Wednesday, July 29, 2015

miracles happen, you guys.

He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. 
His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. 
Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; 
Amen, and Amen.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

This Post is About Porn

Yeah, I'm going to be careful...but those of you who should clear out now know who you are. If you're not quite sure, you can always go ask your parents to read it first. {They'll probably have far more intelligent things to say on the subject anyway, so that might be helpful regardless.}

Which is kind of like porn, isn't it? Whether it's words, images, or videos, I think most of us can tell when something crosses the line between romantic and sexual, between appreciating the incredible beauty of the created human form and lusting after it. (I do think that line is different for different people, and the responsibility for avoiding the line is on you. If someone else adores a particular novel and it is problematic for you...don't convince yourself to keep reading it because they loved it. At the same time, if you say 50 Shades of Mental Illness doesn't cross that line for you, you probably need to reevaluate your line. If you struggle with lust upon seeing women's ankles or men's wrists, you need to learn to deal with it - various cultures around the world have already shown that completely covering other people still does not deal with your sin bent. And again at the same time, if anybody thinks walking around naked shouldn't cause a problem for other people...that just doesn't make sense.* And I say that as someone in the medical field, where nakedness can be the furthest thing from sexual that you could imagine.)

Assuming most of you following my blog come from a generally similar background {I guess you could also have no idea where I'm coming from most of the time and just never comment to question me? :)} you know the general Christian consensus on pornography. It's bad, addicting, will wreck your marriage, you shouldn't watch it. Yeah, most men do at some point, but they better stop if they want to get married and if they are married they should definitely stop and their wives maybe should try a little harder. 
{If you've never gotten that last message, be thankful. It's a lie from hell. 
I don't react quite as strongly to the other lie here, but as a visual woman myself I wish more people would acknowledge that actually men are not the only people who need to be careful with their eyes. Way to make women struggling with porn feel that much more horrible while making it that much more difficult for them to find help.}

Why do we as Christians focus so much on the harm done to viewers? Does not a moment's thought convince you that far, far worse harm is done to those involved in making it?

I don't think the majority of the rest of the world really cares - as you may recently have noticed, they can learn Planned Parenthood sells baby parts and not flinch - but if you claim any part of God's grace, can you truly sit there and take part in a vicious and degrading cycle of abuse that drags a creature made in the image of Almighty God down through some of the worst levels of hell this earth holds? Knowing that you are taking direct part in destroying their mind, body, spirit, and in all likelihood their soul as well? Can this give you pleasure? 
(Don't think not buying it makes a difference. Great, you're doing all that to a person and not even paying them for it. Do you really feel better about the whole thing now?)

This is all said while acknowledging that Christians struggle with sins. Christians struggle with addictions. I don't imagine this particular one is an easy addiction to deal with, especially with the shame and disgust that so often surrounds it - if you have stopped using pornography, if you are truly working to stop using pornography right now, thank you. Like most sins, it does not affect only you, and no matter how hidden you think it was, know that other people will have better lives because you stopped.

The reading mentioned last week was beta-ing a novel that deals with this issue, and clearly it's had me thinking the past two weeks. I was not as unaware of it as I could have been...which actually shocked me a bit. I knew that uh, most people don't actually aspire to being a porn star or a prostitute...but as far as seeing the disconnect between the horror endured by quite a few people who have escaped that life (as well as so many of those still caught in it, even as they defend it) and the way the church as a whole tends to treat the issue? To my shame, I hadn't really noticed. The story made it real to me in a way my earlier knowledge had not. 
(if you are wondering, this is the story. neither now nor when it is published do I think it will be suitable for all readers. I do think it is heart-shattering call to understand truth, and one that needs to be read by many people)

I know that people can look at all the information available on lung cancer and the results of meth addiction and that doesn't keep them from smoking or trying meth (or help them stop). BUT look at a graph of smoking sometime - the exact time that smoking became "cool" and the exact time that it became "nasty" via media campaign are clearly marked by number of smokers. Addictions can be dealt with, and I can't help but feel we could change the way we approach this particular issue.

