Monday, October 22, 2012

Isaac and Ishmael

Just some thoughts that came to me... That can be applied for that which God has promised us.
- Isaac was the son of the spirit whereas Ishmael was the son of the flesh.
- Isaac was born out of a union ordained by God. Ishmael was a (wo)man ordained union between the consecrated and the gentile.
- Isaac was the son of the promise whereas Ishmael was never part of the plan.
- Isaac was part of a future that only God could see and Ishmael was an effort to try to make that something more 'tangible'.
- Isaac was the fruit of patience and waiting upon the Lord. Ishmael was the result of trying to 'speed things up'.
- Isaac was conceived in the perfect will of God whereas Ishmael was birthed out of human understanding.
- Isaac was to be the father of the greatest blessings and Ishmael rose to become his greatest obstacle.
- Isaac was humanly impossible, completely supernatural. Ishmael was humanly possible, completely natural.
- Isaac was the result of one man's belief in his God. Ishmael was the one time compromise on that belief.
- Isaac was the effect of the covenant between man and God whereas Ishmael was the union of man with his flesh.
- Isaac was the prince of royalty. Ishmael was the proof of the oneness with a slave.
- Isaac was to be a blessing to the nations. Ishmael was the selfish ambition for a personal dream.
- Isaac brought only laughter. Ishmael brought rebellion and strife.
- Isaac was a sign of change towards a higher identity. Ishmael was part of a lower past.
- Isaac came at the very time God promised. Ishmael was 'timed'. 
- For Isaac to receive his inheritance, Ishmael had to be sent away.
- Isaac stood for everything good and perfect. Ishmael was always a part of a problem/ struggle.
- Isaac fell in love with the things of God. Ishmael was controlled by the flesh.
Finally Isaac was the forefather of the Son of God. Ishmael was the father of earthly kings.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

For all I have lost

The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away
Blessed be the name of the Lord.....
.... job 1:21

This was my reading for today. The Matthew Henry commentary says that this verse, according to the original, can also read, "...the Lord gave. Bless his name. The Lord taketh away. Bless his name..." Something about that really strikes me. In other words,
1).....bless the Lord when he gives, bless the Lord when he takes away.
2).... bless the Lord for what he gives, bless the Lord for what he takes away.
Ok the first one I get. Yet will I praise him. We praise him in the storm. No matter what we still bless him
But the second one... hmmm.... the Lord takes away. And then our response is not confined to despair and questioning. To grudgingly bring ourselves to 'thank the Lord'. But to actually give a positive response. To actually be happy about it. Not in spite of it. Or through it. Or in it. But FOR it. You see, because if we are thankful for the what he has taken away, it ceases to be something removed, something lost. There is no longer a storm.
Then I look at the next chapter...
... shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil...
I think of the things I have lost. Those that I held dear. Those that I loved. Can I actually thank God for losing them?
Is it possible that I am so wrapped up in my God that the giving and the taking away no longer matters.
That I can receive loss with the same mind that I do gain.
That I am so focused on the giver of it all that I lose sight of what happens around me.
The giving. And the taking away. All as one.
I still bless his name.
Not for all that I have gained.
But for all that I have lost.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Did I mention I'm a sucker for birthdays...???
Yup... totally!
Always have, always will...
I'm one of those people who plan for birthdays a year in advance... decide on the gift, the celebration... so you can imagine the pressure on my friends when my birthday comes around!! :-P
Anyways... this birthday was special. Went on a well-deserved 7 days break. A break from all things personal and accademic. (N-E-E-T!! :-( )
The first three days was spent with family in vellore and included all things 'home' like food, sleep, more food... and birthday pampering like cake, gifts, new haircut, more food... :-)
The next four days was in the Intouch Fellowship camp, Bangalore. The most refreshing and jejuvenating experience. Worship, word, the holy spirit and lots and lots of fun and friends.
So, all in all, it was exactly what I needed and I'm now all set for the year ahead. Bring it on!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mission hospitals

I have been working in the mission field for the past one and a half years. And my consensus is... Only a fool would work in mission hospitals.
Now let me give you some background here. I wanted to be a wildlife conservationist. From the age of three, I wanted to work with animals. Then at the age of fifteen, God called me and turned my whole world upside down. The only reason I did medicine was to become a missionary doctor. I was the one they made fun of in medical school because I wanted to serve the poor and the needy. I was the champion for the cause of missions all through my five and a half years in college.
Finally the day came. I walked out as a doctor from one of the best institutions in the country. My dream was coming true. I was going to the mission field.
But boy oh boy!! I was in for a very big surprise.
The list is endless....
The newest addition is discrimination based on gender and denomination.
I've seen it all.
And yet... what's more astounding is...
I still want to do it.
Still want to work in the mission field.
Still want to touch the lives of countless indians that don't have access to basic medical care. To any kind of care.
Still want to show Christ to the millions of people who are spiritually dead.
I have no idea.
Must. be. GOD.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My prayer

