Monday, January 24, 2011

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." ~Isaiah 55:8

Well... It was definitely not my intentions of going two months before making a second entry into this thing. It blows my mind how fast and easily time gets away from me. Well, most of the time I should say. But I'm sure it has absolutely nothing to do with how ridiculously slow I am at doing things, all the time, haha. I never really realized the intensity of this characteristic about myself until spending the weekend in Destin with my mom and sisters Christmas shopping. It seems like everywhere we went, they would be out of the car and to the door of the store before I even opened my car door to get out. It's amazing how fast they move. Ask them and they'll tell you it's amazing how slow I've always moved haha! But hey, no worries, I know when it's important to pick up the speed a little. With this being said, I finally have the opportunity tonight to sit down, take my sweet time and write about what's been going on in my life lately.

It seems life the last few months has been rather eventful, for a lack of better words. I do not like the words "stress" or "worry". I believe they are words of the enemy. And I hate to use them in regards to myself, life or anyone close to my heart. Yet, somehow they seem to knock on my door from time to time. I do my very best not to open it and certainly not let it in. However, I will say these last few months brought on eventful situations that made keeping that door shut very difficult.....

Shifting gears a little, I am proud to say I am once again an Aunt to another beautiful little boy. My brother, Hunter and his wife, Audrey welcomed HARDY WAYNE HARPER into the world on November 28 weighing four pounds. Sadly, the little guy came 6 weeks early which made for a "stressful" and "worrisome" following two weeks. It is an awful feeling knowing a brand new life is struggling to live and there is absolutely nothing you can do for the little one, except pray. If you know me well you know my love for my nephews and niece, therefore it just about killed me having to wait two weeks to meet the little guy, while praying he would be ok in the meantime. Those two weeks made for very long days and nights. Thankfully little Hardy got to come home before Christmas and he is doing fantastic now!! I believe he actually weighed in at almost a whopping nine pounds this week! Hunter and Audrey are doing great and they fall even more in love with him everyday. But what's not to love..... he is such a cutie!

Hardy Wayne Harper
A week after Hardy came home from the hospital, I was informed of some heartbreaking news. Jamie Gaillard, one of my very best friends from college, was given a week to live. She was diagnosed with Leukemia in March of 2010 and spent most of the year in the hospital. She received two bone marrow transplants which were unsuccessful and her body became too weak to handle another attempt. A week before Christmas she took a turn for the worst as her organs showed steady, increasing signs of failure and there was nothing else to be done medically. Jamie continued to fight very hard. She did not want anyone to give up hope. She believed and prayed for healing up until she slipped into a comatose state. And she asked the same of those in her life... to not give up hope or stop praying and believing in the power of Christ. The week before Christmas my best friends from college and I were able to go and spend a day with Jamie in the hospital while she was still alert and conscious. Those hours we spent with her could not have been anymore perfect. We laughed, talked, cried, looked at old pictures, took new ones, watched old videos, told old and new stories, listened to Jamie talk, hugged, and got on our knees around her bed and prayed to God together. Jamie made it through Christmas and New Years but went to be with Jesus on January 3rd.

 The Lords plans for us are not always the plans we have for ourselves. If you read the Word of God, aka the Bible, in states that clearly in Isaiah 55. "Your ways are not My ways," declares the Lord. This concept is so simple to understand yet so difficult to accept. Especially when it means Him taking someone so dear away from us at such a young age. It is human and impossible not to ask why. Why did Jamie get cancer? Why did God not heal her? Why do "bad things" happen to "good people?" Why does God allow "bad things" to happen to an innocent child or a helpless elderly? Why is life easy for some and hard for others? Why do people take their own lives? Why are some people healed and others are not? Why was Jesus innocently tortured physically and verbally? Why was he beat to the rim of death and then hung to suffocate? Why did God allow this to happen to His only child?

This heartbreaking experience with Jamie has caused many, many, many questions to flood my mind day in and day out. And I keep going back to the gospel of Jesus. Without knowing the story of the gospel of Jesus Christ, those "why" questions are simply unable to be answered. Life simply does not make a bit of sense and never will unless you know Jesus. This brings me to another question- How do people live this life without having Jesus in their lives? I have never been so appreciative of my beliefs as I am now. I now have a glitch of understanding of how immensely great His love is for me and why. I know what it means to depend on God.... To trust Him when nothing makes sense or when it feels He failed me. To depend on God is to have peace in times of distress. What does one have during disastrous times if they do not have Christ? Alcohol, food, drugs, sex, or whatever else can temporarily take one to a state of euphoria where the circumstance can escape them for the time being.  It is ever so clear to me now that there is nothing we can fill ourselves with in attempts fix the problem of pain, hurt, anger, depression, sadness, and confusion other than Jesus Christ himself.   Nothing else will ever satisfy or bring peace like Christ does. 

