Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter-He Is Risen!

Most of you who have known me these last four years have read my blog posts on what a special holiday Easter is too me. This year, I had some unique experiences that showed me a different perspective on this celebration-the aspect of peace.  The second event chronologically, but first since it is easier to explain, was watching the recent movie Risen.  It's the story of a Roman military tribune, and his experiences in Jerusalem around the death of Christ, his involvement in sealing the tomb, and his search for Jesus' body and what he discovers in the end. Seeing this movie really made me realize what knowing Christ can do for a person.  rabbit trail*And it made me realize (once again) that Jesus raising from the dead was true.  I'm in engineering. I know and love science and facts.  But no matter what opposing view is presented, the clearest, most understandable explanation is that Jesus did rise from the dead. *end trail
The first event chronologically but second in my telling happened with a friend.  There was a significant crisis, and I had an active role in helping through it, so was very close to the entire situation.  But shortly after it began, I realized that there was tremendous fear in my friend's heart.  And it kinda shocked me.  I've faced the thought/chance of dying more than once, but never have I been as terrified as he was.  And I realized, that I have a peace in my heart, that the world [in general] doesn't have! I have a peace that no matter what comes my way.  That doesn't mean I don't get anxious, or worried, or even scared at times, but underneath those emotions is a trusting comfort that my God is in control of every situation.
So this Easter Sunday, do you have peace in your heart? No matter what may happen with elections, or shootings, or weather, or sickness, or anything-do you know that you have an overwhelming peace in your heart that will let you face any situation? If you have this peace, do others around you sense and see that in your daily life?
Jesus faced a really hard time in choosing to die, but he had the peace that he was in the midst of his Father's will.  One of the favorite classic hymns is "It Is Well".  My favorite memory of singing it was with my cancer support group at Parkside Church.  Every person there sang it with such conviction and happiness, yet each one there had been directly touched by cancer.  I don't know if you know the back story to that song, but the condensed version is that the author had lost a lot of investments and properties to the Great Chicago Fire.  While trying to salvage his financial affairs, he sent his wife and daughters on ahead to take their planned trip to Europe.  However, while crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank and his wife alone survived.  Later, while visiting near the sight of where his four daughters drowned, he wrote these words:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hello, It's Me...for the first time this year

I write this from a warm home;  cheery lights brighten the kitchen that I'm sitting in.  My family is in the next room, with their small group Bible study- I just finished one homework, and needed to write my thoughts before I begin more homework.
Today has been a long day.  It's not quite over yet.  This week has been long, and it's only Wednesday! This month has been long...I'm really tired.
I haven't posted in a while.  Life has been very busy.  I'm all caught up in college-so excited about that!! But it is not easy.  I'm taking a whopping seventeen credit hours-my most to date.  Classes are very hard, and quite time consuming.  I don't seem to have a free moment to myself, and by Thursday my energy for the week is spent.  But I couldn't be happier.  I'm back with my year-and my wonderful friends (Sara, Jeff, Josh, Kyle and Ean).  I've made a new set of friends, that I think I'm going to keep :) (this means you - Joan, AJ, Ben, Matt, Ryan and Paul) among others.  The amount of homework is incredible, but when I'm sitting in the Mechanical Engineering lab, flanked by the guys I'm proud to call my friends, I couldn't wish for anything more.  So many times in the last few weeks I've stopped, mid-seemingly-impossible-problem, and thanked God for allowing me another chance at life, and for giving me the strength and ability to catch up to them, and to plod through  this semester together.
But sometimes life seems too good to be true.  I strongly believe the saying "If it's too good to be true, it probably isn't true."  Sometimes I worry that all this will be taken away.  That I won't be able to complete senior year with these guys.  I remember my first semester of college, and the amazing time I had.  This semester seems even more incredible than that.  And I remember the heart-wrenching pain of having to drop out second semester.  I'm really scared that it might happen again.  Sometimes I just want to freeze time as is-freeze the happy memories as we snapchat across the classroom, or try to take each other's things, or go to a range, or get Insomnia cookies, or learn about the difference between an '85 and '86 Toyota, or really just do life together.
Last Thursday was rough.  I came of three back-to-back tests.  I do. in back-to-back tests.  Ever.  This time was no exception.  My body ached with the changing weather (#bonemarrowprobs), my shoulder hurt (#heavybackpack), my brain seemed to be on fire (#engineering).  And then I was scrolling on Facebook before class.  And saw a tribute to a woman I met at Cancer Con.  She had a table right next to Rainbow's, and sewed "Survival Organs." Adorable little stuffed things shaped in different tumor and cell shapes.  She had her first baby at Christmas time.  She was the very picture of vitality and happiness, and youth- and suddenly she was gone.  It stung.  The wonderful thing about Cancer Con was meeting so many incredible people.  The horrible thing is that I hurt whenever one of them is gone.
To add to it, a friend I made at the Gathering Place young adult retreat, called saying her cancer had reoccurred for a third time, taking her out of a clinical trial. I know life isn't fair, but sometimes it's really hard to accept how things can go so well for some people, and not for others.  
The minute I was finished with my first round of tests, I had today to deal with.  My first day at Survivor Clinic.  As awesome as it sounds, I was terrified.  I was supposed to be in survivor clinic last year, but instead they found the hemolytic anemia, which triggered an awful steroid regiment.  I dreaded today, and what they may find.  It's really hard for me to differentiate when I'm tired from all the schoolwork, and when there may be something else going on.
Monday night at my campus Bible study, my verse for the night was from John 13:7 "Jesus [said], "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand." It was the best reminder, because right now there is SO much I don't understand.  I have so many questions about all the stuff that has happened/continues to happen to me.  This verse reminded me that Jesus said I won't understand right now.  I don't know when I will understand, but I can be strong in the promise that I will understand.  One of my favorite songs right now is "You Remain" by Saints.  The chorus goes "You are Undeniable.  You are God, and God you are able.  The storm will rise-So let it rise!- because we believe, that you'll remain faithful." This song has been running through my head, and in church, and on Ean's phone, for the last few days.  It has been such a comforting reminder to let the storm rise, because it gives God an opportunity to show himself faithful to me, and the others in my life.
This morning was so hard.  I had two classes, which was a good distraction, but after that I had about 30 minutes to kill before I had to go to Cleveland; blessings on the friend who allowed me to hang on their sleeve the whole time. I didn't want to go.  It took everything I had just to walk down the long hall in ASEC to leave my friends and go to my car.  I literally dragged my feet, as I didn't want to face the unknown.  And God reminded me to let the storm, if any, rise, because He is faithful.  And with that confidence, I was able to go to Cleveland.
Well, I wrote this eleven days ago.  I wanted to find out test results before I posted it, and haven't had a chance yet to do so.  I found out all my tests came back almost normal and I'm thanking God for that.