Monday, December 31, 2012

Word of 2012

A couple years ago, I was encouraged to pick a word for the year to use as a reminder, as an encouragement, and as a goal. The word for 2011 was "Kingdom". You can read about that HERE. Meditating on Kingdom that year resulted in me letting go of my kingdom/life in Chicago and moving back home to Texas in June 2011. Big change!!

In the fall of 2011, after a few months of looking for a job in Austin, I was telling God how frustrated I was at leaving Chicago - good job, ministry, friends etc - to come to Texas and struggled to understand. He clearly guided my thoughts to consider taking my eyes off of myself and asked me if I would find contentment in Him alone - not in a big city, great church, fun social things that Austin has to offer -but in Him.

Choosing the word for 2012...

This lead to my being willing to be made willing (ha) to look for a job in Temple (my home town - a city of about 68,000.) I had resisted it greatly and realized it was because I didn't want 'normal'. I wanted adventure, challenges, visible movements of God - and in my pride I thought that moving home was going to restrict God somehow. It was a pretty humbling process.

God did a visible miracle, though, one Saturday afternoon at the end of September 2011. I had planned a fun weekend in Austin. But then found out that my family was going to go to the Open House of the new Children's Hospital in Temple. I had no desire (still) to work in Temple or at the hospital (so odd since I love children). But I didn't want to miss out on taking my nephews for their first outing. I cancelled my Austin plans. We arrived at the hospital and all the fun kid stuff was outside. I planned on staying out there and didn't want to go inside (rebellious much?). However, the dust outside was bothering my mom, so I went inside with her. She asked me if I would go on the tour with her (all the moms - you know what she was up to!). So we made our way around the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.

Nice place, I was thinking, but that was about it. We got onto the elevator and found out that the 4th and 5th floors are identical, so we planned on just seeing one. I pushed '5' and a family came in after us and pushed '4'. When the doors opened on 4, my mom asked if I wanted to get out there. In that God-ordained moment (as I would soon discover), I said "Let's just get out here."

The 4th floor is an inpatient floor and it reminded me of when I was a nurse at Northwestern Hospital in Chicago. I was interested in how technology has changed. There were some hospital staff standing around to answer questions. I stopped and literally asked 2 simple questions about the technology to a young woman staff member.

After those 2 questions, the conversation went like this:
Her "Are you a nurse?
Me  "Yes"
Her  "Are you looking for a job?"
Me  "Um, yes." (insert 'God, what are you up to' thought)
Her  "Do you have leadership experience?"
Me   "Yes"
Her  "Night shift ok for you?"
Me   "Yes (no, but yes because I just want to see what you'll say next)
Her  "Hold on, let me get my boss"

She introduced me to Shawn, one of the directors. They had hired three Hospital Supervisors and needed one more. While they had interviewed others, the spot was still open. Right there, in the middle of the hallway, I had an on-the-spot interview! Mind you, I was in shorts, a tank top and my hair was piled on top of my head. :) Shawn then said that she wanted the Chief Nursing Officer to meet with me and tht she'd call me the next day.

Mom and I left the building just shaking our heads and kinda stunned by how God orchestrated that conversation. He guided me to get off on the 4th floor so that I would then run into Jaylee, who would be so bold to connect me (a stranger!) to Shawn!

Four days later, after almost 6 hrs of interviews, I was offered the job of Hospital Administrative Supervisor!

Ok - so then I knew I would be living in Temple and not Austin - and was aware that it would be a big adjustment.

So, the word of 2012 has been "Embrace".

I wanted to mentally and spiritually embrace life in Temple and not resist it. This word has REALLY helped me so much!!

Things I have embraced about living in my hometown:
~ 5 minute commute to work
~ able to see my family all the time
~ am smack dab in Central TX, so I take road trips a lot to see my friends in Austin, Houston and Dallas.
~ things are cheaper here
~ parking is a non-issue. In Chicago, it's part of your daily strategy to survive.
~ all the issues in a big city are here, too - child abuse, homelessness, poverty - and there are many ways to help and get involved. My job, specifically, gives me great opportunities to love on the children and to learn what the needs of the community are.
~ I don't have the view I had in Chicago (18th story view of city and Lake Michigan), but God gave me a great deal on renting a beautiful home with a yard in a quiet neighborhood
~ I can be anywhere I need to be in about 10 minutes (it sometimes took 10 minutes to take the elevator down to my spot in the parking garage and get to the first stop light).