Father God, make me a worshipper.
Thank you for making me your child. For giving me the privilege that I can come before the almighty God.
But yet, I confess, there are times I don't. I know it sounds so unfathomable that a no-good would get the oppurtunity of exclusive access of the king of kings and still turn it down.
But yes. I do it.
For whatever reason. The sin that make me want to run away and hide. The distractions that draw me away every time I try to go further into your presence. The mistrust that comes after years of unmet expectations and broken hearts. The disbelief that there is actually someone who cares enough to do something. The insecurities and fears that I want to fix with my do-it-yourself attitude. And the love that I had for you slowly being chiseled away and gnawed at by this thing called life.
But lord I pray you would look past all that. Look at the heart that still has the desire to be yours and yours alone. The passion to live for you. The longing to be in your presence. The being that says, 'show me your glory!'. And the love that holds on to you no matter what.
Make me a worshipper Lord. Teach me to worship you. In spirit and in truth.
Make me a worshipper Lord. That I may be a living sacrifice.
Make me a worshipper Lord. Bring me back to my first love.
Make me a worshipper Lord. For that is what I was created to be.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


It seems like ages since I wrote. Two months and seven days to be precise. Simple reason being there wasn't much to write about.
Last week however was eventful. We saw a major political upheaval. My medical supdt was sacked and my batchmate took his place. Many new policies introduced. Many board meetings. Et al.
I got sick! Bad case of pharyngitis. Made me miss the much awaited church picnic. However the good news is all the picnic-ers all stopped by on d way to see me! :-)
Personally... its a time of waiting... that's the difficult part. Not knowing. And for a plan-and-be-in-control freak like me, its absolute torture.
But then... that's when he says... Be still, and know that I am God.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Last night 2am
I rushed out hearing loud screaming. I find a woman in labour in a small maruti van. While my nurse rushes to get the trolley, I just check the perineum. Lo and behold the baby's head is already there. So with no time to waste I deliver the baby in the van and cut the cord. While the mother is being shifted, I stabilize the baby and hand it over to the relatives. I then proceed to remove the placenta and stitch her up.
And then... the most astounding thing happens...
I ask for a minimum advance. And guess what? They refuse!! "The baby was anyways out. You didn't have to do anything. Why should we pay anything?"
Wow!! I'm absolutely shell shocked! I really can't believe that after witnessing that entire episode they would say that I did nothing!
That I think its the biggest deterrant to medical missions. The biggest discouragement that a doctor, working day in and day out, in the middle of nowhere actually, any doctor, for that matter, faces. Ingratitude. However in a corporate setup you have your accademics, career and finances to comfort you. But in a smaller place what plus point do you find????
The only way to overcome is your vision. The only thing that keeps you going is your calling and the strength you receive to fulfill that calling.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


We now have one nurse and clerk for the day. However my predicament remains the same. We still haven't got anyone for the night. Me and the sweeper handle the hospital from 6pm to 9am. I'm proud to say that I have learnt how to manually run generators and check motors.
It just struck me that over these two hospitals I have gathered a wealth of experiences. The medical side in rjn and the non medical side here. God is really honing me for his purposes.
Thank you lord. You are the potter I am the clay.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ray of hope

Situation here is still status quo. However things are looking up. There was a 'board' meeting today. (Note : the board meets only when there are major catastrophic events like this mass exodus). Two new nurses have been appointed. A new administrator has replaced the old.
Also there was an earthquake in indonesia with tsunami warnings in tamil nadu. And the SIT committee found Modi 'not guilty' (what shit!) .
I have finally gotten the hang of the pharmacy and am dispensing drugs with great flourish. :-)
Let's see aage aage kya hota hai....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The end

There's good news and bad news. Let's start with the good news. The strike has ended. The bad news is they have all left. All the 8 staff on strike handed in their resignations and have left for home.
The lab, pharmacy and nursing dept have no members. We have been reduced from a strength of 15 to 7. However the patient load remains the same.
In the midst of all this, we did a caesarean. The baby and mother are fine. The operation however was pure chaos and anarchy. I am working day in and day out.
When will this end Lord? When?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Strike update

There was no change in work load.
No change in timings.
Management seems quite comfortable with the situation. We're taking poisonings, accidents, assaults et al. Inpatients and outpatients. Dressings and suturings. Caesars and fevers.
Absolute chaos. Mayhem.
I'm going mad.


