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Rough Day

An upright man gives thought to his ways (Proverbs 21:29)

So today was rough. I started the day with finding out I missed something on a patient that, although not fatal, was a BIG thing to miss. Nothing bad happened, but I shouldn’t have missed it. Later on, I had a huge blow when a test showed another one of my patients had a silent but potentially deadly condition. One where a person can go from looking fine to dead in just a few minutes.

It really got to me. I had instantly bonded with this patient and his wife and, although he was fine at the moment, knowing that he was so seriously ill (although it was not evident looking at him) got me to the core. Being emotionally invested in my people means that when they are hurting, I hurt. When they aren’t doing well, it makes me feel a bit like I’m not doing well. It makes me a good doctor, but it also makes me vulnerable to burnout.

Recently, another student joined my team. We start the day at the same time, work in the same office space, and typically have most of our meals together.  He’s even made it his mission to have me watch the entire series of Scrubs (all 8, not counting the fake 9th season). We essentially spend most of our day together until I pray with my family at night or go to church.

Knowing that I was so emotionally compromised today, I had a moment where I thought, “I must be careful. I am missing [the guy I just let go], I am spending LOTS of time with this guy every day, my heart is hurting for my patient, and my pride is hurt from my missing that thing yesterday. I need to be careful.”

So what did I do? I talked to a friend that I knew would lay it to me straight. Luckily, since I was preemptively seeking help, she mainly confirmed that yes, I was right to be concerned and it was good I was being mindful and careful.  Are there times where he’s flirty with me? She confirmed that yes, when he does things like taking my stethoscope from around my neck even though he had his in his pocket and taunted me about it in front of the nurses, that was flirting. But she also confirmed that that’s why it was good I was reaching out NOW, BEFORE anything was happening. The best part was that she even prayed with me and prayed over me about this.

I think I’m growing. This time with a guy who seems attracted to me but not someone I can date (since he does not believe like I do), I am seeking God in prayer. This time I am saying “Lord, I’m weak, I know that I’m vulnerable to being attracted to this guy. Help me God, help me be good. Help me not do anything wrong. Help me Jesus.”  Like the above verse in Proverbs, I feel like I am reflecting on my past and knowing that just because he’s not in church, it doesn’t mean I’m immune to his charms.  It just means that Jesus is my strength. That even on rough days, I can find comfort in Him, not in a guy’s hug (mental or physical). That even on days when I’m worried for my patients and was just reprimanded, God is good and holds me through it.  I don’t need a guy to cheer me up, just Jesus.

Thank You Lord for helping me through this rough day.  Thank You God that I didn’t turn to man (or a man in this case) but I turned to You. Thank You God that I am safe in Your arms.  Thank You Jesus for giving me strength to be good and not offer anything more than just friendship.  I praise You. I worship You. I love and adore You Jesus more than anything else and I love that I can say it and mean it!!! 

Rebekah M. 

Disquieted

Flower

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”  –Psalm 42:11

I’m struggling today. I’ve been dealing with a certain situation for a year now. I’ve prayed and prayed and prayed for it to be resolved, but it continues. Clearly there must be some lesson here that the Lord is trying to teach me. Clearly I’m failing the lesson. But I will praise Him anyhow. I praise my God and my King for keeping me even when I’m tired and frustrated. Thank you, Jesus.

-Rebekah L

Two Rooms

doorsToday while at work I started with two patients in rooms beside each other. The contrast was so amazing that I felt almost as if it was a gift from God Himself in lessons and encouragement.

In one room was a woman who was living with her boyfriend, currently unemployed, and in for a condition essentially caused by her years of smoking.  As I spoke with her, it was evident that she was in a bad place mentally and in her life.  Not suicidal, but constantly berated by her boyfriend and his mother. Everything she said about him felt so reminiscent of my first boyfriend- from how it felt like originally one had just stepped into a storybook romance to it falling apart with the facade fading away.  Painful moments of emotional abuse scattered throughout, and yet being so in love with the other person that one felt locked into the relationship. I still remember the night I was berated for almost 5 minutes straight on how stupid it was to even suggest the ring bearer be a ninja.  It wasn’t even a loving scold, it was an angry, yelling, tirade on how “stupid and retarded” of an idea it was. By the end I was sobbing, asking him if he could just not call my ideas stupid and instead he became angry that I was crying stating that I “must be on that time of [my] month.” This woman continues to endure living with a man who refuses to go outside to smoke because “it’s my house, you can’t tell me what to do.” She allows a man to yell at her for becoming sick and needing to go to the hospital- as if that is something one can control.  The more I talked to her, watching as she repeatedly broke down and cried when she talked about her home life, I felt God whisper to me that that could have been me. Maybe with the slight variant of being married, but that could have been me- miserable beyond words, an broken shell of the woman I once was. I thank and praise God for His mercies and rescuing me from myself when it came to my first boyfriend.

