Friday, October 9, 2015

Get out of the boat.

The RoMed 2015 clinics are finished and I sit here amazed at the amount of work our team accomplished and the number of lives and hearts touched. Brasov panned out to be a great clinic where actually many peoples from surrounding villages, including Feldioara, showed up to be seen. We actually saw many from Feldioara that frequented our two day clinic there and we said numerous times that we were so happy that was the case, as we feel Feldioara is "our" village. Our team has this undeniable connection with that village and my heart is so full when I think about all of my precious friends there and the work that God is doing through them for the people of Feldioara. Love... doesn't even cover it.

That love is what fuels the fire of God's calling to me in Romania. There isn't a day that I don't think about Romania and how deeply it has gripped my soul. The trip redirected the course of my life and broke my heart for what breaks God such that I could know him on such a deeper level... even if it lead me outside my comfort zone.

Tonight during our group devotion, Bro. Jerry discussed that in order to truly experience all that God has to offer, we must fall outside our comfort zones and "get out of the boat." I've thought about that more and there are many "boats" or safety nets that I fall into that ultimately keep me from experiencing all that God has laid out for me. Yes, it can be terrifying to set aside familiarity and embrace what is foreign. Yes, it is hard to see clearly when you do not have the full picture. But is the Lord not the author and creator of every moment, every breath and every fiber of our being? But Bro Jerry made a point that I haven't quite thought of in taking the "gotta get out of the boat" concept a bit further, and that is once you are out of the boat to keep your eyes fixed upon Jesus. Expounding on this further (for me personally) I thought immediately of my own journey. The moment I was called to Romania, I put a foot out of the boat and little by little, leading up to my commitment to follow God's calling to pursue dental school (when I thought this was not even a bit possible) where I finally said "I am all in." I feel like I have experienced a new level of faith and love when I stepped out of the boat and onto the water. This trip, has helped me to see just how precious my focus is on Jesus... for without it... I will surely sink.

I think of all the blessings I would have missed if I didn't go all in with God and know that whatever boat I had been sitting in, would never be as good enough as the faith that enables me to do the impossible. I wouldn't experience the love and mercy of our Father like I do. I would miss the beautiful miracle of a friend being cancer free. I wouldn't hear the love of God flow out in a different language while knowing it in my very own. I wouldn't cry sweet tears with Maria as she is finally out of pain. I would miss out on this beautiful life that God has entrusted me with. Although the waters may be rough sometimes, those revelations... the love, mercy and grace of our Father, calm even the most raging of seas.

What is your boat? Has God been calling you for quite some time to go all in... to step out of your comfort zone and focus solely on Him? All it takes is a simple, "Yes, here I am," and get out of the boat and stand firmly in Christ's calling. I pray for each of you tonight, that God reveals what your "boat" is and how to get out of it and trust in Him.

Thank you, again, for your unending prayers for this team. God has helped us reach so many during our clinics. Please pray for the hearts of our team as they begin to really process and reflect upon this experience. Pray for the hearts of the Romanian people that the seeds we have planted will bloom for God. Also, please pray for a man that our team is continuing to treat over several days beyond clinic. His situation is quite dire and our beautiful nurses are treating Him with the hand of the Lord to guide them. Pray that God heals his ailment and that he will see a miracle of God in his own life.

Live. Laugh. Get out of the boat.


Thursday, October 8, 2015


I can hardly believe that we have just one clinic day left. The trip always comes in such a whirlwind but it surprises me each time. I haven't blogged in a couple of days because I have found myself tired, sick and without words (shock, I know!) to describe exactly what I am thinking. Our team has been such a beautiful example of God's grace, love and divine purpose. As we finished our last clinic day in Feldioara, had a free day to rest and through our clinic day today in Sfantu Gheorghe today, the Lord was breathing life into the walls... or the courtyard (in today's case), such that our RoMed team demonstrated His goodness and purpose in every work station. He placed specific people on our team for particular patients that passed through our clinic.

