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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Between the Holy & untouchable.

There's something about words that have the ability to unlock what's hidden.

Just the other morning I sat down, reached deep in my gut, and pulled out one of the million stories hidden there. I dusted it off and began playing it over and over in my mind until I was sure I was there in that moment again.
Then I wrote it out.
I gave it words.
I gave it space.

I let the Lord speak and tell me what He saw in the story.
I shared it with my mom for a project she is working on.

And then I took it back, tucked it back into my gut, and went about my day.

But the thing with words, at least in my history with God, is that they bridge the gap between the supernatural and the natural, the inside me and the outside me, the unseen and the seen.
Once they've been written, or spoken, or read, they don't go away. They sit in me, silently working their way to reality until I can grasp them, see them, touch them, understand them in the natural.

They're a way of the intangible and personal becoming tangible and collective.

After writing and sharing that story, I have been undone by a Jesus who comes close to me, who fills the room with perfect peace.
I have sat with the wild Lion and realized that he draws in nearer when I am still, not when I am frazzled and anxious and desperately pacing for answers, confirmation, provision, or a way out.

In short, this was the story I shared. I hope it unlocks something for you, too:

If you've known me or read this blog for any length of time, you know I spent the summer of 2015 quietly coming undone in a remote Indian corner of the world at a leprosy and HIV/AIDS mission hospital (for a description of leprosy click here).

It was there that I quickly began to see myself as the leper.
Numb to sin and wrong thinking.
Numb to pain.
Numb to heartache.
Numb to feeling anything, and allowing the numbness to spread, because that was easier than dealing with the issue and acknowledging that I had a problem or two or three million.

As I began to realize the trillion areas of my life that needed restoration, I dug in my heels and fought even harder to come close to Jesus. I would spend hours each night lying on my cement floor, crying out for His presence and restoration, begging for his voice, longing for something tangible from him.

Because, in India, that’s how it is.

I was unclean and He was clean.
I was an outcast and He was the Highest of the high.
I was untouchable and He was Holy.
The only way for me to get his attention was to beg, to make myself look pathetic and desperate and cry out for his touch. And if not his touch, maybe just the corner of his garment like the woman with the issue of bleeding in Luke 8.

The funny thing with wrongful thinking is that we often don’t know we’re thinking it until we find the truth. In all my hours on the floor, I never considered that what I was doing was misguided or wrong.
I was desperate. 
I needed Jesus, and this was my way of showing him that. I was hoping that my desperation would attract his presence.

And then one day, on a walk through the village the Lord introduced me to a young girl named Monica. We laughed and played, held hands and swapped sentences in broken English and Telugu. As the sun set, she went home to her hut and I went back into the walled, guarded, gated compound, walked through another gate and security station, into the inner compound, past the gate for the guesthouse, climbed to the second story, and finally reached my guest room.

The next morning I woke, dressed, and readied for my day. I unlocked my door, stepped out, and gasped as I saw Monica sitting on my balcony. Shocked, I asked her what she was doing and, with a beaming smile of pride, she announced, “I got past the walls and the guards. I was desperate to see you again.” Ignoring my slight terror at our lack of security, I quickly wrapped her in a hug and thanked her for coming to see me.

And then it hit me. This is Jesus.
This is what he does.

He breaks through every wall of self-protection.
He walks right past every guard.
He opens every gate.
He comes to us.
He risks it all.
He pays every price.
Because He is desperate for us.

No amount of begging or pleading will make him come.
Not because he doesn’t care about our desperation, but because He is already there, sitting on our balcony, just waiting for us to open the door.
His presence is a promise, no matter how untouchable we are.

****

After putting this story back in my gut that day, I went on to emphatically whimper and desperately demand things in prayer as I paced about my room.

And then I stilled.
I let the story resurface.

And I prayed, "If there's anything thing I'm certain of, Jesus, it's that you're here, that you're with me, that you're in my midst, and that you've paid every price to get here." 

...&, even if I didn't believe it then, I fully believe it now. 
Because words unlock things, 
& words have purpose, 
& words have weight,
& words bridge the gap. 

Not just my words. 
Your words, too.

What do you need to say?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

when I have not seen

Has Jesus ever been hard to hear?
To see?
To feel?
Does it ever feel like he's far away?
Unreachable?
Quiet?
Distant?

He's felt like that a lot for me lately.

Today I feel overwhelmed.
There's been a lot of life happening these last several months
-a LOT of ups and downs-
& more days than not,
I feel weak, empty, & confused.

