Welcome to my Mercy Ship Adventure.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas is for the brokenhearted

Well, It's Christmas eve...and it is raining. Raining outside on the snow-covered earth and raining inside my heart these days. Christmas can be a funny time for me. Sometimes it is a hard season - the end of the year, time of reflection - am I who I want to be? Have I accomplished anything at all since last year at this time? And Christmas is a wonderful time too - filled with family and friends and warm memories and lights and trees and gifts. This year every minute my feelings about Christmas seem to change.
Today I was talking to a close friend about how I feel about Christmas these days and our plans for Christmas day came up. She invited me over, said she is having other people over that are brokenhearted too. I said, "oh you are having the Christmas for the brokenhearted this year". And that is when it hit me. Christmas is the greatest gift of love - specifically for the brokenhearted. Yes, Christmas is about presents, friends, family, food. It is about lights and songs, traditions. But, the precious reality of it all is that at the heart of it is God's gift to us. God's gift of hope and redemption amidst a broken world. It is light and joy and indescribable peace offered to all of us who endure moments of broken-heartedness. Merry Christmas - and may you all know the greatest gift given to you, Jesus Christ.
Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things I am Grateful For...

(in no particular order)
1. That my dad is in heaven tonight and that his suffering has come to an end.
2. That God extends His grace so freely and lovingly to me - I am so undeserving it is ridiculous.
3. That Doug and Jordon were at my side today - loving me through the hardest day of my life so far.
4. For a family that has grown closer together in the last few months. Some days there is no one that can comfort you like your own mother.
5. For the opportunity to watch my brother love his family well. It has been a treasured gift to watch my brother care for my father at his bedside. To watch my brother comfort my father, encourage my father, do physical therapy with my father. And then for him to leave the hospital room and head to my mom's house to fix the snow blower, to hang Christmas lights, to helping me move furniture ;)
6. For a small group that have lived out "doing life together" in every way possible. For walking with me diligently at my side, for encouraging me, listening to me, for "lifting up my arms" when I was weary.
7. For my "family" of Kristin & Larry, Dan & Julie. For crying along side me, for praying with me when I had no words.
8. For the AMAZING nurses in the SICU at Troy Beaumont. I have never been more proud to be a nurse. They have come to be like family and they have loved my father like their own.
9. For my Mercy Ships family. We spent a summer taking care of Africa together, and from across the ocean you have taken care of me. I loved the flowers, the emails, the songs being sung on my voicemails.
10. For "my girls". Girls weekend 2008 was the greatest reprieve during this season of heartache. No where else can I let my hair down and act as crazy as when I am with you three. I am so glad God gave us each other so many years ago. There is a comfort with you Kristin, Kimmi K and Weez that is immeasurable and irreplaceable.
11. For everyone that has made a phone call to me, a facebook message, an email...a girl could not ask for better people to walk through life with. I am not alone and God has made that abundantly clear.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


And now for a quick update on where things are at in my journey back to Mercy Ships...

As everyone knows by now, my dad suffered a heart attack back in the beginning of October. The heart attack itself didn't cause too much damage, but my dad needed open heart surgery. Unfortunately, because of some complications and some of my dad's previous health history - the recovery from the surgery has been anything but smooth. It has been 2 1/2 months now and he is still in the ICU. There is some hope that he will be able to go to a long term critical care setting soon.

Because of all that is going on with my dad, I have put my plans for returning to Mercy Ships on hold. I certainly still plan to be back in Africa next year - but I am not exactly sure of the timing. A lot depends on my dad's recovery. I am grateful to God that all that has happened has occurred while I was here - and not 16 hours and 2 plane rides away.

In the meantime, I still am making some progress in getting back to serving with Mercy Ships. In the end of October I spoke at my church, Genesis, about my journey. Through some very generous contributions from the Genesis community - God is providing for my financial needs to get back to Africa. Also, through speaking at Genesis I have another opportunity to share my journey during a chapel time at Southfield Christian Schools coming up in January. I am so excited for this - I love high schools girls and I look forward to sharing with them.

I am still working on renting out my house...kind of on hold until after the holidays. Thank you to everyone who has offered me a place to stay. It is beautiful to watch how God provides for us through others!!!

So that is the quick update on how things are going. I still firmly believe God wants me to go, I just need to keep on trusting Him for the timing.

Victory is Ours

A few weeks ago in church my pastor was speaking about how the victory is already ours. He was talking about the fact that for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as our savior- the victory over death is ours. Victory is ours in that Christ died for us on the cross - the ultimate battle has been won. However, the world we live in is far from what God intended for us in the beginning. From the moment sin first took place the battle began for all of us, and will continue on until the end. It sounds discouraging, but really it was one of the most encouraging reminders I have heard in awhile. The fact is that for those who believe- we have great cause to celebrate and rejoice - we know how the story ends! We know where we will spend eternity, we know there will come a day when good really will triumph over evil - once and for all. But... until that time - we daily wake up and face a battle of some sort. There are battles for us everywhere we turn: work, home, our minds, our hearts, how we spend our money, how we spend our time, what we think about, what we say...and it goes on and on.

Lately for me and my family it feels like a really long battle. I think my dad is trying to set a record for # of consecutive days spent in an ICU. This battle is one I am certain I don't have the strength for - and it brings me to my knees in surrender to the One who does have the strength for it - God Almighty.

Be encouraged my friends, for the battles may rage in us and around us - but victory will be ours.

I am grateful for this truth - that I have hope when it seems hopeless, I have peace that defies understanding, I have assurance when uncertainty is all around me.

1 John 5:3-5 (New International Version)
3This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, 4for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. 5Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.