Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Problem with my "To Do" List

On Friday evening as I was driving home from a day of work at UCLA (and by driving I mean sitting in traffic), I suddenly felt extremely tired and like I really just wanted to curl up somewhere and hibernate for the next few months. As I began to think through everything that needed to be accomplished between then and the next time I would be making that drive (which is next Friday), I suddenly realized how overwhelming it all was. I came away from that car ride having learned two valuable lessons. First, don't think about your "to do" list when you can't do anything about it. Second, when you very first start thinking that your list might be more than you can handle, realize that that is absolutely an accurate assessment, and start praying that God will give you the strength you need to accomplish everything He has planned for you. Unfortunately, like a lot of my lessons, this one was learned in retrospect. I'm so thankful that God is continually teaching me and allowing me to learn the lessons He has for me. Truthfully I didn't learn these lessons until I was sitting in church this morning, and literally cried as I confessed to God that once again I had attempted to strike out on my own rather than relying on Him. I've decided the verse I want to memorize during my drives this week is I Thessalonians 5:16-18, in which Paul says, "Rejoice always; praying without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I especially like how it's not sometimes or in some things, but always and in everything. What an incredible and necessary reminder.:o)

On another note, I had another wonderful weekend with my parents who had come down for Kate's last Saturday home game. We made some fun memories and had a terrific time together. I've included some photos from the last two weekends below. I would also really appreciate all of your prayers for this week. I have three midterms in addition to my usual clinical and work schedule, so it's a good thing that I can trust that God will provide my strength. Lots of studying, reading, memorizing, and perhaps a little sleeping to do, so I don't anticipate posting again until next weekend. I hope you are all having a wonderful and blessed Sunday, and Lord-willing I will be able to catch up with some of you once my first round of midterms are behind me.

Kate warming up before the game.

Hanging out with our very own soccer star after the game.

The hospital where I work.

My dad and I in the obligatory sign picture.

My mom and I in front of the main entrance.

Celebrating my 21st birthday early with my parents. (They gave me some clothes, a camera card reader, and "Let the Nations Be Glad" a book about world missions by John Piper (admittedly my favorite gift:o)).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Answered Prayers

I finally got around to doing a little organization of my desk the other day, and ran across a post-it note on which I had listed several prayer requests that others had given me. I smiled and took a moment to think about each of them. It was a fairly old list, so of course there had been new developments in each of them. My mom's health was on the list, and as many of you know she has since had a procedure done and is no longer experiencing any of the symptoms she had been having. Katie's adjustment to college had been answered with many new friends and some adventures of our own. A friend's difficulty with a class in school was answered with her not only passing the class, but graduating as well! Another friend had been having some health issues, and is now starting to feel better and able to do more of the things she loves. One friend had asked for prayer for a pamphlet they were working on, and have since finished it and blessed and encouraged more people than I think even they hoped it would.

So after reading these and seeing how God had chosen to answer each of the requests, I realized that although not all of them had been answered exactly the way I thought they should, they had all been answered. Some of the answers might not have been what I would have thought of, but they all exceeded my expectations and reminded me of how thankful I am that God is sovereign and I am not. He answered each request in a manner that is according to His plans and for His glory. The more time I spend in prayer, the more thankful I am that I can go to Him at anytime and for any reason. The God of the universe desires that I talk to Him. This struck me as I was reading in Psalms yesterday and read 18:6 where David says, "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." Pretty incredible, huh?

Time with family at Souplantation last weekend.

Sibling time...some of us were pretty excited about the kid cones...:o)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The First 12 Hours