I found myself in a place where God meant me for a patient. Sandy called me outside into the beautiful flower filled courtyard at the church in Feldioara where I see beautiful Maria in her wheelchair. Maria was terrified to get much of anything done but she agreed to let me clean her teeth. I stood out in the courtyard with my instruments on a paper towel in a chair and Maria was wrapped in a brand new purple blanket to keep warm. Sandy stayed with Maria as I began to clean. As I worked, I began to pray for this sweet girl with her head propped against my stomach, her beautiful brown eyes staring up at me. Those moments with Maria, during such a hectic day in clinic, made me pause and realize the divine appointment God had set up for me that day with her. When I knew I had done all I could do for her, Maria's teeth which was once covered with tartar, emerged into a smile. What a joy to my heart to see her smile in that mirror and see herself for what she is... a beautiful woman. God's grace in that moment was so tangible and His purpose for me in my meeting with Maria, so clear. I threw in special instruments at the last minute into my suitcase, meant for very heavy tartar and I couldn't have removed what I did on Maria. God knew I'd be seeing her. Be still and know... that He is God.
Working on Maria in the Courtyard
After Tuesday, I barely could hold my eyes open. The clinic day was so blessed in all areas of our team and the tired was the best kind of tired I could have asked for. Wednesday was a welcomed break as our team toured Castle Braun. Some of us Veterans who have seen the castle twice now, stayed behind and shopped around at the gypsy markets with our awesome translator, Florin. Braun is such a beautiful area and it is neat to tell your friends you were at Dracula's Castle. We then went on to walk around the main "strip" in Brasov and spend time at the town square. Although I was feeling a bit under the weather, I loved just sitting at watching at the town's beauty. It was an early night for me but in hindsight, it was just what I needed.
Town Square in Brasov

Today, our team was in a new village, Sfantu Gheorghe. It was definitely different from our norm but God was so faithful and provided decent weather so that we could see many people in the village. For quite a while, the rain chances were very high but come today, it was zero. God's grace. Although Sfantu Gheorghe is in Romania, the villagers are primarily Hungarian, which yielded double translation scenarios where I would speak English to our Romanian Translators who would then speak Romanian to a Hungarian Translator. Again, God provided much grace to our team and the translations went very smoothly. The facilities are very small at the church there, so our waiting area, pharmacy and vision team were outside in the chilly weather. Our medical team was set up in a tool shed while the dental team stayed in the church building. We were able to touch many physical needs to the people of Sfantu Gheorghe and I pray that God provided a light to those people through our team members. I know He did.
Our Medical Team Staging Area
Please pray as we finish out our last clinic day in Brasov. We have many people traveling from Feldioara to be seen again. I also pray that you pray with and for the RoMed team members as they begin to really process and reflect on this experience. Thank you again, for your kind support! We feels your prayers!

Live. Love. Grace.

Monday, October 5, 2015

He is Faithful.

What. A. Day. The girls of the mission house loft (I'll have to post pictures in reference to this... but just stay with me) had an early morning this morning that was needed and designed by God. We needed a good laugh... needed a good cry and we needed to share our hearts and as we sat in a group.... some new members to the team... some seasoned, I knew that our team was going to have a great first day of clinic, and that we did.

As we set up our clinic, it almost felt like our "dream dental team" hadn't even skipped a beat since our 2013 trip. It felt like we were just there yesterday. I couldn't believe it. Usually I get very nervous before we start clinic because I want to do nothing but the best for my sweet Romanian friends. This morning, I found myself calm and ready to get to work, as if I did it every day. I thank God for that. I have prayed for that.
The Dental Dream Team (minus our amazing translators)
This trip has been very emotional so far for me because it is reigniting the fire to my desires... my hopes... my dreams and it's been all I can a lot of this trip is to just observe and take it in. I've done a lot of observing so far, taking mental snapshots, watching our team interact and seeing God's hand in everything in this trip. It has overwhelmed me and as we worked our way through our floods of patients, it hit me as to why I have unconsciously fell into this observing mode... God has intended me to see his faithfulness. I believe this is because he knows how discouraged and stressed I have been at school where I have often I have questioned this road I have traveled down... one that ultimately started with Romania. My heart has been broken many times for things I have learned over the past couple of days and it's been hard to process these elements of culture shock at times. I won't lie... I have asked God why. So, today, God reminded me of just how faithful He is.

