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 The Surprised Life

Like Those Who Dream

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
    and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
    we are glad.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
    like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
    shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
    bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
    bringing his sheaves with him.”

February 29 only comes once every 4 years. Today we prophesy that next February 29, we will look back and proclaim:

The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad. 

Let’s live in joyful expectation, ready to be surprised by our King.

God’s grace in my life today:

He’s in the business of restoration.

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Posted in The Surprised Life

The Surprised Life

The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save. 

He will take great delight in you, 

He will quiet you with His love, 

He will rejoice over you with singing. 

-Zephaniah 3:17

The King of the Universe take great delight in me. The King of the Universe takes great delight in you. Just try to let that sink in. I’m still trying to comprehend that mystery.

A couple weeks ago, I was spending some alone time with Jesus and decided to stop talking to Him and give Him a chance to talk to me. Right before I dropped her bbccb096a030adb763bbd939c69f8c44off at the airport, Valerie Elliot Shepard (daughter of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot) encouraged me to take time to be still in the presence of God and listen for His voice. So I did. Just 9 measly minutes. But He spoke. Not in a loud audible voice, but in a quiet heart voice. He reminded me that He is my source of joy…but then He went one step further. He made clear to me that He gets joy from doing things that will bring me joy. 

Did you catch that? 

The King of the Universe receives joy when He gives me joy.

My Heavenly Father rejoices when He gets to surprise and delight His children.

He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

And so this idea of the “surprised life” began stirring in my soul. 

I want to be ever on the lookout for God’s marvelous surprises. It’s not a question that they’re there…it’s just a matter of me recognizing the surprises. 

The greatest surprise of all is that the King of the Universe came to earth as a baby, lived a faultless life, died on my behalf, rose in His power, and did all that so I can be reconciled to God. And now He delights in spending time with me. This relationship cost Him His life, yet He loved me enough to sacrifice His life. That’s a mind-blowing surprise and I still haven’t quite recovered from that…still living in the aftermath of a heart radically transformed by grace.

a75df1b17cfd7ad5bb586ce086dfbcd9So peel your eyes away from the screens and the to-do lists today…look up. Log off Facebook, forget about Instagram, disregard Twitter…stop comparing yourself to the “presented” versions of your friends on social media. Stop wishing for another life. This is your life. This. Right now.

And get excited that this is your life. Have a childlike faith that your Father is waiting to surprise you. He longs to be gracious to you. His mercies are new every morning. 

Join me in living the surprised life.

Jesus gives the best surprises

Surprised by this God who delights in bringing us joy. (Zeph. 3:17)

Surprised by this King who bends down and listens to us. (Psalm 116:2)

Surprised by this Father who rises to show us compassion. (Isaiah 30:18)

Keep your eyes open, dear friends, and watch in awe and wonder as this King delights in you today. 

You are so loved.

xoxo

God’s grace in my life:

He replaces discontentment with joy. The solution to discontentment isn’t getting what you want. It’s realizing you already have what you need. My ultimate need is Jesus. And Jesus is here. Jesus loves me. Whether I feel it or not, the truth remains: my needs have been met- fully satisfied by my Jesus. I will always have a reason for a joy and a reason to sing. JESUS is my reason for joy and my reason to sing. May I never stop preaching the gospel to myself.