Finding Peace in Change–Surgery Week.

Well, many of you know that after sitting down with the Dean of Admissions, and speaking once again with my surgeon, I was encouraged to defer a year of school. This has been pretty difficult to grasp. I just moved across the country again, to start school. I was excited to begin working toward a degree that I believe will help me most readily in my dream of helping those in modern-day slavery.

It’s hard to not feel like a failure or that I wimped out or that I gave up. I have never backed out of anything in my life…once I commit to something, I see it through. It was extremely hard to make the final call. I talked to several of my professors and they articulated how incredibly difficult it is to miss even one day of law school–and I was looking toward missing at least 5 days upfront. Also, while the surgery recovery is supposed to take 10 days, the ENT was clear that it could take some time to regulate my “fake thyroid” medication after surgery (I’ll be on this medication the rest of my life), and it is likely that I will be tired frequently. I will have radiation treatment about 6-8 weeks later, and that also looks like there will be a few days I’ll have to be down for the count. The Dean of Admin thought it was a wise choice to defer for medical reasons, which means that I have an automatic spot secured for next year.

With all of this in mind, it seemed unnecessary to struggle to hang on the first year of law school–a lot hinges on the first year and there were several other external factors that confirmed my decision:

  • Scholarships for your remaining years in school are determined by your grades your first year. I want to work toward being the top of my class.
  • The bar is mostly based on first year material.
  • I don’t want to just make it through the year–it’s essential to me that I truly understand the material. I want to know what I’m learning and not just frantically catching up.
  • I’ve been told several times that students develop study groups at the beginning of their first year that often carry out through all three years. I would be in surgery the end of the first week into the second and realize it is likely I will miss out on opportunities to connect with classmates from the beginning.
  • I’m really not on any time frame. Taking one year off at 22-years-old is not going to drastically change the outcome of my career. I’ve just never wanted to take any time off, because I have goals and I know what I hope to accomplish in the future.
  • If the doctor is trying to regulate my “fake thyroid” medication, I imagine it will be much more difficult if my stress level is through the roof with school.
  • I have been going non-stop for a very long time, and it could be very good for me to take a step back (I wouldn’t have made that decision on my own, without something health-related to stop me 😉 )

I know that this year is going to end up being something very special. I am going to make the best of it, and I am already extremely excited at all of the places I plan to go, people I plan to see, things I plan to do once all of this passes–whether it’s 6 months, 8 months, 10 months, etc. Whenever this passes, I’ll be ready to continue pursuing life at full force 🙂 :

  • Looking into an internship at International Justice Mission
  • Teaching percussion at the two high schools I’ve already started to help this year.
  • Riding my bike, just because!
  • Training for a mini marathon and/or decathlon
  • Writing more, taking pictures again, art projects with my roommate
  • Seeking a conversation partner to finally become fluent in Spanish
  • Spending more time with my family north of the city
  • Driving to Indy and spending time with my brother and sister-in-law and baby nephew (due in January!)!
  • Going to The Justice Conference in February! I have always wanted to go to this. It’s in Philly this year, assuming I can pull the money together for the ticket and travel, I can’t wait! I’ve always wanted to go.
  • Continuing to write articles from Halftime and freelance elsewhere
  • Jazz events in the city
  • WGI Finals 🙂
  • Participating in another Venture Expeditions trip!

I am also making sure over the next several months that I spend significant time alone, in reflection and prayer. I am opening my mind to what the Lord has in store for me, even if it may not be what I have been convinced of for so long. I am letting go of all of my expectations and remembering the journey and finding peace in the process. I pray that I am sensitive to my conscience and not stubborn in my goal-set ways. I’m already growing and learning.

My surgery is this Friday, August 31, and I’m really hope time passes fast between now and then. The anticipation and waiting is pretty rough. I’m SO thankful that my parents are able to fly in this week from northern California to be here during the process. I am so blessed to have them. I love them dearly.

My parents and I at Biola graduation– May 2012

My lovely parents

25 People Cycling for 27 Million Slaves

“The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasm of charity; they need our long obedience in the same direction. They need our legs and lungs of endurance.” Gary Haugen, President of International Justice Mission

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I’ve been in Cincinnati, Ohio, since Wednesday evening, preparing with 25 cyclists to ride from Cincinnati to Washington DC. We are riding to raise awareness about modern day slavery and raise money for International Justice Mission (IJM) and their efforts in fighting human trafficking and modern day slavery today.  If you want to learn more about why I am doing the IJM Freedom Tour, check out this post.

Wednesday, three of us were picked up in Chicago with the group driving one of the support vans from Minneapolis, MN to Cincinnati. Training began Thursday and during the last few days, we have learned the story of Venture Expeditions (the organization we are cycling with), and more deeply the vision behind their slogan “Benefit the world. Discover your soul.” I am so thankful for the leadership of this organization and the vision they so vibrantly pursue.

One of the most memorable days was when Karen, our IJM representative, spent the day with us, sharing with us the extent of modern day slavery, and also giving us the most up-to-date information on their efforts combating it. It was also hopeful hearing the impressive growth IJM has experienced in recent years, especially as a non-profit, despite the economy. The organization is so remarkable to me, because they approach global issues with such excellence and diligence. Every angle is taken care of, from rescuing victims of slavery, providing aftercare for those victims to even working on structural reform to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. It is a LONG, grueling process, but they are so committed to every aspect. They really are changing the world.

There are more slaves today than at any other point in history–nearly 27 million children, women and men.

Yesterday was also incredibly challenging emotionally and spiritually. We went to The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and not only walked through exhibits of past slavery, but they had an impressively-moving exhibit about modern slavery. It was incredible.  If you’re ever in Cincinnati, Ohio, I HIGHLY recommend going. It will change your perspective.

Walking to the Freedom Center

Our team at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Tomorrow we embark on our journey to Washington, DC. Cycling nearly 100 miles a day, through the Appalachian Mountains. Please pray for our perseverance and for our cause. Please pray that we remember those we are riding for. If people can be trapped in slavery, if women can be raped daily, if children can be bonded by labor, we can ride 500 miles on their behalf.