Monday, January 23, 2012

The Act of Letting Go

God really used this devotional to speak to me today.  I copied it below, but the original can be found here. The act of letting go....

Inspirational Reading by A.B. Simpson

Days of Heaven on Earth

Monday, January 23, 2012
It is a great deliverance to lose one's self. There is no heavier millstone than 
self-consciousness.  It is so easy to become introverted and coiled around ourselves 
in our spiritual consciousness. There is nothing that is so easy to fasten onto as our misery: 
there is nothing that is more apt to produce self-consciousness than suffering. Then it 
becomes almost a settled habit to hold onto our burden and pray it unceasingly into the very
face of God until even our prayer saturates us with our own misery. Rather, we should ask for
power to drop ourselves altogether and leave ourselves in His loving hands and know that we 
are free. Then we may rise into the blessed liberty of His higher thoughts and will and 
demonstrate His love and care for others.
The very act of letting go of ourselves lifts us into a higher place and relieves us from the 
thing that is hurting. This habit of prayer for others, and especially for the world, 
brings its own recompense and leaves upon our hearts a blessing, like the fertility 
which the Nile deposits upon the soil of Egypt as it flows through to its ultimate goal.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Break Every Chain

A while back, a friend recommended the band Jesus Culture to me.  I had mentioned that I was trying to be purposeful in the way I spent my time, including what music I listened to.  Since then, I've been listening to Jesus Culture radio on Pandora whenever I feel like my focus is getting off and I need to spend time at the feet of Jesus.  I never imagined that music could be so incredibly powerful.  There is one particular song by Jesus Culture that grabs my attention every time.  The words are few and simple, which is usually the best.  There IS power in the name of Jesus.  He CAN break every chain, no matter what is holding us captive.  As you listen to this song, believe it.  I'm speaking to myself as much as to anyone else.  If I truly believed that there was enough power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, how different would my life look?  Believe in the power of the name of Jesus, and be set free! 
There is power in the name of Jesus
To break every chain
All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
Bought our redemption
Heaven's gates swing wide
There's an army rising up

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good Hair Day!

Today, I feel exactly like the girl in this picture looks! Here are a few of the reasons that I feel like dancing under a red umbrella today:

* It's Friday! 
* My curls are behaving themselves beautifully today (which doesn't happen very often) - I feel so vain because I can't stop looking at them in the mirror! 
* Today is my first of six days off in a row! 
* Tomorrow I'm going to visit my beautiful friend Sarah, whom I haven't seen for six months! Can't wait for the little trip away from home and all the catching up we have to do! 
* I bought new scrubs today - they're super cute AND comfy! I just love my job :) 
* Today is my brother Benjamin's 17th birthday. He is such a fun kid - happy that we get to celebrate him today! 
* This afternoon has been a chill fest of catching up on stuff, painting my nails Barbie pink, and listening to country music. Can't get better than that! Have a lovely weekend! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Radiant with Joy

           Almost a week has gone by since the last time I blogged!  Time sure does fly by, especially when I work extra shifts!  Sunday was my day off, so of course it was lovely.  Church was incredible - God never ceases to amaze and surprise me.  It's like every day lately He's been saying to me, "Hey, look at this!" about something new, causing me to fall more and more in love with Him.
           A few weeks ago, I dug out the Bible I used in high school, the one that loses Genesis and Ephesians if I'm not careful.  Tucked inside the front cover, I found a small collection of index cards with Bible verses scrawled across them, sometimes on both sides.  At some point I had decided to write out memory cards, which I obviously didn't remember to memorize.  Several of the verses were familiar to me, but one of them in particular stood out to me:
            Psalm 34:5: "Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces."
            I can't really remember if I stumbled upon this verse during my "month of joy" or not, but lately God has really used it to speak to me.  I am so stubborn, always trying to do things on my own, which only leads to frustration and huge knots in my shoulders.  'Those who look to him for help WILL." It's a promise!  I've been so stressed out about decisions I feel I have to make soon, feeling like I'm in it alone and like the pressure's on to make the right choices.  This verse is so freeing!  If I look to Him for help, I will be radiant with joy and free from shame!  How exciting is that?!  I'm trying to be purposeful about my thinking, leaving my worries at the feet of Jesus and trusting Him to guide and direct my footsteps.  And today, I caught just a small glimpse of what it feels like to be radiant with joy.  To Him be all the glory forever and ever, amen!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wedding Adventure

