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July 2018

Be the Hands & Feet

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Be the Hands & Feet

As I had many mornings before, I woke up at 5 a.m. to get ready for yet another day at the hospital. On this cool February morning, a group of my nursing classmates and I arrived at the ICU for another clinical.

Sleep deprived and nervous, we received report on the patients we would take care of with the nurses we would follow that day. It seemed like a very typical morning, going through the motions, assessments, meds, tube feedings, checking IV sites... until I encountered a special patient.

She had just had a tracheostomy (a tube inserted into her trachea through which a mechanical ventilator breathed for her) placed. She also had a long list of terminal health problems and diagnosis that would greatly affect her future. She was a very sweet, sweet lady who could barely talk, due to her trach, and would communicate through paper and pen. The nurse and I went about our duties that day and I learned a bit more about our patient. She didn’t seem to have much family around, or friends to visit her. Her conditions were very complicated. If she received treatment for one condition, another would suffer which put the health care providers in a tough position. Things weren’t looking good at all for her, yet somehow she had such a positive presence. She would smile, always say please and thank you (not something you hear often from patients. . .), apologize when she felt she was asking for too much but I would always remind her it was no worries, as nurses we are here for our patients. We kept up the banter of “please and thank you” and smiling to one another throughout the day.

As my time at the hospital began coming to an end I felt the urge to pray with her. I had done so before, but something intentionally told me to just pray with this patient. So I asked to pray with her, and her eyes lit up, she nodded her head and with the nurse we all three prayed together.

After the prayer, I looked up to see tears in her eyes, she quickly grabbed pen and paper & wrote just how grateful she was for the prayer, the care, and the simple acts of kindness. In her note pad, I wrote just how equally blessed I had been by her and her positive attitude.

At that moment, I realized how easy it is to uplift each other as children of God. It didn’t take more than a couple minutes of my time to just pray with my patient. How much more could God do through me if I offered every ounce of my being to His service? What could He do through you wherever you are, what ever your career, how ever big/small? I urge you to open up, to make connections, to take time to be relational and see what you can learn from others and lastly, just love. Love God, love your neighbor, love & see what incredible blessings come from it!

 

Carolina Lopez is a born and raised Texas gal who is a Southern Adventist University nursing graduate with a passion to serve & share the love of God.

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How to Feel Like a Kid Again in One Easy Step

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How to Feel Like a Kid Again in One Easy Step

Wonder.

It’s the antithesis of the plague that haunts the adult life. It’s the best part of the best days. It’s diametrically opposed to busyness.

Let me explain.

Nine days ago I was sitting with Stephanie in Saint Joseph, Michigan waiting for the annual celebration of July 4th to explode into the sky. It was a warm day (for Michiganders at least), but not too hot.

We wanted a great spot to see the fireworks on the bluff that overlooks lake Michigan where the fireworks would be, so we arrived around 7:00 or so. This is early because the sun doesn’t set here until around 9:30ish. We didn’t mind the long wait, we had plenty of things to fill the time with. I brought homework (hooray!), and Steph brought a book. It was great.

I was really concerned with my homework, because some of it entailed studying for a test that was the following morning. It bummed me out, and I began to question why we drove to Saint Joseph, why it was so hot, and why I hadn’t studied earlier!

To make things worse, when the fireworks starting going off around 10:00, a tree jumped perfectly in our way and all of that waiting was wasted.

We moved quickly and fortunately found a spot that circumvented the tree’s malicious blockage.

Nice. Now the fireworks could be seen. Throughout all of this, I didn’t realize that an irrepressible thunderstorm was coming right for us.

Try and visualize this.

We were sitting with our heads craned to the right watching the fireworks and to our left was a rumbling, yet paradoxically quiet storm lurching towards us.

What’s embarrassing is that I might’ve missed seeing the lightning entirely if it weren’t for a child behind us ebulliently describing the storm to his mother in great detail.

The boy said to his mother, “Mom, look! It looks like the lightning is running away from the fireworks!” She replied simply, “Honey, I’m pretty sure the lightning will always win against fireworks.”

Right there amidst the crowd and the noise, God spoke to me through a small boy’s wonder.

As the fireworks and thunder continued to light up the sky, I reflected on the evening and the events leading up to it.

My obsession and stress caused by busyness very effectively blocked my ability to wonder — to enjoy and observe the beauty around me.