Often I find myself
aimlessly wandering,
desperately striving,
& scrapping for something to hold on to.

When I quiet myself before Jesus
I often just see my own problems,
thoughts, & frustrations.

I don't see Jesus.
I don't see Heaven.
I don't see angels.
I don't see the throne.
I don't see gold dust.
I don't see burning fire.
I don't see miracles.
I don't see the fruit of promises.
I don't see the path before me.
I don't see goodness.
I don't see kindness.

I. Don't. See. Him.
Or feel Him.
Not even one bit.

& that can be maddening.
It can wreck your theology, & challenge everything you ever believed about a God who comes close, who never turns his face in anger, who never pulls away.

But, one thing is for sure: I do not want to be an Israelite.
I do not want to see the goodness of the Lord one day,
and then turn from him the moment I no longer see it.
I don't want to be led out of captivity by the Almighty,
& then get stranded in the desert because I've found other gods.

So while I don't feel him or see him,
I've found much comfort in the pages of my well worn bible,
a concrete and tangible reminder that he is still speaking.

I've been reading through the gospels for the umpteenth time,
and this time I'm seeing something new.

People got to be with Jesus.
They got to reach out and touch him,
to feel him.
They got to hear his audible words,
and breath the same air that he breathed.
They were close- in the very same place.

& yet they didn't see him,
nor did they understand.

He spoke in parables,
& confused the crap out of people.
His own disciples didn't even understand him most of the time.

He was present, there in their midst,
yet he hid himself from them.

Why?

To see who would really come after him?
To see who really wanted what he had?
To reserve the inner sanctum for the ones who proved their devotion, who wanted it most of all?

I don't know.

The only thing I do know is this:
the gospels are full of Jesus saying things that cause confusion.
He leaves loose ends.
He doesn't answer the why questions.
He doesn't give three point sermons with explanations and diagrams.
He says things and walks away before people even understood what he meant.

The only people Jesus really sits down and spells himself out for are his disciples, and ohmygosh I swear they hardly ever understand him either.
And, yet, when all is said and done, and Jesus has breathed life after death, and his disciples are finally starting to see what's going on, he says to them,
"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
Oh, Jesus. You are so backwards.

In the midst of this season of not seeing him, & in attempt to not be an Israelite,
I've learned a trick from the Psalms-
I get my trusty journal
and I write.
I write to lay myself bare before the Lord,
to remind myself of who He is,
to recount my history with Him,
to retell my soul the stories of His goodness,
and to reunite in right communion with Him again.

So today I remind myself:
blessed are we-
the ones who persevere in the midst of chaos and confusion,
the ones who don't see him & still choose to believe,
the ones who Jesus has left with loose ends for a time,
the ones who feel the weight of despair closing in, yet command their soul to sing a song of victory,
the ones who hold on to hope, declaring that he is forever faithful.

Blessed are we who have not seen & yet still believe.
He is here, in our midst, doing a good thing, and teaching us something that will only make sense in retrospect.
He is trustworthy and GOOD, even when all evidence says otherwise.


"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." 
-Psalm 27:13 &14

Saturday, November 14, 2015

For such a time as this...

Today, in the midst of national terror,
local racial insensitivity,
deep hurt,
& rising fear
may we be reminded that we still have access to a God who is on the throne, constant, ever-present, and working all things for our good.

May we be reminded of the hope that tomorrow can be better,
and may we become a people that draws together in unity and love, doing something to make it so.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another- and all the more as we see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:23-25

Fear, you do not win. 
Terror & hysteria, you do not win. 
Hate, you. do. not. win. 

"For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him." Hebrews 10:37-38

We will not shrink back.
We will join together & press on as a people of peace, a people of restoration, a people of mercy, a people of love, a people of joy, a people who know the Lord's heart and steward it to our brothers and sisters well. 

We see you, Satan. 

We see what you're trying to do, 
distracting us with "controversial" red cups, 
pitting us against the world and creating a divide, when those are the very people who need Jesus the most. 
We see you trying to release fear, hysteria, chaos, and pain into every corner of the earth, 
dividing Christians over homosexuality, race and gender, 
crowding our lives with meaningless things, 
and falsely uniting us through social media. 
We see you digging at deep wounds, bringing up past hurts, furthering brokenness. 

We see you. 

