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.

|| now, go ||

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, until the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) 

NOW, GO.

These two phrases have been the vision behind my most recent adventure with God all the way to Northwest Africa. I have four words that pretty much sum up my trip: radical. hard. free. fun. This trip was by far the hardest thing I have ever done in my life…but I learned that God is extravagant and that sometimes, in order to teach us lessons and refine us, that he takes us half way across the world. Over the course of the rest of the summer, there will probably be many of the lessons that I had taught to me summarized on here; but for today, I will pick two of the sweetest.

The first lesson must be framed with a story: We were out one night and met a guy, we will call him Bob. Bob was a Muslim who spoke English well, and was immediately an encouragement..considering that the place we were at, everyone speaks French and Arabic. We got his number and went to bed encouraged. The next day we texted him to hang out, and of course, Bob came:) We learned that the day we met him was his birthday…and we asked how they celebrate birthdays in his culture. His response, “We don’t celebrate birthdays over here.” MIND BLOWN. So of course, my friends and I wanted to throw him a birthday party..cake and all. He loved it. Fast forward to two days later: we celebrated his spiritual birthday as well, welcoming Bob into the family!! PRAISE GOD! 

Anyways, through these encounters with Bob, I learned something about myself… I am not an orphan. Everyday I am celebrated by God, because before I am anything else, I am a daughter of the King. Just like Bob is now a son of God..I am eternally a daughter..not left out to make things work, not abandoned, not forgotten about, a DAUGHTER: known, seen, loved, celebrated. 

“The Spirit you received does not make you sleeves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about you adoption to sonship. An by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16)

The second lesson comes, also, from the culture of the place I was at and Islamic culture in general. Covered women. Some fully covered. Some partially covered. Some not covered at all. Why? I didn’t understand why some women, Muslim women, had to walk around in 80 degree weather and only be able to see out of two tiny slits in their coverings and why some women, also Muslim women, walked around with skimpy clothes on. The thought of the unfairness that surrounded that idea hurt my heart deep…but I learned why some women did what they did…It’s all based off of the beliefs and conservativeness of their father. The more conservative, the more coverings…the less conservative, the less coverings. WOW. Their daddy. Their protector. That was the determining  factor. In the moment I learned that…I became overwhelmingly thankful that my heavenly father says I am free. Free to laugh and play and cry. Free to dance, and sing, and worship. Free to be Caitlin. Free to be His. No coverings. No strict rules. Just a Daddy and his daughter. 

I became immensely thankful for my Daddy, my Jesus. 

And from that thankfulness, I will end this post: thankful to be a daughter. 
Thankful to be loved.
Thankful to have been able to adventure across the world with God. 

 

 

 

The World is Heavy, so what!

I walk through seasons of life where it feels like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. If you haven’t ever felt that way, let me explain the feeling–the world is ridiculously heavy, it is constantly spinning and moving, AND I, as a human, was not created to carry something as massive as the world, therefore my arms and legs feel like they are going to give in, I move much slower and with much more complaining, and it is incredibly hard to walk with confidence and refreshment…after all, I am carrying a huge sphere on my back. However, I am learning that just because the world is heavy doesn’t mean that 1. I have to carry it and 2. That I have to live beneath the weight of it. In fact, I am learning just the opposite. I don’t have to begin to attempt to carry the world–it isn’t what I was made for. I was made to walk with the One who conquered the world, to walk with a light load, and follow in the direction of where Jesus is leading me. <—That fact: LIFE CHANGING. MIND CHANGING. WEIGHT CHANGING.

I am in this place of life where, looking at my circumstances, should be completely overwhelming. In graduating college and moving on and I am having to make some decisions that will ultimately change the trajectory of my life. But what is weird is I am not overwhelmed. Yesterday, I took a few steps back from my life and started looking at it from an arms length away…I have so many decisions to make and so many things to take care of in the next six months and no matter how much I think about it, I cannot find myself being worried or overwhelmed in the least. Which is surprising. But I think the result of being able to peacefully think through my life comes from the lessons I’ve been learning the last few months {refer to my last couple of blog posts}. In following Jesus there is a strange combination of risk and security. Risk in the sense of sometimes we literally have to throw ourselves head first into the unknown and trust God to have it all figured out. Security in the sense that we can jump head first, feet first, belly first into whatever and wherever God is leading and be completely safe. I think the combination of risk and security is what allows my heart to rest in this place. Even if I had everything figured out, even if everything was given to me, I am still human and am still prone to find something else to worry about…therefore, why not let God take care of what is directly in front of me and go from there.

In analyzing my life, I was reminded how relieving it is to let Jesus take my yoke. Matthew 11: 28-30 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I really like the Message version of these few verses, so you get to read this passage twice:) “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” In walking with God through this process of allowing him to carry the weight of the world, I have learned that when I allow Jesus to take my yoke and give me his, that it doesn’t just make my load lighter and easier…it breeds intimacy.

The closer I am to Jesus, the more rewarding my life becomes. You may ask: Caitlin, what happens when really hard decisions come? What happens when things don’t go your way? What happens if you don’t know what to do in 6 months? I will answer: I want to try my best to follow Jesus and choose the way of God in all circumstances and all situations. Will I struggle? Yes, quite certainly. I am only human. But do I want to try my best to live a life that brings all fame, glory, and adoration to Jesus? Of course. If I only have Jesus for the rest of my life, I am learning that that would be more than enough. Because after all, everything we do really is about Jesus–even belly flopping into the unknown future of life. Jesus is worth it. 

“The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” —Psalm 145:13b-16