Today, I saw so many familiar faces of all the sweet Romanian people who have been touched by our clinic before and they would say "I remember you." They would hug you and kiss you... just as if they were greeting a long lost friend. God is faithful.

Me and David, whom I have seen every visit to Feldioara! 
I found myself on my knees, holding hands and praying with a nervous Ileana after I had numbed her up and she was waiting for the dentist. Something convicted my heart so strongly to just simply pray with her and for her. I prayed for her soul and a peace that only God could provide. I finished and I looked into her teary eyes and she said through Florin, that she needed that pray so desperately and began to share with me stories about her children and her life. She was calm going to Dr. Joel. God is faithful.

One after the other, I saw all these precious people who God has used to shape my heart over the years... and then I saw her. Beautiful Eva. If you go back to my 2010 blogs, or perhaps you remember reading about my story of Eva. Please go back and read it but long story short, God used Eva, to make me see why I had called me to Romania. The moment I held her sweet head in my hands, cried tears over her and had her grab me so tightly to tell me she knew I felt compassion for her... my life was never the same. It was a defining moment in my faith and in my heart that I will never forget. She walked into clinic today wearing the most beautiful pink head scarf and floral skirt. She looked just the same and I couldn't help but to tear up in sheer excitement because I was so disappointed when I did not see her in our clinic in 2013... but here she was. Today, I got to serve Eva again and as I told her that I remembered her through our translator... she said I remember you and we both smiled and shared a hug that cut deep into my soul. I also had the privilege of serving her beautiful 6 year old daughter who is one tough cookie. I was immediately brought back to that moment where He broke my heart for what broke His and my life was no longer mine to live but only His. God is SO faithful.

A verse came to mind about my revelations and blessings today: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). I couldn't be more thankful for today and God's steady nudge to reveal what He has been all along and that is faithful... even when we may not understand His purpose.

I ask that you pray for the Lord give our team strength to power through another clinic day that will be even busier than today and that He will plant the seeds in those who pass through our clinic doors. I also ask that you pray for our Romanian team members as they have stopped their lives to help make this clinic happen for us. We couldn't do it without them and I am so very thankful for them. Pray for their strength as well as we continue clinic this week.

Live. Laugh. And He is faithful.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's all about Jesus.

Our first full day in Romania is complete and I think it was much needed by everyone, as well as the perfect way to kick off what is setup to be such a fantastic week. I think everyone was having some severe jet lag from the day before because sleep was hard to come by on our series of flights. At one point when we got off of our long flight, I made the comment that I was so tired that I felt like I was having an out of body experience and I have a feeling I wasn't the only one. But overall, besides some turbulence going from Atlanta to Amsterdam, our travel was pretty uneventful.
The crew getting ready to go on the big plane.
For the first time ever leaving the Bucharest airport, we did encounter a strange moment. We always hold our breath getting through customs and getting stamped in, which went off without incident. We waited one by one for our twenty-some-odd suitcases and they were (Praise the Lord) all there and intact! After a scramble to find carts to help transport all the bags out of the airport (because once you leave you can't go back in) we loaded everything up and were prepared to walk out when we were stopped. Sandy said her heart went to her head, mine went the other direction. Guards stopped us and sternly asked, "What is in all these suitcases?" Luckily, Sandy is over prepared and every person has a sheet stating every item in their supply suitcase. We were able to produce these. As they thumbed through the sheets, they began to ask questions about our trip. After a couple of exchanges and some concerning looks on their faces. We were let through... and then we could breathe.
A portion of our gear! 
This morning we went to church service at Feldioara and of all my trips over, that was probably one of my most favorite services. It touched my heart to no end. It didn't take me but a few minutes to get in that building and begin seeing all of my precious friends before the tears began flowing. As I said before, the love and peace I feel here is so overwhelming.
Beth and I with our sweet friend, Mundra
The sermon today was about salvation and knowing Christ and our guys did an amazing job bringing a message that was so spot on and I know many souls sitting in that room today, were touched by it. The verses in the message came out of 1 Corinthians 15 and verses 54-57 stood out to me so deeply. People ask me what we do on our trip and the easiest way to put it is we touch their physical needs through our medical, dental and vision team and we touch their spiritual needs. I get asked upon return often times, "Well how many people did you see?" "How many people got saved?" "How many people made a commitment?" I think my response often baffles people but it is the very reason why I love being apart of this team: Numbers. Don't. Matter. I honestly don't know the exact number of patients that pass through our clinic, nor does it matter. What matters is that we saw the most that we can and they know that we care so deeply about them. To be honest, we are there to love on people through our gifts that the Lord has given us, whether it's medical, dental, vision or more of a heart level. God is shared and I know I personally make it abundantly clear that I am there because I love them and that God loves them. I know there are seeds planted that maybe we will never see but I do know one thing, God is so very faithful and He is claiming those souls as His own. "But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (verse 57). That is what it is all about and why we are here... as Bro. Jerry said, "It's about Jesus."
Such a great music special brought this morning!

