Powerful

“Simon says ‘Pat your head,’ and we pat our heads. Jesus says ‘Go therefore and make disciples,’ and we memorize that verse.”
–Francis Chan

Maybe I’ll write a long post on this some other time, but this is LITERALLY one of the most powerful statements I have ever read….and I read a lot of them.

Why do Christians forget Part 2?

I’m really bad at blogging regularly, but I sometimes have thoughts that I’ve written down that I feel like I should share. (WARNING:  below is an example of some of the rambling thoughts and a little bit of ranting that run through my head on a regular basis.)

In a class (keep in mind I go to a Christian uni) I was in this week, the professor began talking about how has Christians, we need to be in community with nonbelievers.

This is something that Christianity, especially in Western cultures, as a whole hasn’t realized. Christians tend to have a mindset that says “I’m a Christian, and I need to hang out with believers only. If I hang out with nonbelievers, they might lead me into sin.” We forget that as humans, we are all sinners–but we as believers have been saved through God’s grace. We forget that unbelieving ears can’t hear, and seeking hearts can’t find unless someone who knows the truth shares with them.

Christians often are Part 1  people. We hold up signs and tell the world “The wages of sin is death.” But we forget that the core of the gospel is the second half of that verse –”but the gift of God but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (That’s Romans 6:23 by the way). In the same way, Christians have shirts and bumper stickers and key-chains that declare “Not of this world.” But we forget that the other half of that declares “In the world.” (okay, technically, this is a paraphrase of some verses John 17, but the point is the same). The gospel is supposed to infiltrate society. It shouldn’t be confined to churches and youth groups and Bible studies. It should be in every restaurant, on every street corner, in every homeless community on a bridge. If Christians were honestly living out the Bible, the gospel should be present everywhere you turn. But it’s not. Christians usually prefer to stick together and judge  how sinful the world around them is. Why are we so surprised at the sin in society? It’s spelled out plainly in Scripture that all men (and women) are sinful by nature. And if Christians aren’t out there entering int community with sinners, how is that every going to change? What makes us think that we deserve to sit in cozy pews in ornate churches and condemn society to a life of sin? We are all sinners to God, all on equal levels of unworthiness. But by some miracle, he chose to make His grace and forgiveness available to us.

We as Christians have found the gift. But those around us may not even know it exists. So we need to step up, to follow Christ’s example. God incarnate, the holiest human who ever walked the face of the earth, ate the majority of his meals and spent the majority of his time hanging out with gamblers, prostitutes, and tax collectors. If Jesus could do that, why do we consider it such a burden to eat lunch with the unbeliever in the cubicle next to us?

Just a thought.

Future?

As I sit in one of the eating establishments at my college listening to Bing Crosby sing Christmas songs and working on a research paper I procrastinated during last week’s break, I am struck by how fast life goes by. I am three weeks away from being halfway through my junior year of college. I am a year and a half away (hopefully!) from graduating and beginning the process of getting a teaching credential. Then it’s off to find a job and then to move overseas to continue teaching.

I am not a futuristic person. I barely plan what I’m doing for dinner in 5 hours, which makes it difficult to try and lay out a plan for the next 5 years. For now, I am trying to get a loose idea of what I wish to do, though nothing that is set in stone or can’t be adapted. A couple weeks ago, one of my roommates made an offhand comment that she was surprised I hadn’t gone into a major involving Psychology or Philosophy, since I enjoy understanding how people work and contemplating life. That definitely shook me. I’ve wanted to be an elementary school teacher for a while, but I know that there are other paths I could take and still be content with.

For now though, I feel like it is God’s plan for me to teach. I enjoy kids, and have always had a love of learning new things. My hope is that, as a teacher, I can instill that love of learning into my students. It seems like so many teachers nowadays are so confined by unions and school boards that teaching becomes just a job, and getting students to pass and move up a grade is the sole goal. As naive and idealistic as it sounds, I want to inspire the kids I teach. I want to teach them that there really is no such thing as a stupid question, that curiosity should never be suppressed, and that learning isn’t confined to the classroom.

But for now, I need to get through these last few crazy weeks of papers, readings, and finals. It’s going to be busy, but as long as I stay focused and manage my time, I should be alright.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:1-4)

Blessed.