You've gotten our attention, and tricked us into giving you a platform through our fear that you do not deserve.  
You're clever, but you do not win. 
Today, right now, we turn our eyes back to the One who orders and authors all things, the peace-giver, and life-bringer: Jehovah Jireh. 

We will rise; 
we will join together in the physical, not just in the cyber; 
we will pray- actually pray; 
we will unify & not divide, 
& we. will. worship. 

When a servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. 
"Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.
"Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed "O Lord, open his eyes so he may see." Then the Lord opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
-2 Kings 6

Satan, you do not win, because, while we see you, 
we also see a God who is far bigger-
a God who's heart is for us, 
who's love is stronger, 
& who has hills full of horses and chariots of fire at the ready. 

Do not be afraid, friends.
Rather, let us join together, praying for our eyes to be opened to the plans of the Lord and how he wants to use us during this time in history. 

We were born for such a time as this.






Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reentry: the pictures I didn't take.

Written about a week ago, but still as true as ever: 

As I reenter American suburbia and try my hardest to not act like I'm miserably out of place and totally wrecked on the inside, I'm finding myself experiencing a little bit of reverse culture shock.

I close my eyes and see the faces of fifty orphaned kids laughing and playing,
or I see the colony girls that just wanted to hold my hands and walk,
or the faces of patients, of friends, of people I came to dearly love.

And then I open my eyes....
and I see excess and comfort and shallow and sadness.
I want to talk to people, but when conversations turn to television shows, or politics, or judging someone for something, or buying bigger and better I have to fight every bone in my body not to make a B-line for the bathroom as an excuse to escape. 
I'm afraid I'm a little jet-lagged, a little bit confused, often grumpy, becoming a little bitter, and entirely unsure of how to slip back in to this totally different world.

As I actively tried to be present in the moments of my time in India, I find that I have far fewer pictures than I'd like. Actually, that's not entirely true. I have plenty of pictures...but just not of the moments I most want to remember.
So, I'm fighting to remember them all, to not let them get lost in the onslaught of the American Dream that I'm once again surrounded by, and that's a lot more difficult to do when you don't have a visual reminder.

There are no pictures of the two oil-workers that I ran into on various legs of my travel journey, one of whom called me out of an hour-long check-in line at the airport, zipped me through the first-class line with him, and then paid for me to relax and eat in a lounge while we waited for our plane together.
And I couldn't take a picture of the six people that were all from southern Michigan waiting with me in an airport in Doha, Qatar, one of whom designed the very machine that kept my premature nephew alive while I was gone.
Click. A mental picture will have to suffice. What miracles! 

Or what about the drunk Hindu man on the plane that was easily 30 years my senior and yelling loudly at me in attempt get my number while we waited for the bathroom...because isn't that just what every girl wants? Who would want to forget that?
Click. I'm sure there's a lesson in that somewhere.

I couldn't whip out my camera for a picture when a woman sat chatting as though everything was normal, though I was looking at the end of her tibia that was coming out her heel; and I still so vividly remember the first few days of shock from the dramatic ulcers and complete lack of pain.
Click. Never will I forget that.

There's the medical cases that were once in a lifetime and so heartbreaking: elephantiasis, vitiligo, herpes zoster, leprosy, HIV/AIDs, a Bartholin's cyst turned ulcer, encephalitis, myocardial infarctions, dysentery, & so much more... 

There's all the little things: like the toenail that went shooting across the operating room and had everyone cracking up, the lizards that crawled on my walls at night, the monsoon rains & earth-shaking thunderstorms, the solitude & companionship, the never ending church services that I didn't understand a word of, the demands for kisses on the cheeks and piggyback rides, the weeding the grass with the kids on a Saturday, the attempt at homemade "cheesecake", seeing millions of people come to be cleansed in the Godavari River, teaching Annie what star tipping is, hanging out with the water buffalo and trying to milk them, the constant inquires about my diet from concerned mamas, and the list goes on...and on...and on.
Click. Click. Click. Click. 

And then there's the bigger things: like the evening one of the colony girls had gotten past security and showed up at my door, the gut-wrenching sobs that I pounded into the floor as the Lord unraveled me in so many ways, the deaths of patients who shouldn't have died, a personal stay at the hospital for a few days, the times I said no to the Lord and realized how disobedient my heart really was, the man that drowned his baby girl in a river, the joy-filled days spent with the kids at the orphanage & hostels, showing a newborn baby girl to her parents and watching them scowl because they wanted a boy, watching M. suffer day in and day out, the appreciation ceremony held in my honor when I deserved nothing of the sort, and the rainbow that surrounded the sun in a perfect circle.
Click. Ouch. Click. Beautiful! Click. That hurts. Click. I hate this. Click. I love this.   

