I am way past due in continuing my story. To be honest, I have been procrastinating. I have put it off because so many of the memories are hard. I have a lot of it already written, but there are gaps. There are parts that I still need to write.
This blog post is a continuation of a series started months ago. If you would like to start at the beginning you can click here for part one. Part two. Part three. And part four. Below is part five. Only Papa God knows how many parts there will eventually be… but this is one more step towards full obedience to what He has asked of me.
Losing My Grandfather: Death Strikes Again
During the spring semester of my ninth grade year of high school, I was once again spending time at the funeral home. It was a place becoming all too familiar.
To be honest, I don’t really remember what happened to my Pop. I know he never seemed to recover from the episode several years earlier, but my memories from this time period are foggy at best. All I really remember is spending several more days at the funeral home seeing family and friends, and yet another trip to the cemetery. This was becoming an all too familiar routine.
Goody-goody, self-righteous church girl/Grow up fast, having it all together, all the right answers
Boy did I think I had it all together in high school! I was in church every time the doors were open, including every youth meeting, event, trip or retreat. I served in leadership, helped with VBS and worked in the nursery. Religion was about keeping a list of what I can and can’t do, and of course staying busy with all the good things I could do for Jesus. In addition to all my church activities, I was also involved in the high school band, choir, show choir, play, several clubs at school, and was on the honor roll most semesters. My theory was that if I stayed busy enough I wouldn’t have to think about everything that had happened.
I was in a cycle of “go, go, go, go, go” then crash in sheer exhaustion. I wanted to do everything, and do it perfectly.
Dream of being a missionary doctor… desire to save the world
I’m not sure exactly when I lost the desire to be a dentist. Was it when Dad was diagnosed with cancer and could no longer practice? Or later when he passed away? By the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to be a doctor. More specifically, I wanted to care for babies and especially newborns. Even more specifically, I wanted to go to Africa and care for the babies and children who were dying of starvation and preventable diseases.
I don’t remember exactly when it was, but there was a missionary from Zimbabwe that spoke to my youth group. He brought pictures of Africa and talked about the work he was involved in there. I don’t even remember if he was part of a medical mission or not, but I know that was the moment the Lord put Africa on my heart. I had grown up seeing the news footage and commercials to adopt starving children in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa, but this was the moment that I knew the Lord was calling me to have a part in His plan for the hurting in the world.