So, my question is, do you think taking a moment to focus on the havoc wreaked in the lives of those involved in the pornographic industry help an addicted Christian to reevaluate what exactly they are doing? How aware are you of what life is like for (most) porn stars? Is it just that it's easier to say Don't watch/look at porn than to attempt to delve further into the darkness and explain the effect of a "victimless crime" on the many, many victims? Am I in a weird bubble where people just don't talk about that side of things? 

so basically I wrote a footnote here that turned wayyyy too long so I got rid of it. If you have any curiosity as to my views on modesty, let me know and I'll turn the mess of a footnote into another blog post. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

the story blog

I asked, you answered, I am proceeding forward. XD

I think you just have to request access...let me know if it doesn't work that way...  :)

Like I said, it'll be short stories, pieces of my stories, maybe whole chapters, etc. Hopefully it'll be fun and you're all welcome to jump in and see what's there! :D

*EDIT* soooo it appears the way to make this work is I need your email address and then I can add you as a reader. :)

soooo, if you'd like to read the blog, leave your email address in a comment. I won't publish them, I'll use them to add you as a reader, and then I'll delete them, and I won't contact you with goods or services. XD

This week I...

nearly died:
from about 3.5 seconds of thinking I'd dropped my notepad somewhere at the hospital. I've been really good the past two weeks. But I knew Friday I'd scribbled some story notes, and I couldn't quite remember what they were. 
But I found it and managed to recover from my heart attack. XD

more of the book I mentioned last time. you'll be hearing more about it this next week.

listened to:

the requiem in D while I did homework, despite the fact that the song always makes me sleepy. (weird, I know)

prayed that:
I would figure out how to deal with some of the challenges of working in reproductive health...
my board exam results would be good...[4-6 more weeks of waiting...]
wisdomcreates and the upcoming long exam :) 

a very little teeny bit about my Imperfecta was rather enjoyable. 

His Honor looked at him then, full icy fury in the man’s blue eyes freezing through him. There were different kinds of love, he thought, staring back at His Honor as the man spoke, slowly and frigidly as the sky. “Jace. If he cries, remove him from this place.”
“Yes, your Honor,” Jace quietly replied, and the boy turned his eyes back to the deepening hole. There were different kinds of hate also, and though he hated them all, what he felt for all the rest of them combined was nothing like what he felt for His Honor.

But he did not cry.

His Honor was offended by the sight of him. He understood that, in all its simplicity, and accepted it, like the child he was.

Everything loved dies, he thought desolately. He supposed that meant he would not die. It was strange, he thought, to wish that he could.

[I suppose for the sake of non-authors I should not have used the word enjoyable...XD]

the thing that stood out to me most in school was:
How very little in medicine is black and white. 
I am pro-life; if you've read my blog much you may know that. But's not so simple. I am excited to be able to come at these issues from a position of knowledge (vs ignoring the grey areas...not acknowledging that sometimes families do have extremely difficult decisions to make...or making up statements about how women don't get pregnant when they're raped...etc**), but the gaining of that knowledge is going to be more difficult and more painful than I had anticipated. 
What does "the health of the mother" mean...

for example: do you undergo a cesarean section for an infant with a lethal anomaly, continuing a difficult pregnancy, compromising your own health, and increasing the risk to any future pregnancies you might have (risking the life of a possible future healthy child for one who will die no matter what you do...)
Do you do anything to shorten a life already so short in hopes for a life that may never be? 

What if it shortens your life? 
Or makes it significantly more difficult for you to parent your other children, who do not have lethal anomalies? (understanding of course, that any of them may die at any moment...but the likelihood that they'll need you to care for them is clearly far greater than the likelihood that your unborn baby will gain any benefit from dying a month later versus a month earlier.)

Sometimes it seems simple to know what I would do in a certain situation...but when it comes to counseling patients as to the least harmful thing for them and their families? ay-yi-yi....

