Friday, October 31, 2008
So, let's walk through it.
My day started off with a trip to the doctor. Fun. Apparently I'm going to need to have some tests done -- lab work, blood work, etc. They have to rule out some things. Kind of sucks, but I'm hoping things will be getting better soon.
Then, I rocked it at the Bodies Human display in Watertown. It was so sweet. I've seen dissected bodies before, but these dissections were incredible! They highlighted the beauty of the human body and the intricacies of its functioning. I was blown away. Some of the vascular dissections were incredible! Absolutely incredible! I love seeing the beauty of God's creation. It makes me respect it that much more. I was listening to a podcast this morning that said something about the complexity of the concept of being made "in God's image". I don't remember all of it, but I remember being particularly struck by what the speaker said about the degree of dignity commanded by the thought of something being "made in God's image". Something that reflects God in such a beautiful way is worthy of dignity and respect.
When I got back, it turns out that I had received a bouquet of beautiful flowers from...God? *shrugs* All the card had on it was a Bible verse. I felt so loved...A part of me wanted to shrug it off or try to figure out who was behind this and who was pitying me...but I decided that all I needed to know was that God loves and cares about me. God knows I love flowers. God knows I need to know His love (He and I had an extremely hardcore talk about it this week...I mean...it was extremely serious). I decided to take it as a token of His love...because He loves me overtly and throw the friends He has put in my life...people that love and care about me.
Next segment of my day was my drive home. Or drive almost home. I was between Sioux Falls and Sioux City when I realized I was approaching a truck too fast. I hit the breaks, and my car swerved. I regained control, but not until I was already in the median. Fortunately, I was not hurt, I did not roll (though I rocked back and forth quite a bit), and I did not go into on-coming traffic. I stopped and took a few deep breaths and didn't even know what to do or what to look at on my car. So, I got back on the interstate to attempt to get to the next exit. Turned out my tire was blown and driving was more than a little difficult and then my tire started to smoke. I pulled off on the shoulder, and a guy in a truck pulled off behind me. He got out and said that he'd seen me come out of the ditch and saw my tire was flat and had decided to follow me and help. He changed my tire to the spare while I made a few phone calls. He explained that his daughter had been a nursing major at Mount Marty (I was still wearing my nursing name tag from earlier in the day) and that he remembers a time when she hit a deer and had to call him and then rely on the kindness of a stranger. He followed me to a repair shop and stayed until the guy had confirmed that he'd be able to help me out. Then, he gave me his card to give to my dad and denied a need for payment or compensation or thanks of any kind (I am extremely thankful, though). The guy at the repair shop didn't have quite the right size tire. He put on a used tire that was a half an inch too big. (He said it'd get me home safely but would need to be changed when I got home). I grabbed a candy bar and got back on the road. *sigh* I felt so loved and cared for. Like I felt assured that God loved and cared for me. The water in my vase of flowers got spilled in all of this, but it was okay. Like I just heard God telling me that He cared. He loved me. He protects me and watches out for me and provides for me. I wasn't hurt today...someone was there...astounding...and the song that came on my ipod after all that...well, it said it all (I'm kind of keeping it to myself, though).
So, like I said earlier...I didn't make it home tonight. I was tired. So, I pulled off at a wayside rest and changed into my glasses. Then, when I got to the Harlan exit, I checked into the Motel 6. For a little bit, I was nervous...I mean, all those "what ifs" were in my head. But I realized that was dumb. God's been taking care of me all day and has been showing me His love in incredible ways (not the way I expected, but I guess you have to get through of me somehow...be careful what you ask for, right? :P J/K. I told Him I wanted to know and see...and well, I am knowing and seeing in new ways.) Point is, I knew God would care for me through the night and would care for me and protect me and provide for me. It makes me even more excited to finish my drive tomorrow. I will be with my family. I will spend time with my sisters. I will chill and take Christmas card pictures and then head to Sufu to chill for the night with Bobbie and get ready for clinical and another week of classes. I'm actually remarkably excited.
