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).

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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.

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Posted in Birthday

24

I think maybe 23 was the best year of my life so far. 8e152dc8ba952669f70a35571442adfe

God answered a lot of prayers…some prayers that I had prayed a long time and many new prayers.

There have been multiple times this past year when I’ve legitimately just paused to take a deep breath in because the blessings are so overwhelmingly wonderful. It’s like when you walk into the kitchen and the food smells amazing, so you just need a minute to stand there and inhale the aromas.

(For the record, that would probably not happen in MY kitchen because there are very few food aromas happening there at the moment…)

Remember when I talked about living the surprised life?

Friends, my King has surprised me over and over this past year.

He delights in bringing me joy. His mercies are truly new every morning. His faithfulness never ends.

As I’ve been reflecting on this past year with Jesus, I’ve had this deep stirring in my heart about what I want my life to look like this next year. Last year, I really focused on His faithfulness. This year, I want to live a life of praise. A life filled with gratitude over the stories that don’t make sense apart from Christ.

I was on a jog/walk the other day thinking about this when I passed some flooded fields. The water in the fields looked like it contained clouds. But obviously that wasn’t the case–the scene in the water was simply a reflection of the reality in the sky.

fadb2c857040574008b6e2acbba45ff5That’s what I want for my life…to be a reflection of the reality of my King. I want to remember and be excited about all the stories that don’t make sense apart from Him. The times when He’s come through for me in major ways. The times when He’s given me the desires of my heart. The times when He’s lovingly changed the desires of my heart. The times when He’s called me out of my comfort zone so I can learn He is worthy of my trust. The random strangers He’s put in my path who have spoken His truth over me. The random strangers He’s put in my path so I can speak His truth over them. The strangers who become friends and then best friends and then family

And I want new stories like that. But I don’t want the story to end with me–I want people to hear those stories and see my life…and be awakened to the reality of my King

63ffca17795acfa62896c9f3de29353cI’m not sure what this year has in store. There are some big changes coming up. And sometimes that seems scary. But I don’t want to worship the idol of knowing. I don’t want to worship the idol of fear or anxiety or doubt or selfishness or pride. I want to wholeheartedly worship the One True King.

The One who takes me on the best adventures. The One that will continue to hold my hand as we go through new adventures. The One who makes me brave. The One who loves me unconditionally, specifically, and intentionally. 

I’ve had 23 years of adventures with my Jesus.

Here’s to making it 24

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God’s grace in my life:

He has shown Himself so faithful this past year! I can’t even count all the blessings. He enabled me to finish my first year of med school with joy, enjoy a bunch of awesome vacations with my family, travel to California for the “summer that lasts a lifetime” where I discovered how much I absolutely LOVE leading worship. So many awesome new relationships were formed. I dug into the truth that He makes beautiful things out of us…He takes our brokenness aside and makes it beautiful. I hid more of His Word in my heart.

I haven’t loved med school this year, but His grace is evident even in that, I know that He has a plan–my worth and joy comea464692c4b26056bc0790db7ca7a4124 not from med school (thank God), but from knowing Jesus. And Jesus is with me even when I don’t like where I am. He’s taught me to see my life as worship and as a sacrifice poured out for Him. So there is joy even in the not-so-fun times. Seeing Him answer prayers from last year just reminds me over and over again how faithful He is. I’m so glad to know the Author of my story. There is such joy and freedom in being the daughter of the King. Christ is enough.

Posted in Birthday

23

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As most of you loyal readers know, I’m big on birthdays. My birthday is to me what New Year’s Day is to everyone else…which of course means that the night before my birthday is pretty important. I always take some time to think about how God has blessed me over the past year…and dream about the year to come. 

A couple weeks ago, I googled “songs about being 23” and variations of that phrase. You guys, 23 is a sad age for songs. Thankfully, Taylor Swift is no longer 22, so I’m hoping she gets her head in the game and writes a song for us to enjoy this year. 