          Okay, so it's time for me to tell my much-anticipated story about my trip to the South Dakota wedding.  Why is it much-anticipated? Because I told you about it two posts ago, silly!  Even if you haven't been anticipating it, please pretend for my sake.  Here goes!
          First of all, I thought I was being brilliant when I booked my two flights to South Dakota through two separate airlines, since I would be flying through Dallas instead of Chicago and weather would be less of an issue.  So, there I was, sitting in the Tulsa airport at my terminal an hour before my flight was scheduled to leave for Dallas, feeling quite smug at my travel brilliance.  Suddenly, as I was looking at my boarding pass, I had that ugly sinking feeling in my stomach.  What brought about the feeling? Two little words: Dallas Love.  After a brief conversation with the friendly Southwest Airlines employees, it became clear that I was flying into Dallas Love Airport and out of Dallas Fort Worth.  I no longer felt brilliant as I realized that I had about an hour and a half between flights to get all the way across Dallas to DFW after I landed at Dallas Love.  My only chance was to catch a shuttle from one airport to the other and hope I could get on a standby flight six hours after my regularly scheduled flight, since there was little to no chance of making the connection.   I've only ever driven through Dallas and was terrified at the idea of having to trust a stranger to get me to my next flight on time in an unfamiliar city.  I have honestly never felt so nauseated in my entire life.
          I was a hot mess on my flight from Tulsa to Dallas, sitting straight as a board between two other passengers, trying to focus on praying instead of worrying.  The girl sitting to my left was a pro at travel and assured me that it was possible to make my connection at DFW.  I was thankful for the distraction of chatting about life with her, since it gave me less time to freak out.
          When we landed fifteen minutes earlier than expected in Dallas, my purple wheely bag and I hit the ground running. After a few confusing conversations with airport employees, I located a shuttle in the airport parking lot.  However, after about five minutes, it became clear that this driver was not going to DFW and that another shuttle may not show up for quite a while.  The driver suggested I take a taxi instead.  Me?  Take a taxi?  Across Dallas?  By myself?  Was he crazy?!  I wanted to dissolve into tears, but as I had no time for crying, I marched over to the mint-colored taxi sitting at the front of the line and hurriedly asked the driver to take me to the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.  I have never before been as thankful for the short stent during which my dad worked as a taxi driver as I was in that moment.  I had heard enough stories to know how a taxi ride worked in theory, so I felt quite experienced as I politely asked the driver to not long-haul me because I was trying to catch a flight and needed to be taken on the most direct route to DFW.  He spoke in a thick accent, which meant a lot of repeated questions.  After three tries, I realized he was asking me what terminal and gate my flight was taking off from, so I promptly called the 1-800 number for American on my boarding pass and passed the information on to my taxi driver, whom I later discovered was from Ethiopia.  
           As we neared the airport, I attempted with shaky hands to remove my license from my wallet so I would have it ready when I reached security.  In the process, all of the contents of my wallet spilled onto the floor of the cab.  At that point we had reached the terminal and it was time for me to pay the driver.  I handed him all of my cash and my new credit card to cover the balance as I scooped up the rest of my cards from the floorboard of the car. I jumped out of the cab and hurried to the security line, which took me a total of three minutes to clear.  When I reached my gate with a solid 45 minutes to spare before my next flight (thank the Lord!), I sorted through the contents of my wallet to discover that my debit card had been left behind in the taxi.  Terrific.  I called my mother, whom I hadn't planned on telling my little adventure until later.  She quickly hung up with me and called the bank to put a hold on my card in case the Ethiopian or a later passenger got credit-card happy.  I was so thankful that I had applied for and received my first credit card only a few weeks before, or I wouldn't have had any way of paying for anything for the rest of my trip, including the taxi ride back from DFW to Love on my way home.  I landed in Sioux Falls precisely on time and was still able to take part in some of the pre-wedding activities.
          So, there you have it.  I set out for a calm, straight-forward trip to support Mariah on her wedding day and ended up with a big adventure.  Who would have thought that a trip to Mitchell, South Dakota could end up being so exciting?!  I know now a thing or two more about Dallas:  it has two airports, and Ethiopian taxi drivers are quite common (my driver on the way back was from Ethiopia as well).  I hope you were able to get a small laugh out of my harried adventure; I sure did!  The moral of the story: God is bigger than the circumstances and is able to work good in seemingly overwhelming situations!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

A new year, a new blog background!  I decided I was tired of bright colors and went back to my favorite: coffee colors! I hope you like the new look for the new year! 

I realized that I should have done a "recap of 2011" blog yesterday while it was still 2011.  However, I didn't think of it until just now, when I also realized that I've done a wonderful job of telling my adventures as they happen.  I definitely did a better job of blogging last year than I have any other year.  I must be growing up!  I'd like to beat my record from last year, so hopefully you'll be hearing from me even more in 2012.  I have some exciting news (most of my friends and family already know), which I will make public in a couple of months. Let's just say it will give me a new blog theme!  Until then, we'll just keep drinking coffee together.  After all, I never get tired of coffee! 

Here are a few of my favorites from 2011:

- Graduating nursing school 
- Getting a job in the ER (which I absolutely love!) 
- Being a bridesmaid in my three best friends' weddings
- Rekindling old friendships at home 
- Visiting my Lansing family 
- Holding down the fort with Ben while the fam was in Minnesota
- Being able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at home with my family 

Here are a few things I learned in 2011:

- How to make an amazing cup of coffee (best coffee year of my life so far!)
- How to love myself and simply be loved by God (still in the process, but I'm getting there!) 
- Mistakes don't define me but learning from them can make me stronger
- Sometimes, it's okay to take my shoes off and dance in the rain 

Hope for 2012: 

- Fall more in love with Jesus every day. 

Happy New Year, friends!  May it be a year full of joy, love, and blessings!