Luke 14: 25-33

I pray that Jesus would lead specific people to read this post.

The cost of following Jesus is real and it is heavy. It’s only October and it feels like I’ve been a fourth year for much longer. The weight and authority I carry as a representative of Christ has got me feeling worn down. I struggle with being vulnerable and allowing people to know what’s going on and lately it’s been so hard to verbalize why I’ve been feeling this way. It’s as if I don’t trust even my closest friends to be able to bear my burdens because I know just how heavy it can be to bear theirs. I’ve been feeling this way for the past couple of weeks and I think today was just the breaking point. ” class=”wp-more-tag mce-wp-more” title=”Read more…” data-mce-resize=”false” data-mce-placeholder=”1″ />

I’ve been struggling with give-a-year, but not in the sense of “should I go or not go”, but “Why me God? Send someone else, Lord.” It’s been made clear that that is what God will have for me after graduation, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to give up the things being offered to me. Comfort, security, reputation, parental approval, stability, etc. I am a 4th year nursing student and our classes are tailored towards success in finding a job after graduation, which means almost every day of the week I’m being tempted to disobey God’s call and do what I want or what I think I want. And it doesn’t help that I haven’t gotten a clear place to give-a-year. I’m getting pieces, but I sense God knows my heart isn’t ready to come to terms with His decision and the reality of what it’ll cost me. I feel insecure in what I am doing and not letting God work in me.

I’m angry and frustrated with myself. My flesh is so weak and prone to wander.

At the same time, I feel isolated because I feel like at times I’m the only one who’s sober to the idea of what give-a-year is going to look like. I don’t see it as a “woah that’s so cool that’ll be so exciting” or “wow. You’re going to have so many cool experiences and stand out when you come back from it” or even “I have nothing else to do, so why not just give-a-year”. And while none of those are innately bad thoughts or notions, that’s just not where I am. Everything about this feels sober. I have no idealized notion of what it’ll look like doing ministry abroad or fantasies of people coming to Christ by my words. Language learning will be DIFFICULT and time consuming, the community of believers will look different, and a lot of days will be moving the rocks out of the garden for us to even plant the seeds.

But in Luke 14:25-33, Matthew 8:18-22, and John 6:60-71, Jesus warns His people about the cost of following Him. It is real and it is heavy, but if His warnings are still true today than I also believe His promises to be true and those are what I need to hold on to in times of weakness.

I pray that He would protect me from the enemy and the lies of not being equipped to be a nurse after going away for a year. I pray that He would be my cornerstone and rock. And I pray for strength to be the person He is calling, equipping, and cultivating me to be. May I seek to Live Dead.

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August 2017 Wrap Up

 

I have mixed feelings saying goodbye to August. It was a month full of transitions: fourth year, merging core groups, new house, more responsibilities, increase in workload, and new opportunities academically, spiritually, physically, and career-wise. August, you were overwhelming.

Leadership Retreat: I went to my last XA leadership retreat and really felt the weight of those who went before me. Beyond Chi Alpha, I felt the weight of those who shared the good news of Christ hundreds of years prior and how they ran the race well. I want to hand off the baton to the next generation and leave UVA better than when I came. The legacy I want to leave behind is faithfully sharing the hope of Christ.

Fall Blitz: I love fall blitz as a second year core group leader. I feel like I am a great wing-woman and can easily connect first years with their first year core group leaders. It’s also so fun to love on first years without the pressure of wanting them to be in my core group. It feels natural. I’ve also loved seeing the girls in my core group both old and new reach out to 2nd years as well as 1st years. They are stepping into leadership and it’s so so cool to see. I am just so proud of them and expectant of what God’s going to do this year.

Start of 4th Year: My first day of school was in Staunton for my psych clinical… Thanks nursing. Academically, I feel like I’m in a good place though. I love all of my classes. My psych and transitional care class and clinicals are both really interesting and fun. I am also in a Sufism class with my two best friends, which is a first because #nursingschool. I’ve reached out to professors about practicum placements and am praying about where to go. I really want to work in a NICU unit, but the options are so limited…

Nursing: For the first time, I felt competent and confident in my clinicals. August renewed my love for nursing, but also affirmed my choice to give-a-year after graduation. I talked to a nursing alumni who took a year off and came back to work in the NICU at INOVA afterwards and she said it was one of the best things that happened to her. She felt mentally ready to take on her new job and prepared to do it well. My job in the mean time is to learn as much about the application process as I can and prepare for it when the time comes.

Give-a-Year: I talked to Pete with my friend who I’m planning on giving a year with and we got to talk about where it would be strategic to go. Still praying as to where to go and with who beyond just the two of us.