I have quite a bit to accomplish before I head for bed tonight, but I really wanted to do a quick post on my first day at UCLA since I know several of you have been praying earnestly for me. It was AMAZING! Truly, I was able to see God's graciousness and goodness toward me all day long. I learned more than I could ever have imagined could be learned in one shift, and was able to retain a good portion of it. The twelve hours honestly flew by, and in spite of the concern I had about the length ahead of time, I couldn't believe it was over when 7pm came around. Yet another reminder that worry is sin, and I can absolutely do without it.:o) My preceptor was a terrific CNA, and she was incredibly patient with me. Speaking of patient, I had several really great patients who were also very understanding. A couple of them actually found out that it was my first day toward the end of my shift, and said they were really surprised as I'd done a wonderful job and had seemed to know what was going on. Praise God! Next Monday I am orienting in Pediatric unit, which I am SOOOO excited about. I have been looking forward to spending time in a Peds unit since before I started college, so I am thrilled to be going there in a few days. I could use your prayers for this next week, as I anticipate a few sleepless nights between working 24 hours and having some tests and clinicals. I spent some time in prayer today, and was reminded that God can work in and through me for His glory despite my fleshly complaints of exhaustion or being overwhelmed. I know He will carry me through this next week if I go to Him as my source of strength. Speaking of which, I was really wanting to find a verse that I could go to this week when I was feeling like curling up in a ball somewhere, and I stumbled across Colossians 1:9-12. It says, "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light." This verse is packed full of so many wonderful reminders, but I was especially encouraged by Paul's reminder to the Colossians that he is praying that they will do all of this "according to His glorious might." Praise God that we can accomplish all He has ordained for us to do through His power. Well I'm off to do some reading and studying. Thank you all so very much for your prayers and encouragement!

A picture of my UCLA uniform on my first day of work.

As you can see my scrub top says "UCLA Health System Care Partner." (Don't I look so excited to have woken up before 5am?:o)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

10 Reasons Why...

I have decided to do a blog of 10 reasons why I'm thankful for my schedule. I was prompted to post on this topic because I have gotten about 2 hours of sleep each of the last two nights, and have been praying that the Lord would give me a content and thankful heart rather than the ugly and complaining one my sinful nature tends toward in these situations. Not surprisingly He has been faithful, and when my alarm went off 2 hours after I had climbed into bed for the second morning this morning, He allowed me to not only hear the alarm (which many people can attest to the fact that this in itself is a huge deal) but also to wake up feeling somewhat refreshed and ready for the day. I stumbled to the bathroom, and spent some time in prayer as I showered. The day and clinical were somewhat successful, and I am so thankful to the Lord for sustaining me and giving me the strength to accomplish all that was needed. So, here is the list I compiled in the car today. As you will see, it's a mixture of some funny and wonderful things I have experienced (although it may no longer be quite so funny after I get a full night of sleep tonight...).

1. When you leave your house before the sun comes up, you have the incredible experience of watching the sun rise while you drive to clinical. It always brings a smile to my face and is a wonderful start to my morning. As the first rays of sunlight appear on the horizon, you can't help but praise God for blessing you with yet another day of life.
2. When you leave CSULA at 10 pm you get to see the lights of downtown Los Angeles in a way you never can leaving campus any other time of day.
3. Very few other people truly understand how much fun this schedule can be, so there are almost no cars on the road. Hooray for no traffic!
4. Somewhere around 1 am as your eyes start to cross and you begin to contemplate the fact that you could only possibly receive 1 point maximum for the 27 pages of paperwork you have almost completed, you start to laugh in a way that would probably get you labeled as insane if anyone else was awake to hear you (so it's a good thing they are all in bed:o).
5. When you live with people who have a wonderful sense of humor, it can be fun to hear all of the jokes they come up with about how they have forgotten your name and can't figure out what happened to the girl who was living in the front bedroom.
6. When you pack both a lunch and a dinner you get to decide what foods you eat when, and even have the power to change the menu while you are eating. You also develop a new appreciation for the inventors of the microwave oven and microwave dinners (until you get to your nutrition class...:o).
7. Having scrubs for your uniform means you basically get to wear pajamas from 7 am - 10 pm, and when you get home at 11 pm you really do get to wear your pj's. Yay for being comfy!
8. Ever since my fellow students and I started measuring the quality of a nursing student based on the size of the dark circles under their eyes, I seem to be near the top of my class!
9. With a little bit of preparation the night before, you can climb out of bed and (without opening your eyes) walk with your hands out in the general direction of the kitchen. If you press enough things you can eventually start your coffee without ever really waking up. (The trick to this is to keep your hands out so that your nose is protected when you slam into walls.)
10. At various points during the day you hit "walls" which seem impenetrable. Truthfully, in my own human strength, they are. So the reason I am most thankful for my schedule, is that it provides almost constant reminders of my own inadequacy and my total dependence on God as my source of strength and joy. Thank you Lord for supplying all of my needs according to Your riches in glory by Christ Jesus!

Fun picture of the day. I took this at the Long Beach Aquarium this weekend, because my uncle pointed out that the name of the fish (which you can't really read here) is "Sarcastic Fringehead." It made me thankful that my parents went with Emily...