Today I was planning to update my Flickr so I was going through my photos from the summer. I couldn’t help but be amazed by all I’ve been through in the last few months. And I couldn’t help but feel blessed.

In the last 3 or 4 months I’ve been through quite a few doctors’ visits, multiple weeks in the hospital, plus heart surgery and recovery. My heart was stopped for just under an hour while someone went inside my heart and repaired it. The sheer scope of all that doesn’t hit me until I really start thinking about it. Then I just become overwhelmed at the power and mercy of God.

The whole experience changed me in big, but subtle ways. My faith has been cemented into my being, and I know that without God, I am nothing. I felt peace from the first hospital visit to the last follow-up. I know that God still has a lot in store for me, that He has a plan and I have a purpose. I think I’m slowly starting to figure out what those are, that I’m slowly learning to live my purpose.

I can’t help but be excited to see what God will do to me, in me, and through me in the coming year. :)

11 ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”

On the road the recovery…

On July 3, my heart was stopped, repaired, and restarted. I’ve always known to count my blessings, but going through something like that definitely gives you a new outlook on life. I will never take another heartbeat for granted again.

My surgery, like most, began bright and early. My parents and I were at the hospital a little before 5 AM to check in. I was then escorted to the prep area, where I got to put on a lovely purple paper gown (when you spend a lot of time in hospitals, you learn to have no shame) and some wonderful fuzzy socks (this seasons trendiest accessory). After an hour or so of prep and getting an IV line in, the time came. I watch a lot of medical shows and have many friends who want to be in the medical field, so hospitals don’t scare me, but there is nothing more nerve-wracking than saying goodbye to your family and being wheeled through a set of double doors into the OR. My nerves were quickly calmed though, by the “Good morning sunshine!” a nurse called out. After being introduced to the nursing team and transferred to the operating table, I don’t remember much. The last thing I remember is a guy telling me to give him my arm.

I don’t recall when I actually FIRST woke up. Apparently, I looked at my mom and, with fingers crossed, croaked out “Repair? Repair?” My mom told me that indeed, they had been able to repair my valve instead of replace it, and I was out again. All I can remember of that first day in the SICU are brief glimpses of family members, and the pastor of my grandparents church praying over me. I know that the first time my older brother (who I don’t see often) saw me, he cried. I remember feeling each and every tube that I had in me. And I remember everything being overshadowed by pain.

When I finally came out of that post-surgery pain nightmare, I was so relieved. Everything still hurt, and I knew I had a long road ahead of me before I could get back to normal, but I was thrilled that the surgery had gone well and that, thanks to having the repair over a replacement, sports would still be a part of my life. I got some tubes pulled and was transferred to a regular room with a view f San Diego. I only spent 4 days in that room, but it felt like weeks. I was able to walk around the halls, eat real food, and get more tubes pulled out of my body (yay!).

Since being allowed to leave the hospital, I’ve improved tremendously. I still am a little sore, but no longer need painkillers. It’s great to get back to a (semi)normal life again. :)

 

Slowly recovering :)

 

 

 

HEART SURGERY TOMORROW

The last couple weeks have been crazy.

Within a couple days of landing I was in a cardiologists office going over my case. The next week I was having a TTE (basically an ultrasound of the heart) done. The day after that I was contacted by someone I now refer to as “man who was smart enough to get through medical school but can’t hang up a phone.” I refer to him as such because he meant to call me and leave a voicemail telling me to call the clinic back and make another appointment….but he left the phone on and I had to listen to a nearly 10 minute conversation between medical professionals on the severity of my condition, how I would almost definitely need surgery and soon, and ow much I knew/what they should tell me. That was definitely a rough night, and listening to that conversation for the first time was the only time I have shed tears throughout this whole ordeal.

Anyways, after that I was sent in for a TEE (they put a tube in your esophagus and look at the heart). The doctor who performed that procedure was super nice, carried a Bible in his pocket, and prayed wit my mum and I beforehand. After waling up from that I was told I would definitely nee surgery, and the sooner the better. I then met my surgeon, who was very calm and reassuring about the surgery, saying it would be minimally invasive and he’s performed them many times.

That afternoon and the next days were full of pre-op blood tests and interviews, as well as my family members flying in from our various lands. Now it’s the night before the surgery. I’m a little nervous about it, but mostly I just don’t want to be up at 4 AM.