Archive | April, 2017

Lemons…

19 Apr

They say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade… but what if you don’t feel like you’ve got the ingredients right now to finish the job? What if sometimes it just feels like you’ve got so many lemons it’s a lemon tree orchard, no sugar to make it sweeter, and certainly not the liquid to bring it all together… Then what?

I often use blogging to debrief, a way to make sense of situations, or to just put my often random thoughts down where I can try unscramble my brain. Some “blogs” never actually make it online, others do… and I have no idea right now which one this will be…

I’ve got to say I’ve had a fairly lousy week or maybe that should be month…  Of course I can’t tell you about the patient’s I’ve looked after at work other than to say that there have been some really sad stories and situations.  I’ve shed tears with family members and patients. I’ve debriefed with colleagues and together we’ve tried to make sense of some very average circumstances (note: this is an understatement).

Then there’s life outside work… I’ve had to have cortisone in my shoulder again after a fall while running which has been a bit limiting and fairly annoying. It has meant a fairly quiet week, a reduction in the training I can do, however it has made me appreciate my health again and reminded me of how much I take it for granted.

But these things were surpassed by the devastating news of the death of a friend. Even as I type those words I’m struggling to come to terms with the shock and realisation that it could even be true. On Sunday we were laughing and joking together, on Monday she was gone. No warning. No chance to say goodbye. Just here one minute, and gone the next. This beautiful, caring, empathetic, encouraging, kind, all round wonderful lady is now calling heaven home. I’m thankful that my final memories are us laughing and joking together as we said “see you next week”. But how I wish I had told her hwhendarknessow awesome she was, what an incredible lady she was, and how blessed I was to consider her a friend. While I work in an Intensive Care Unit and genuinely understand the frailty of life, it’s still hard when it hits so close to home.  I keep wanting to do things like send her a message to see if she’ll reply, or checking on Facebook to see if she’s posted something to her timeline, or perhaps worse if others have… which somehow makes it more real… I’m sure that’s all part of the disbelief and shock, because it’s definitely not rational.  My head hurts, my eyes leak, and my heart aches. I can’t
get her or her family off my mind, I can’t even imagine their pain and loss right now. It feels like a dark place.

There are so many times recently I’ve asked the question “Why?”…. and unfortunately I remain fairly clueless when it comes to an answer to this question. But oh how I wish I had an answer to these questions. I wish I had a perspective that encompassed the bigger picture, so that I could somehow see that there is a reason for this. Because currently that reason escapes me. At this moment I’m struggling to see past the unfairness of it all. But I also know that isn’t a healthy place to stay, and so for that reason, I’m choosing right now to try and shift my focus.

So here’s what I do know.

  • Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever – Hebrews 13:8. His character remains unchanged.  So if I believe in the past He is good, then He is also good today and forever. calluponyourname
  • Jesus has the ability to calm a storm – literally but I believe also figuratively. “Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him saying “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied “You of little faith, why are you so
    afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked “What kind of man is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him” Matthew 8:24-27. I think so often in the storms of life I forget that my God has power over the situation I’m in.  If he can calm a literal storm, he can calm a figurative storm that I’m feeling.
  • We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him who are called according to his purpose – Romans 8:28. So while I can only see the small picture, and I cannot right now see how this could possibly be a good thing, I am trusting that my God who knows the big picture will use these situations for good.
  • “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christs power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. Right now I feel weak, so I’m going to rely on Christ’s power. I’m thankful that God can use this broken human and still make something good.
  • “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. I am reminded that my strength is limited but God’s strength is unlimited.
  • I’m relying on Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians where he prays that “out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever” – Ephesians 3:14-21.

I’m making that my prayer. That I can again find the solid rock who is my creator, that I can stand firm on His promises, His character, His grace and His strength.  That in the days, weeks, months ahead, I can continue to seek out my Saviour, find His loving arms and trust that He who created the universe will continue to hold us in the palm of His hand. Mourning with us when we mourn, and rejoicing with us when we rejoice.  I’m right now choosing to trust that He will somehow use these situations for good, even though my circumstances right now suggest the opposite. I’m confident He’ll find me though – I know He’s waiting with open arms ready to reassure me of all these things and give me the strength to support my friends, family and patients. He’s never far away, and always ready to carry me through the storms of life. So Lord, right now this is my prayer. Thank you that again your arms are strong enough to carry us all when we feel too weak to stand.