TH Mentor: I am a Theological Horizon’s fellow and recently got assigned a spiritual direction certified mentor. I had my first meeting with her and was pleased to find out that she was a critical care nurse as well as a missionary in Japan for 5 years. She worked with a Christian organization that helped with church planting, but the way she explained it made it sound like she didn’t see much fruit during her time there. I am looking forward to talking through with her my plans after graduation.

House Mom: Rewarding, challenging, tedious, but necessary. It helps that I love my housemates.

Mug Party: Last mug party as an undergrad and I brought the mug I got my first year. It was huge. More than 1300 people came and I met a girl who’s currently involved in my core group!

Jessica Williams: HILARIOUS. Her comedian show was so funny, so woke, so relevant, and had me laughing so hard.

Core Group: Leading second years is so different from leading first years and it is such a blessing. I am thankful for this transition because I love the girls I discipled last years and I am so excited and expectant for God to do crazy things once again this year. Praying for a successful merge and more deep relationships centered on Christ. I’m also so thankful to have such understanding co-leaders who love me so well. God has blessed me in this transition.

Kung Fu Tea: A KFT opened up in Charlottesville and I went for the first time with one of my co-leaders. We went after going on a XAI humpback hike and just sat and caught up on life. It was nice to spend quality time away from serving others and refocus on what God’s doing in our lives individually.

July 2017 Wrap Up

Thank you for being good to me, July! I had a blast this past month. I was worried about transitioning back to the States, but so far so good!

Seattle:  I got to spend a week with one of my best friends in the beautiful city of Seattle! The weather was perfect and the sun set at 10pm! AMAZING.

Life-giving talks: After coming back from Thailand, I got to reconnect with so many beloved friends. Thank you Debbie, Grace, Katie, Jay, Faith, Maddie, and Katherine for doing life with me.

Summer XA: I went to NOVA Summer XA for the first time this summer and it felt good to be back. Lots of feelings of nostalgia over how this was how I first got involved with Chi Alpha.

Having a car in Cville: I drove down to Charlottesville for the first time by myself and it felt good. Love love love having a car in Cville and the freedom to go anywhere I want.

Fly Dog Yoga (Aerial, Barre, Heated Vinyasa, Power Yoga): I’m doing 30 days for $30 at a local fitness center and I am LOVING it. I am seeing so much improvement in my yoga practice, flexibility, and overall strength. It also gives me something to do in the midst of working at the hospital.

Core Group Reunion: I met up with my co-leader one last time before she left for Atlanta, GA for graduate school. It was a bittersweet last picnic on the lawn, but I have a feeling this isn’t goodbye. I am so thankful for this WOG’s friendship and her steadfastness. And I look forward to our email chain! I also got to eat icecream with Katie and Jay after summer XA and catch up on how they were doing. I love these girls so so much. Lastly, I got to see Faith and Katie in Cville and we talked over lunch at my place. Man am I blessed by God’s goodness.

Contacting first years: Even though I’m not leading first years, I’m still reaching out to 8 specific girls. And I got to meet up with one of them! Walking into Ohill, I felt the weight of how old I am. I am a 4th year… and everyone looks so young! Wow. I got to share some mediocre wise words of wisdom and just felt at peace knowing that God was over our entire conversation.

Rockytop: I got to go rockclimbing with my housemate Katie and it was awesome. I love rockclimbing and it had been way way too long since I had last gone. It was also a great time getting to know one another and have some real talk.

1st Bodos ticket: My housemate Katie and I woke up early to get the first bodos ticket!! It’s on the 118 things to do before I graduate, so I thought might as well knock it out before all the students come back into town.

Working at the Hospital: I’m back at UVA hospital working as a Patient Companion and God is truly using me here. I pray every time before going into work that God would give me a kind patient and create an opportunity to share the hope that He promises and every time He has answered my prayers! I hope the peace that transcends all understanding is conveyed in the way that I carry myself.

Trying out new recipes: I follow a mainly plant-based diet and I’ve been testing out some new recipes. This month I made ramen from scratch because I was craving it so so badly. I followed this recipe and it completely satisfied my craving. I’m excited to try out more recipes! Next up is vegan tumeric mac and cheese with green peas. YUM!

Lastly, PSA the Ben and Jerry’s coffee caramel fudge non-dairy icecream is a GAMECHANGER. It is so addicting and tastes just like the real stuff, but without the upset stomach or bad breath/aftertaste milk gives you. Everyone has to go and try it out. It also reminds of of the Turkey Hill Double Dunker icecream, which is one of my absolute favorites. SO glad to have found an alternate to it.