Embrace was truly the perfect word for 2012. I made the concious effort almost every day to CHOOSE to embrace something, a lesson I hope to carry with me the rest of my life. The examples above are just the tip of the ice berg. Every day we are given many opportunities to choose to embrace what's in front of us, what is affecting us, what is available to us. So many times in my life I have wasted the opportunity to be grateful, to learn, to be challenged. Resisting takes more effort than embracing.

2011: Kingdom
2012: Embrace
2013: TBA!!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Why I said no to a free trip to Africa

God whispered to my heart yesterday.

I was struggling through what my answer should be regarding whether or not to go to Ghana for two weeks in October. Very generous friends invited me to join them for a 2 week trip to Ghana and offered to pay for it!! Wow. The opportunity to return to Africa, the land I LOVE, for Free!!

I felt the Lord was giving me freedom to make the choice, but I desired to please Him and to be at peace.
Before I left Chicago, a dear woman blessed me with a book: Handbook to Prayer by Kenneth Boa. It provides many Scriptures to pray through every day. Yesterday this was a section given:

"Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" God said to Solomon, "Because this was in your heart and you have not asked for riches, wealth or honor, nor for the life of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to judge My people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge will be given to you." 2 Chronicles 1:10-11

These words encouraged me because I felt that God had been sooo silent in this month of prayer regarding Ghana. But after reading this, I knew that God was telling me that He delights in giving us wisdom and knowledge when we ask in pure motives. Aha! Motives. Here is what followed(no kidding):

Holy Spirit: "Erin, what is so appealing to you about this trip to Ghana?"

Erin: "Well, it is a free trip. It is to Africa. It is with friends I love."

Holy Spirit: "Those are good reasons. But are those pure reasons? By going on this trip, will your gifts and abilities I have given you be really used?"

Erin: "I don't really know what they are going to be doing on the trip. They invited me last minute, so they really don't need me. But it is FREE.

Holy Spirit: "Do you think I am limited by money?! Do you not think I will provide for you when the time is right to return to Africa?? Will this trip to Ghana be the wisest use of the gifts I have given you: abilities, passions, money, time??

Erin: (silence)

Holy Spirit: "The reasons you gave to go to Ghana are all about you. Serving Me should never be about you."

Erin: "Wow. Ok, true. Thank You for showing me! Ok, not going to Ghana" ((peace))

Hmmm, got my attention big time. I immediately then shifted to the opportunity I have to go to California to attend a Global Forum on Human Trafficking in October (someone offered to pay for my plane ticket). I felt so excited about this because I am secure in fact that the Lord is asking for laborers in this harvest field and that I have been praying to be put to work! I knew the Holy Spirit was confirming that THIS is what He is providing for at this time. I will also get to visit a sweet friend, Bonny, who just moved to California! Ha ha! I LOVE how God is SOOO personal, SO loving!!

So Amen and Halleluyerrr. I have SUCH peace now and am just so thankful that He desires ME.

"May I not be worried and troubled about many things; only one thing is needed. Like Mary, may I choose the good part; which will not be taken away from me." Luke 10:41-42

The good part, as Mary displayed, is being at the feet of Jesus and reveling in His presence. All else will fade away, but He will never leave.

Love, Erin

PS - Sooo many times I have wanted to post something here, but then think "so much is going on, it is hard to catch up and where do I start?". But writing/typing is so therapeutic for me that I just need to do it! And hope you can follow!

PPS -Oh yeah, God spoke to me in a dream last night!! I am praying through it and will get back to you about that. ;)

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Saying Good-Bye to Chicago and Hello to Texas - in pictures

I arrived in Texas last week! I am staying at my parents house while I get my TX nursing license reactivated, look for a job, and look for a place to live in Austin. Below are picture albums from my last couple weeks in Chicago and my first week home in Texas. Title of the album is followed by a link. On each picture, you can see the caption by scrolling the mouse over the pictures. If we aren't already 'friends' on Facebook, feel free to connect!  Enjoy!

This is Me Not Packing

Road Trip

Welcome Home

New Life In TX

Friday, April 22, 2011


If you receive my blog updates via email, you'll need to click on "Erin's Entry" to view the powerful video that goes along with the lyrics on previous post.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Go on up to the mountain of mercy

To the crimson perpetual tide

Kneel down on the shore

Be thirsty no more

Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain

Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall

Cleanse your heart and your soul

In the fountain that flowed

For you and for me and for all


At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree

On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me

Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white

On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside, you will be delivered

At the foot of the cross justified

And your spirit restored

By the river that pours

From our blessed Savior's side


Go on up to the mountain of mercy

To the crimson perpetual tide

Kneel down on the shore

Be thirsty no more

Go under and be purified