In the very next room was my other patient who we had to tell potentially had a mass in her belly. As I started talking with her, she began to cry and I ended up talking to her about God. Come to find out she knew Him and it was SO encouraging and amazing to speak with her. I was able to encourage her to read Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyers and I could feel that she was drawing strength just by being encouraged to put it all in God’s hands. In the end when she left, I could feel that she was resolved to leave it in His hands. She knew that part of her game plan was to have a support system that would pray with her. She was ready to face come what may with God at her side.

What a contrast! What a stark contrast from the “might have been” in one room to the other who was putting her trust in God.  May I be the one who chooses God. May I be the one who chooses His ways.  May I be the one in the second room when the time is down.

Jesus, 

When we have two rooms in our lives, which will we choose? Will we choose sin, and find ourselves a shadow of who we should be? Or will we choose God and shine brighter than the day? Lord, may I choose You always. 

Rebekah M. 

Contemplation

thoughtful

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. ~ Isaiah 43:2

I’m going through this crazy mental time right now.  I’ve gained a few pounds the last few months and the boy is disappearing more and more from my life. I know that I’m the one who told him that I couldn’t date him. I know that I’m the one who didn’t contradict him when he said he didn’t have a pretty girl to kiss when he was down.  I know that I’m the one who said he was what I wanted, but not what I needed (because I needed a praying man).

I miss him though. He still talks to me every day, but before where it was 4 or 5 hour gap at most… it can literally be only a little in the morning or night now.  I miss feeling like he was my constant companion even when it was only via text most of the time. The niche he found for himself in my life now feels empty and a gaping hole.

Tonight, one of my guy friends texted me out of the blue to tell me about how things weren’t going well with the girl he was chasing. Said he messed up with her because he was pursuing her too much when she needed space.  This is the same guy who I said was the example of what I’m looking for in a guy.

Part of me kept wondering what in the world was wrong with her for not running towards him with all she had. Here is this amazing, Godly, thoughtful guy who truly loves Christ and she just didn’t want to date him why? because he was attentive??? I just don’t get it but all I do know is that a slight part of me wanted to be like “me! pick me! I’m here! I love Jesus just as much as you do! Open your eyes!” but… he’s never, ever offered anything besides friendship to me. I gave up on him ever thinking of me as anything beyond a friend years ago.

So here I sit, on the heels of amazing news that I passed my boards and yet my heart is still heavy…

Lord,

Help me to hope in You. I know You have all things in Your hands so help me praise You even with my heavy heart. Help me put on the garment of praise. Help me to love You with all my heart so that this stuff has no effect on me.  Shield me in Your hands. Hold me while I have a heavy heart when I should be rejoicing. Help me shed this feeling of being inadequate, of feeling like no man will find me attractive, to just re-see my worth in You again. Remind me You are walking with me in this emotional time in which things must be burned away and out of my heart.

Rebekah M.

Being Isaac: StephenWhoElse “Surrender in Victory”

Editor’s Note:  Our weekly guest spot is our effort to help our reading community connect with each other. “Being Isaac” is in response to our growing number of male readers. We think it’s important that there’s a male reply to our female’s call to live in passionate pursuit of Christ. Thanks StephenWhoElse for sharing this great post about giving God the reigns of our lives! 

handprintOkay, let’s do a quick poll! Raise your hand if you believe God has good plans for you! Great, now raise your hand if you believe that God cares about all aspects of your life, big or small. Fantastic! Now, raise your hand if you are unhappy with your job, financial status or the current state of your life.

Whoa, wait a minute. That’s a pretty obvious contradiction isn’t it? How can a loving, well meaning God put our lives in such a mess? Is it a mess? By whose standard? Ours or God’s? We have not read the last page in the story of our lives so I guess we don’t know how it turns out do we?

