Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Vanishing Grace

Some wonderful, grace filled random memories imprinted on my mind and heart:
  • holding a 4 minute old newborn baby yesterday
  • having some of our sweet patients from last week come back for their follow up visits and stop in to say hi. A sweet 9 year had surgery last week and her Mom was on the slate for today. She stayed around all day and became my little student nurse, making beds and watching us do everything and hugging every time we had a spare second. Then sitting with her Mom at while she woke up. She beamed when we told her what a good nurse she will be one day.
  • Little 8 month old Isaiah at the Nutrition Center next door (where kids with malnutrition go for supplemental care for as long as needed). He has a cleft palate and laughs and laughs with any type of attention and cries when you put him down. Those are some dedicated ladies that work there!
  • The heart of the Bolivian team here who work tirelessly to organize everything for when we come so that we can make best use of our time. I have never heard one of them complain once! And then they stay up all night swimming and laughing!
  • Having a shower with a frog
  • beach volleyball in the pool at night, even with the language barrier there is a lot of laughter
  • getting a smile and hug from so many patients who waited all day long, came from hours away, and sometimes didn't get fed
  • The amazing vision and impact of those who work with this organization long term have had
  • The willingness of the Bolivian night nurses to take on our patients with all kinds of things they have never heard of.
  • Last week I talked about sheets.... how quickly our standards change! After pre-opping 9 patients, caring for 5 left over from yesterday and then receiving 9 new post-ops, we ran out today and because of the rainfall the past 2 days, they couldn't dry the laundry. I don't think one person noticed that they had to lie in someone else's bed. At home that patient load would be covered by 5 RNs, so we are thankful for nothing too serious happening when we couldn't be as vigilant as we want
  • Holy hysterctomies! Gynecology (this week's surgeons speciality) is not my thing! Please just send me a gall bladder
  • One of the locals has a translator app. on his phone that you talk into and it instantly translates verbally and written- very cool
  • why did the chicken cross the road? Or the dog? Or some other creature

I have in my head been creating a post for a long while on why I am a Christian.  To the vast majority of people who haven't maybe grown up in a church, or had an experience with God, I don't know if it is fully understand why someone would choose that path.  Growing up in a Christian family doesn't necessarily mean you will continue to follow the way when you yourself are an adult, but does expose you to what it really means in many more ways when you have good examples in your parents.  The problem is most of us are pretty messed up in our own ways, and don't always give the best example to our own children or others about how to be a Christian, and that is one of the biggest criticisms I hear about the church is the hypocrisy of the people in it. And I can agree with that, everyone has their own story and is on their own journey and that is not to say there isn't a more “holy” standard of living we are aiming for. Nothing drives me more crazy than actions that are fake and not met behind with the right heart.

In a round about way that is kind of the whole point of the message though.  We are all messed up and need help, need something or someone bigger than ourselves to make it work for us.  Need Jesus to help us cross that divide between the natural and the holy.  And that is not saying that we can live however we want because we are forgiven later on because of it, but gives me freedom in CHOOSING to serve God, and love Him because I want to, because of all that He had given me, and filled in my own broken heart.  I am just blessed beyond measure in even being allowed to show Jesus to someone else, like in a mirror.

I have been reading the book "Vanishing Grace" by Phillip Yancey and it grabbed me from the first chapter because of the lack of hypocrisy in it, the total openness of his soul into what really is the Good News. I heard him speak and he is a nerdy guy with the worst hair ever and can easily laugh at it.   He talks about how to put aside all the rules that religions build up. Most religions have a set of rules or expectations to follow, that if you do such and such, you are a Muslim, and if the good deeds outweigh the bad you'll make it to heaven. Or Hinduism, if you live well enough, you will be reincarnated as something better next time around. Being a Christian is different because it is nothing about what we can do to get to heaven or make it, but all about what Jesus already did for us because he wants to just love us. That relationship with Him isn't a burden, but as they call it here liberacion. Freedom!

Grace seems to be vanishing from our world in a lot of places and in a lot ways that we treat each other, but I have seen an over abundance of it this week! ( who voluntarily does 5 - 13 hour shifts in a row? And then again the next week) Seen love in action, been blessed to work my butt off for people that can give you nothing back- except a whole lot of love and gratitude- but be way more fulfilled than an all-inclusive trip can give you (a lot more tired of course).  And maybe have some lasting impact on lives. Thankful that my big mess can be used in some small way.

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