I came into work today. 6 pm. My usual. Except that nothing was the usual. The hospital wore a deserted look. Even on a Monday wich was our busiest. I was quickly updated on the situation. All the nurses and support staff were on strike.
For the first time I'm experiencing a strike. I now know what it feels like. To be all alone. To have to do everything by yourself. From the moment a patient walks in, making patient cards, checking weight and temperature, seeing the patient, dispensing drugs, billing....
We go on. We've cut down our admissions. Reduced work load. A single shift. Ten to ten. The hospital is closed and bolted the rest of the time.
I don't know how long this will go on. Whether any side will budge. When the strike will end.
But till then I work. And pray.

Sunday, April 8, 2012 forgive, divine.

What does it mean to forgive?
Its harder than you think.
It goes beyond the words, "I forgive....".
Its deeper, much deeper than an outward gesture.
Its what you feel when you see someone, what you remember, what your mind keeps going back to.
Its easier to forgive enemies, I find it harder to forgive friends. Those from whom much was expected but not met. The stronger the ties the deeper the hurts.
Hurts that maybe outwardly forgiven but that inwardly fester. Like a sore. Like a bitter root. To raise its ugly head during times of strife and discord. So then what must we do?
What must be done?
Ask. Ask and you shall receive. Receive the ability to give. The ability to forgive.
That is the key. Ask. Ask the one who defined forgiveness. Who started it all. Who valued it so much that he died for it. Died so he could forgive. Me. And you. So that we could be forgiven.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jesus is in the boat

Last week was a tough one. Tough not because of all that happened. Tough because it was unexpected. After all bad things hit you harder when you're not expecting it. And I was definately not expecting it....! Things were going beautifully... not just in one aspect... every aspect! Work, church, friends, family... smooth... That's when the devil threw a curve ball. That day my fb status read,"...if everythings going right, it just means you don't know what's going wrong..."
But then today, just now, while writing this blog, the thought hit me. Remember the story of when Jesus calmed the seas...
Jesus and his disciples set out for a cruise. The disciples were happy, Jesus was resting, everything was smooth sailing. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, a storm arose. A storm so fierce that the disciples feared for their lives. But the master was sleeping. Because, as far as he was concerned, it was still smooth sailing. Why? Because he was in the boat. That's what made the difference. Not the magnitude of the storm or the preparedness of the sailors. But the fact that the presence of the master had never left. Before the storm, or after. Jesus was still in the boat.
Jesus is still in the boat.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Thadagam is at the outskirts of coimbatore and 21 kms away from annaikatti which is supposedly the largest natural habitat for elephants in tamil nadu. 'Annai' in tamil means elephant. Today I finally saw them.
I was sitting in my opd room as usual when around ten I heard shouts outside. Suddenly my pharmacist burst in... " Madam annai annai". I ran outside to see a herd of not three but seven magnificent elephants walk by the hospital. The three larger tuskers with the smaller following.
Elephants are usually benign creatures who do damage jus because of their sheer size. When a herd comes to a human habitation, the menfolk usually gather as a group and with shouting, drums and firecrackers chase them back into the forest. They usually comply but a  problem comes if one suddenly turns and charges back at the puny humans. Death is certain then.
So back to my story... we just followed them, me being the only woman in the group. Men with drums and firecrackers in front and us just watching the show. I wish I had pictures to show, but it was too dark to see anything. After around 100ms on the road, the herd took a detour to the left and headed back into the mountains. The humans cheered and applauded and headed back to our homes.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Under the influence

Another big problem that I see in this side of the country is the craze for liquor. The capacity of people to drink uptil 1 at night n then wake up at 6 am for an eye opening shot is amazing. Also the fact that even if there isn't money for food and medicines, there is always enough for alcohol. The power of one bottle to turn benign quiet husbands into wife beating monsters is not as stunning as the tolerance of these women accepting it as 'fate'.
However what is even more irritating is when these anti social elements decide to disturb the peace and happiness of those around them. Coming into casualty late at night just to irritate the young woman doctor. Relatives coming drunk and fighting within hospital premises. Sitting in opd for hours talking absolute rubbish. Then those that don't even let you walk by without an earfull of nast comments.
The worst part being that there is absolutely no logical way to retaliate. Words will fall on deaf ears and sticks and stones won't elicit the desired response.
So all I can do is laugh it off or jus grind my teeth and bear it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


