Sunday, October 15, 2017

On Home

            I’ve been thinking about home a lot recently. Not the “wow I’m super homesick and want to be back in Texas right now” kind of thinking about home; but the “wow, when I think about home, there isn’t really one place that comes to mind” kind of thinking about home. You see, the word home might be defined as the place where you permanently live, but it’s actually so much more. 

            Home is the houses I remember, like the one I grew up at on Willow Crossing Drive when Emily and I were still small enough to slide down the banister (with parental supervision, of course). It’s the one on the Hovensa Refinery property surrounded by hundreds of others exactly like it with tin roofs that groaned in the mid-day sun. It’s the one in Cypress with the soft brown carpet and crooked bottlebrush tree in the back yard. It’s the Hutchings’ house in Linthorpe with the really British looking front room and the neatest windows in the attic that popped open to let in cool air. It’s my cute little dorm room at Alabama with my bookshelf and the kettle and coffee pot that are perpetually working.

            Home is also the places I’ve spent countless hours. It’s the Caribbean beach where I always ended up with pounds of sand stuck in my swimsuit. It’s the hills in Estate Blessing where we climbed avocado and mango trees and played man hunt for hours after the sun went down. It’s Inwood Park Pool and the slides that we slid down in the middle of thunderstorms (lifeguards can’t get electrocuted, right?). It’s the man-made lakes and the Black Warrior River- also known as the only places I enjoy running. Home is Grove Hill and the church halls that smelled a little off every time I walked in. 

            Home has been some of the most brilliant churches in the world. It’s the Met, the church I attended when I met Jesus and then was baptized after I decided to make him Lord of my life. It’s the small Free Will Baptist Church on St. Croix (which is now struggling through the devastating effects of hurricanes) where I learned about how important church community is and enjoyed many church lunches on Sunday afternoons. It’s Champion Forest where I was given the opportunity to go on mission trips and proclaim the gospel in words and deeds around the US and in England. It’s St. Barnabas, a church that looked a lot different than the others but was full of people living their lives for Christ in a country where not many people know Jesus. And now, it’s Alberta Baptist. A church that from the moment I walked in felt like a family who wants to walk alongside you as you grow and serve the Lord. 

            Home is creation. It’s the never ending ocean and the lapping of the waves. It’s mighty waterfalls that spray your face and make you feel oh so awake. It’s fire and the warmth that it brings. It’s the life and beauty of trees that have stood tall for hundreds of years. It’s how small I feel when I look up into the millions of stars that were spoken into existence.

            And home is people I love. There are far too many to name.

            I think that all of these things that feel like home to me are little glimpses. Hundreds of tiny glances and whispers of what my eternal home will look like. And, let me tell you, it’s going to be breathtaking.

Monday, May 8, 2017

On Nursing or Bust

            Somewhere, in a box of things from my childhood, is a picture I drew. It, however, is no ordinary picture of a happy family in front of some trees and a house. No, it is a picture of my baby sister’s rashy bum. I guess you could say that my decision to go into the medical field has been a long time coming. In fact, I don’t think I ever considered any other line of work. Life is funny though; if you’ve read any of my other blog posts you know that I never considered coming to England either.

            This year I have been exposed to countless new opportunities and experiences. I’ve acted as a youth worker, a teacher, a confidant, an event planner and decorator, an artist, a writer, and countless other things without having much exposure to the medical field at all. After two years in which my favorite class at school involved me learning about medicine, shadowing doctors and nurses and becoming a CPhT, it’s been kind of weird. But in a good way.

            I’ve realized that my talents, abilities and interests aren’t limited to one career. I could see myself as so many different things. So many GOOD things. So, for the first time, it feels like I have a decision to make about my future career. What will I do? Or, rather, who will I be? The thing is, I don’t think the answer to this question is very important anymore. At least, not as it relates to what job I may have one day. Instead, I realize that it’s far more important that serving Christ first is the “career path” I want to take. I want to be described as someone passionately pursuing Jesus, not as ‘nurse’ or ‘teacher’ or ‘girls minister’ or ‘author.’

            If you’re freaking out right now thinking that I’m about to let life pass me by without actually accomplishing anything, don’t worry. I actually still do want to study nursing (like, a lot). At the same time, if it sounds like I’m a little bit hesitant when I tell you that’s what I want to be, it’s not because I’m second guessing my career option. I just know that I’ll say yes to however God wants me to serve him (or at least, I hope I’m courageous enough to do that), whether it be through nursing or something else.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On Autumn Nights (a season late)

A girl is walking through the woods on a crisp Autumn night. The cool air pierces her clothes and seems to seep into her bones as she wanders through the tall, looming trees. Gravel crunches beneath her feet. It’s dark- any light the sky might be giving off is obscured by the foliage until, suddenly, she breaks out into a large clearing. As the trees fall away, the sky opens up before her. Oh, what a sky it is; without thinking she drops to her knees. It is no longer dark. Rather, the expanse of the heavens is so lit up with stars that she can’t even make out blackness. It is no more. The girl is bent over now- praying. Her jeans have been dampened by the earth and her face has been dampened by tears pouring from her eyes. She seems to forget her worries as her brain fills with other, more important thoughts. How mighty is God that he could speak the stars into existence? How creative is He who filled the canvas of the sky with art more beautiful than any human hand could ever dream of creating? How faithful is He who has unconditionally loved generations of people and called them to Himself? People who have all lived under this backdrop of breathtaking beauty.  How awesome is it that around the world people look up and are reminded to bow down and worship this living God!? She wonders how in the world her problems have seemed so huge when she worships God who is ruler over all creation. The girl marvels at how much God must love her to know every hair on her head when, sometimes, she feels so weak and small. The amazing happens- she knows He is right there with her. When the time comes for her to walk back through the woods, she no longer feels cold. She is in awe and humbled and loved and cherished and joyful and taken care of and alive in Christ.