June 2017 Wrap Up

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This is a very redundant post because I was in Thailand for the entire month of June and wrote an entire post about it here!

I just couldn’t post my July 2017 wrap up knowing that I had “skipped” my June 2017 wrap up. I know I know. I am extra.

Seattle (July 4-11)

July 4-11, 2017 I was in Seattle visiting my friend from high school. I visited her in Boston last summer, so it was like part 2 of adventures with Anya. It was so much fun! I’ve always wanted to visit Seattle ever since I was in high school and dreamed of going to the University of Washington for grad school.  Continue Reading ->

Thailand (June 1-29)

 

After having a month to process my trip to Thailand, I still feel inadequate to summarize my experience. God moved and revealed Himself to me in new and incredible ways. In addition, He answered all of the prayers I had before going on this trip. These were the previous prayer requests I stated in a previous blog post.

  • God to break my heart for what breaks His heart, during this trip. I want to die to myself.
    • My heart continued to break for the lost during my time in Thailand. Humans were designed to worship and that was made so clear to me in the hearts of the Thai people.
  •  Communication barriers to be broken and for the Good News to transcend both cultural and language barriers.
    • The missionaries I worked with valued the importance of Thai culture and stated their vision to have the Thai church look Thai. They understand and advocate towards the need for diversity in the church body in Thailand. Also when sharing stories of what Jesus did for His people (healing the blind, calming the storm, meeting the woman at the well, Parable of the Prodigal Son), the Thai students still connected with Him. Jesus transcends culture and language barriers. And He can speak for Himself! Let the word speak to His people.
  • One person to come to Christ.
    • TWO people came to Christ!!! Praise the Lord for He is worthy to be praised.
  • Guidance as to give-a-year location and His will for me after graduation.
    • Yes… more info about this to come.
  • That we would be a unified team sold out for Christ and His mission.
    • I was very impressed by my team. Coming as the only UVA student, I was nervous. But all of my team members were open and willing to give it their all every day to share the good news to the Thai students. They took initiative and broke off into pairs or even by themselves.

I also prayed for one more specific thing that I didn’t put in my previous post. I prayed that I would meet someone at the beginning of the month and be able to follow up with her for the entire month. AND OH MAN DID GOD SHOW UP!!! I befriended a girl named Pear who had recently graduated from PSU. By God’s grace, she ended up on our first outing to the waterfall. None of us had met her beforehand and the only reason why she knew about this trip was because a stranger who we had met earlier invited her to come!! She knew English and we hit it off almost immediately. And through more divine appointments, I got to meet up with her every weekend even though she had moved 2 hours away. God continued to bring her back to Hat Yai for work or a friend’s celebration ceremony.  I cherish this friendship and pray that God would provide a Thai Christian friend who would continue to share the truth of the Gospel. God loves her so so much and I just want her to experience that love.

The missionaries I worked with were all so wonderful and it was a joy to work with Kiel and Niina after meeting them at World Missions Summit. Along with Anna who was an absolute gem. God is so good at orchestrating things. I pray that they would start a Chi Alpha at PSU.

Thankful for everyone who financially and prayerfully supported me. Only 2 “real” adults supported me. The rest were recent grads or current college students in Chi Alpha. I was fully funded by my peers! How incredible is that? Despite having college debt to pay off and not having a steady income, they still gave SO generously. Talking to the other people on my team, I realized how rare this was. My teammates were all funded by family friends and/or “real” adults. God is so good. Despite not having a home church, He still made a way. He affirmed me going. He used me to help build His kingdom. He is faithful.

Main takeaways

  • I learned the cost of discipleship is real. Luke 14:25-33 has been weighing on my heart for a while now. I read it before going to Thailand and it has stayed with me since.
  • God is faithful in all situations and can speak for Himself. There is beauty in letting the scripture speak. His people don’t need everything to be translated to them. Christians should instead be good listeners and create space for God to reveal Himself to His people.
  • Discovery Bible study is a great way to share the Good News.
  • Jesus is the only way… And sometimes this weight can be too much for my heart to bear. I’m glad and so so thankful that He has made a way, but I find no joy in knowing that many will perish. There’s nothing special about me. I have done nothing to earn my salvation. I need Jesus. This truth of salvation in Jesus is open to everyone who accepts and that’s why I share the hope that I have and start the conversations that are hard to have/hear. We are all given a choice as to what we are going to worship in our lives (celebrities, academics, career, family, comfort, God).

What/who are you going to worship?