20 Years of Existing // defying impossibility

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

This blog post already bothers me, mainly because the title is technically wrong. I've existed twenty years AND nine months. (And if you know me well enough, you know why I can't help but think of that). #unbornequalshuman

My goodness, this year has by far been the craziest yet, but with that came so many adventures, changes, challenges, incredible joys, surprising lows, hopeful plans, and ultimately a good and faithful God who saw me through each day.

I worked in the Emergency Department, for Grand Rapids Right to Life, did photography, wrote my heart out and started a new position at another hospital. And did I mention I started college? Where is the face palm emoji? I'm one of those ultra type-a people who feels like they never get anything done, meanwhile a lot of life is actually getting accomplished and lived (and, of course, there was a good dose of failing in there as well).

This time last year, there were a lot of unknowns in my life. I wasn't sure when I'd start college or where to go, I questioned what I'd study, and I didn't know for sure what hospital setting I could best serve in.

My days were filled with coordinating events and students when I worked for Grand Rapids Right to Life. I had lots of coffee dates with many amazing pro-life youth, had the coolest boss on the planet ;) (love ya Laura!), and did some public speaking on behalf of the unborn. Sadly, I had to decide between the hospital and GRRTL because of the time commitment, so I ended up finishing my time there in December. Soon my work duties went from office work and activism related, to only the medical side of things.

From assisting with traumas to sitting for psych patients, the ER taught me many things. Mainly, it instilled in me the absolute necessity to genuinely care for my patients no matter what they're facing. That's not a belief held by all in that field, but I had several inspiring coworkers who rose above the typical and talked with that difficult patient, cared for the one who was especially needy, and did not allow the many sights of trauma to deaden their will to serve. Those are the people I will remember, looking back.

After leaving the ER, I took a month-long break from healthcare, uncertain how much I really wanted to try that field again (for the third time, job wise). Maybe I had made a mistake? Maybe I wasn't "tough enough" for that line of work? Maybe I don't have the gift set to make a difference in the lives of patients? I wanted to serve, help, and assist, but I also wanted to change things. I desired for the cries of those in distress to be met with mercy and I honestly wasn't sure if I could find a job like that in healthcare. Certainly, we each make our own choices that contribute to a patient's experience, but we can't control our coworkers, and if we're not on the same page about patient care, it's not going to be good for anyone.

In the midst of this break, the Lord graciously convicted me over how much I worried, ached, and strived over the future. What to plan, where to apply and how could I accomplish things He's leading me to do? A few weeks after leaving the ER, I sat in my car with such a sense of weariness and laid my life afresh in His hands. So much anxiety went fleeing away as I surrendered to the God who is so much bigger than my earthly problems.

I was broken from that season of life, and needed time to heal. But this season of brokenness was different than past hardships. I would not take back the challenging life circumstances, painful job, or unplanned problems if I could, while previously, I had the tendency to wish with all my heart I could undo the rough things I had experienced. This time, I saw His hand and knew He was refining, teaching and disciplining me, and in that I sensed His love. (Of course, He was so present in the past circumstances where I could not see that, but He graciously changed my perspective so much this time around).

If I were honest, there was a time in the past year I did not sense much hope. I did my best to get through each day, but surviving would be a much better word to describe my mode of living than thriving. I was reading through the book of Genesis when I was struck with an important truth. In chapter 18, Sarah laughed at God when He told Abraham that she would bear a child in her old age. To which God replied, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' Is there anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:13b, emphasis added). Such conviction filled my heart. I was praying for what seemed possible to me, so if I was feeling pessimistic that day, my prayers sounded quite similar. But things started to change. Even while feeling uncertain about what was to come, by His grace, I began to pray bigger. I prayed for Him to overcome problems in my life, rescue the unborn (all of them everywhere), to bring healing in my family, and for many more things.

Soon after, I discovered a stirring quote,

"Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible." C.T. Studd

These weren't just nice sounding words, though. Jesus was challenging my view of Him; did I have a small and compartmental view of my God, or did I believe that He is bigger, stronger, and greater that anything I ever face? Maybe I don't see breakthrough yet. Maybe things in my life still feel heavy and difficult. On the darkest night, am I found with eyes on the storm, shaken at the thought of what is to come? Or do I stand with radical expectancy that He is yet in control, faithful, and entirely good through the worst of the worst? My circumstances are incapable of overwhelming my God! "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My Refuge and my Fortress, my God in whom I trust" (Psalm 91:1-2).

God is not bound by what I see to be possible or impossible. He is sovereign and supreme and He reigns!

"When darkness veils His lovely face, I rest on His unchanging grace; in every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. His oath, His covenant, His blood, support me in the whelming flood; when all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay" (Edward Mote).

When I am tempted to dread trial upon trial, I can instead rejoice to taste the sufficiency of His grace upon grace! He is enough amid my lack; when life goes south, my Savior remains completely faithful. The fact that I have been rescued by Christ for all eternity defies impossibility. Apart from Him, I was destined to hell and an eternity of torment that I deserved because of my sin. Yet He laid His life down for fallen, broken, needy sinners who were unable to lift themselves from the miry clay. Experiencing the barbaric death I deserved, Christ broke the bond of sin and the hold of the enemy in my life and made me His own. Thus hope exists. Not merely theoretically or philosophically, but in a person who has been our ransom: Jesus Christ!

When I ponder these truths, I am all the more thankful for this year. I'm grateful I didn't know in advance what hard things were to come in year nineteen, but those very circumstances, friendships, and issues stripped me of my natural "feeling" of hope, and caused me to dive deeper into His Word. I had to set aside a "feeling dependance" in order to come to believe in His ability no matter what. Thus I began to experience a much deeper hope. One that refused to relent when environments felt toxic, relationships died, people seemed to attack, and circumstances failed me.

When Christ is my hope and stay, my circumstances are no longer capable of making or breaking me.

What do you hinge your hope on? Yourself, friendships, a line of work, finances, feelings? Maybe something else?

As Leslie Ludy has so eloquently put it: "Until Jesus is our all and all, we aren't truly living the Gospel life."

...On to twenty! Here's to a new year likely to be full of college, healthcare, challenges, joys, and certainly of Jesus, who is Himself the epitome of Hope.

now that "teen" is no longer the suffix of my age, I think I'm getting quite old.....

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