Thursday, 22 March 2012

Night Shift

So I’m on night shift, sitting at the computer in the dim light, listening to the heart rate beeping on my little 2 year old patient who had a cleft palate repaired today.  I can also hear the breathing of my little 6 year old girl in bed 15 who had a pharyngoplasty two days ago and is breathing through one clear nostril and the other which has a nasal airway.
This is my third night of three and it is shaping up to be a good one.  I am looking after 6 children, aging from 3 months to 6 years.  Each one of them responds differently to our care.  The poor little boy in bed 6, is often inconsolable.  Yesterday morning he stood at the door, with a bandage over his head, only one eye peaking out, softly banging on the door, crying.  He wants to go home, but it’s not time yet.
The 3 month old in bed 2 had a cleft lip repair today.  She is the chubbiest little thing, with big squeezable thighs and a sweet smile.  Her name is Beauty.  Her mama obviously loves her, especially knowing that she called her Beauty even though she was born with a cleft lip.  Babies born with a cleft lip are often unwanted or outcast among the village, with people thinking that it is a sign of the devil.  Sometimes they are left to starve.  So seeing little Beauty so chubby and fat, makes me so happy!
The good thing about this ward being such a small environment, is that even sitting here with my back to the patients behind the curtains, I can hear every little movement.  I have tuned my ears to know the sounds of someone rolling over in bed, of each baby’s cry, of a cough and hearing who is walking to the toilet in the dim light.
As I lean over my patients this night, I am reminded of my love for this job.  Why am I so privileged to be able to look after them here for this time?  What a special thing it is to be a part of such a big change in their lives.
For two of our patients here now, we have made new noses.  Can you imagine living your life for years with part of your nose cut off, or lost altogether from skin infection?  These two patients now have new noses!  They will go back to their villages and who will recognize them?  How will they feel walking through their streets with a new look?  I hope they feel confident to stand proud and tall.
Not only are we in the business of physical repair but we offer the love of Jesus to everyone.  I pray that through the care I give, they will recognize the love poured out through my hands.  And the love cannot be from me, for if it were just through my own efforts I would have expired long ago.  I would have run out of love to give.  Patients come and go, taking a piece of my heart with them.  I have to be filled up somehow.  And I choose to let the love God pours out upon us, to overflow from me to the world.

Sunday, 11 March 2012


Sometimes I cry, unable to see the big picture and wondering what God is doing while I feel like I’m suffering.
But every time I open His word and listen, He speaks to me.  He sees me like He sees this boy- ‘God heard the boy crying and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.  Lift the boy up and take him by the hand for I will make him into a great nation.’  Gen 21:17

And then He promises me this:
‘The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt.  I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land, into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.’  Exo 3:7

How I long for the land of milk and honey!  But I must walk this path He has set before me, focusing on the journey and not the destination.  It is hard to be learning life’s lessons when you long for an easy road.  It forces me to lay on my face before Jesus and cry out to Him, depending on Him for my self-worth and resting my fears at His feet.  He reminds me, ‘There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out all fear...’ 1 John 4:18a.

So God, help me to accept your perfect love in my life and in doing so my fears will be forgotten and laid to rest with you.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

100 Days of Thankfulness

I was riding on the back of a motorbike the other day, feeling the wind in my face and hair (actually causing a lot of knots.  It’s not glamorous like you might think!) and I was thinking about my life.  I was thinking about my struggles and wondering, how I will find my way out of the self-pity hole I felt trapped in.  And the thought came to me, ‘100 Days of Thankfulness’.

So here I embark on a journey.  In the next 100 days I will be finding something every day that I am truly thankful for.  I am not eager to blog every day as I know I will fail and I don’t want the pressure of that, but I found a little journal in my cupboard that my friend gave to me last birthday.  She has already written some scriptures in some of the pages and stuck in some photos of memories we have together.
And that leads me to:

Day 1:  I am thankful for God-given friends.

I have spent a few hours over the last years of my life asking God to bring me a friend during a specific time.  Each time, without fail, God has provided exactly the right friend for me.  Isn’t He amazing?!  Our God is so faithful.

