Wednesday, December 28


God is good. I love that He likes to give us small blessings as well as large ones, and I love to see how He orchestrates and impresses upon our hearts little things.

Very early Christmas morning I made a long drive from Cookeville to Chattanooga to go to work. As I stopped at a red light, I noticed a man on the street corner selling Sunday newspapers. I've seen him there before; in fact, I'm pretty sure he's been there every Sunday morning that I can remember passing by that corner. And he's there early, because I usually pass by around 6:10 AM. I looked at him and suddenly felt ashamed. There I was about to go to a job that I love, that is a huge blessing to me, and that pays enough to fill my needs and more, and I was a little bit resentful that I had to do it on Christmas day. And there he was, cold, up early on Christmas morning trying to sell newspapers to people who mostly didn't want to give him the time of day.

Whenever I see people selling things on street corners, I feel compelled to give them something. And I have told God many times before that any time I'm in a situation like that, if it is possible, I will stop and give them something. Providentially, the light had just turned red as I was coming up to it, so I knew I had the time, and I was glad for the opportunity. I don't really read newspapers, though I probably should, but I thought at least I could use it for fire starter in our fireplace at home. However, God had a little something more in mind than fire starter.

I rolled down my window, gave him what cash I had with me, and wished him a Merry Christmas. I threw the newspaper on the floor of the seat next to me, and didn't have a chance to look at it again until that night. I noticed a picture of a small child on the front page and thought it curious, but I didn't have time to read the article until this morning.

When I read it this morning, I discovered it was an article about a baby who was once a patient in the NICU that I work in. I was blessed as I read, and I was reminded once again of why I do what I do. I was reminded of why I chose to be a nurse, and the reminder couldn't have come at a better time because
this past week has been one of the most stressful and difficult weeks I've had in the NICU since I started in September. God is good. More than I can express in words. And I am ever so thankful of His love and care for me.

Sunday, December 4


The righteous man perishes, and no one lays it to heart; devout men are taken away, while no one understands. For the righteous man is taken away from calamity; he enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness. ~Isaiah 57:1,2 (ESV)

I called my mother on my way home from a fairly awful day at work, only to hear her crying. When asked what was wrong, she tearfully explained to me that less than an hour before my calling, Melvin Sanborn had died. The tears came instantly though her words did not fully register immediately.

Mr. Sanborn was an incredible man of God. We grew up living down the street from him and his wife, Marjorie, who was one of the warmest people I've known. I loved them both. So much. Mrs. Sanborn was a greeter at our church for as long as I can remember, and she was the main reason our church had its reputation for being one of the friendliest, most welcoming churches ever. Mr. Sanborn built our church. With some help, of course; but he was at the forefront of planning and laboring over the house of God that replaced our gymnasium worship center. He used to read the Bible through every year, and in the past several years, he began to read it through in different versions. More than that, both Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn had been special to me. I distinctly remember when I was very small going down the street to spend time with them at their house. One year, Mrs. Sanborn gave me four giant teddy bears to play with; they were my favorites for several years and received much love and play time. In more recent years, Mr. Sanborn was always a friendly, familiar face when I would go home to visit my home church. He always had a ready hug and wanted to hear what I was up to in life. He reminded me a lot of my grandfather.

Mrs. Sanborn died a year ago in November, and my heart broke then for all the people, including myself, who would miss her warm smile and even warmer Sabbath hugs. And tonight another one of God's bright lights has entered into a peaceful rest. And tonight my heart breaks again. For Mr. Sanborn's family and friends who will miss him dearly while we anxiously await the joy that will come with the morning of God's return.


I thought it fitting also to share this section from a book I really enjoy. This particular excerpt is from a chapter on Jewish mourning rituals and more specifically, the Mourner's Kaddish (prayer).

"Not only is the community present for one's mourning, God is present too. God is ubiquitous in Jewish bereavement because of the Kaddish. Countless commentators have observed that the Kaddish is a curious mourner's prayer, because it says nothing about mourning. It is rather a prayer about God, describing Him as magnified and sanctified and worthy to be praised. It is not a prayer of rent garments and commemoration, but rather simply four verses of praise to God. 'Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One. Blessed is He, beyond any blessing or song.' As one mourner noted, the Kaddish is really 'a Gloria.' Even in the pit, even in depression and loss and nonsense, still we respond to God with praise. This is not to say that the mourner should not feel what he feels-- anger, disbelief, hatred. He can feel those things (and shout them out to God; God can take it). You do not have to feel praise in the intense moments of mourning, but the praise is still true, and insisting upon it over and over, twice a day every day, ensures that eventually you will come to remember the truth of those praises." ~Lauren F. Winner, Mudhouse Sabbath