Beth and Mundra listening to the message. Be still my heart. 
Our team is ready for clinic and I already know people are waiting to be helped... to be healed... to be loved. This team has been so perfectly orchestrated for what is to come this week and I couldn't be more thankful! Our first clinic days are in Feldioara! The people know us and are so receptive. It is such a great place to be! Pray for things to run smoothly and that we can extend our reach to every need that walks through our doors! Pray for strength and energy for our team! Thank you for all your support and prayers, they are so needed and so helpful to our team! I'll leave you with a few more pictures from our day!
Walking into the courtyard to the church

Such a beautiful welcome to the church!

Courtyard in front of the church

Precious. Pure Precious.

Live. Laugh. It's all about Jesus. 


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Here We Go!

     Whew! What a whirlwind week! I am on my flight to Arkansas and it is so surreal to be sitting on this plane. It's crazy to think that I've been preparing for months for this very week because I knew the hurdles that I had to jump over all at once and here it is...over. I can finally "be in the moment" as our team departure for Romania is tomorrow. This trip has already started out so different than all the others that I have been blessed to go on. I've always been working full time in a private practice and my build up to the trip is really gradual. I would have time in the evenings or my day off to prepare and also get to be apart of the packing process of our team's supplies. This time around, obviously, my life is significantly different. I am in Colorado, so all of my correspondence has been through phone and e-mail. I am a full time student and I even work at school. So, basically, I live there (Ha... but no really). I often have no words when I think about that. God is so good for when I thought there was no way I could do what I am doing... HE DID. Two years ago as I departed Romania, this life I am living was just a goal and a dream planted in my heart. Many times during those following months after I came home and we made our move to Colorado, my faith was tested to its core and I spent a lot of time learning to not only give everything over to God but truly surrender every fiber of my being, every doubt, every fear, all the vanity I held onto to hear His plan for me. When I finally did, God revealed that His plan was the one on my heart and RIGHT NOW was the time to begin it. I have never looked back and have only pressed this far into my journey because I am living by His design. So, to be here on this small cramped up plane, is such a testament and proof of God's unending faithfulness and love. I am very fortunate to have professors that allowed me to turn in assignments early, quiz and test early/late and drop assignments and labs all together to alleviate my stress. It was a roller coaster of a week to get through three tests, five assignments and a challenging lab this week but it happened.

     I am so blessed and excited to be able to return to the very mission that concreted my want to become a dentist and go down this path I have been called to walked on. God knows I have longed to return because I so desperately love Romania, my sweet friends there and it's precious people. I can't describe that feeling to feel so at home and hold so much love for a place that is quite different from where I live. It's foreign but it feels so familiar. The peace I feel there is undeniable and I know God will only expound upon that and let me relight the fire to keep me pressing on this journey. Who knows, hopefully one day, I'll be going as a dentist and able to do so much more. That excites me.