With this and so much more burned into my eyelids when I close my eyes, I find myself caught in the place of not wanting to forget and the place of desperately needing to forget in order to press on, to do this life again. 

I don't know how you do that- stay & move on all at the same time. 
I'm unsure when the guilt of not being there ends or when the joy & purpose of this life resumes, but I patiently wait, & I desperately pray, & I often hide, & I consistently cling to the promise that God is good and that he does not forsake his children, no matter if they're Indian or American. 

****

Now for some of the pictures I did take: 





































Sunday, July 26, 2015

The leper's feet...

The women in the leprosy ward have broken me ten times over in these past six weeks. 
They love being admitted here. 
In fact, they come back with only minor wounds, trying to get admitted just to get back in on the fellowship and family of the other women.  
They are stunning, sweet, and gentle souls that have intrigued, challenged, and captivated me. They are beautiful- absolutely beautiful, my favorite smiles of the week.

Can the health-nerd in me give you a little bit of an education on leprosy?
Though I could talk about this for days, I promise to keep it short and sweet. 

Leprosy is a disease in which bacteria invade the body and affect the skin and peripheral nerves. There's a lot of medical talk that would explain it's disease process, but, essentially what you need to know is that it causes a slow and gradual loss of sensation in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. 
Patients literally lose their sensation of pain. 
That might sound ideal on the surface, 
but let me assure you that it is not. 

Pain is the body's natural warning sign. 
It lets the brain know, "Hey! Something's not right here. Protect yourself!"
Without it, you wouldn't know things like how much pressure to exert on a door handle when you want to open a door. 
You wouldn't be able to feel if you were being burned, or bit by a rat in your sleep, which is a real problem here. 
You wouldn't be able to  feel the grass under your feet, or another human holding your hand. 
And, in my opinion, worst of all: you'd have no idea how to walk properly. You wouldn't know how much pressure to put on your heel, or your toes, or anywhere for that matter. 

It's this problem- the walking one- that has filled the leprosy ward with patients. 
Without pain and sensation, their hands and feet develop wounds, which turn into ulcers, which turn into bigger ulcers, which turn into, well, you get the point. 

If they were to seek treatment for the wound at its beginning, then it would be an easy fix. 
But, the problem is twofold. They either don't see it until it gets out of control, or, more likely, they see it, but it doesn't hurt; it's not that bad yet.
So they keep walking. Keep doing what they're doing.
And the ulcer gets worse.

The ulcers deepen, get infected, and expand.  
Toes get worn off, or have to be surgically removed. 
(Side note : I actually cut someone's toe off during a surgery the other day. I'm still so unsure how to feel about that...)
Bones get exposed; muscles get displaced. 
Toes start pointing in different directions, and tibias start coming through heels. 

But, these ulcers don't form over night.
They take days, weeks, months, and-the worst ones-years to form.
They are created by a repetition of the same thing over a long period of time. 

One patient came in with an ulcer that had been forming for five years.
Five stinking years. 
As I stared at her ulcer I racked my brain, thinking, "Why didn't you get help!? This could have been prevented!"

Once the ulcers have gotten to a certain point, the patient can be admitted to the leprosy ward. 
It's here that they’re put on "bed rest" and their ulcers are cared for, debrided, cleaned out, bandaged, and protected; it's here that they receive the merciful care and support that they need, so that they can return to their daily life. 

In these last few weeks, I have come to a startling realization: 
I am the leper.

Walking around with selfishness,
judgement, self-righteousness, 
dignified pride, and vanity in my heart,
I'm numb to the ulcers and wounds that sin is creating.

I've heard the Lord point it out before, 
seen it’s symptoms in the past,
but it was easy to disguise, 
easy to self-medicate, 
to pretend they weren't there & forget, 
to keep walking, 
keep doing what I was doing.

And the ulcers get worse, 
the disease starts settling in deeper and deeper, 
creeping into new parts of my body, 
new parts of my life. 
Until finally, one day, it can't be hidden anymore. 
It rears it's ugly head and bites, 
& I begin to realize that I should have fixed that long ago,
should have seen the Physician five years back.

So here I am, 
back at the throne of his overflowing mercy, 
finding grace abundant, 
and forgiveness unending.  

Isn't that how it goes? 
On our feet one minute, 
on our knees the next. 