Yes God provides, but what about when I don’t feel like I’m good enough for them.  Sometimes I feel like I have nothing of myself to give my friends.  What do they see in me that makes them want to be friends with me?  Don’t they see the ugliness inside my heart?  I know I am imperfect and when I am struggling with feeling worthless, I wonder these things.

Last night I read a quote:
We don’t have to be perfect to be a blessing.  We are asked only to be real, trusting in His perfection to cover our imperfection, knowing that one day we will finally be all that Christ saved us for and wants us to be.
Gigi Graham Tchividjian

So Lord, thank you for the friends you have placed in my life.  Thank you that you cover my imperfections, allowing your grace to cover me.  Make me sensitive to my friends’ needs around me, so that I, through you, may be their answer to prayer too.  Amen.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Truth

People have told me they can hear my laughter on this ship from 2 decks away.  Apparently I often look like this:

I love to laugh and it happens to come out loudly.  And although there have been and continue to be many laughs, the truth is, this year has been really hard for me.  The hardest year I’ve ever faced.

So far I have blogged about great things, and it’s not that great things haven’t happened, but behind the smiling face, at times my heart has been crying.

I am struggling, as every woman does at some time of her life (or multiple times), with feeling alone, unwanted, unloved, worthless and not needed.  It’s amazing that you can feel so alone living in a metal box with 400 other people, many of them my friends.  I mean, I have so many options of company, why would I choose none of them?

The only thing that has kept me on my feet walking these ship hallways, is frequently falling on my face before Jesus, crying out for Him to fill me.  I have to identify the lies I am believing, tear them out of my mind and re-wallpaper with Jesus’ truths.

I have been reading scriptures including these:

Zephaniah 3:17- “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

Isaiah 43:1-3- ‘But now, this is what the Lord says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name.  You are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.”’

Psalm 103:1-5 “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with great things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

And I have been looking for God’s promises and holding onto them for dear life.

Isaiah 62:3- “You will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand.”

Isaiah 55:12- “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”

A few days ago, I was unable to sleep after night shift.  All the lights in my cabin were off, as my three cabin mates were sleeping.  We have a small window and some light was streaming through, but I went into the bathroom and kept the light off.  I could lift my hand up in front of my face and not see a thing.  My eyes were open but I was blind to everything.  I had a sudden thought, ‘My life is like this.  My eyes are open, but I can’t see where I’m walking or where to go next.  I have no idea where I’m being led.’  And then yesterday before I started work for the day, I opened my bible and my eyes fell on this passage:

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”  Isaiah 42:16

Oh Jesus, I love you.

But today, I woke up depressed and sad.  I met a friend as soon as I stepped out of my cabin.  After a few words she knew my need and prayed with me straight away.  Then another friend, spoke gently to me and hugged me and I tried not to let my tears fall.  I don’t want to show my weakness and frailty.  I tell myself, I must be strong and put on a brave face.  This is exactly the time that I need to fall before God, because he comes and meets me, walks with me and fills me up so that I can face the world with a real smile.
I had a little excursion at lunch time, going out for a quick bite to eat and on the ride home, I bought myself a bunch of flowers!

I wish I could show you how they smell!  It fills my cabin and lifts my heart!  There is something so delightful about fresh flowers.  They are sunshine to my soul and God’s gift to me.
As I was looking for a vase for my flowers, I found a sheet of glass and brought it back to my room, determined to use it for a sort of white board to write scriptures on.  As I was arranged my flowers and cutting off the long stalks, I lent on the glass and broke it.  My immediate thought was, ‘oh, now it’s useless!  I’ll have to throw it in the bin.’  But as I picked up the pieces, wrapped them and put them in the trash, I heard within me. ‘God can use the broken.’  So picked it out, taped it together and put it on the wall as a reminder.

Yes, I am broken and stand before God just as I am, sometimes crying, sometimes laughing, but always remembering life is a journey and God wants to walk with me, every step of the way.


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