I'm pretty sure the fact that killing your baby is a legal right in this country just makes the issue ridiculous. How do you find common ground to discuss and decide on the best way to support life in a particular situation when life itself is worth so very little? When to have something wrong with you is considered a fate worse than death?
I mean...we all have a lethal condition called life. But if someone was struggling through a pregnancy already...and then realized that the best case scenario was going through the rest of the pregnancy and then having surgery in order to watch their baby die....or they could have the baby now without dealing with diabetes, hypertension, and surgery and watch him/her you see what I'm saying?

There is of course also the part where we think about how sometimes ultrasounds are wrong, and doctors are notoriously terrible at predicting how long someone will live. (Though usually the error is on the side of longer, not shorter. Most doctors want their patients to live.)

Basically there is a lot to think about. (I say as I go off to work on my question set on contraception...a lot to think about...)

[note that if anybody wants to discuss any ethical issues with me, PLEASE DO. I'd love to hear your perspective. iron sharpening iron and all that, you know.]

learned from the internet:
Several of you commented that you wished you'd known how my summer was going/prayed for me more...and it made me realize [again] how little good shutting myself off does. My natural inclination is always to pull back, draw away, figure stuff out on my own, and then, once I'm through, know a little more what's going on, have myself back together, then share with people what happened. This time it was extremely helpful to share with a few people - realizing there were more people who cared who I could have shared with meant a lot to me. 
Whether I'll be more able to share next time life is weird for me...XD who knows. I'm working on it. :) 

learned from life: 
....when you go to bed super exhausted, check what time you have to be at the hospital before you fall asleep. don't wake up at 6am and lay there for an hour hitting snooze going I really hope it was 8am...I hope it was 8am...clearly too tired to wake up and think about what it means if it's not 8am. 

then when you finally get up at 6:45am, far too late if you actually had to be there at 7am, and confirm that yes, it was 8am, don't have a panic attack when your phone rings at 7am thinking you had it wrong. (...also turn off the alarm on your phone when you don't plan on using it. unless you like panic attacks, I guess.)

also don't be excited for sleeping in on Saturday. internal alarm clocks apparently work better than any other kind. *sigh* XD

[tl;dr basically sleep becomes rather important rather quickly on a rotation. XD]

a thing that stood out to me in the Bible:
How quickly distraction creeps up on one. Especially good distraction. Doing things one has to do. Like getting to the hospital by a certain time. Writing blog posts about important things I want to share. Talking with people I need to talk to.
But it says seek ye first the Kingdom of God. 
Not, give it a glance when you get a spare moment

But seek ([a]aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness ([b]His way of doing and being right), and then all these things [c]taken together will be given you besides.

now and forever, my words for this year. once again I need to lift my eyes to that forever that is His kingdom and stop letting the now dominate my life.

new words:


this isn't actually from this week...but I came across it a folder from last summer or something and remembered I liked it. XD

**note that I don't find aborting children of rape a grey area, but I do think there is massive need for sensitivity and gentleness there.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

One of those posts you should read all the way through, if you're going to read it at all. ;)

People say Christianity is intolerant, as those claiming that label refuse the rights of marriage to certain people who love each other.
People say Christianity is intolerant, as those claiming that label insist women do not have the right to reject a pregnancy they are not ready for.
People say Christianity is intolerant, as those claiming that label argue against Islamic beliefs.

You are a homosexual? You're going to hell. Y
ou are a witch? You're going to hell. You are suicidal? You're going to hell. You are pro-abortion? You're going to hell. You have married more than one person? You're going to hell. You lied? You're going to hell. You wanted something that was not yours? You're going to hell. You are afraid? You're going to hell. 

Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, that leads to life eternal. 

Part of the problem I think is that as a church we've muted exactly how intolerant the Bible is. 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

We find it easy to say The Bible clearly says homosexuality is wrong! I'd say the fearful shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire is pretty clear, too. And yet you don't see much in the news about that. This probably has something to do with the fact that less than 4% of the US population is something other than heterosexual. (It highly depends on what study you look at, but that seems to be the high end of the percentage around the world.) What percentage of the US population (or of any church's population) lies? Or is fearful? Hum. 
Can we quit trying to insist Christianity isn't intolerant? 

They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
There is none righteous, no, not one.

