The Amazing Race- almost.

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13282564_10153556356682513_363739364_oThe Amazing Race has begun!

I was so excited to be a part of it again this year. I was assigned the 1st roadblock on Margitsziget Island right in the middle of the Danube River. I, along with several other girls left for the island while everyone else left to pick interns up at the airport. I was in charge of a station where intern teams had to compete against each other in a human chess game.

I woke up not feeling very good, and that “not very” turned into terrible by the time I was set up for interns to arrive at my station. Food poisoning…? Stomach flu..? Either way, I quickly ran out of Hungarian Forint at the pay-per-use restroom in the park. The woman collecting the money was giving me sympathetic looks, but still asking me for coins. Sigh.

Do you ever have those moments when you think, “Ok, God. You keep the planets aligned. Could you have picked a better time to allow the flu? Like not in the middle of the Amazing Race? Like in a place where restrooms are free to use?

I have so many of those moments in my life. Obstacles and roadblocks always seem to come at the worst possible times. All I can do with those moments is to trust that God loves me- and that if I got the flu now, he had to have a reason for it.

We had one intern that was arriving an hour late, and one of my co-workers, Aleisha, came to my station to drop her off and arranged to have me pulled off my station and put in the shade at the finish line to rest (ironically, in Josh’s Fusion van- the one we sold a million pounds of cookie dough to help him buy).

So for anyone else, this would mean a good night’s sleep and then back to the race the next day. I am unfortunately not in the category of “anyone else”.

There is a struggle in my work with JV that I haven’t wanted to share with everyone in my life. Like, you know, writing about it in a blog 🙂 I was really convicted about transparency yesterday though. There’s something really freeing about not having anything to hide or protect, and I really believe God wants us to live in as much truth and freedom as possible. So here goes.

If you’ve known me very long, you know that I have a medical problem that makes it hard for me to regulate my blood pressure. About 8 years ago I took college students to Mexico and picked up a stomach bug that turned out to be some random virus that damaged my autonomic nervous system. This is the part of your body that controls things you don’t think about- like blood pressure. When you sit down, all the blood in your body collects in your legs and feet because of gravity. When you stand up, your autonomic system tells your blood vessels to constrict so that this blood fights gravity and is pushed up into your brain. That doesn’t work well for me, so when I stand up nothing constricts and my heart beats really fast to get blood up to my head so I don’t faint.

It took me several years to figure out how to live with this well. Medications and IV fluids to keep my blood pressure up have worked well- and in the past 4-5 years I have had almost no symptoms or issues.

Then I started to fly overseas with JV.

Every time I flew over or back I had problems with this again. So my cardiologist and I started brainstorming ideas to make it possible to fly well. Being a scientist at heart, I charted out all the things that trigger this problem and I researched every possible way to prevent those triggers.

For this trip, I did everything I knew to do to be healthy. I ate specific foods, I adjusted my sleep schedule to be on European time before I left, I got IV fluids before my flight out….

I was doing well. And then the flu happened. Dehydration is enemy #1 for me, and there comes a point where nothing will fix that but IV fluids. So I was pulled completely from the race and driven to Czech to get these IV fluids.

I had done everything in my power to prevent any problems- and then the flu happened. Once again, a reminder that no matter how hard I try to control things in my life that I can’t. I was curled up in that van and talking to God about how hard I’d tried- and how it all unravelled right at the beginning! I had several hours to talk with him about this, and the end result was, “I give up. Have thine own way Lord. You unravelled my plans and I will trust you in this.”

I spent 4 hours the next day in the car with Aleisha. Aleisha is the JV International Camp Director and one of the overseas people I work most closely with, and I had never had a chance to really get to know her. Those four hours were an incredible opportunity to get to know her better- and I can’t imagine any other scenario when the two of us would have a 4 hour block of time to just talk about things other than work. And we needed to talk about things other than work. We needed to become friends.

Once we arrived, my Czech friend Martina (the event coordinator and planner for JV) translated for us with the doctor and got me IV fluids with hardly any obstacles.13324046_10153556357522513_2009882175_o

Today I am sitting out on the deck of Malenovice drinking ginger ale and waiting for the interns to arrive for Intern Training. I see the blessing in the interruption of my plans. I see God teaching me that in my weakness He is strong. Teaching me that it’s ok to need other people to help sometimes. Teaching me that honesty and transparency mean that people can pray more specifically for the things I am struggling with- and I can pray more specifically for them.

The interns will arrive tonight at about 9. They will be here until Wednesday and I ask you’d pray for them to continue to grow together as teams that are united to bring the hope of God to young lives this summer.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9




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