His hand and take hold of me…take hold of you.

Hear the voice of your Savior today:

“Baby, look at Me. Look at Me.”

God’s grace in my life today:

I fell in love with the heart of my God again today. He loves me so much–He’s collected every tear, He’s heard every prayer, He’s been with me every step. How He loves us so.

Posted in Lessons from Houston

Run Into You

Today I walked towards the stairs and stopped abruptly–this resulted in Houston running c5347fdf0d267f32ce714c3d51e55fe7into me. He follows me SO CLOSELY–it’s hilariously cute. He doesn’t even care where we’re going. Whether I’m going to the kitchen, my bedroom, the living room, or the bathroom, he’s right on my heels. And I often find him running into me.

Wow–what a cool concept to think about following Jesus that closely. I get so caught up in where we’re headed or where we just left and why are we going here or why didn’t we stay there? But what if I could just enjoy the journey–find joy in following Jesus. Find joy in running after Him, trusting that His presence is more important than any destination. Trust that if He led me away from something, it’s for my good. Trust that if He’s leading me to something new, it’s for my good.

Trust that the worst case scenario of running hard after Jesus is running into Him…and that’s actually also the best case scenario.

God’s grace in my life today:

I’m so grateful for this season of rest…time to just be still, to reflect, to dream.

Posted in Lessons from Houston

With

Houston loves to be outside. Even whispering the words “let’s go outside” cause my furry sweet-eyed buddy to jump with excitement and wag that tail hard like he’s trying to hit a home run. His golden face instantly transforms to a dog-grin as he races down the stairs and nudges me to open the door. He pants and wags and sniffs and scurries around with joy during every walk and even during the quick trips outside.

fullsizerender-2Of course it brings me so much joy to see him happy  (y’all know I love my dog something fierce!) to be outside. But you know what really warms my heart? He loves being outside, but he loves being WITH me more.

Today I let him out on the balcony to enjoy the fresh air while I was making tea. And he happily went outside, but then I peeked through the window and noticed he just sat there staring at the door. He then started people watching (dog after my own heart), but every few seconds he would glance at the door. This lasted a total of no more than 5 minutes before I opened the door and he happily trotted in to sit at my feet. He’d rather be inside with me than outside without me.

And the thought crossed my mind–do I love Jesus like that? Am I more interested in His presence than my pleasure? Have I come to fully grasp that His presence IS the utmost fulfillment of my pleasure? Or am I fully able to enjoy myself with complete disregard for His presence? Why even attempt to find joy apart from Him–when He is the source of all joy? May I find more joy in being with Him than in doing anything without Him. Oh, to learn the simple lessons that come so naturally to my sweet Houston 🙂

God’s grace in my life:

Abba is so good to me–His love for me far exceeds my love for my dog–my love for anyone or anything. He takes great delight in me. Oh, that I would delight more in Him and long to be near Him at every moment. He is with me. Hallelujah and amen.

singing

Posted in Birthday, The Surprised Life

26

You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You–in both inclination an character], because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation]. Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner], for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].” [AMP]

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord, forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” [ESV]

People with their minds set on You, You keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.” [MSG]

~Isaiah 26:3-4

As those of you who have been following this blog know, I’ve been doing annual birthday posts (232425) since I started med school–but this year my post is a little late (technically I’m only one day past my birthday…month (haha)). 25 was such a year of growth, restoration (which was my word for the year–seriously amazing how God restored so much that felt broken), and challenges. I had my writing published as a CMDA devotional. I switched from peds to family med at the very end of my 3rd year after realizing that I enjoy procedures and feeling the Lord connect all the dots of third year (the love for every rotation, the desire to work with all the family members, the goal to serve overseas, the innate desire to know a patient’s full story, etc.). Finished up my third year of med school and started my fourth year (aka med school heaven).

16b2ea84ad1b3f7e4a8129b5f73b2982

I traveled to Canada and was overwhelmed by the love and generosity of strangers-turned-friends. God used them to encourage me, especially one sister in Christ who spoke truth and love into my life in such a specific way that it could only be of God. I was blessed with the opportunity to serve with fellow Jesus-followers at a FQHC clinic in Indianapolis and learned so much. I worked with an incredible team to start a group that invests in the mental health of med students. Loved my sub-I rotation and worked with an amazing team at Eskenazi. Went through some highs and lows, but was consistently encouraged by the ministry of Pastor Steven Furtick and Elevation Church. Continued to experience the Lord restoring me. Started a habit of reminding my heart and telling the Lord daily: “I choose You today and every day.

I spent a month rotating in Tulsa, OK and about a week rotating in Memphis, TN and then hit the interview trail hard (traveled all over the country!), met absolutely AMAZING people on the trail, worked some crazy ER shifts and left with my own “war stories,” watched my first patient die, almost died myself during an ice storm (praise God for angels in the form of brave men and a kind policeman), finished off my core med school rotations (that means that “if I become a doctor” will soon have to drop the “if”!), finished off the interview season at a resort on the beach, struggled to make my rank list (as in, REALLY struggled), received the advice to “dream big with God,” spent many nights sitting in my closet (my go-to place for distraction-free Jesus time), heard from the Lord very clearly, experienced His peace, made some decisions, blessed to be encouraged and loved by so many people, watched the Lord answer very specific time-sensitive prayers in such a short time frame, and have seen the Father lean in time and time again, speak very specifically through various people/sermons, and continually say lovingly, “Trust me, child.

So as is my somewhat silly custom, I found verses with the number “26” that I want to “claim” for this year. The Isaiah passage above actually found me when I wasn’t even looking. And here’s the other verse from Psalm 26:3–

“For Your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in Your faithfulness.”

I am grateful that one word from Jesus still has the power to calm storms and bring peace. The Lord has been so gracious and good to me this past year–even when I couldn’t see it or didn’t feel Him near. I know He never once abandoned me. I know He has good in store for me. I know He is good. And I know Him in a deeper way as a freshly minted 26yo than I did at 25. He made Himself known in the valleys and on the mountaintops. He rarely roared above the noise, but was most often found in the moments of vulnerability when I’d reached the end of myself. He taught me that sacrifice is not a one-and-done type deal, but a daily, moment-by-moment choice. Same with trust. And He’s proved Himself not only sovereign and trustworthy and good and loving, but also near. For that, I am very grateful.

My word for 26 is “steadfast.” May my heart be steadfast, grounded in the truth of who HE is and trusting Him wholeheartedly, “with hope and confident expectation.” I’m expecting to be surprised by joy as I keep my heart steadfast on Him.

God’s grace in my life today:

All of the above. Wow, even though most of what I wrote above just barely scratched the surface, I’m overwhelmed by how faithful He has been to restore me and make me more like Him. He is so good.

5b2172fcce470f0366404bf7778d37c4