there is a season :: eternally minded

 

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
jordan’s pond :: acadia national park, maine

        // so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal || [ 2 cor. 4.18 ]

Hello to Whomever Happens to Stumble Across This Post!
Currently I’m sitting on my bed, waiting for my toenail polish to dry, while surrounded by all the earthly goods I plan to stuff back into my tiny dorm room this coming Sunday. If you think just the late nights studying and the exams that make up sixty percent of your grade are the only things that constitute dire stress in college, you can add moving in and moving out to that list as well.

On the other hand, moving back to college this weekend represents the start of my junior year. This is the third time I’ve gone through this process—you’d think I’d have it nailed…to a tee…down pat…whatever by now.

Just like any other person about to begin something new in their life, I’ve spent some time in reflection. Reflection on the last academic year; Reflection on this summer; Reflection on this upcoming semester…you get the idea. In all this thought meandering, the idea of life’s seasons occurred to me. There is in place in the world a general pattern of cycles—times of abundant blessing and then spells of frustrating trials. You can’t pinpoint when these seasons begin and you certainly can’t predict their duration, but you can respond and cultivate growth during whatever instances you find yourself in the midst of.

My sophomore year and this past summer was a season of blessing, I’d say. I really began to truly love studying nursing and I grew closer to several people throughout the year. I made Dean’s Honors List by the end of second semester and landed a job at a major regional hospital on one of their busiest floors. For the first part of summer, I had the privilege of a self-scheduled private healthcare job where I made some very dear friends. The middle and end of my summer was a whirlwind of starting at the hospital and gaining invaluable nursing experience to take with me back to school and clinicals.

I don’t write about these happenings to boast or brag, but to make a point. These were blessings from my Heavenly Father who deeply loves me and asks me to use these opportunities to pour out His love to a broken and misguided world. I’m ashamed to look back and admit that I spent a lot of time complaining and acting selfishly instead.

Under the pretense of building up my GPA, I let my priority to be in the Word fade; in the process of obtaining a position at the hospital, I let worry and stress overwhelm me as things seemed to go slower than I’d hoped; then, after I began my new job, I started voicing complaints about the long hours and letting my grumpy demeanor, after a shift, affect the way I interacted with those I love.

This is the way a selfish and weak sinner responds to blessing. But the Lord knows that. And He brings it to attention to those He loves because He wants to refine them and show them the beauty of humility and gratefulness.

And then come the waves of trial when nothing seems to be going well and no one seems to understand. Yet, many times, I find that while my physical life and its events are stagnant, my spiritual life renews.

How ironic…shouldn’t I be in a natural constant state of praise during a season of blessing? I tend to think it would be easy to love and spend time with someone who gives to you generously and brings unthinkable lovely surprises into your life. But, oddly enough, that’s not the case. Instead, it’s the hurt and pain of worldly disappointments—those things that are seen—that drive you back to the One Who remains the same.

The Lord delights in blessing His children richly, but He also covets their hearts to be full of praise and worship. At the same time, it doesn’t please God to watch His followers struggle and hurt; but He will use those times to point their eyes back to what is eternal.

So here begins a new season in my life—a semester rumored to be more grueling than the others. But I am reminded to focus on the pursuit of kindness and goodness; to recognize my blessings and use them to serve others with joy; to maintain a mind of thankfulness and uplifting praise; and to reset my eyes on the eternal, unseen things that make up the heart of God.

[ au revoir, hannah ]

Advertisements

abundant blessings :: happy father’s day

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

   // as a father has compassion on his children, so the lord has compasison on those who fear him || [ psalm 103:13 ]

For this Father’s Day, my sisters and I put together letters for my dad to read throughout the next few months. Each letter expressed various things we love about him as our father. The themes of the letters came from a little book called, “Letters to My Dad” from the series “A Paper Time Capsule.”

In this post, I want to share just a few of the blessings our dad has given us:

from you I learned the importance of: service before self and giving wholeheartedly without reserve

one thing i’m glad we share is: our love for baking delicious chocolate treats

i always think of you when: i hear johnny cash

the best adventure we’ve had together was: travelling with you on your business trips

thank you for: choosing to adopt my sisters & i—we truly wouldn’t be where we are without you, literally

in the future i hope you: walk us each down the aisle; hold your grandbabies; and watch your family continue to grow & serve the lord wherever he calls

I recognize not everyone has a father figure or a dad still on this earth to celebrate with. It breaks my heart that so many have missed the opportunity to learn from and experience what a kind, caring, and hardworking dad is like. At the same time, it makes me all the more thankful for my family. We struggle with a lot, we don’t always find enough time for each other, we don’t always understand each other, but we are a family who has chosen each other in the most unique way and has chosen to love each other despite our weaknesses. And that is all I can ask for.

[ au revoir, hannah ]

my calling :: finding and pursuing

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
sunset at cedarville university where i study nursing

 

// well done, good and faithful servant || [ matt. 25:23 ]

For the end of my high school graduation speech I wrote the following:

“If you know truth, cling to it and proclaim it; yet do so in all graciousness and humility.

If you aspire to be great, realize greatness does not come on your own accord but from giving all glory to God.

If you desire to see change in the world, think critically, communicate truth, and act with tenacity and passion.

If you want to find your calling or purpose in life, know that Christ commands you to “Love one another.”

Live in such away and set your goals to such a standard that the Creator will say to you: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

At that particular time in my life, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do after college. With full assurance, I told everyone I met, “I’m going into Biology, Pre-Med because I want to study to become an M.D. or a Physician’s Assistant (P.A.).” To me, this was what I interpreted as God’s special calling for my life.

