Love letters are kind of a thing this time of year, but THIS is certainly one to read. I can guarantee you’ll see yourself and your present circumstances in a different light.
Whether or not you watched any of the 2018 Winter Olympics, there's a message here for you. I share a lesson gained from those athletes who didn't medal. I pray this speaks to you and encourages The Uncelebrated in stirring your passion and purpose.
*a special post from special guest Dr. Rachel Davis-Jackson* I was a little black girl born to a custodian and a laborer for a cement factory. At nine years of age, the Lord put a dream in my heart and I told my mother I was going to be a doctor. My father and mother divorced but my mom was a tough single mother. She made sure I stayed on track with grades. We weren’t rich but we weren’t poor either. My mom worked three jobs at times to give me all I needed and most of what I wanted. My mom brought me to church on Sundays and I went to catechism school. I completed all the lessons and ceremonies required by the Catholic church.
I was raised to be strong and independent. I have been working since I was 15 years old and obtained my license on my 15th birthday. I went through college without a break; working and studying. Looking back, I was driven. Didn’t realize at the time it was God’s dream in me driving me to fulfill my destiny.
I met my soon-to-be husband in my sophomore year of college and we were married by my 1st year of medical school. I knew of the Lord, because of my upbringing but did not have a relationship with Him at that time in my life. That goes to show you; God had a mission for me and He drove my life, my actions and my interactions from behind the scenes. He knew I would need a partner like Kevin.
When I met my husband, Kevin, I was at a point in my life that I didn’t want a boyfriend. Kevin knew way before I did that the Lord put us together. Even when I would tell him, “I just want to be friends.” He would always say, “I’m going to make you mine.” Obviously he did what he said. We were married for over 25 years.
The Lord revealed to me that not only had He placed in Kevin everything I needed to help me achieve my destiny, He also had placed in me, everything that I needed to give to Kevin. God placed in me all the love, patience, understanding and caring to repay Kevin for sufferings he endured early in life.
Kevin and I were married on December 29, 1990. Our marriage was filled with ups and downs. One of our biggest trials came on March 10, 1993. Our first child together was born at 26 weeks, 1 pound, 8.5 ounces. The doctor gave her less than a 50% chance of survival. I was devastated and knew she would die.
Not my husband. He worked with some God-fearing, praying women. He went to work and they prayed together. My husband heard from God and from that time on all he would say was, “ She is going to be fine.”
She is better than fine. She is a smart, beautiful Baylor college graduate. During those times, I doubted Kevin’s faith and his relationship with the Lord. However, while my faith was tested and I was the one doubting God, Kevin had enough faith for both of us. We both had been raised in the church and had strayed away but through trials the Lord brought us back to Him.
We had two other children and I was on bedrest for months for both pregnancies. My husband worked and took care of me and the baby. With God’s help and strength we both survived very troubling times. I completed medical school, pediatric residency and a pediatric subspecialty training by 2002 and had three babies during this time. All of which we could not have accomplished without the grace of God. Kevin used to say, “Baby, it’s me and you against the world.” God’s Word says He will supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). Christ has always been there for me, even when I didn’t even acknowledge His presence as I do now.
My relationship with the Lord grew as we went through all those trials. After specialty training, I was working in a small NICU; definitely not being able to use all my skills and training. I had been praying for some time for the Lord to move me. His answer was to be content where I was and in due season He would move me. I did just that, I made the best of a less than opportune situation and early in 2006 things changed. The Lord told me to turn in my resignation and tell my job that I would be gone in six months. I obeyed and then started looking for another job.
I went on several interviews until the last one scheduled was in Oklahoma. I had never even considered Oklahoma as an option. My husband and I went on the interview. My prayer was, "Lord if this is where I’m supposed to be please tell Kevin too." I was sure he would never agree to move from Louisiana, after living in New Orleans for greater than 10 years, to Tulsa, Oklahoma. That showed me that what God has planned will come to pass, no matter what. After the interview, I asked Kevin what he thought. Without hesitation, he said, “Let’s try it, Bae.” I was floored. Long story short, we moved December 2006 and since being here, God has blessed me and my family above and beyond our wildest dreams. I started as just another newborn intensive care doctor with the group and the Lord promoted me to medical director of one of the two largest newborn intensive care units in the state of Oklahoma. I was doing what I loved to do, taking care of sick babies and being blessed by it.
My family and I have had our trials over the past 10 years but we also have had so many blessings and so much favor bestowed on us. For example, my oldest son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He went through two surgeries to remove it. I was terrified but I trusted God. I kept having to say, “Lord I believe, just help me with my unbelief.” (Mark 9:23-24) God does answer prayers. My son recovered from both surgeries with no deficits and he is healthy and cancer free to this day.
Remembering my trials and my blessings reminds me of what the Lord told me before we moved from Louisiana. “I will bring you into your land of milk and honey.” He also told me that He would give me the man of my desires in my husband. God did all that and more. My relationship with the Lord continues to grow and my relationship with Kevin just got better and better. My prayer was “Lord, bring Kevin and I closer together and closer to You.” We didn’t have a perfect marriage with no problems, but the last 10 years were the best of our 25-year marriage.