Yup. But to do all that, I will have to get a good night's sleep. So, goodnight all. God bless you!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I sometimes really hate being asked how I’m doing. I don’t know most of the time. I’m functional. I’m not hopeless. I’m really great in some ways, mostly functional ways…I’m getting a lot done and doing well in class, etc. But…teetering on the edge of pain…I’ve been crying more and more, agitated more and more, sleeping less and less…But why you may ask? Also a good question…I don’t entirely know.
I don’t know where the trigger was. I do know how it spiraled…I started worrying that I was bothering others…so, I isolated myself…and then things got worse. That’s part of the reason why I don’t know what to say when someone asks me how I am…in some ways, I’m struggling a lot…but I’m afraid to tell that to anyone…I wouldn’t want them to be bothered…I don’t want to be a downer—a personal rain cloud. Ugh…I hate that, once again, this is something I’ve been talking with others about. I was just talking with someone who was nervous to tell her mom about a problem she was having. I know that she can’t get the help she needs if she doesn’t tell someone. I know that she can’t get better or heal if she keeps it all to herself. I know that the lies in her head have so much more power if she keeps them to herself…the shame and the pain have power if she hides it…Those lies can’t have power, can’t withstand being in the light and love of Christ. Hard part, as I discussed that with her…as I thought that…I realized that I needed to hear that, too. I needed to not let myself turn in on myself. I couldn’t continue to be isolated…I need others…I need the light and love of Christ.
Now, I’m at a point where I wonder why I’m in this place. I mean, didn’t I learn anything over the summer? I thought I had learned some about love and care and had become better at letting others care for me and better at asking for help…not stellar…but better. Last night, I was in bed thinking, “I must not have learned anything. I must not have improved at all. I’m just doomed to go back to where I was.” Guess what. That’s not true. I’m appalled that I even thought it. So, why am I backsliding? Why can’t I get a footing? Can I pull out of this tailspin? Yes, with the help of Christ…Do I have enough in me to ask Him to save me and pull me out of it? I sure hope so. I can’t stay like this. I don’t want to stay like this. *sigh*
So, thanks to my teachers asking me to plan for next semester and pick a public health clinical and preceptor…I am thinking even more about my future. Also, I updated my resume, so I could like actually apply to places now. I know, it’s pretty neat. Plus, I just had my mental health clinical evaluation, in which I was told I could do well in any area of nursing but should consider mental health as an option. I was also told I would probably enjoy working at a summer camp. (For the record, I loved working at summer camp.)
So, where shall I look for a job? What area of the world? What area of nursing? Where should I do my preceptorship? I just don’t know. I know I’ve blogged about this some before, but this is just where I’m at right now.
I’m just not sure what to do. I know I want to get a chance to care for people that are often forgot or unwanted. Like, I read this thing Mother Teresa wrote (I know…shocker!) in which she was talking about who Jesus is to her. She talked about him being the all those normal things we hear…"the word made flesh, the bread of life, the victim offered for our sins on the cross..." Then she goes a step further into actions that show Jesus, "the Word to be spoken, the Truth to be told, the Way to be walked, the Light to be lit, the Love to be loved, the Joy to be shared, the Sacrifice to be offered, the Peace to be given, the Bread of Life to be eaten."
But it's the next section that made me cry. "Jesus is the hungry to be fed, the thirsty to be satiated, the naked to be clothed, the homeless to be taken in, the sick to be healed, the lonely to be loved, the unwanted to be wanted, the leper to wash his wounds, the beggar to give him a smile, the drunkard to listen to him, the retarded to protect him, the little one to embrace him, the blind to lead him, the dumb to speak for him, the crippled to walk with him, the drug addict to befriend him, the prostitute to remove from danger and befriend, the prisoner to be visited, the old to be served." I cried. I cried because it’s true. And because Jesus loves them, and I want to let them know that. I was struck especially when I got to "the sick" and cried actual tears when I read "the unwanted". I want to be there…with them…When I read that, I immediately looked up Matthew 25: 31 – 46. A lot of people really like to think on verse 40, “The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
But what stood out most to me was well…the passage as a whole but…let me explain.
