Thursday, October 4, 2012

For an incredibly special and brave family...

*I would like to dedicate this post to the Weinerlein family that is fighting a hard and difficult battle.
It may be a tad random and I do not understand the weight of your battle nor attempt to trivialise it in any way but my heart was with you as I wrote this and I wanted to dedicate this post to you.
I hope that you can find the purpose in your battle and that you may enjoy the humour in mine...*
Anyone who has ever received some form of education for any length of time will know the awful time of having to write the dreaded end of year exams. Now for us strange folk that hail from "Die Republiek van Onderstepoort"(i.e. vet school), end of year exams occur from early September till mid-October. I don't know if this is as a result of them drilling us so hard through the year that they know we would never really make it till December (certainly feels that way!) or if it is because our lecturers enjoy having their own lives and own vet practices to spend their year end focussing on, but either way this system has left me bogged down under the books for the past 4 weeks.
Needless to say, I have spent much of that time getting way too little sleep, eating far too much junk food and living in a room that is spectacularly clean due to the very real fact that scrubbing floors becomes a very useful form of procrastination when the books start to call.
It has been an incredibly up and down time for me emotionally too, as this years exams have been the hardest set of exams I have ever written. The length of time over which we write (6 weeks in total), combined with the sheer volume of work that each of my 10 modules present has transformed the past 4 weeks of my life into a series of desperate cramming/praying sessions as I am forced to face what feels to be an enormous sense of inadequacy.   
As every exam approaches and as every exam is written and "conquered" (with varying prospects of actually passing it) I have been forced to rely more and more not on my own sense of ability but rather on the infinite power that I can draw from God. It is absolutely amazing how much our faith can be increased in our times of desperation and apparant helplessness.
Now the concept of writing an exam to some may not seem all that challenging or warranting of the desperate scenario in which I have just described...
I, however, would challenge those individuals to be the one sitting the oral exam in which an external examiner is asking you to name (in latin) all the plant species that serve as differential diagnostic causes of blindness in cattle.
And of course, it is in that precise moment that your mind, after days of non-stop studying, chooses to conjure nothing more than pretty images of butterflies and fairies. 
We each have our own battles (and I am really not undermining yours), but this is one of my particular brands...
But nevertheless, God is faithful.
I have made it out of those said exams, in a cold sweat and a cloak of relief, with some prospect of passing and I have made it out of others with a certainty of failing and the hope of a supplementary exam.
All the while though, I know that God remains faithfull and near my side.
Life can be full of tough questions that feel like they have no answers and it can be full of the challenges in life that feel that can't be faced alone.
I can't tell you why that person you love got sick. I can't tell my friends in vet school why their best may turn out to not be good enough to get them through after 4 years and more money than they had to give to this dream.
And I can't tell you why my beautiful twelve and ten year old cousins (despite knowing that God loves them more than my human mind can comprehend) could be left with a disease that prevents them from being able to move their joints without being in almost unbearable pain. Nor why their parents should stand by, helpless, when I'm sure they would gladly carry the infliction on themselves if it meant that it could spare their children.. 
What I can tell you is that these situations don't feel like they are meant to be endured alone.
Because they aren't. And because you arent..
Regardless of your battle, God is with you.
And he loves you.
For me, sitting in a room with 2 lecturers and a series of impossible questions may seem scary. Untill I remember that there is someone else in that room who loves me enough to make it be ok, regardless of the outcome...
 The same someone who sits in the hospital room with you. The same someone who is right next to you, listening to you desperately pray out the big questions in life, the ones that seem to have no answer.
When I have been stressed for an exam, I take the time afterwards to go and walk a dog. Utterly random, I know, but as I walk this cute little beagle and as I watch her sniff out all the smells and interact with the variety of animals we have on campus, I always feel that God opens my eyes to the bigger purpose in my life.
For me, I know that God has called me to be a steward of the things of this life that reflect His glory.
And maybe He wants me to do that through being a vet. Maybe He doesn't. But despite the outcome of the exam or the battle, He is with me and He has a purpose. And watching the peace of animals helps me to see that.
He has a purpose for your life. He is with you through your struggles. And regarldess of the outcome of each little batlle, take the time to remind yourself of that.
Much love...