I am so overwhelmed at the response to be apart of my email updates through this blog. Each email address I added to the group, made my heart fill to the brim with love. So, thank you, to everyone who prayed for, encouraged and supported me and the RoMed 2015 team. I cannot wait to share the blessings that are awaiting us just "over the pond!" Until then, I ask that you continue to pray for our team's travel safety and that ALL of our supplies and luggage make it and all in one piece. Although, if you haven't read my "I saw the light" story from two years ago on our 2013 trip, scroll back a couple of years and read it, I am totally okay with a divine meeting and losing of luggage like that.

I'll leave you with some questions to think about, as I have been asked a lot about the act of service this week. Is there something that you feel like God is calling you to do? Is it something that you would never place for yourself? Is it something that terrifies you? Is it outside of your comfort zone? I challenge you to really dig deep to the calls to service in your life and answer the call. There are people and situations out there that could be waiting for your words, your touch and your love. And most certainly, there's uncovered blessings from God waiting for you, to show you love, mercy, grace and His plan.

Until next time!

Live. Love. Here We Go!


Thursday, September 24, 2015

He let go, We let go

     I've sat here for days with this very blog on my mind. I've been praying about what to write and how to convey these days I am walking through. To be honest, it's hard because the world's noise has been louder than ever before and I have failed at tuning it out and focusing on God's still small voice. I've literally wrote blog after blog but erased it because it was ME writing it, rather than what God has laid on my heart and my heart does all the talking. To be honest, it has frustrated me to no end. Most of you know how deeply music speaks to me and today is no different.
     As I unwound from my day of lab, class and many hours of tutoring, I flipped on my iTunes and hit shuffle. Many songs began to play but one really stopped me in my tracks. It is one of my most favorite songs and although I have heard it more times than I can count, I knew God meant it for me in those rare quiet moments by myself tonight. And I paused. "It Is Well" by Bethel Music played through my phone. If you have never heard this song, it is such a beautiful song and it struck a chord in my heart tonight. Go listen to it! Life may be coming in around you but nothing is too big or too large for my God and therefore it is well with my soul. My favorite line and one of the most beautiful in the song... "So let go my soul and trust in Him. The waves and wind still know His name."
     The waves and the wind... much beyond my control (like all things in life) know HIS name.... not the name of worry, not the name of doubt, not the name of defeat or heartbreak. They know God's name. He is. He was. He will ALWAYS be. Talk about being put in my place tonight. I've been asked so many times over the past weeks how life and school are going and if I am excited for my trip... which I leave for in a WEEK. I've had so many opportunities to talk about RoMed this week and that is a blessing but that excitement has been quite shielded by the surmounting stress that has loomed over me. All I can talk about is getting on a plane and beginning my trip without the many tests that are standing in my way. My heart broke at that revelation tonight. Romania is one of the most special things in my life and it has changed it in so many ways and that trumps all the stress. Will I be beyond thrilled for that moment? You bet ya! Am I ready for my wave of stress to pass? I can't even tell you how bad. But what have I lost sight of... that wave of stress... the wave that knows His name and His alone. So what is my job in all of this? Letting go. "Through it all. Through it all, my eyes are on you. And it is well."
      What better example in all of our stressors in life about letting go than the example of God letting go of His Son for our sake. And Jesus spent Himself for us. So why is it so hard for us to let go and die to ourselves and spend our time on Him, rather than worry and stress? Well, the simple answer is we are human but can we not learn a lesson in His likeness. Isn't it our goal to be like Him? He let go... we must let go, to live. We must open our eyes beyond on our own woes in life and to turn them to Him and to those whom He loves and choose to choose serving and loving others above ourselves. With this, I believe this how we truly let go of this selfish holding patterns that we allow ourselves to get stuck in. And as a wise friend said to me just last week, amid all my talk of worry and defeat... she said... "but you will be blessed." That is such a beautiful truth, regardless of my worry and stress... He chooses to bless me and I do not deserve one bit of it. Surely, every moment I've spent in Romania were blessed and life changing ones. So much so, leaving, tears my heart into pieces, leaving larger pieces behind each time I leave.
      My prayer is that everyone chooses to see the "It is well" in this life and let go and let your heart be broken for what breaks His and let your heart long for His desires. Even. Amid. Our. Stressors. Let go. This is for the lesson I pray on my own heart, as He has already blessed me and our RoMed team in the days leading up to our departure. I am so grateful. I feel like God has constantly used my life as a testament of slowing down, letting go and letting God. I'm proud to be His ever changing work in progress.
      So, one week from today, I will be on my way to Arkansas to begin my trip with our amazing team on Friday. I ask for your prayers as everyone comes together to make this long journey. I pray that you prepare the hearts of our team stateside and abroad, as well as those we will touch through our work. I ask for a huge praise as 11 of our med suitcases have been waived of fees. It is such a huge stress of our team's and God is so very good for answering such a HUGE prayer. Next time I update you, I will be enroute to Romania or on it's beautiful soil!