Yeah, try to convince anybody that the Bible is tolerant. We're all going to end up in eternal hellfire.

The thing is, while you're chafing under the labeling of your beliefs as intolerant (and worse things), everyone is missing the point. 

The Bible is an incredible, gorgeous, amazing story. It starts with perfection..and by the second chapter there has been a fall from grace. All is wrong and every single one of us is without hope. 
The climax of the story is that Perfection and Grace came to us and freely gave us Hope. 
There are not certain people who are "bad" and a few special people who've made to level "Heaven." We are all equally condemned, and we are all equally savable. Nothing you've done, nothing you are, nothing in your past, future, or present can keep you out of heaven. There's nothing you have to do to get there. There's nothing you can do, actually. It's already been done. You, no matter what is or has been in your life, were loved so much that God took on Himself the consequences of what you've done so you could still have eternal life. In the end, your heritage or rank or lifestyle or list of good works gives you no advantage or disadvantage. No one starts closer to God than another, and there's no one too far for Him to reach.  

We haven't reached the happily ever after part of the story yet. But it's coming. And that happy ending is possible for everyone.  

For we ourselves also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 
But after the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; Whom he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

It's not that the Bible dares say certain things are wrong that makes people furious. It's that the Creator of the Universe dared say there is but one way for us to live forever. (A way that involved Him dying to make absolutely free to all of us, but still, only one way.) It is absolutely intolerant of any of us being "okay" on our own. And that thing that resulted in an archangel falling from heaven rears up in us as we look upon the Creator's universe and demand how He could possibly think to decree it so.

No amount of backpedaling or re-writing Scripture on our part is going to change that. We are called to show people the love that brought God down from His heaven so He could bring us back up with Him. No one wants to hear they're a horrible being deserving of punishment. Nobody wants to hear they have a fatal disease either. 

Is not pretending the fatal disease won't really kill people, and ignoring the 100% effective cure we have directly on hand far more cruel than breaking the bad news of the fatal disease in the first place? Should we all just tolerate the unthinkable fate of humanity without God, because it is more comfortable for us all at the moment? 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

This Week I... [+a question for dear readers at the end]

so good to be back to this glorious view....

nearly died: 
actually managed to behave myself this week...I did do a few stupid things, but despite leaving late for meeting, walking in a bad part of town a little too close to midnight, and somehow ending up scrubbed in on a surgery, I was never close to death. XD (Nor were my patients, which is something I'm super happy about.)

A few chapters of a slightly less typical Mirriam Neal emotion-destroyer...guh. sometimes that girl. Also she has insane art skills, so follow that link, peoples. I have plans for finishing up her most recently finished novel this weekend, and I am extremely excited.

listened to: 
Not. Much. It was really sad. I love music.
Here is one song though...yeah, I'm still into foreign musicals. (And I love the fact that I can watch a Korean adaptation of a Japanese musical written by an American composer (Frank Wildhorn) based off a manga. XD) I haven't had time to look much into the story, but like...this song.

Besides his voice...I love the way the song touches on doing evil that good might come, on the death penalty, on the kind of sacrifices that should or should not be made for the sake of others, and on how life-and-death power over others corrupts. 

this one's sound is off (which, yeah, defeats the purpose of listening to music), but I don't know, I find it fascinating in this day of moral relativism and personal values and following your heart. (And I always love to find villain stories that are compelling...)

and because loyalty and justice and honor and conflicts between them are always themes I love...if you want to listen to a song in's this one. :) 

prayed that: 
lots of stuff. :) I will say that OB rotation teaches you very quickly to pray very hard while in the middle of doing other things.
And limp babies give me nightmares, while crying is sometimes the absolute most beautiful sound in the world.

The weird bit is being on OB vs a PEDS rotation is that I don't know if my prayers were answered...though if anybody's baby had died I would have heard. So there is that, at least...