It seems the closer I got to God the more trials I have to endure. But His Word says, to whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48). I have to say that God is requiring a lot of me since He called the love of my life home to Him on July 26, 2016. Kevin had just made 52 one month prior.
It was unexpected and almost unbelieveable. My husband’s presence was always larger than life. He lived a blessed and highly favored life, especially the last 10 years. His absence was felt like a tidal wave in a calm sea. The love and support that I and my family received after his passing, was immense. To look back now, I know I could have not made it through this ordeal without the Lord supplying me with all my needs through so many wonderful people.
During this time, I have also had two beautiful grandchildren born, such a bittersweet blessing. They will never get to know PaPa who loved them before they were born. This has truly been the hardest trial of my life. I miss my mate of 30 years and husband of over 25 years. My children miss their father, who has always been father and mother to them when mom was working. By God’s grace and mercy, we are all hanging in there. Our broken hearts are mending slowly. My prayer is “God heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
My God has never failed me and I know with time and His presence in my life, I will be healed. I thank God for the time I had with Kevin and the three beautiful children we conceived and the one beautiful girl that is my child because she is Kevin’s. I know one day I will see my love again. In the meantime, I stand on God’s words, “I will give you beauty for ashes and double for your trouble.” (Isaiah 61:3-7 The Message)
A Little Thought From Heather:Our lives speak a message. I have half a blog post composed on that thought alone. But Dr. Jackson's life is a message I've received from for years now. I first met her during nursing school gaining some insight into the world of NICU Nursing as an extern in the summer of 2011. In addition to the beautiful views from our unit, another one of the "pros" on my list to work there was this neonatologist who took time to routinely write words of inspiration for the staff. I watched her gown-up for a lumbar puncture and after all protocols were followed for a time-out she paused, closing her eyes to pray. Not too much time passed till I was working as a NICU nurse caring for a terminally ill baby. Dr. Jackson came in the room, motioned for me to give her my hands, and we stood together and prayed over that little life together. Dr. Jackson has ministered to my life as I've observed hers. And the message she speaks through it is a beautiful testimony of God's strength and faithfulness through all of life's moments-- the ones of rejoicing and the ones of pain. I cannot express how grateful I am for her to share her story with us. I pray the Lord continues to use the words of her journey to encourage and strengthen you on yours. He is faithful.... in every season. ❤ Heather
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Sometimes I don’t want to write. Sometimes I attend to every other item on my to do list before I turn my attention over to the one that says, “write.” Sometimes I stare at a blank screen and wonder, “where in the world did all my thoughts just go?” So why do I keep doing it? Why do I continue this process?
Because I’m called.
It’s the same reason I roll out of bed at five in the morning, put on those scrubs and stand on my feet for twelve-hour shifts. It’s not because I always feel like it. It’s because I’m called.
Similar process applies to those hours I spend piecing together presentations for the diverse speaking opportunities I’ve been blessed to receive. I enjoy the experience with the people, but the discipline to develop something for them is a commitment I am called to.
See work isn’t merely about making money. It’s about much more. It’s about what we’re called to do. What fulfills our purpose, what we can contribute, what gives us value and a sense of self-worth. It’s the reason we give extra without expecting to see it in our next check or maybe without anyone even knowing.
Working is just good. It adds value to our lives. Think about it. What would the opportunity to rest really mean to us if we never had anything to rest from?
Several years ago I remember traveling with my husband and some of his co-workers to Los Angeles for business. The trip ended up being a reoccurring once-a-month visit over a two year period for my husband, so I was able to return a few more times with him alone, but this particular trip we were with the group and the group wanted to visit Venice Beach. One of the guys seemed so impressed with his comments in regard to the expensive real estate and his assumptions that many of the residents were trust fund kids. The potential of living a life on a trust fund just makes me feel sad.
People joke about it, but really, could you imagine waking up every day and not having anything you needed to do? Yes, we work to meet our financial needs, but the contribution made in the process is far more lasting.
I got to look into the faces of some of those making such contributions yesterday morning. Through the opportunity to speak for a group of teachers, I was given the chance to declare the difference my elementary school teachers made in my life sharing how they provided a piece of normalcy when everything else was far from normal.
School is a normal part of a kid’s life. In those times I was able to attend after the accident, I had the chance to sit at a desk and feel a little bit normal. There I was exposed to far more than a teacher’s educational instruction. I encountered acceptance, security, love and compassion- all from the individual teaching the class. It was emotional for me recalling just how very much they meant to me in that very dark season of life.
Many of us have those feelings about teachers. They are downright fabulous! But what is also pretty fabulous is that you’re called too! It may not necessarily be in what you get your paycheck for, but you’re called and your contributions make a difference.
Whether interacting with others or tending to something that makes life beautiful for another, you have abilities, gifts and talents within you to use. Using them will bring you the most satisfaction life can offer.
Proverbs 13:4 NIV A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
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