Live. Laugh. Love and Let Go.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

When God Says "Not Right Now."

     Have you ever been so set on a goal but you feel like the world is standing in your way or it doesn't pan out? Did you ever feel so frustrated because you wanted something so badly but you know it's not the right time? Have you ever prayed so hard for a dream to come true but you feel like God isn't hearing you? My quiet time this morning explored the essence of these questions in depth and it resonated so deeply with me as I feel like this is such an integral part of "my story" that God is so graciously writing.
     There is some obscure home video of me out there, circa age 10ish, that has me responding to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I believe I rattled off something about being a singer and possibly something else, but I ended with wanting to be a dentist. In high school, I spent a lot time shadowing in dental offices and found myself so in love with the idea of becoming a dentist through a lot of mentors I met along the way. When I began college, I wanted it but I found myself in this constant battle of setbacks and no where near becoming a dentist. My junior year, I found myself in dental hygiene school, I was so elated and actually a bit surprised that I made it in on my first try. The first time I sat in class, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. The first time I saw a patient, I was hooked and I knew I had been called to something so special, but I never lost that dream to be a dentist. That want stayed with me even as I practiced private practice hygiene but I had surrendered to the thought that that dream would never come to fruition for me. I had become okay with that thought. But as you have read before in my blog, my second dental mission in 2013 to Romania, reignited that fire it me and I felt as though God cleaned the glass of my soul so that I may see that dream clearly again. Even with those moments where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am called to chase my dream of becoming a dentist, obstacles befell me and I would go back to that place of saying this dream must not be for me. I did a lot of crying and pleading with God in the first months of our move as I waited (impatiently) for a Colorado License and wondering what is it God wanted me to do if this whole dental school thing really wasn't working. I felt lost. I felt confused. I felt... unheard. But then... God showed me in huge ways that He was indeed listening and He said "now is the time." I enrolled in UCCS a year ago and felt excited and terrified. I am a "non-traditional" student, a busy military wife and very much obligated to my licensure as a hygienist to keep up my craft. I thought to myself, how will I be able to do it all? But as I started back to school, my fears were calmed by my Father and I have learned to trust him on a deeper level. For that, I am thankful. After I started back, I finally got my long awaited Colorado dental hygiene license. I immediately knew if I received that license just a month earlier, before I enrolled in school, I wouldn't have gone back and I would probably be in private practice again with the "what if" lingering on my heart. God hears. He listens. He knows when the "right now" is the most perfect.
     There are many biblical examples of dreams not being fulfilled immediately, a couple of them: Noah had a dream of building an ark... it took him 120 years; The Israelites were brought out of Egypt but wandered for 40 years before they went into the Promise land (when in reality, it was only about a two-week walk between Israel and Egypt). God uses delays to prepare us for the challenges ahead and to test us. What if the Israelites would have entered into war unprepared? God knew they needed time or they couldn't have handled it? Delays are used by God for His perfect design!
     So when your dream seems like it is on this perpetual delay, how do you respond? Focus on God's presence and know that He is hearing you, and He is listening. Sometimes His answer is "not right now," even if you want it right now. Trust His design.

