There's nothing that impacts me more than stories. I love hearing the way Christ works in my friends lives and I believe that living out our faith is one of the best ways to witness. Sometimes it's scary to share our stories.. but I believe God is glorified when we are courageous enough to be bold and share with others what He has done in us. For me, I have a LONG ways to go but this is some of the beginning.
I was blessed to be raised in a Christian family since a young age. I have parents that pray over me and teach me patience and generosity. I don't know who I'd be without them. But that doesn't mean I've always been close to God or that my spiritual life has always been easy.
I've had a few people ask me if I've always been "good"? And my answer to them is what kind of question is that? No one is good but God and I've had my own struggles with anger, depression, impatience, and jealousy. But growing up, I loved Jesus. I had big dreams of being a missionary and saving the orphan kids. That's always been my dream since I was little. I wanted to help kids in the hospital by juggling for them and be a missionary. Somehow these little things have been written on my heart since a young age.
I was never popular in the social scene. Most people wrote me off for being too nice or too smart. That is until they saw me play volleyball or basketball- I really brought in the rage to give them a shocker then. Even though I didn't have a ton of friends, in partial because I mostly tried to do the right things, I wouldn't say that I made any big sacrifices for God when I was little- it was an easy walk. God was good to me and I followed him.
I got more serious about God when I went to summer camp. I wanted to really surrender everything. And it was after I got the opportunity to start working at camp that my spiritual life got a lot more exciting. I went through some challenging things each summer at camp. I met people who forever impacted the way I viewed myself both positively and negatively. I learned that not all summer camp staff are saints and I began to see the real world. But I also fell in love with Jesus more than I ever have. I absolutely LOVED mentoring young girls to walk with Him, telling them stories, acting in plays, lifeguarding all day at the lake. Summer camp has written itself on my heart. And the best memories I have with Jesus are there. There's just no other place where you develop such close relationships with friends, playing all day in the sun, and singing songs to Jesus and washing each other's feet, looking at the stars.. I thank God for so many opportunities and leadership positions summer camp helped give me which prepared me so much for other parts of life.
I had always had a plan for my life and I thought it would be simple to get through. I was saluditorian of my high school class and most of my teachers thought I would do an intense career or something. I thought I wanted to do PT and seemed to have my life perfectly planned out. When I got the opportunity to go to Peru after my freshman year I eagerly said yes. Parents and friends warned me I was too young to go, but I felt called by God and ready.
That year in Peru changed my view of the world. I met orphan children who ripped my heart in two. Taught swimming lessons to children whose lives were the definition of poverty. I overcame my fears of the medical field unwillingly with many tears, slowly learning to love in uncomfortable and totally awkward ways. I fell in love with missions and travel. That year wasn't easy though. I learned I wasn't very strong, I wasn't a superhero, couldn't save the world, couldn't even save one child. But I learned who God was. He was strong, He was able, and He was merciful. Again and again I fell that year and He picked me up. I prayed that year a new prayer I'd never prayed before "Lord take everything and change my heart. Take away the old me and make me new with your love. I don't want to live the easy life anymore. I want to follow you."
I remember one night lying outside at the orphanage hungry, lice filled, and smelling awfully terrible, but looking at the stars, and knowing without a doubt that God didn't want me to do PT. That night was the beginning of a journey to find out what God wanted from me. Simply this: EVERYTHING. God asked me to do the career I hated and despised most. The job I made fun of. To be a nurse- which was to me the lowest of low, the dumbest of dumb, the dirtiest of dirtiest. I had no desire and no intentions of working as a nurse. I hated shocks, despised doctors, ivs, naked bodies, urine, emesis, and bed baths. I prayed NO God anything but that. That would be so humbling, so low, anyone could be a nurse.. I wanted to do something better.
I fought with God for months after that going back and forth with many majors and having no peace. Somehow the idea of being a nurse seemed to come to my heart and every time I would knock the idea down and stomp on it because that was the LAST thing I wanted. My friends laughed at me when I mentioned becoming a nurse because they knew I hated hospitals. My parents told me I should use some of my other gifts. But eventually.. I knew. After about 8 months of fighting God and a semester back in the states, I decided to apply to nursing school.
Once I applied I felt perfect peace in my heart. The application went through and I received a few confirmations from God I was following Him. From day one of nursing school I knew God was a comedian who loved humbling his children. I struggled to say the least! I couldn't sleep nights before clinicals and was constantly full of anxiety. Memorization is not my gift and I had to put in many hours to learn nursing drugs. I hated level 1- only surviving through prayer.
Two and three slowly and steadily went by. Nursing school has had to be one of the hardest things I've ever done. It's everything that's uncomfortable to me combined. Things I've never imagined you have to do- and act like it's totally normal while your helping someone dying to the bathroom? That's not ok! But in the little things God has given me miracles to baby step me through the process and over all time and time again I look for Him and He says Brooke I got you.
I didn't bring you here to fail you. I have a plan different than yours. He reminds me daily. The past three years I've been able to lead a ministry where we do visit kids in the children's hospital making them smile and laugh. He reminds me that he is faithful in completing what He starts in me. I've learned I'm weak, I'm scared, but I'm going to stay faithful to God. I'm in level 4 and there's a dim light at the end of the tunnel. Only with God's strength will this next part of my testimony be complete.