In the hospital I am currently working in, I do only night shifts. From 6pm to 10am, I'm all alone and on my own. While mostly I get hardly ten patients a day...some nights its like a flood. Like 'the centre for the worst cases' just closed and all their patients transferred.
Last night was like the former. Peaceful. Nice opd cases. No patients after 1. Like the calm before the storm.
At 7 am, I was woken up. 'Madam orru jaundice patient'...
17 yr old girl... hepatitis B... in severe encephalopathy bordering on coma... however hemodynamically stable... For personal and personnel safety, we usually don't take seropositive cases. So I set out to convince the parents for referral to higher centre. Because of my age and gender,they didn't take me seriously. They decided to wait for their pastor.
In the next half hour I saw a hypoglycemic encephalopathy and scorpion bite in quick succession.
I got back to check on her. Cold extremities... no pulse.... unresponsive... bp dropping... Immediately I began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. I ventilated her and called my boss. That's when they became serious. By this time the pupils were fixed and dilated. We were one step away from declaring death.
What happened next I will never forget...
All the relatives and the pastor gathered round. These poor illiterate labourers held hands and just cried to their god. With tears they prayed over a dead body. And they believed... believed that she would get up and walk... And yet they said 'your will be done'...
It was heart wrenching. Moving. There was no anger or denial. Just total surrender.
I wish I could say there was a happy ending. They went home with a corpse.
But in victory.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To take a life

I am now in south india. The educated, intellectual, refined South.
However the most striking fact is the large numbers of suicides in the region particularly Tamil Nadu. It is a real surprise that while claiming to have a higher literacy rate, it also boasts of the highest number of suicidal deaths in the country. In a hospital where we see a maximum of 30 patients a day, there is always one or two suicidal attempts.
It is always impulsive and always deadly. In that moment of emotional irrationality, they reach for the closest thing and it is mostly always the most dangerous. Lead poisoning from the yellow rangoli powder, oleander from the garden, organophosphates from the fields.... By the time they realize their folly, it is usually too late. They come to us. Stomach wash, forced diuresis, antidotes... Still the poison runs its course... 
Is it that easy.... to take a life...?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end
They are new every morning
New every morning
Great is thy faithfulness O Lord
Great is thy faithfulness

It seems I have a lot to blog about these days. But it is in these past few days that the words of this song have become so real to me.

How after suffering in silence for 9 months, the Lord gave me an issue as a way out.
How in my darkest times, I had people to pray for me and with me.
How there were people who stood their ground with me, even though we were the minority.
How Dada could come all the way to strengthen me when I was literally hiding in fear.
How I was let go by employers who waited so long to get me.
How I got a decision in days, that normally took months.
How I was reposted on grounds of mental torture alone, when people couldn't think of doing so even after physical harrassment.
How I found the best movers and packers in a village!
How I was sent to a place which was the next best thing to home.
How when I had to leave, I had friends close by I could stay with..
How even as I settle in, its as if God tailor made the new place according to my needs.
How in my fears and apprehension, God speaks.... And I know he walks with me.... Working ALL things for good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lessons from Rjn

I stare across the empty room. The packers n movers have just removed most of my stuff and the only thing left in my once full room are packed suitcases that Dada and me will be carrying on the train tonight. And I can't help wonder "Lord what did I do wrong?"
9 months ago I came here with all the energy and the vigor of a fresh graduate ready to change the world. And then it happened... the world... I learnt a lot of lessons... And I learnt them the hard way.
The mission field, though desperately in need of me, is not as welcoming as I think it should be. The people, though wanting my services, don't necessarily want me. The majority is always right and I am always the minority. The politics, despite your hardest attempts to run away, will always catch up and bite you in the ass. etc etc etc....
BUT I also learnt that I am of more value than sparrows....
For that I am thankful that he who has promised is faithful.
I am thankful for the people I met who gave me a reason to stay. 
I am thankful for the staff who were more than willing to take orders from a girl half their age.
I am thankful for the family just a phone call away. 
I am thankful for the patients who chose to be treated by me with all my inadequacies.
I am thankful for the boss for whom I stayed as long as I did.
I am thankful for all that I learnt and achieved in the lives I touched.

I am thankful for my Father who at breaking point made a way out.
I am thankful for the Savior who parted seas to lead me out. 

And I am thankful for the grace that has kept me safe thus far and the grace that will lead me home.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The battle belongs to the Lord

There are two ways to win a war - make yourself stronger or the enemy weaker.
But when God is the one fighting, he does neither. The lions were still roaring, the fire was still hot as hell, Goliath was still a giant and the Egyptians were still the greatest army on earth.... David was still as big as his arm, Daniel was still meat, the Israelites a bunch of escaped slaves and Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego coagulable proteins...
And God was still God!!
The fire will not harm you, the lions mouth will be shut, the giant will fall before you and the sea will part before you!
For the battle belongs to the Lord!