The good news, though, is this:
Mercy triumphs over judgment, every time. 
He doesn't scold or mock, 
doesn't rub our face in the messes that we've made. 
He doesn't cast us out or hold us at an arm's length, like people do to the lepers. 
He doesn't shame; He doesn't hold it over our head. 
He's not waiting for us to have our ten steps to recovery ready for presentation. 

He draws near and says, "Beloved, you are forgiven. Come, get off your feet. Let's bandage up those wounds. Let's get you new shoes, so we can alter the way you walk. Let me clean out the ulcers, and make you fresh and new." He's capable of erasing and redeeming all wounds, all scars, all deformities. 

But, here's the best news: 
There's now a sulfone drug that can arrest leprosy at the first sign of its presence. 
Ulcers don't even have to form in the first place. Feet don't have to become deformed, and sensation doesn't have to be lost anymore.

While He's capable of erasing all wounds and correcting all things, there's a better option yet. The wounds and deformities don't even have to be there in the first place, not if we get help at the first sign of their onset. 
His love and presence are the sulfone drug to our sin, and he died so that we could have free access to that medicine.

May I encourage you to get close to Him, 
to continually be evaluating your heart for signs of sin's onset,
to constantly be searching yourself for fear, doubt, vanity, pride, greed, etc..,  
to not ignore the warnings, 
to not ignore his voice, 
to not be afraid to run unashamed to the throne of mercy now, rather than waiting until it gets worse? 

Because who really wants to be the woman with a hole in her foot, two toes gone, and a limp in her walk? Who really wants to be the woman with biting words, a bitter heart, and contempt on her lips? 

Every morning his mercy is new, which means every morning there are new things in us that need his mercy. 
Thank you, Lord, for coming close to us, even when we're covered in sin and should be cast to the outskirts of your village. Thank you, Lord, for your furious love and relentless pursuit of our hearts. You've always got our best in mind.  

And now a song from my very favorite songbird: 

video

Monday, July 6, 2015

Becoming the patient: 3 nights in an Indian isolation ward.


In the last four days I have been pumped with
3 or 4 different antibiotics,
some antispasmodics,
a few different antiemetics,
antipyretics,
the generic acetaminophen and ibuprofen,
a holy ton of normal saline,
and so much more…
That’s a lot of drugs for a self proclaimed “drug free zone”, but, let me tell you, this week I am praising Jesus for modern medicine.

It all started with a stomach ache.
Just a little one, ya know?
We were on a bus- fourteen hours from Narsapur, heading to a big hospital for a sweet and sick little boy (we’ll call him M.)- so maybe it was just some motion sickness.
We had gotten up before 4 AM, so maybe it was just from being tired.

And then, it got a little worse.
And, ya know, things started moving.
Nothing I couldn’t handle.

And then I got a little headache.
And then the headache got a little worse.
Manageable. No biggie.

And, then I started to run a little fever and get a little nauseous.
Okay, better just take some time to rest this afternoon.
So, like a good, tough, American, medical professional, I popped some aspirin and went to bed.
I’ll be better in the morning, I thought. 

Jokes.

At about 11:00 PM, Annie woke up to hear me groaning in my sleep. She woke me up and I could see the worry in her eyes. She felt my head and quickly started wetting tissues with cold water and laying them on my body.

After about 45 minutes of failed attempts to break what we're estimating was a 104+ degree fever, she took my pulse & insisted we go to the casualty unit (ER).
I fought.
No, I’ll just sleep it off. I’ll be fine.

She didn’t listen.

Her friend, a doctor at the hospital, drove across the city to pick us up.
It’s hard to explain the days that followed, because they have been such a blur, but I consider myself a royal guest to the side of healthcare that most healthcare professionals don’t get to see. Granted it was in a foreign hospital in a third world country, but I got to be on the other end of the needle, the cuff, the palpating, and questioning, and, let me tell you friends, it has changed me for the better.

I will always remember the waiting in a cage-like area, on a hard chair, half passed out, high fever, and stomach pains from hell, while they got me admitted.

I will always remember being wheeled on a stretcher through masses of people.

Never will I forget the fear in people’s eyes as they looked at me & I began to realize that I must be worse than I thought.

I will not forget feeling so miserably out of control of my own body.

When I go to start an IV back in the states, you can be sure I will remember the three attempts it took to get one on me, and the burning fire of the infected line that developed after a day.  I will not forget the feeling of becoming a human pincushion, stuck over twenty times.