Live. Laugh. And trust in His design.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Even in all the chaos, I'm called...

Today I finished my last two finals of the semester. Even though I have enjoyed an evening of no homework, no looming quizzes and just mindless activities, I am still bewildered from this semester. I say I am "bewildered" for a few reasons. This semester was a flash and I cannot even wrap my mind around how I am seeing the end of it....almost unscathed. Within that flash, was one of the most challenging semesters academically that I have ever experienced in all my career of being a student. There were really high highs and many lows throughout this semester and at times I really began to rethink my decisions amidst my stress. A small glimpse into the mess: 3-4 quizzes per week between all my classes, on top of assignments and labs due.  This might not seem like much but when you have dinner to cook and a house to keep... it adds up. Usually school comes in waves and you can "catch your breath" in between the "waves" but this semester was a consistent flood. I would see jobs come through my e-mail box that I know I could take and go back to working private practice hygiene to enjoy "the simple life." To be honest, I really miss that life most days. But it never failed that amidst the chaos and dark times, I was reminded constantly by my Savior that I am called to this life that I am living. I would see my purpose through family and friends who have loved me and supported me relentlessly, most often on the days where I felt I was near my breaking point. Grateful will never cover those moments and I feel that I have failed a lot this semester in showing my thanks for all the kindness shown to me. My biggest reminder this semester came through a simple e-mail a couple months ago.

"ROMed 2015" was displayed in the subject title with the first line within the e-mail from Sandy stating: "Did that make your heart skip a beat?" It did. Just days earlier, I had one of my lowest moments of my semester after a week of quizzes. During a calculus test on a Friday... I finally broke. Much to my humiliation, it resulted in my first ever panic attack to include tears, struggling to breath and gagging. Yeah, I said it, gagging. It was that day when I said to myself that surely, I couldn't handle going to dental school if it took one bad week and a calculus test to bring on such an awful episode. I figured, as I have many times in my life, that I cannot do it and somehow my life needs to take a different path. Truth is, I can't do it but God can and as my heart skipped many beats as I read the ROMed e-mail, I was firmly reminded that God always can. As I read that we will be going back October of this year, I remembered just how specifically He has called me and exactly why I want to become a dentist. I needed that reminder, in the worst way, and it has pushed me through this crazy semester with grace. I am thankful that the good Lord has grace on my soul... daily, when I do not deserve it.

It was 2013 before our move to Colorado, in Romania, when I knew exactly that God was calling me to apply to dental school. I have had that dream since before I went to dental hygiene school and I know He has prepared me to this very moment to do what He has called me to do. For those of you who know me well, Romania and all of my precious friends and the people there have such a very large chunk of my heart. I let them have it, gladly. God willing, I will continue to go and leave more each time, which is why I can hardly contain myself to know I will be back in October! It's even more exciting to think that within the next couple trips after this year, I could be going as a dentist and do what I have dreamed of doing... doing more to serve these amazing people because they deserve every bit of what our wonderful team can offer and more! God knew that I needed refocus my energy on His plans, rather than what I thought I needed to do (or not do) to remind me that He calls me to beautiful and big things even when the road to get there is long and trying. Again, for that I am so very grateful.

So, in the months ahead of our trip, I'm making a promise to be better about blogging my journey through a school filled summer and preparation for Romania. The doors that have already been flung wide open to make way for ROMed 2015 possible for me, personally, have been amazing! All my professors for the fall have given me the thumbs up to pursue this! I am still amazed at God's goodness and their understanding! I ask for your prayers for our team full of "veterans" and also some awesome new faces this year! Pray that the way is already being prepared for us to do God's work through our medical, dental and vision teams, as well as opening the hearts of those we will be serving.

When I think about Romania and I tell people about it, I talk about all the eye opening moments where you can see God at work. I laugh about the fun moments our team has and I will also remember how tired you are... but it's the best kind of tired. Even amidst the fatigue and the chaos that comes with long clinic days, just like my crazy semester, I am called. I am so thankful I am called. What are you called to or what is God calling you to that maybe you have said "I can't"? I am proof positive that He can, just let him.

