Patient at the hospital. Giselle. No nurse likes her because she’s been there for 49 days, she’s a drag to work with, Debbie downer to the max, does not want to get up to use the commode and instead pees in the bed, doesn’t want to get cleaned up, or wash her hair, pees in the bed again, asks for the bed pan all day every day even though she can get up, refuses all care being offered to her, is depressed, seems like she’s given up yet is sucking the life out of all the people (especially nurses that are with her all day) that work with her.
I’ve been seeing her for physical therapy for one month now, 3-4x/week. I went into her room today. Her hair was all tangled, it smelled horrible in her room because of her hygiene, and though it usually takes a LOT of encouragement to work with her, today it was a little easier for her to say yes for some reason. Today she looked a little better. More color in her face. She didn’t want to walk, but I encouraged her to walk and we finally made it to the hallway out of her room for the first time. I was shocked. Everyone at the nurses station was shocked. I was so happy I almost hugged her, but stopped myself… I asked her if she wanted me to brush and fix her hair. She agreed. This was the most we’ve conversed. She sat on the bed, I cleaned up her pee-stained sheets and changed them to fresh ones. All I could find was a tiny comb in her room; I tried to comb through her hair as best as I could. Her hair is a wreck; she should probably shave it when she gets out of the hospital instead of trying to salvage it and get it untangled. But she let me comb through it gently. She’s only been using dry shampoo since she’s been here… wow. I then had an idea to put her hair up into a low messy bun with her hair in a side-part, and she agreed! I fixed her hair, gave her the lipstick from her purse, and for the first time, she saw herself as a person again, not just a rotting body in the hospital. It was the first time I actually had hope that she’d actually get out of here and live a life outside of her hospital room. She looked very pretty, I almost cried in front of her but held it back. It was a really cool moment that God allowed… probably the coolest moment I’ve had since starting to work at Lutheran. Thank you, Lord.
Walked around the ravine outside IBJI yesterday for probably the last time. That walkway is ridiculously long; it took me about 40 mins with my short legs to get all the way around the path and back into the office. Walking on the seemingly never-ending path, I thought about the Christian walk: sometimes feels like you’re not really getting anywhere, and the path is long, and clouds are starting to hover because rain is coming, but you just keep walking and you eventually reach the end. We keep walking because God is faithful and promises to see us through to the end AND is with us throughout the journey.
It’s much needed to write here again after reflecting on the time spent with Mari today and overall our friendship. It is crazy how our friendship points back solely to the faithfulness of God to us as individuals, us together as sisters and God’s daughters walking in this faith together. From darkness and ignorance, God brought us into the light. I could cry right now just thinking about that.
What brought me to text Mari a couple of weeks ago was the “theme verse” of this blog (Hebrews 10:23) coming up as the “verse of the day” as I opened the Bible app on my phone. This verse was the theme verse of the first youth retreat I had ever served at: Chi-KO. Chi-KO was the first time I had ever been exposed to how wonderful and challenging and blessing and draining and worthy youth ministry was. It was the first time that God revealed particular gifts/traits that He had given me in order to use for His glory in the youth setting and overall in relational ways. It was 2011 at the time, and Mari and I barely knew each other. How I ended up serving at this retreat at all, I have no clue–it was really all God, just as with everything else in life, and I can say the same about how I ended up at Cornerstone Ministry. Like, how? It is always God that is the initiator of anything, the giver of everything good. Prior to those few days spent serving at the retreat together, Mari and I had never really talked, and only knew of each other through one mutual friend. Our friendship and sisterhood grew over the few days serving the girls together at Chi-KO, and memories were made there that have (obviously) been remembered vividly over the years and will surely not be forgotten.
I am thanking God for this friendship, because I truly see co-partnering for the gospel as best we can in our respective settings/churches. We’re in agreement that ministry is not easy, and people’s hearts might as well be rocks, and all of it gets frustrating… but one thing that she said to me really reinforced God’s heart for people and His growing church: “You’re planting seeds! There would be no harvest without the planting.” So thankful for that reminder, God. And with respect to our families, we are in the same living situation: living at home again with our [non-believing] parents after being away for years, which brings about its own struggles and risks for discouragement. It’s beautiful to me that we could be open and vulnerable about our struggles, encourage each other, and also share about the little details of life including daily routines, “hobbies” (haha), movies, and laugh together as we people-watch out the window of Shake Shack. God has been so incredibly faithful to us, and it truly led us to worship through our time together. All from seeing that insanely appropriate-for-this-post Hebrews 10:23 verse a couple of weeks ago: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Family was involved in some gang stuff in a house – including dad, kuya, Mike I, Pops. Ina and I were waiting outside the house and were told to be ready to run away fast if we were told to. (So happy any time I see Ina in my dreams.) So we were sitting on a bench outside and talking about what it’d be like to die. We ended up needing to run with the guys away from the house, being chased by a mob. I felt myself sweating in my dream, but as I kept running I got excited that I was probably going to see God that night. The gang trapped us in what seemed like a huge garage with 100 people against us. Fires were being lit and they were walking toward us to torture and kill us. As they came closer (like slow motion haha) I started jumping up and down and rejoicing like a crazy woman. I was SO excited to see God. I started singing Open Up the Heavens and rejoicing. Craziest part was that my family started to sing along. I cried tears of joy when I saw this, like God you really did hear all of those prayers and were faithful when I didn’t care, when my heart was cold, when I was only thinking about myself, when my heart did not break for dead souls. Can’t wait to see You, God. But until then help me rejoice. When I feel hurt, alone, discontent with feelings and situations, sad, cold, unwanted, not loved, like a failure. To live is Christ. And to die is definitely gain.
With V today. Thank you Father for her. Her slipping in the parking lot –> hurting herself –> deciding to play hockey anyway (silly girl) –> injury got worse –> went to one of our physicians –> physician referred to therapy –>she somehow ended up with me out of all the therapists –> first time in therapy so she’s scared as haaaail –> she can’t tolerate anything more than table-based interventions right now –> we talk the whole time (she is soooo cool) –> our relationship/trust builds –> her personality is comfortable with telling me that she sees something different in me and my outlook on work & life –> i am able to share my faith, love for God, and purpose for living –> seed hopefully planted by God’s grace –> i die thankful for this opportunity and reminded that this convo is not going to bring her to life, only God can.
And this sovereignty of God is the same with each person I encounter.
Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (John 8:46–47)
Whether a person is willing to hear and believe the Word of God is owing to something deeper. Is the person of God or not of God? That is, is the person chosen of God? Born of God? Called of God? As many as are “of God” will be willing to hear. As many as are ordained to eternal life believe. “Those whom he predestined he also called.”
The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:25–27)
“You do not believe because you do not belong to my sheep.” Notice it does not say, “You do not belong to my sheep because you do not believe.” My belonging to Jesus’s sheep is not based on my faith. I must believe in order to give evidence that I belong to Jesus’s sheep. And if I persist in unbelief, then I most certainly do not belong to Jesus’s sheep. But my faith did not make me a sheep. God made me a sheep according to the election of grace which he gave me in Christ Jesus ages ago. And when sheep hear the gospel, they believe. Those whom he predestined to be sheep, he also effectually called to faith!