How Did I Get Here?

Picture this –

I am a girl of 9 years old.  A man is speaking to our congregation one Sunday about a ship he lives on and travels the world with, performing surgeries for the world’s poorest nations.  His PowerPoint presentation has pictures of the ship, the people of the nation they were currently working in, pictures of his family.  I watch, wide-eyed, amazed.

I tap my daddy on the hand and he leans down to hear what I have to say.

“Daddy,” I whisper, “I want to work for them one day.”

“Well, you better go to school to be a doctor, then.”  He replies.

"together" Photo Credit: Spirit Fire via Flickr

“together” Photo Credit: Spirit Fire via Flickr


Fast-forward past all the heart-break and trying times of my teenage years and early-20s.  Of course, I didn’t go to Medical School; and I lost sight of my goal temporarily in-between.

I’m sitting in my very own office at Claims Administrative Services (A Worker’s Compensation TPA). It’s a good job, one that any 25 year old girl would love to have.  I’m Corporate Trainer, I’m making a decent income, I have finished school, I’m very respected in my field.  And I’m utterly unfulfilled.

At the time, I was married about a month.  He tells me “I’m going into Officer Candidate School for the US Air Force… you should figure out what you want to do.” As if I wasn’t doing what I wanted to do…

God had been weighing on my heart for a while that I was not where I belong.

The very next day I’m conversing with a friend about moving on; I had given my two-weeks notice.  She says something that I was already planning to do – to check on LinkedIn for jobs in the area we were planning to move to.  In true Brian nature (which I was, and am, only starting to discover), he changed his tune about the Air Force.  He says it will be at least a year before he hears anything for sure.  That means that I wasn’t moving anywhere for at least a year!

I’m clicking around LinkedIn, and at the very top of the list: Curriculum Developer for Mercy Ships.  The 9-year old girl lights up.  I click apply.

Rocks in My Pocket

Today is Easter Sunday.  Brian and I went to church, and sat by a woman and her little girl. Elizabeth, the little girl, liked everything that I liked, but wanted to hear none of the things that Brian liked.  She asked a million little questions, until her mom quietly shushed her.

We were given a tiny little pebble at the beginning of the service.  They were supposed to be representative of the harbored thoughts, sins, etc. that hinder us in our walk with Christ.  When we took Communion, we were supposed to lay them on the altar, but I forgot mine in my pocket.  It’s not often I wear a dress with pockets.

So as I was changing into my “regular” clothes after church today, and thinking how terrible my allergies are this year (seriously – I’ve NEVER had allergies before this year, and they kill), I found the pebble in my pocket.  I started thinking – If I really had a pebble for every sin, bad thought, grudge, or angry feeling I’ve ever had, I could probably own all the rocks on the planet.  So what makes this rock so special?

This pebble represents the thing that is a burden right now. If I pray for one problem that I have right now, and ask the Lord to take that away, then I can move on to the next.  And then the next.  It all starts with the first one.

So, what does this pebble represent for me? Considering it is six days until my anniversary, I think the pebble represents how I speak to Brian.  And how funny I thought it was that the little girl next to us didn’t care what he had to say.

I think her mom was trying to help me out when she answered the questions about who my favorite person was with “it’s probably her husband.”  And she’s right.

Image

654 – Pebble Art. Photo Credit: Pshutterbug via Flickr

What does your pebble represent today?

Why am I blogging? A Penny for My Thoughts…

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Here are several.

Grace before and after; Photo Credit Ruben Plomp

Photo Credit Ruben Plomp, Grace before and after

The Blind See; Photo Credit: Debra Bell

The Blind See; Photo Credit: Debra Bell

Ravette Before and After;  Photo Credits: Debra Bell and Josh Callow

Ravette Before and After;
Photo Credits: Debra Bell and Josh Callow

The M/V Africa Mercy

The M/V Africa Mercy

But even more than that, I want to share what He is doing in my life.  I hope you’ll follow along and see His work in your own life.

Thanks for reading!

Cassie

I Jumped the Gun – an Introduction

Hi!  I’m Cassie. I write curriculum for Staff Development for Mercy Ships – in Lindale, TX.  Hard to believe, I know… the world’s largest NGO hospital ship operates from a small town in East Texas, 5 hours from the nearest coast line – and that’s if you’re driving pretty fast.

But here I am, trying my best to live by the 2000 year-old model of Jesus – loving the world’s forgotten poor, by supporting those who are serving them.

Some of you might be wondering why I am writing a blog.

I came from a Christian family.  I have done some pretty un-Christian things, and had some pretty un-Christian things done to me.  I lost faith.  After one (of a few) life changing experience, I am back on the right path – I hope!

So, the purpose for my blog is to share real life struggles, joys, triumphs, and a little about the amazing miracles I witness through my work with Mercy Ships in the hope that they might give someone unknown to me hope. It’s also to prove that we’re all imperfect, and if we just make an effort to shine some light into the dark places we have been, it can only get better.

I believe we all have a history; one that we might not be proud of.  We can’t change our pasts, we can only “rethink our thinking,” and change where we are headed.

Originally posted in About Me.

Stand Down, Loyal Soldier

Barry Brown came to Mercy Ships yesterday to rock our boat. I don’t think any of us expected to be shaken up, but he did it, at least for me.

This morning, we were talking about Wilderness (Mark 1:12-13)  – or the place the Spirit takes us after we discover our identity in Him, to participate in our spiritual development.  This is where the walk gets good.

He said that when you go through a wilderness moment as a child (or as an adult), a loyal soldier appears, to stand up, and make you strong enough to get through that trying time.  Think: an 8.5 year old boy who just lost his father being told that he is “the man of the house,” and he simply pulls up his breeches ad says, “if that’s what it takes.”

The loyal soldier is there.

The wilderness is meant to be a time of refining.  Whatever we were meant to deal with that remains after we exit the wilderness – whatever loyal soldiers remain standing – will be transmitted to (I prefer the term “inflicted on”) others. This is so important, and affects me daily.  Stefan and Erin talked with me about it after the Impfondo trip.  My loyal soldier is a soldier of defense.  He stands up and fights when I feel rejected after someone disagrees with something I say.  Or I perceive being excluded when, really, there is something else going on entirely.

I do it to people I care about – people I work with, people I’m friends with, and even Brian.

The trick is, knowing when the soldier is standing up, ready for a brawl, when the fight shouldn’t exist, and telling him to stand down.  Walking with Jesus is listening to the things that people tell me out of seeking to understand and compromise, not to feel like they have a personal vendetta to shoot everything I say down in a blaze of glory.

Knowing that this loyal soldier represents a weakness, a “hole” in my character, where the spirit can enter and strengthen me.

Stand down, loyal soldier.  I got this. – Jesus.