In verse 35 and 36, it says, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” I love the examples Jesus gives. I love the implications of caring for them physically and spiritually…so awesome! In verse 37 – 39, “"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” Similarly in 44, those on The King’s left respond with, “Lord, when did we see you…?” I love this response because the people don’t deny their behaviors, actions, etc. I hear in their response that they weren’t caring for people to suck up to Jesus…but because they care about people because they love Jesus…I don’t know if that makes sense…I’m having trouble expressing precisely what I mean. It reminds me of all those fairy tales (such as Beauty and the Beast) where the beautiful fairy queen disguises herself as a poor and ugly beggar and rewards those who care for her and offer her shelter or something and punish the proud prince who sends her away. The people that care for her or send her away, it’s not because they know it’s her and like or hate her. That’s just how they see people, it’s how they treat people. Like the ones who take her in, are shocked when they found out she’s the fairy queen and astonished when she rewards them…they figured it was nbd (no big deal). Those who reject her and are punished instantly repent when she reveals who she truly is. She always says it’s too late. That the proud prince had his chance to show his heart and show that he could care for others, but he failed and must be punished (turned into The Beast). [Sidenote: I just thought of Little Bunny Foo-Foo…you know, hopping through the forest scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head.]
I want my love to be genuine. I want my love to be His love going to Him...in the form of His people...if that makes sense. I don't want to do it just to please Him, but because I'm grateful for Him and His love...because I'm so full of His love I can't keep it inside. I want it to be natural, not forced...genuine, not out of obligation...It makes me ponder how to do that? I suppose the answer is to love everyone I encounter. To treat them like the child of God that they are. That seems like a lame answer in some way, though. I want to make a commitment to it. I want to go to the "unwanted", "the lonely", etc. For that reason, I keep asking God, where? Who? Do I serve the people in the big cities? Or the small towns? The rural poor? The urban homeless? In the states? Abroad? The sick and dying? The chronically ill? Those with mental problems? Those with physical problems? The young? The old? I know God loves them all...so where do I go? Where will He send me? Who will He send me to? I want to know...I want to know...I guess I have to be patient, though...and listen? And be prepared and willing to follow, whatever that means. Because God's call may not take the shape I want or expect...it may not be where I thought I'd be...but I have to be okay with that...and be willing to hear that.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I feel challenged when I read stuff by Mother Teresa. I know I say that a lot...but somehow the things she writes make sense to me. I understand. I was reading some of her memoirs tonight. She wrote about not feeling cared for by God but at the same time knowing that she was a "child of His love". She talked about how she knew the truth because He sustained her...how she couldn't weather these storms without Him and that she couldn't desire Him or desire His love if His love was not in her. In another place, she wrote, "God has created us to love and to be loved, and this is the beginning of prayer -- to know that He loves me, that I have been created for greater things." "God told us, 'love your neighbor as yourself.' So, first I am to love myself rightly, and then to love my neighbor like that. But how can I love myself unless I accept myself as God has made me?"
If you know me much, you can understand the challenge I would feel upon reading that. I understand being created to love...but man, do I ever struggle with the "to be loved" part. I wouldn't even understand it if she didn't go on, I think. To know that God loves me...how badly I want that...and I know she's right. My prayer life would be so changed if I could approach God knowing He loves me...and knowing He wishes to use me to love others...that I was created to love others. That next quote about accepting myself as God has made me so that I can love myself rightly so that I can properly love my neighbor...talk about conviction! That is a huge struggle for me! I'm so often trapped under shame and uncertainty...feelings of inadequacy and rejection...fear of abandonment. I so often believe myself to be a burden on everyone around me, including God. I believe myself to be tolerated at best...or loved out of obligation...or temporarily...Those things are always in the back of my mind, and every so often, they grip me. That's what's been going on lately. I've been gripped by fear and shame and uncertainty...worries of inadequacy and been convinced that I don't matter...that I'm not loved. As a result, I isolate myself...which makes things worse for me, but also keeps me from really loving anyone...because I try to cut myself off...I try hard at it.