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It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming…

13 Apr

Easter – that time of year when all the people, who aren’t shift workers, get excited by a 4 day weekend. After all, what’s not to love about a 4 day weekend!

It’s snuck up on me this year – I don’t know if it’s early compared to other years, if it is because I’m just still seeming to get my head in 2017, if I’ve just not been paying attention, or if it’s the fact that I’m working half the weekend so it just seemed like any other weekend…. Regardless, I find myself a day out from “Easter” with a little time to ponder again the meaning of Easter for me.

If you’ve known me on Facebook for the last few years there is a comic I always bring out on Good Friday – because it essentially sums up what Easter means to me… it’s this:

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If you were to ask me why I’m a Christian the answer is so multifaceted. I can give many reasons, and show various examples of how being a Christian has made a difference in my life. For example, I find it so much easier to believe that a loving God created the heavens and the earth rather than everything in it is an accident, a process of evolution or even all the result of chance. But beyond that, how awesome is it that the God of the universe cares personally about us??

For me, Easter reminds me of HOPE. There are so many times in this world where I look around at all that is going on and see anything but hope.  Despair, anger, fear, sadness are all emotions I feel if I turn on the 6 o’clock news, for example.  There seems to be so much in the world that just isn’t right.  But, Easter reminds me that this world is not my permanent home and that death does not have the final say. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

Good Friday never felt good to me before, after all, it is the “celebration” or perhaps better worded as “remembrance day” for when my Saviour was killed. How can that possibly be good?? However, as I’ve got older I have understood to a greater degree how Good Friday is indeed GOOD.  Good Friday reminds me that I’m a sinner, but more so it reminds me that someone loved me so very much that they actually “subbed in” and took my place – willing to pay the biggest sacrifice of all – giving up their life. There have been times where I would gladly have taken someone I loves pain away if there was a way I could do it…. e.g. with one of my brothers illnesses… but as much as I want to, I don’t have that power. There was however, someone who could do that, and while it caused Him great anguish, He did exactly that!

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See, I believe that there is a heaven and a hell. I also believe that to experience the joy of heaven one must accept that Jesus is Lord, repent of their sins and seek forgiveness.  Believing that Jesus is Lord also entails believing that death was not the end, but that he rose again. Which let face it, is a pretty bold statement to make, and sometimes a little hard to believe but how cool is it that it’s true! So on Good Friday I remember that my God endured such a horrific death, one that I cannot even fathom, in order to ensure that I could live in heaven forever (because my sin was accounted for, right at that moment!). See, that’s hope right there!!

So, while Friday I remember the ultimate sacrifice made for mankind, on Sunday I can celebrate!! Death is not the end. The grave is not final. I can shout from the rooftops on Sunday that HOPE is here!! Three days after He died for ME (and for you…. and he would have if you were the only person on the planet!) he did something pretty remarkable (understatement).  He rose!! That is, he woke up, unwrapped the burial cloths that covered him, and left his burial tomb behind…. Empty… No longer dead. Alive. No longer pulseless. Breathing. No longer trapped. Free. No longer lifeless. Walking. He is not there, He has risen, just as He said.  Hope, right there!!

So this Easter, I remember hope. I remember that the God of this universe cares personally for me, to such a degree He would rather die than see me eternally separated from the love of God in hell. So all I can be this Easter is thankful. Right?? I mean, how can you be anything but?? To know that I get the benefit of an eternity in heaven because my Saviour died in my place? I can only be grateful. Death is not the end, the grave is not final. Hope is here. Life eternal awaits in heaven – 10,000 years and forever more.