If you, like me,  grew up watching movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars (the original trilogy, not the prequels!), you’ll see that the good guy never has an easy mission. They get thwarted, tricked, ambushed, beaten up, lose an arm, fall into snake pits but in the end guess what happens? The good guy always wins :-)

The story of our lives are still being played out and God, our sovereign God, has the final act already planned and we – the good guys – will win! Amen!

That’s well and good of course, but for those of us going through trials the suffering is very real, and painful. And not something we can brush aside with some feel-good words. Do we then reject these trials? What ought to be our attitude towards our struggles?

As Job said – shall we accept good from God but not trouble? (Job 2:10)

surrender

Even in the midst of our most painful moments, we can trust God. But know this : if we want God to steer us out of this mess we are in, we’ve got to handover the steering wheel to Him.. Only by surrendering our lives to God can we emerge from our trials in victory.

Let’s learn to trust Him by truly letting go and not try to “help out” by trying to do things ourselves. God does not need our help – He wants our trust and our surrender.

Father, thank you for your grace and love. Teach us to listen and give us the courage to obey what we hear. And help us to trust you in whatever situation we are going through. You have gone through whatever we can possibly face, and you understand what we are going through. Because of that we know you will help us go through it. Thank you Lord. Amen

StephenWhoElse is a Sunday School Teacher and in his spare time he has a secular and less interesting job. He endeavors to write only what He reveals to him and gives all glory to God! See the original post at http://10seventeen.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/surrender-in-victory/
Published with the permission of the author. Submit your own post at beingrebekah@outlook.com. 

Rooted and Grounded in Love

Love Letter

“Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to fully understand. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” –Ephesians 3:17-19

This verse is one of many in the Bible that speaks of God’s incomprehensible love for us. I don’t think we can ever truly grasp that love. It is the love of one who laid down His life on the cross for the sins of all people. He laid down His life for me. Unworthy, undeserving me. And He laid down His life for you.

I have struggled all my life to believe that someone could actually love me. Me of all people, but this verse clearly says that God loves me and that I should strive to understand just how wide and deep that love is. It also says that as I trust in Him, my roots should grow down into that love. Being rooted and grounded in love should give us such a confidence in God that nothing can penetrate it. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). As we allow these roots to grow in His love, it keeps us strong!

A few years ago sitting in a meeting with my former pastor and his wife, a finger was pointed at me and I was told matter-of-factly, “No one will ever love you.” I have mentioned this incident once before on this blog and to a few select people in my life. I’ve yet to completely free myself from these words because they were the vocalization of something I already believed about myself.

But recently in prayer God gave me a revelation: the Bible says in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established (2 Corinthians 13:1). This word that no one will ever love me has never been corroborated. There has never been another witness to tell me this. In fact, of the few people that know about this incident, the reaction has almost universally been horror that someone would say this to me and everyone I’ve told has disagreed with it. More importantly, the Word of God establishes over and over again that I am loved. He loves me. If no one else on this earth ever has affection for me it does not matter because the God who created the universe, the Savior of the world, the Redeemer of my soul loves me!

Why then do I struggle to accept this love? I believe the Word of God. I know His Word is true. I know that it was the love of God that saved me. He loved me enough to pluck me out of the miry clay. He has blessed me beyond anything I deserve or could ask for. But part of me still believes I am fundamentally unlovable. This mind-set is keeping me from experiencing the love of God as it truly is and it is hindering my walk with Him. I think the solution to this problem lies in the verse I posted above from Ephesians 3. Lord help me to trust completely in You! I need to be rooted and grounded in the love of Christ! I need a revelation of how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

If I cannot accept the love of Jesus, how can I ever hope to accept the love of a fallible human being? There are people in my life who tell me they love me, but I have trouble believing them. I know they mean it when they say it, but I don’t know if their love is real so I test it over and over again. Often the result of this testing is to push them further away from me. I do this with God too. His love can withstand the testing, but can it withstand my lack of trust? God’s love is perfect and I need to be perfected in it. I’m not there yet. But I know that God is working on me. He is helping me. This revelation about getting two or three witness is huge. Now whenever that nasty memory comes to mind, I can counteract it with the truth of the Word. My strength lies in Him! When the enemy tries to tell me I cannot be loved, I will say “It is written”.grounded in love

Have you ever struggled to believe something in the Word?