When I read what Mother Teresa wrote about knowing she was a child of God's love...somewhere near there she wrote about being uncertain of God's presence and love, except when she was with the poor...she saw Him there, met Him there, knew His love there. I could relate to that. I know God loves other people. When I'm serving as a nurse or hanging out with kids or whatever...I know God loves those people -- my patients or kids or whomever I'm with. The youth I talk to online. I know God loves them. I know He wants great things for them and wants them to know His love and know that they're cared for. The kids in youth group. I know He wants them to be loved and cared for and have opportunities to know that and act on that. I know He loves them SOOO much! I know He cares about my patients. I know He wants healing for everyone and that He loves everyone and wants them to know that. I know that so well...and thus the tears begin to flow. But I have such a hard time knowing it for myself. I can infer that He loves me and wants me to know Him and to know His love and His care. I can infer that He wants me to have opportunities to know Him and show my love for Him. I know it because it's true for everyone else...but I don't REALLY know it. I doubt it so much. Or, in my head, I hear that He loves me "because He has to" or He "tolerates me" or He "loves me in some religious way"...whatever that means. When I hear the words "I love you" from a person or from God. I'm full of doubt and uncertainty...I don't know what it means. Does it mean, "You did something that made me happy"? Does it mean "I need you to do this thing"? Does it mean "You'll do"? Does it mean "I love you because you..."? Is there a limiting statement that's implied? "I love you if...."? "I love you when..."? "I love you, for now...or for this long."? That's how I've always understood it. I am loved when I do something right. I am loved when I provide something of value. I am loved when I meet a need. I am loved when I don't cause too much trouble. I am loved for a time...but this too shall pass. I've not put much stock in "love". And yes, I've generally believed that about love from people and love from God.
But at the same time, I want to know God's love...for real. And that very fact tells me I can "comprehend with all the saints", though it "passes all understanding". Because I must be in His love...He must love me...or else I couldn't love anyone else. I wouldn't be able to work in the nursing home or hang out with kids or provide care to anyone...if I didn't have God's love in my life...But I still don't KNOW...I'm still so broken. I still believe myself to be among the "unwanted" and "the lonely" and "the sick"...I am scared to death that someone might care for me...that someone might love me...and I fight against it...try to reject it before I find out it wasn't real...and so I believe all love isn't real or isn't for me. It's hard because I talk to different people and they talk about feeling unloved, unwanted, uncared for...and I know it's not true. I know that God loves them and cares about them and wants them to be healthy and whole and full of joy...and I know that because of that, I love them and care about them...the hard part is while I want so badly to have them understand the love that God has for them...and that I share that love, I can totally understand where they are...'cause I'm there more often than I care to admit. It's hard to hear words I've uttered come from their lips. Because I know that the words God has for them, He has for me, too.
