Holy Scrubs

I learned how to put on scrubs a few weeks ago. I learned what it feels like to breathe under a mask and what it smells like when medicine is coursing in and out of a 2 year old baby’s veins trying to keep him alive. “Oxygen levels falling,” I heard the nurse say.

“Beep, Beep, Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.”
It was a sound I have heard a million and one times on the ER television shows I watch. Flatline. No heartbeat. A lifeless baby laying before my eyes. A daddy, who is labeled a refugee, fearful of the coming minutes, lost in translation. Swahili is what is understood in his mind. English is what is being spoken. My friend, the interpreter, rapidly translating every word being spoken, a dad paralyzed by the reality that his baby is toe to toe with death.

A baby, body full of infection, born in Africa, with a broken heart. A hole in his heart. A body that consistently is against him unless this hole is fixed and it’s unfixable with an infection.

“He heals the brokenhearted and he binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

I drove that daddy home, after a few hours in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. He cried all the way back to his apartment. The moments were sacred. An entire family, lives torn apart from war and persecution and famine and drought come to land of the free and home of the brave to find themselves seated in a sterile, white walled hospital room staring at their intubated, broken-hearted, lifeless baby. Sacred moments. Holy moments where Jesus himself comes close to every single heart. Papa’s, Mama’s (who wasn’t there at the time, but you could feel her pain), Caitlin’s, Interpreter’s, Baby’s, Doctor’s, Nurse’s.

That baby’s broken heart was unavoidable. There was a gaping hole in it. Everyone had to acknowledge it because the baby needed to have it fixed. Should’ve had it fixed at birth (as to why he didn’t is another story for another day). But the point is, in that sterile, still hospital room we all sat. Staring at that baby. Hoping for a miracle.

The truth is. This week, that baby died. That two year old baby, took his last breath. His last, broken-hearted little breath. To be really honest, I’ve wrestled with it, a lot. When you hope for a miracle, when you hope for people to encounter the living God, when you hope to see the fullness of a two year old come back to a sense of normalcy…in a selfish sense of it all, I wanted to see a broken heart get healed. I wanted the baby to get all of the meds it needed, test healthy enough for the surgery, get the surgery, and get to see this little nugget have a battle scar and be strong, brave, and healthy.

Hope is a person named Jesus.

But I’m reminded that Jesus comes close. That he will always come close. I’ve been writing about hearts in my blog a lot over the last few months and I’m finally realizing why. Because broken hearts really are unavoidable. Broken emotions and habits and things in life are unavoidable and they need to be acknowledged in order to be healed. Jesus comes close to BIND or HEAL them. I’m not sure what unavoidable, painful thing you have in your life, but Jesus wants to come close to you. The process isn’t too long. It’s not too messy or too hard or too complex. He’s SO pleased with you.

It’s been sweet, this Christmas season, to be the messiest I’ve ever been. I’ve finally released myself to sit in the mess of grief and of confusion and all of the other things I’m currently carrying and just BE with Jesus. Because Christmas is the time to rest in remembering that the star-breather, the heart-creator, the dream-fullfiller covered himself in flesh with sweat glands and boogers and tangly hair just to get close to us so he could love us the best he could and save us the only way he knew how. So he laid, probably freezing cold in the middle of nowhere in some nasty manger because the Inn couldn’t make room for him, born to a teenage Mom who lost her reputation because she was an unmarried virgin…all to live a sinless life, to die on a cross to pay for my broken little heart–for that two year old’s broken little heart. For that daddy’s tears. For our jealousy and business and comparison and idolatry. He paid for it. He did all that just to be close to us. Just cause he loved us.

And I guess in the midst of the twinkly lights and the last minute shopping, I want to challenge us all to sit for a hot second and acknowledge that we really do have the greatest gift of all. We’ve got the presence and grace of God going before us and behind us, covering our tracks, making our crooked places straight and our rough places smooth. He’s too honest and too good to lead us astray and he’s the most joyful and hopeful One we’ve ever known. He’s Immanuel, God with us, forever.

Even in hospital rooms.
With backwards scrubs and shaky knees.

Lost in the Mix

Have you ever just felt lost? Not lost as in no sense of direction and no clue as to where you are, but lost as in not seen, not heard, not ideal. Lost. It’s been a word that has come up into my vocabulary a lot in the last week and a half. I’ve been wandering around, feeling like I am back in junior high again–feeling insecure, lonely, and different. I absolutely hate feeling that way. I hate the feeling of believing the lies of the enemy. So I am not going to start now.  But to give background, let’s flash back to junior high:

In sixth through eighth grade, I was lost. I had no clue about social norms, fashion sense, makeup, or boys..the “normal” things that junior high girls should know about. I could read books faster than just about anyone and I was pretty athletic, but that’s about it. I was innocent, and didn’t pick up on the hint that everyone was “growing up.” As girls began caking their faces in makeup, having boyfriends, and wearing more form fitting clothes, there I was: basketball shorts, no makeup, a tshirt, and hair slicked back into a ponytail/bun depending on the day.  I remember feeling like I never quite fit in: I vividly remember the feeling of “lost.” My self esteem was low and my sweet, young, heart was broken each time I felt the slightest idea that I wasn’t wanted. I trudged through those days and am now here: more redeemed than ever before.

I guess the last week and a half my mind and heart have taken a trip back to junior high. I’ve been walking into social situations with one of two feelings:

1. Feeling like I stick out like a sore thumb.
2. Feeling like I am over-looked and not important.

Of course, now I can decipher that BOTH of those feelings are lies but I can’t help but get frustrated with myself: I should be done with these stupid lies, these stupid feelings of inadequacy…But man oh man has God been so faithful (as He always is) in this whole process. God has shown me that I have so much to learn, that I have so much I have no idea about and He has been so nice at gently guiding and directing me. He has made it clear that I am not lost in the mix..I am not overlooked and not seen..instead I am quite the opposite….

God has been giving me this picture of cookie dough….the baker makes the dough and it’s simple dough at first. But, in order to make the best kind of cookies-CHOCOLATE CHIP- the chocolate chips need to be added to the dough. So the baker dumps in the bag of chips and kneads them into the dough. I keep watching the chocolate chips, in this illustration and they disappear in the dough..but they haven’t disappeared all together. They are still there…some show at some times and others show at other times…but they are all still present, and all still needed to make a whole batch of delicious chocolate chip cookies.  God has shown me that I am the chocolate chips. I am vital to the world around me. I have a place, I have a job, and I must be present where He has placed me. You don’t receive the fullness of chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips…although parts of my life feel unseen, they are still there, they are still needed, and still sweeter than ever. The parts of my life where I feel as though need to be tucked away because they don’t fit social norms are simply chocolate chips that are needed to make my life (the cookie dough) sweeter. I am slowly learning that the baker in my life, who is Jesus, knows what He is doing…I am lacking nothing because His recipe is perfect…His recipe was perfected when He died on the cross for me–Therefore, I will press into Jesus when the going gets tough, I will choose Jesus in the joyful dancing, I will follow Jesus in the quiet places-the secret places, I will love Jesus when I feel unseen, and I will praise Jesus for the work He is doing in my life…Because it is BIG, and it is GOOD. Just like God himself.

I am blessed.
I love cookies.
I am growing.