College days with Jamie

I miss Jamie. Lots. I think about Jamie every morning and every night while I'm laying in bed. I think about Jamie throughout the day as I see and hear things that remind me of her. This experience has changed my heart more than any other experience in my life. I have never been the emotional roller coaster type, but I will humbly claim that I have been since her death. I didn't know how great of a friend I had until after she was gone. I saw Jesus in Jamie a lot of the time before she even got sick. I saw Jesus in Jamie even more during her sickness. And I see Jesus in Jamie most now that she is gone and with Him. I want to always remember the goodness that was in Jamie from her personality, dreams and goals to her relationship with God. There is no better way to remember those characteristics in her than to now make them a part of myself and I plan to strive for that everyday.  I spent so much time thinking about her during her sickness and praying God would heal her, but I had no idea what a great work He would do in my heart through Jamie's circumstances.  I have learned a new meaning of faith.  I have witnessed what being fearless looks like and for that I am truly thankful.  Jamie's pastor stated during her Memorial Service that God knew Jamie better than anyone and He saw that this world was not worthy of Jamie.  She deserved much more than anything this world could ever offer her.  I left her funeral chewing and holding on to those words because they were powerful and true. 

I do not believe we will ever fully understand this life on earth or ever be completely content because we were not made for this life. We were made for another life, a life where all will be perfect because we are with The Creator of our souls in heaven.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Last Decade.

As I've always enjoyed a good book, I've also enjoyed writing, although one may not know it. My experiences with writing have been more like love notes, letters to friends, or prayers on paper, however it is my hope that someone will find my writing somewhat entertaining. With saying that, I figured I'd jump on the wagon with the others who have been suckered into the ole Blog life. And I have a feeling I'm going to enjoy it a little too much. Maybe this new past-time will replace my precious time I so often find myself wasting on facebook. We shall see...

It's been almost five years since I've written a paper for college and this reminds me a lot of that. It seems the introduction was always the most challenging part for me. Why is it so tough to get started? I'm anxious to tell you about what is going on in life right now yet I know I need to recap the past before bringing you up to date. I suppose a good "starting point" would be to briefly cover the last decade. Why decade? Because believe it or not, it has almost been TEN years since my high school graduation. That is insane, people! I still feel 17 sometimes! we go.

 After spending a glorious 13 years at Brookwood School in Thomasville, I ventured off to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa where I completed my freshman year of college. Although I had the time of my life at Alabama, the Lord had other plans for me. So for various reasons, I transferred to Southeastern University in Lakeland, FL where I started my sophomore year. Besides giving my life to Christ, this was probably the best decision I've ever made. After receiving my undergraduate degree in Psychology from SEU, I moved back to Thomasville and landed a job at Archbold Northside Psychiatric Hospital where I worked for almost three years. What an eye opener and blessing my time there was. I learned a ridiculous amount about myself and the Lord through the broken lives of so many others. While working at Northside with a handful of nurses and doctors, I found myself entertaining the idea of becoming a nurse myself. So here I am- a dreadful, intense, sleepless and stressful two plus years of Nursing School later...... Haley Harper, RN. I graduated in June and after enjoying a month at the beach this summer, I started my Nursing career in Critical Care at the hospital here in Thomasville, Archbold Medical Center. And that in nutshell (a very watered down nutshell), has been my life this last decade.

I look forward to sharing with you the many joys that fill my soul at this point in my life. Such as the overwhelming faithfulness of Christ though I fall immensely short of His glory day after day... my only niece who is just a month old yet already my best friend... my four absolutely precious nephews... making my first home just the way I want it... my love and longing for the beach life... my one and a half year old golden retriever, Jude... the ministry of Young Life... my loving parents who spoil me way too much as a twenty seven year old... night shift work in the IMCU... my siblings and their spouses... my close friends- old and new...

Yes, it is a simple life I live.  Nothing extraordinary. But when I lay my head down at night, I thank God for the fullness that consumes and surrounds me.  Life is good.