....a short and rather disturbing story about the genetically modified assassins in Contract to Time Travel...(check out my question at the end...XD)

the thing that stood out to me most in school was: 
how good it was to have a week where things went well for once. This was probably the first time in 2 years where stuff clicked and I learned a ton and I was not shy and basically I loved it. 
I am totally waiting for next week to hit me like a ton of bricks and completely cream me, but at the same time I'm just purely enjoying it at the moment. Not expecting it to continue this way, but loving how it's been so far. XD

learned from life: 
- when sleeping in a call room, check the temperature first. if you don't want to spend five hours shivering and then get up and realize on your way out the door that it's about 62 degrees there.
- calling security before you're leaving short call in the middle of the night is probably not a bad idea.
- keeping track of what day it is usually is a good idea
- I can sleep anywhere. Slightly awkward, but useful. XD 
- spending 2 years in class and then 1 week chasing after attendings and residents at the end of the entourage like a baby duckling will kill your legs. I could barely walk up stairs by Friday. embarrassing, I know. XD

new words: 
mostly a TON of new contractions. OB/GYN is full of contractions, pun absolutely intended. I learned probably this many every day, but here's a few:
ROM (does not stand for Range of Motion like it does in the rest of medicine)

the question:

I'm thinking of having a private blog to share stories on. I'd still do snippets here, of course, but there I'd post long sections, short stories (like the one I mentioned above), etc. maybe even chapters of particular stories. Would any of you be interested in that? let me know in a comment... :D

Friday, July 17, 2015

line of insanity, net of grace

Perhaps 3am after I've been up since 7am, taken an 8 hour exam, and traveled 200 miles is not the best time to write a blog post. But apparently the adrenalin required for the exam is still going strong, because I'm very awake. 

So. Now's a perfect time to tell what I've been doing this summer. 
(forgive me if it takes a while)
(if it doesn't make sense feel free to ask for clarification in a comment.
I may not be at my most eloquent, even if I am at my most real...)

Two and a half months ago I finished the classroom portion of med school. I had a lovely study schedule laid out wherein I would head off by myself 
and study for seven weeks and take my board exam on June 7th. 

Ah, the best laid plans. 

It started out simply enough...I studied and slept and took up running and got out in the sun and rode my horse and felt generally good about myself and life in general. I started making a little list of Things I Learned While Studying For My Board Exam.

Enjoy the little things. 
     Flowers blooming? Pick one to have by your study space. 
     Learn to give up "pet tics" - I work better on sunny days. Rain makes me want to write. No. You           need to work when it's time to work. Don't baby yourself.

Don't mess with partial rewards.
      Like chocolate? Get a few high-quality chocolate bars and eat some every day. (Forget about Hershey and go for the good stuff.)
      Enjoy a good book? Don't use your 5 minute break skimming news articles online. 

Don't forget sleeping, eating healthy, and taking care of your skin don't actually take that much more time to do than not, and will make you feel a whole lot better about yourself. 

Then it came time to take a practice exam. 
The score scared me a bit, and I went back to studying with renewed vigor. 
I should be at least in the passing zone at this point.

Fewer horse rides, more running, and more attempts at studying...

I'd heard how everybody else was doing it, how people who'd done it before had done it...I've taken a good plenty number of exams myself. I knew how it worked. You go through the study book (or part of the study book, since I never complete them fully on time), you take the test, you get a number a few points below what you really wanted, but good enough to get you where you want to go.

Next practice test:
my score is not only not passing, but lower than the previous one.

Okay, now it was clearly time to seriously get serious. 
but I was finding it horribly difficult to concentrate or focus, my practice questions every day were taking me forever to get through, I was falling more behind every day on my study schedule, and it was extremely frustrating to realize I'd spent a week reviewing biochemistry and I was getting all of 30% of the biochemistry questions right.
Spoiler: it didn't.

Somewhere around that point I realized I was going nowhere fast and I rescheduled my exam for June 29. And started a 40 day fiction fast...which morphed over those 40 days into basically giving up almost everything I love to do for fun, piece by piece. 

The following weeks can basically be summed up by this:

As my scores continued to creep up by maybe half a percent a week and the days slipped through my fingers like sunlight through lace, anxiety crept up on me. And before I knew it, it had taken up residence.  