Live. Laugh. Be called.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Good Friday

     As I logged into my blogspot, it jumped out at me that my last blog was 8 months ago. Not that I have just have a whole ton of readers and followers... let's face it, it's just my family and closest friends, but I haven't done a great job updating as to what is going on in our world. To be honest, school has consumed me and I will leave it at that. I am very much looking forward to summer and my upcoming FINAL semesters! Anywho, I digress. Truth is, I am writing because tomorrow is a special day for a couple of reasons. It is Good Friday and it is 10 years since Brady went home.
      I smiled to myself when I realized that those two fell together. Many of you have probably heard me talk about Brady or maybe read when I have wrote about him before. I refuse to let any day, especially April 3rd, go by without letting people know how my life is forever changed by this young man and what he stood for. I feel that it is imperative, as I know his sweet family feels the very same, to keep his amazing legacy and message alive. While I know dates cycle in and out, I believe that it is special that 10 years to the day we lost Brady, we lost the One he loved so dearly and the promise that the somber day of Good Friday holds. Let me explain.
      Brady sought after Christ with his whole heart and he longed for everyone to know Him on the most deep, intimate and beautiful of levels. I sat tonight holding the block that he gave our youth group as a reminder on the night he preached about being a building block for Christ in not only our little town of Cabot, Arkansas but the world. I still remember that night and how deeply it encouraged me and challenged me. That block sits on my desk looking at me... all the way in Colorado Springs and I still feel that fire I saw in him. For an 18 year old, he was beyond his years and I am so incredibly blessed that I knew him and I carry his legacy inside of me. I also have a beautiful frame, given to me by his precious parents for my college graduation with his quote... Love God. Love people. That frame too, sits on my desk, next to Brady's block. He lived to serve others regardless of where he was: his ROTC unit, his future marines, his family, his friends and his community. I remember this was so evident as we celebrated his young short life at his viewing and funeral. I am still taken back by those days as I looked around and saw a glimpse into the lives he touched... and just a portion sitting in that sanctuary. At his services,  the verses Revelation 3:15-16,19-20 will be forever highlighted in my old bible on those tear stained pages. "I know all the things you do. You are like lukewarm water. You are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one of the other!... Be diligent and turn from your indifference. "Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we share a meal as friends." (TNLT) I wrote out to the side, "Be on fire," and "Love,"  as I know Brady would expect no less of me. While I know I have failed, that desire to be on fire and to "Love God. Love people." have shaped my being and my life and I am forever grateful. That is why I think it is no mistake that Brady's day falls on Good Friday. On the day that God gave his only Son to die on the cross for the atonement from our sins... the greatest love for people (the very ones persecuting Him) was demonstrated... this example is the one that flowed so deeply through Brady's veins. Love. The crux of our faith, as Christians is based upon this day but death and hurt did not have the last say because Sunday came and "Death was swallowed up in victory." (1 Cor 15:49) While, I miss Brady, as I know that all of those who love him do as well, his death on April 3rd did not overcome or overshadow the victories he had and the seeds he had planted that I know are still being sewn. I will always hurt a bit on April 3rd for the amazing person this world lost, so quick and too soon but I will celebrate for the life that he lived and continues to live in Heaven and here on Earth through others, including myself. I choose to recognize the painful significance and depth of Good Friday and celebrate that because of Jesus' selfless sacrifice on the cross, death does not win in this life, for me... for anyone. I am promised Heaven. I am promised a reunion with all of those who have gone before me... my Grandma, Betty, my Grandpa, Earl, my Uncle, Jay, and my Brady. Thank you God, for giving me that promise.
        I encourage you, as you reflect on Good Friday and Easter weekend, that you remember the love and victory that encompasses this weekend that God bestowed upon us through his Son. Choose to be a "Brady" and "Love God. Love people." relentlessly. Be a building block in your town and be firmly rooted in Christ, so that you will be an example for His beauty. My challenge to myself and to you, as well, is to light your fire and pursue love for others amidst a world that is increasingly dimmer and dimmer and think of Brady. I know I will.