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Just a Blink

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~2 Corinthians 4:18

Sky

A few years ago, I had a friend go into the hospital with a heart scare. Like several of my friends, he had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). In this particular case, he had a defibrillator implanted in his chest. And his heart rhythm spiked, triggering the machine. So he sat there, fully conscious, getting more than a dozen electric shocks to the chest. I visited him the day after he got home from the hospital, and needless to say he was scared, anxious, and drained. I had nothing to offer him long-term to cheer him up and provide a distraction (I did make him a care package based on Mel Brooks’ History of the World Part 1. It included the horse Miracle). So, I told him I’d run the half marathon in Walt Disney World in his honor that winter. I know that doesn’t seem like much of a distraction for him. But trust me. I was athletic growing up, but sometime in college got out of the running habit. I’d never run more than a 5k in a race (3.1 miles – a half marathon being 13.1), and right then I wasn’t sure I could run more than a mile. If nothing else, he’d be amused at the ongoing absurdity of my attempt.  True to form, he was, and we share some laughs as he continued to deal with his bad heart and I continued to rack up the running miles on his behalf.

I registered as a runner on team Run For Our Sons, which raises money for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (they fund research and advocacy for DMD). I mentioned my racing inexperience and within a day, someone had reached out to me. His name was Brian, and he was an amazing runner. He was injured and still running the goofy challenge (a half marathon one day and a full the next). But as good and ‘elite’ as he was, he was totally fine with coming down to my level, meeting me right where I was at, and guiding me forward. He had tips on form, clothes, nutrition, training schedules…you name it, he helped me with it. He even had encouragement for the days that I didn’t want to go out the door. And even more encouragement on the days when I didn’t go out the door. Without him, I definitely would not have been ready for that run.

With his help, I prepared the best I could. The friend I was running for passed away a month before the race, and just like that I went from running in his honor to running in his memory. Brian was there for that too. He had his own family, his own life, and his own sons to run for. But he still invested himself in my dream, and never gave up on it. When race weekend arrived, I had the chance to meet Brian and his whole family – his wife and two teenage sons (both with DMD). The eldest, Matthew, was a junior in high school and trying to choose what college he wanted to go to. He planned to be an engineer.

I bonded with the whole family instantly. About a month later, I got to see them again during an advocacy conference on Washington DC. Once again, Brian (this time with his whole family) was there to guide me as I went to meetings on Capitol Hill, advocating for DMD awareness and research. We connected over being from New England (they from Maine, me from New Hampshire). We connected over college applications and high school English class (my favorite subject).  By the end of one day with them it felt like we’d been friends for years – and that was just day 1!

Over the past few years, we’ve kept in touch. He’s kept me posted on how his boys have been doing, and we continue our support of PPMD. Then this morning, I got the sad news that Matthew died last night, of heart failure, at age 20.

Yes, it’s sad. Tragic even. My heart breaks for his family as I think about the dreams and plans that won’t be realized, his presence and smile that will now be missing. There’s no pattern to DMD death. Some people defy their lifespan and live long past the age doctors predict. Others fail to even reach it. The doctors, despite all research and medical care they can currently provide, still don’t have a way to control life and death.

To me, that’s evidence that we as people aren’t doing the picking and choosing here. We’re not meant to. God is. And He does. We are all made in love, with a specific purpose. Everything, from our flaws to our strengths to our circumstances, comes together to help shape, guide, and qualify us to fulfill our respective destinies. At the helm of that is God. And in His perfect love, when our purpose here is done, we are brought back to our true home.

So I know it’ll all work out. Matthew is ok, and no longer hindered by a failing body. His family will be comforted during this time, and as sad as the situation is they won’t be forsaken. They’ll see him again, in a place where they can enjoy him and not be constantly fighting for a cure. It’s sad, yes, but…..I can’t really say it’s a bad thing. I know where he is, and I’m happy he’s there. I’m pretty excited to be there myself, someday when the time is right. When I am, I’ll see Matthew again, and for that I have no cause to cry – just to rejoice. Our time here is so temporary anyway. A mere instant compared to our eternity. One person’s eye blink might be longer than someone else, but when it comes down to it, it’s still just a blink.

God bless!

~Rebekah A