I've always hated tests. I've never frozen in panic in the face of one before. Let me tell you, it's not fun. 
I used to wish I had the kind of anxiety that made me eat less, instead of more. Apparently I do have that kind of anxiety...I've just never been that anxious before. 
The thought of food made me nauseous, and every time I forced myself to eat
I'm studying! I need brain food! Eat, you stupid body!
it was like choking down sawdust. (Like looking at chocolate made me feel absolutely sick. I didn't know that was possible.) 
on the upside, I lost like 7 pounds and the college chub is pretty much gone. med school has been nice that way. on the downside, that is seriously NOT a diet I'd recommend. it's awful. 

Then one night I did another section of practice questions...
and after a week of 40-to-close-to-60%, I got another 30%. 

I could feel the darkness descending.

I got up, packed my things, and went to bed. 

Depression is one of those things I've seen enough to know what it is, and it's come close enough to burn me once or twice in my life. Each time it's been utterly hideous, and the last time I was probably 16 or 17. I thought at that point I'd beaten it. It was gone and I was an adult and I understood things now and that was over and done with. 

If you have ever dealt with depression you know it's ridiculous and unreasonable and you can't get away from it. If you haven't this probably makes no sense and you think I'm overly dramatic and weird. (Well, I am that also, but depression and anxiety are things you can't logic away when they come on like gangbusters. I tried.)

I knew I needed to go back and stay with my mom instead of studying on my own every day and that's where I went, with quite a bit of panic coming with me.  

my mom said:

my study advisors at school said:

We came up with a new study plan and I started in, now not only having to study, but having to force myself to eat and fight feelings of pointless misery and wanting to sleep all the time. 
on the upside, and also on the list of Things I Wish I Didn't Know About Myself, I concentrate way better when I'm depressed. I got through a lot more material all of a sudden.

I took another practice test. 
I'd come up 2 points in 3 weeks. 

I sent the results to my advisor. 

She started talking rescheduling my 3rd year and giving up all the perfect rotations I'd been so excited about getting and going to a study camp for 6 weeks and then coming back and picking up whatever left-over rotations had not yet been taken in a huge city I've been trying to stay away from for as long as possible. 

She referred me to another advisor in that city and basically

Y'know...I sat down on my bed and bawled. Why was God not answering my prayers and why was I, for the first time in my life, absolutely incapable of learning material? Why was nothing sticking in my head? 
Why was this so ridiculously difficult?
What was WRONG?

To say this was the worst month of maybe my entire life would probably not be an understatement. 

I will attempt anyway.

I grew up with plenty of time to start my day with Bible reading and prayer. I was probably 6 when my church sent home weekly schedules for doing so, and I started getting in the habit of doing a little bit every day. 
I was 11 when a young lady from that church started a discipleship group and encouraged us to make it the first thing in our day, thereby putting our focus on God as soon as we woke up.
It was simple, and I did it, until I was 18. Somewhere in there the first part of the day bit slipped...though one year in college my goal was to pray for at least an hour every day, and that was actually possible. (I don't remember if I quite managed 365 hours of prayer, but I do know I was very close.) It wasn't quite the absolute, first-thing-as-soon-as-I-wake-up, but it was definitely something I worked to keep up with at some point during the day.

One of my goals year 1 of med school was to figure out how to implement 
a solid prayer time every day, and get back in the habit lest it slip away from me completely.

Guess which happened. 

Something I'd noticed for sure by the middle of June was that I didn't Somewhere in my brain yeah, I still wanted focused time to read the Bible and pray, but as far as putting it first, before I picked up another book, before I spent time on email, before crashing into bed at midnight and falling asleep to Alexander Scourby reading my chosen chapters for the day...I had no desire strong enough to change my behavior one bit. 

I was busy, you know. I had stuff to do as soon as I woke up. I' it later...

But at this point I looked at my scores and laughed. I couldn't see less improvement if I did nothing and praying for an hour a day might at least beat back the depression a little bit. (Wow, nothing like a little helplessness in the face of unreasoning misery to send me running to my Shelter. Pathetic.)