Back up a few years to early high school…and long story, short, I found myself in my optometrist’s office, post-hours, due to a complication with my contact lenses. While waiting, I picked up an issue of TIME magazine and read the story of Bibi Aisha—a young Afghan woman who faced mutilation from her own family and family-in-law, due to running away from an abusive home. From this moving piece, I deduced that God had placed a calling on my head to become a doctor in order to treat women such as Bibi, whose cultural standards limited the prevalence of female physicians.

I had it all planned out. I would finish my Biology, B.S. degree, attend medical school, practice for a few years in the U.S., and then move overseas where I’d become a sort of “missionary-in-disguise M.D.” The plan sounded great in my head and sounded even better when I shared it aloud to practically everyone who stumbled across my path.

Funny thing though when plans never go as planned. I started my first year in college as a Bio Major with enthusiasm, but not much dedication. All too quickly, I found myself completely disillusioned and entirely unhappy. Why is God not blessing me with good grades? I’m following His Will, I thought in a rather deflated way.

So…I switched my major to Nursing. And, I hated it. That first semester of Nursing School made me even more frustrated that I’d “failed” at my original dream. Everyone is thinking, “Oh, look at her. She had to choose an easier major because she’s not smart enough to become a doctor.”

Then, God started convicting me: Your heart is full of pride. Who gave you that desire to help others in the first place? What makes you think you can be the hero?

Friend, your calling is not to become a playwright, a surgeon, a computer engineer, a travel agent, a soldier, a doctor, a nurse, or any other “job.” Your calling is to become a servant. You don’t have to exhaustively search or experience a life crisis to find your calling. You already have it and you already know it—pursue it!

If you read my bio, you know I’m still in nursing school. The only thing that’s changed is that I absolutely love it (and it’s most certainly not an “easier” major)! Do I still want to become a doctor? Yes! (A Doctor of Nursing Practice sounds good, hmm…) Do I still want to work overseas and advocate for young women in underrepresented areas? Yes! The bones of the dream did not change; the motivation and the passion changed. Fall humbly before the Lord and offer up your goals to Him in complete submission. Watch Him work, because He will.

[ au revoir, hannah ]

 

two of a kind :: celebrating mothers

Version 2
:: this was taken in high school, but it’s one of my favorite of my mom & i because we both have matching laughing smiles ::

// her children rise up and call her blessed || [ proverbs 31:28 ]

Anyone who knows me for a somewhat extended period of time knows my two younger sisters and I are adopted. We are not biologically related, which means we each have two moms—our separate birth mothers and our same adopted mother.

In very different ways, the woman who gave birth to me and the woman who has chosen to call me her daughter have unequivocally inspired me.

I admire my birth mama’s bravery to do the right thing—to give up her baby in order to save her life and give her the opportunity to find a new, welcoming family. Under the given circumstances surrounding 1996, this decision was not only in disobedience to the law, but probably also a monumental endeavor as the risks and potential consequences would have been high.

From the sacrificial love my Chinese mother showed me, my adopted mother was able to take over her role flawlessly. My mom is full of joy, and she radiates her positivity to everyone around her. She, along with my dad, has created a strong, supportive, and unfailingly loving family. Unashamedly, my mom lives to bless others with her servant-like heart and her listening spirit.        During the past two years away at college, I’ve come to realize how much I value not only the nurturing aspects of my mom, but her friendship as well. She has loved, laughed, and cried with me through elementary school awkwardness, middle school friendship drama, high school crushes, and now college stress. And I know she’ll continue to walk with me through every single milestone in my life. That alone is a greater blessing than I can fully fathom or appreciate.

Both my birth mama and my mom have given me standards to strive to achieve when I hopefully become a mother myself. Like my birth mama, I want to have the courage to understand, plan, and act upon what is best for my children. Like my mom, I want to exude the timeless beauty of the spirit, listen with an open heart, teach with loving enthusiasm, and guide with gentle wisdom.

Although not written on motherhood, the poet, Lord Byron’s quaint, lovely piece, “She Walks in Beauty” more aesthetically articulates the way many are privileged to view their mother figures:

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes;

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express,

How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

         Relish in the time you have with your mother and glean all you can learn from her. She is the prize jewel to a crown and a blessing that abounds in relentless love.

[ au revoir, hannah ]

contemplation :: a full mind

// live the full life of the mind, exhilarated by new ideas, intoxicated by the romance of the unusual ||

[ ernest hemmingway ]

I’ve entertained the thought of writing a blog for a while now…more specifically: since late last year. A number of things have made me toss away the whole idea: I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing when it comes to website building; it takes awhile for me to force my thoughts into coherent sentences for others to attempt to understand; keeping up with another social media platform takes even more time out of my illusionary busy life; and it appears that blogs are the new man-bun-sporting, Patagonia-wearing hipster thing to do.

Yet, I can’t make the idea leave my mind…I also can’t force other jumbled thoughts to dissipate. And I want to share those thoughts. So, today, I’m launching my blog, “A Full Mind.” (Except, I’d rather label it a “journal.”)

In many ways, I want this blog/journal to become a sort-of accountability tool. I want it cause me to look for the lessons life teaches me, to think more spiritually, and to impress upon me the call to encourage and uplift others.

That said, I hope you’ll find it worthwhile to stay a bit and share ideas with me.

I welcome feedback and comments.

I want to get to know you as much as I can.

I want you to guest-post, if you feel led.

I want live the full life of the mind.

[ au revoir, hannah ]

  • mini disclaimer: i have absolutely nothing against man-buns (brock o’hurn boasts a very fine one!) nor do i have anything against patagonia (ahh, their fleeces!).