When my patient needs an arterial blood gas draw, you better believe I’ll remember that that one-that one- is the worst of them all.

When a patient comes in and crashes, I’ll remember what it felt like to be completely dependent on others when I got up to go to the bathroom, causing my BP (and body) to crash.

I’ll remember the embarrassment of throwing up on the floor and myself because no one could understand my frantic waves for a bag.

I’ll remember to close the curtains before I give someone a shot in the butt, and I surely won’t sit and rub the site afterwards with all my strength, because that just stinking hurts.

I’ll remember the bedpans- the dirty, metal, bedpans.


I’ll remember the humility of not being able to lift my head for a drink and having to have someone bring the bottle to my mouth.

For the next patient I see in isolation, I’ll remember the people wearing masks and gowns, and acting as though I was untouchable.

I’ll never forget the fan that tried mercilessly to make up for the lack of AC, and the constant three days of soaked-with-sweat sheets and gowns.

I will not forget the night nurse who was there to do her job, and the day nurse who took an interest in who I was.

I will remember that, in India, the hospitals- and pretty much everywhere else- are BYOTP: bring your own toilet paper. I had forgotten mine. (Thank God, Annie had a pack of tissues! It's the little things, people.) 

When a patient needs a test and doesn’t understand why, I won’t forget the nurse who came to get me for a chest X-Ray- though I had no known problems with my chest- being unable to explain why I needed it.  I won’t forget being too tired to argue.

When my patient is in a gown, I won’t forget what it feels like to be wheeled to radiology in a half-see-though, white, stained gown, past hundreds of people.

I won’t forget the staring. To the people that stood within two feet & just stared, the woman who stood in my doorway and stared, the crowds that stared- I won’t forget any of you.

When I wheel a patient somewhere, I will remember what it felt like to sit in that gown, looking and feeling like straight up hell, while I waited in a metal wheelchair, in a crowded hallway, for an x-ray I didn’t really need, for twenty minutes or more.

And when my patient is waiting desperately for discharge, I will remember what it felt like to be told, "No. You have to stay for some more time." 

This is the smile that I genuinely thought would convince people I was ready to be discharged. I can see now why it didn't work. 

But, let me tell you what else I won’t forget:

I won’t forget Angelee who dropped what she was doing and drove across town in the middle of the night to pick me up.

I will not forget the constant cycle of Annie’s friends who came and stayed by my side when Annie had to go be with M. I will not forget them sleeping in chairs, or bringing me crackers, or talking about life just to get my mind off things.

I will not forget the kindness of the attendant who, through his mask, kept telling me I’d be okay, and wanted to know all about my life as he wheeled me to isolation. That one, he was an angel, I’m sure.

I won’t forget the pictures of Jesus and postings of scripture on the walls, leading all the way to my room.

I will always remember the perfect peace of being close to Jesus through the whole thing, and the atmosphere shift that happened when I started playing worship on my phone. 


I won’t forget the luxury of being able to hear my mom- a familiar voice- after the first day settled down, even if it was only for five minutes.

When my patient is NPO and begging for food, I won’t forget the glory of that one, beautiful, single breadstick-my first food in three days.

I will remember how funny the whole situation became by the third day, and how Annie and I were laughing so hard that two nurses came running because they thought something was wrong. 

And most of all, I will remember every. single. touch. I’ll remember the rubbing my back & holding my hair back while I dry heaved…and heaved…and heaved, and the touching of my arm and assuring me everything would be fine, and the holding my hand during the second, third, and fourth IV attempts. I won’t forget the hands that held me steady when my BP kept bottoming out, or the nurse that patted me on the shoulder and laughed when I proudly announced that I hadn’t gone to the bathroom all night & was now ready for discharge.  I won’t even forget the hands on my feet when someone was checking for edema.

I will remember it all, both the good and the bad, because both have made me a better nurse, a better friend, and a better lover of Jesus.

Even in the midst of chaos and sickness, Jesus is good,
fear has no place,
and His peace is overwhelming in a heart that’s close to His.

P.S. I’ve been discharged and am doing much better! Resting, mending, and hyping my body up with some probiotics at a nearby house until we take the train back to Narsapur tomorrow.

Doing good, friends! I'm doing good! :) 

P.S.S. There’s also a story about a drunken rickshaw driver that picked us up after the hospital stay, but I’ve put my family through enough torture these last few days, so we’ll keep that as a story for another day. J







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