So I started praying for an hour a day and I moved my test to July 7th. 

Another thing I picked up from the young lady I mentioned - she was crazy about hearts, and she used them as a reminder of God's incredible love for us. I liked the idea, and seeing a heart anywhere in nature always reminds me of the same thing. 
During this mess, my mom went for a walk, and as she walked she was praying about me and this stupid test and my horrible scores...and as she finished she thought I wonder if I can find any heart rocks for her? She looked down at that moment, just finishing her prayer, and lying directly at her feet where two small stones shaped like hearts. 

I set those stones by my books and I prayed and studied and prayed some more.

I started asking that I'd pass my next two practice tests - my Gideon's fleece for whether or not I could take the actual exam. Whether I was supposed to take the actual exam. If there was actually any kind of a chance I could possible pass  the thing itself.

A friend of my mom's posted this on facebook, and I started realizing once again that I'd let fear creep in until it was too strong for me to deal with - and that was wrong
(and seriously this could be my theme song for med school...)

The week ended, I sat down on the couch and reviewed a set of notes one more time.

About those heart rocks. 
Hearts were kind of "her" reminder (and that of every girl in her discipleship groups and conferences who'd heard her speak), and while they still were a reminder of God's love, eventually I'd chosen feathers as a more specifically personal reminder. (Psalm 91 is one of my favorites.) 

I studied on that couch all morning, I got up to get ready for my next practice test, and when I came back there was a feather laying on the seat. 
Where I'd been sitting all morning and seen nothing.

Then I picked up the Bible on the table next to me, considering reading a chapter before I started the test. It opened to Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears.
it's especially funny when my dad's name is David

Anyway, I took the practice exam, and I passed it. 

To put this in perspective, from my baseline in March to the end of June, I'd come up 10 points. This practice exam was from a different source, but according to it, I'd come up 34 points in 6 days.

I (and everyone praying with me) was thrilled. I went back to studying pretty much sure I had it now. I'd prayed to pass these two and the first was awesome and amazing. One more to go and then the real thing and then a week of break and on to rotations!

Things were looking up, and I was starting to feel better. (I realized how bad it was when my younger sister started singing For the first time in sister's "almost hungry"!)
I sat down to my next practice exam.

I'd gone back to the official practice exams, and while I was still 8 points higher than I'd been two weeks ago, I'd come down 16 points. No longer in the realm of okay.

Color me now very confused and absolutely exhausted. Why, if God knew I was going to fail, did He let me pass the first one? I could have spent the past week figuring out my new schedule, canceling rotations, etc. Instead of smashing my head against a wall of learning that was clearly not going to let me through anytime soon. 

I went to bed and got up and did nothing for a solid day. Including contact my advisors with the score and start the process of dismantling my third year. 
Mostly because my mom wanted me to take one more practice exam. 
I kinda figured I'd already "put out two fleeces" and the answer was a pretty obvious NO...but honoring one's mother is kinda a command...and it wasn't like I was going to pass anyway. 

Except I did.

Now more confused than ever. 
But there were my two passing scores. And when I checked, a new testing day had opened up at the end of the week at the testing center where I took the MCAT, giving me 4 more days to study.

I called my advisor. 

He went and conferred with someone else.

(I would bet you money this was their meeting...)

but they agreed that was what I should do.

and that's what I did. 

I ended up at the same computer where I'd taken the MCAT, and I spent 8 hours there, and the wave of exhaustion I was waiting for never even hit me. (If my current wide-awake status is any indication, I may never sleep again.)  

I don't know how I did, and I won't for quite a while. I could end up having to reschedule my 3rd year and retake the exam after all that. If I do, yeah, I will probably be rather upset. 

But even if that happens it won't change the things I learned this summer. It won't destroy the time I've been able to spend praying and reading my Bible. It won't undo the fact that God got my attention about a lot of things (I plan on putting them in another post because this one is already way too long.) and reminded me of a lot of things I shouldn't have forgotten.

So, y'know. As far as what my third year in medical school will look future in general...

But I'm pretty sure it's going to be good.

Because He is.


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