Since I couldn’t find a good theme song about being 23, we’ll skip the music (for now) and get straight to the Bible verses. Thankfully, the Bible is filled with solid “vs. 23” in many chapters.

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Here are a few of my favorites:

Colossians 3:23-24–Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Psalm 23The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…

Mark 9:23-24–And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Hebrews 10:23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Lamentations 3:21-23, 24–26

But this I call to mind,
    and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in Him.”

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
    for the salvation of the Lord.

That last one is probably my favorite vs. 23: “Great is Your faithfulness.” 

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Friends, the Lord has been so gracious and faithful to me. Those of you who have been following this blog from day 1 know my first post was about how God answered my 21st birthday wish…even before my actual birthday! Click the following link if you want the details on my weird wish that He granted: A blog (and baby) is born.

Since then, this blog has helped me document countless ways that He has poured out His grace in my life. I mean, it’s truly amazing to look back and see His faithfulness in the midst of my doubt (2 Tim. 2:13–if we are faithless, He remains faithful). Whether you enjoy writing or not, I encourage you to jot down reminders of God’s grace in your life. Train yourself to see His grace. I’m so thankful for this blog because writing here has helped me to look for His daily grace…and seeing His grace has made my heart grateful beyond belief.

So today, on the night before I turn 23, I’m going to spend some time in prayer thanking the Lord for His faithfulness in my life. I’ve probably witnessed His faithfulness more in this past year than in any other year of my life. So I want to spend tonight, my next year, and the rest of my life proclaiming: “Great is Your faithfulness, Lord!”

As a side note, those of you who know me well know that there are some prayers I’ve been praying for a long time. Some prayers don’t get answered “early” or even “on time” by my standards. But each day is a day to remember that His thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are His ways my ways…His thoughts and ways are higher (Isaiah 55:8-9).

His way is better because His way is perfect.

His timing is perfect.

I’ve said this before and I’ll undoubtedly say it again:

It’s amazing that the One who knows me the best, loves me the most.

I can’t even fathom that kind of love. But I’m living in that love of Christ. And I know that He loves me enough to let me wait until His timing is perfect. Maybe this will be the year that I see my oldest prayers answered with a “yes.” I know my God can do it, but even if He doesn’t, He is still faithful and forever worthy of my praise (Daniel 3:16-18).

So, although the lack of happy 23 songs suggests otherwise, I’m excited to turn 23. The past 22 years of my life have proved God faithful time and time again. I have no doubt that 23 will do the same.

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I also have hope that while I’m 23 I will:

-experience the love of Christ in a deeper way (Eph. 3:17-19)

-become more like my Jesus every day (Eph. 5:1-2)

-anchor my life and joy in Christ alone (Heb. 6:19)

-watch Him do imaginably more than all I ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21) …(which is saying a lot because I have quite the imagination). 😉

And because my thoughts have background music, here are some lyrics from the 2 songs that ran through my mind:

[Jesus, I am Resting, Resting]

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

[Great is Thy Faithfulness]

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

God’s grace in my life today:

Celebrated my birthday over the weekend with my family, was surprised by a cake at Bible study tonight, and had a meaningful patient interaction this morning that reminded me of the importance of listening. God is so good to me.  

Posted in Birthday

Birthday blessings

God’s grace in my life today:

Enjoyed a wonderful lunch with my parents at my favorite Thai restaurant

Went downtown to the Pacific Garden Mission with my oh-so-wonderful mother and had my birthday wish come true: I got the opportunity to be a blessing to the less-fortunate

So humbled to have had a group of men at the shelter surround me and sing “Happy Birthday” with joy

My brother surprised me and came HOME to celebrate my birthday!

Enjoyed a fun night consisting of dinner and a movie with fantastic, loyal, generous friends 

I am so blessed.

I am so blessed.

I am so blessed.

Thankful that I made it to my 21st birthday and excited to see what God has in store for me!