That's why I found it especially challenging to read Mother Teresa's blurb about knowing God's love for us and loving ourselves rightly so that we can love others. I was watching Flags of Our Fathers (which was awesome, by the way) and the story was told of this one man -- a medic -- who was hit by chrapnel in the leg. He continued to triage and treat soldiers in the field, and so the other medics had a hard time finding him to put him on the stretcher. They said that it was brave of him to serve those men, and he saved a lot of them, but he could have died of blood loss, and he could save so many more if he would let himself be taken care of. I can relate to that. I hear tell that I somehow help people from time to time...by listening or praying or being there or whatever...I don't exactly know. But I also understand that God could use me to do more -- to care for and comfort and love more people -- if I would let Him care for and comfort me. He could use me to heal more people and to love more people if I let Him heal and love me. If I were secure in His love...if I were whole in Him...if I were able to accept comfort and care...if I could be strong in Him and His love...how much more could I do? I definitely wouldn't be so easily beat down, right? *sigh*
I need to know. I need to not limit God's love. I need to not imply disclaimers or limiting statements...I need to find healing...I need to know comfort...I need to be secure enough in love that I can ask for help and for comfort and for care without thinking it will jeapordize the love I know...I want to have that love overflowing, rather than piped on through...And so I seek...seek to know...and seek the boldness to pray and to ask...the assurance and faith to know He will and can...the capacity to truly know and to truly love God.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I'm impressed I'm posting such a half-baked blog...but...that's apparently just how I am right now.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
I still employ that defense mechanism. I like to ignore problems...deny that they are occurring...feigned ignorance is pseudo-bliss. Lately, my avoidant behavior has been extremely noticeable. I'm back to avoiding sleep sometimes, though I'm much better at making myself go to bed, but then I feel so bombarded with crap and start to get upset and beat down and start to lose hope...so, I listen to sermons and play solitaire on my ipod until I'm too tired to keep my eyes open. Then, I turn off the ipod, let myself cry for a few minutes and fall asleep to strange, strange dreams. It's my stupid way of trying to cope. It seems a lot of nights, lately, I've just been hit with ideas that I'm a nuisance and that people aren't really my friends, that I have nothing to offer, that I was a horrible camp counselor and shouldn't be trusted to be around/teach children, that I'll probably make an awful nurse IF I graduate...that I have nothing to offer...that I'm all alone...that I've been forgotten and abandoned...that my thoughts of serving others are really selfish because I can't do them any good anyway...etc. But I can ignore those things with my headphones on, kind of. I can ignore them until I work out the nerve to cry out to God to take them away and then cry a little as I reflect on how awful it was to have those thoughts in my head again...It's hard...
I was asked why I thought was going on. I believe I responded, "I don't know", which really means, "I just don't want to know". It's true...I want to rationalize it...that I'm just up too late or stressed out...that I haven't been talking with my friends enough...and while that might contribute, I know that's not all it is. But I just don't want to think about it...or maybe I'm too pinned under it all to think about it. I mean, the questions are What's going on? And why? Well, if what's going on is some spiritual warfare/opposition, which I do believe it is...then, the question becomes why? I cry at the thought becuase I don't see the point in picking on me. I'm not doing anything...I don't have anything to offer...but the fact that it happens implies that I am doing something, that I am a threat somehow...but I don't get it. I have this feeling that I could get it if I wanted to...that if I thought about it, I would realize what things were being opposed...but I think I've believed too many of the lies to believe that's possible...like I start to think about it but end up going, "Well, it can't be that...that's no big deal...that's nothing of consequence...and so I end up where I started...
I think what thwarts me is my lack of confidence...my desire to remain ignorant, even though I'm not...and can't really pretend much longer. Somehow, it seems it would be different if I could say, "This is important. God is calling me to this. God has His hand in this." without ending those phrases with "I think...or I hope...or maybe..." That I could say, "I'm experiencing some spiritual warfare...I've felt really attacked in this area or because this endeavor is opposed." or something...and not end it with a question mark? *sigh* I wish I wouldn't judge myself as silly for thinking that way...why do I have to judge myself? Always...Always with the judging...
There are so many awesome things God and I have talked about lately. I wish I would have written them down and sent them to someone so they could remind me of them sometimes...because when I try to remember, I start to think I made it all up. Being in my mental health rotation doesn't help...I mean, they talk about some people's symptoms and I find myself thinking, what if I'm crazy? What if this God stuff just means I'm crazy? Then I think maybe the difference is that I'm "functional". Regardless, it makes it hard for me to really have faith in the things I've seen God do...and the things He's teaching me. *grimace and emo tear*