May your Easter be full of hope!! May you realise, maybe for the first time, that the God of the Universe created YOU for a purpose. He loved YOU so much that he made the ultimate sacrifice of death on the cross for YOU, and may YOU know the peace, hope and joy associated with the realisation that just like death was not the end for my Saviour, death does not have to be the end for you.

hesrisen

National Siblings Day

11 Apr

This year I swore black and blue I’d remember National Siblings Day… you know, they have a day for everything and I should be able to remember that in addition to birthdays, anniversaries, heck what day and date it even is today (welcome to the life of a shift worker). But alas, I did of course miss it again this year.  So, in light of it being National Siblings Day… yesterday… I’m going to do a shout out to my siblings…

It would be remiss of me to not pay tribute to my parents at this point – because let’s face it, without them I wouldn’t be here, nor would I have siblings… so thanks Ma and Pa. I’m thankful for all the hard work you did so that we turned out ok.

Well, one should start at the very beginning… so that beginning is my older brother David.  He is the only one who can be credited for turning my folks into parents… number 1. He set the standard for the rest of us to follow… he was the reason Mum and Dad made rules 😉 Seriously though, he’s a pretty top older brother to have. The shelter of his wings is a pretty cool place to be – he’s fiercely protective of us – you don’t see it much because often this side doesn’t have to come out… but he’s looked out for me well (including my first date with Dave… when he wasn’t even living at home but couldn’t get me on the home phone and got worried so came around and paced until I arrived home… pre-mobile phone days….but that’s a whole other story!). Full credit to my brother – life has thrown him more curve balls than I care to admit but he keeps on catching them, and throwing them back and getting on with life. David thank you for being you! Thank you for giving me a new sister in Narelle, and two awesome nephews in Tim and Josh. You’re incredible. I can’t imagine life without you in it.  You are capable, strong, kind, caring, wise, and thoughtful and a man of integrity.  Keep on keeping on brother bear, just as you have my back, I’ll always have yours. Xo

Then there was me…. and while I’m a sibling to these other incredible people this post isn’t about me… so, moving right along…

Helen… you joined my life when I was two, so if I’m honest I can’t remember life without you – and I wouldn’t want to. We were room buddies for so many years – and I find it hard to believe that you have the neatest house in the world when I think what our bedroom often used to look like (or maybe that was because I was sleeping in it too).  From bunk beds to being dressed in the same clothes (because I know you love that), we’ve seen quite a bit of life together. I’d have it no other way.  I admire you greatly, and I always tell people that if you weren’t my sister and I loved you immensely I’d be super jealous of how talented you are – instead I just get the pleasure of saying “Hey see that awesome chick over there? That’s MY sister” – thank you for being you. Thank you for blessing me by adding Scott into our family and for those two gorgeous girls I can call my nieces – Izzy and Annie. You are faithful, loving, beautiful, honest, supportive, compassionate and gracious. Continue to be awesome beautiful lady, knowing that I’m in your corner, always. Xo

The icing on the cake was when Peter was born.  I was four and I found an ally. When people ask as siblings if it was girls and guys in fights (I mean we wouldn’t have fought or anything….) I tell them they were wrong – for some reason in my memory many disagreements were settled in a Helen and David vs Peter and Jen kind of situation… We shared a row in the car (right at the back), and I’ve been known to let you sleep in my bed before too… and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  While we joke about you being the favourite (many a true word spoken in jest 😉 ) truth is we all just love you too much.  The blonde haired, blue eyed kid who pulled his socks to his knees and chatted to everyone he met has turned into a blonde haired (just a couple less), blue eyed good looking handsome guy who is an example to everyone he meets. Thank you for the amazing gift of Mandy to our family, and my absolutely gorgeous nephew and niece in Jos and Emmie. Thank you for sending me random videos of them that I watch on a loop whenever I am feeling a long way from home. A warrior, a fighter, a faithful, awesome, inspiring, empathetic, honest and downright incredible human being.  Thank you so much for being my little brother. You are amazing, keep on setting an example for others to follow brother, I’ll always be your ally. Xo

Together we made up the George siblings… We’ve been blessed beyond measure, but have also faced a few challenges that life has thrown us. We wouldn’t be who we are without the guidance and care of Mum and Dad and our extended family and friends. We also wouldn’t be who we are without a loving, caring God who created the universe and all that is in it, yet loves us intimately.

Joshua 24:15The Message (MSG)

15 “If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”

To sign off as one of my favourite authors does….

And to God Almighty, the Author of Life, who has — for now — blessed me with these.
(Karen Kingsbury)

 

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