We have a new nurse who is orienting to our department. She is a beautiful woman both inside and out. She teaches 5th grade Sunday school, has two beautiful boys, is an amazing nurse.....
And she told me that she wishes she had the courage to pray in front of any doctor the way I do...
I was taken aback.
It's been a long time since I worried what others would think about me stopping to pray with a patient.
But I wasn't always so bold.
It kind of started gradually, and I think God had a progression of lessons to teach me about praying with patients, which then extended to family members, and has now reached the point that I will pray for anyone, at any time.
Before we start our procedures, I pray with my patients. If I'm called to a department to start an IV for certain tests, I offer prayer to help ease their minds as they await results. If I'm walking through the CT holding area, and I find a woman in a neck brace, on a back board, weeping and crying because she has to pee so bad she is miserable, I pray with her after I call her nurse in the ER and ask if she can get an order for a catheter to relieve this woman's pain...
The point is, I feel no fear offering prayer.
I have to say that this journey to boldness in prayer began with one defining moment.
Isn't that weird? Something as simple as making prayer with my patients as routine as starting an IV, has a defining moment...
We were still living in Arlington, TX. I had a two year old and a three year old at home at the time. A woman in my Bible study group decided she was being called by God to teach, specifically in the public school.
I remember the conversation so clearly. She was calling me to offer me hand-me-downs from her daughter (yes, indeed, I've always loved hand-me-downs). She was sharing her story with me about her desire to become a teacher, and she said to me, "I know you really don't understand this, because you just have a job."
I was confused by this statement. She then elaborated. "You know, you just go to work as a nurse to do a job. You don't feel called by God to be a nurse."
That was a pretty harsh statement, but I have to say this lady had never pulled any punches with anyone, so I guess she was just stating facts as she saw them.
And that was truly a sad thing.
I was obviously not pursuing my career as a nurse with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I was obviously not doing all things in my job as I was doing it for the Lord. I was obviously not sharing the joy that I had received from my Savior at work.
She did not work with me. She had never even been in my hospital. However, her observations of my attitude towards work (I had trophy wife fantasies even then) had left her with the impression that I did not have a calling to be a nurse.
Therefore, I could never understand the passion she felt for becoming a teacher.
I can never remember a time when I didn't know I was going to pursue a career in health care. That being the case, and the ease with which I fell into the roll of nurse, I knew that I knew that I KNEW that God had called me to be a nurse.
I was simply failing to fulfill my calling.
Oh, I was going to work.
I was doing my job. I was doing it well.
But, I was not doing it with the mindset of being the hands and feet of Jesus.
That conversation transformed my patient care. It began with carrying note cards in my pocket with scriptures of encouragement. It turned into me saying a silent prayer as I bathed bedfast patients, and changed adult diapers...
This led to me hugging my patients, and their families. Kissing foreheads. Squeezing hands. Grabbing an extra blanket for their bed and folding it neatly within reach should they need it...
It slid into me becoming vigilant for opportunities to pray with anxious patients.
It led to joy.
Now I receive immeasurable blessing through my service of patients and families.
But, the boldness to offer a prayer to any person who walks through my door did not come over night. It has been a process six years in the making.
And it all began with a brutally honest conversation with a woman I only casually knew.
I'm so thankful God softened my heart to hear what He was saying to me through her.
In closing, I will share with you my life verse. I started carrying this verse after I had my youngest child, and I was working nights and days both, whatever I had to do to not put my kids in child care. I was living on coffee, and running on fumes, and I was struggling to show Christ to others at work.
I was struggling to do more than provide basic care to patients...
God gave me this verse, and I still carry it with me, and pull it out to remind myself how I am to be.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life.
That's it. Don't argue. Don't complain.
Just hold out the word of LIFE.