As Steph and I walked back to the car, I began to notice the fireflies that continued the light show. I remembered the children running around playing with their frisbees and foam footballs. I remembered Steph sitting there next to me smiling as we ate our picnic. I remembered that being in school and having a test to study for is such a huge blessing.

I missed all of these little things because I was looking forward to the huge thing.

God is yearning to speak to you — to me — to us through the small, everyday things. After all, it was Him that made it all in the first place. It makes logical sense that His creations would reflect His character.

Job really throws it down.

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”
Job 12:7–10

These lessons and beauty are all around us. But busyness undermines their value.

I wonder how many things I miss when I am so concerned about all of the stuff I have to do. I wonder how often God provides an answer to our prayer or a glimpse of His character and it goes unnoticed. I wonder if I’ll forget about wondering as soon as I’m busy with something else.

I wonder. Do you?

 

Jonny has been involved with Enspire Productions since 2009. He is currently enrolled in the MDiv. program at the Andrews University Theological Seminary.

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It's Raining It's Pouring

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It's Raining It's Pouring

There is something very soothing about the rain. It cleanses, it restores, it refreshes, it renews, and it cools down a very hot summer. I’ve been spending my July in Florida, and every single afternoon or evening for a good hour or two it downpours. The whole rainy season in Florida has fascinated me because every morning starts out hot and muggy, and by the time the stars come out it has dropped nearly twenty degrees and it is breezy after the rainstorms have come through. 

The wonderful world of Disney is also impacted by the frequent storms and it has been very interesting watching how people respond to it. The truth is, if you let it, the rain could ruin your day. I think of the thousands of dollars people have spent on “the perfect Disney vacation.” They find themselves standing in line for an E ticket attraction, let’s say for example, Dwarves Mine Train, somewhat recently constructed in the New Fantasyland expansion which opened in Magic Kingdom in 2012. Sometimes the wait lines can exceed 120 minutes in peak season (which is now). Anyways, watching these people who have saved up an excessive amount of money, and seeing them stand in line for an hour or so, only to hear announced by an almost too perky cast member that “due to inclement weather, the dwarves have returned to the mine,” AKA, there will be no ride after all, creates responses that are always intense and sometimes explosive. Crying babies. Screaming kids. Complaining teens. Grumbling parents. Everyone blaming the helpless cast members. Welcome to Disney World in July. 

You see, rain and storms can cause unexpected chaos in our lives. These Disney goers expected a magical time, even paid for one, and are rewarded with soggy shoes and socks and blisters on their soaked feet, with grumpy kids, and fighting parents . . . all because of the rain.

You see, it’s very easy to look at the bad in our lives. Yeah, things aren’t going to go our way, and yeah, there are going to be things that happen that are outside of our control, but what if we look at those circumstances in a different light? What if instead, we take the possibility of looking for the rainbow beyond the storm, the refreshing coolness of an unexpected storm, the cleansing reality of the drops of water? We can’t always see the outcome of the other side of the storm, but we ABSOUTELY have control of how we respond to it.

I guess what I’m saying is instead of seeing the griping and complaining of ruined vacations, I’d love to see a father and son laughing and running through the rain hand in hand, or a couple dancing through the soggy streets. Yeah, unexpected terrible things will happen, but it doesn’t give you the liberty of acting just as terrible or unexpected! You’re only adding to the chaos! 

I think of Jesus during the storm. The disciples were freaking out, and he was peacefully sleeping because he knew that freaking out wouldn’t help anybody, and causing chaos and stomping his feet and screaming how their fishing trip was ruined wouldn’t aid anyone’s nerves. No. Jesus slept. I think it’s one of the most beautiful moments in scripture. Because in Christ’s peace we see a reflection of such trust in God’s love. 

When we are safely in God’s arms, the storms can come and destroy all they want. Because at the end of the tempest, and through it all, it cannot dictate how you will respond to it. That choice is ALWAYS protected for you. You still have control to make things better based on your perspective. Use it! It’s more powerful than you know. 

So next time a storm comes in your life, smile wide at it, put the umbrella away, and sleep away. Or maybe even, just dance.

Let it rain.

 

Devin Anavitarte is one of the founders of Enspire Productions. He is currently the chaplain at Burton Adventist Academy. 

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