January 19, 2014

on being a nurse . . . and life . . . and faith.


This March will mark six years that I've been a critical care nurse.

It has been a wild ride. There are just so many things that nursing school can't prepare you for. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and I can honestly say that I love my job.

I was reflecting on it this past week . . . being a nurse has taught me so much. I cannot articulate it all and I certainly cannot cram it into a blog post, but here is some of it.

Especially being in a surgery/trauma ICU, where life can hang in such a delicate balance and uncertainty marks each hour.

My experience and my patients have taught me that life is such a gift. It is precious and valuable, yet so fragile. Every day we have is given to us by grace.

Every now and then, the things I see scare me. I start to wonder - what if I get in a car accident that leaves me paralyzed from the neck down? What if I were to be diagnosed with a life-altering and/or life-threatening illness? What if I get married or have a family and those things happen to my loved ones?

Would I turn to rage? despair? Would I lose my identity? Would I fall apart?

It all points me to this: we are living our lives in some kind of hope.
Where do I place my hope, my joy, my security?

I can't place my hope in my age, health, or any other circumstance . . . all of those things can be threatened, altered or taken away. I need to place my hope in something that is unshakeable.

Christ is our only firm foundation. In Him, we have something that disease and death cannot touch. In fact, those things can give us more of Him as we press deeper into the gospel during suffering and pain.

 I have seen a man, whose body was ravaged by disease, hold hope in his eyes as he told me that his condition has changed his life for the better. That he is no longer afraid to talk to people about Jesus.

I have watched miraculous recoveries and patients brought literally from death to life.

I have seen trauma, death and disease claim the lives of those who were far too young.

I have watched a young wife and mother stand by her husband as he fought for his life, her future and her family's future suspended in uncertainty. I heard her speak of hope that she has in the presence and promises of God in the middle of her suffering.

Nothing shouts the gospel like someone who is holding onto God in the middle of such a trial. I can see the true value and treasure that Christ is so clearly.

God holds our lives and our future in His hands, and we can trust Him. We are called to live by faith and not by sight, after all. No difficulty can enter our lives unless is passes through His hands. He promises to never leave or forsake us, and that His love is better than life.

Whatever the future holds, He will give us what we need. He will carry us, sustain us, be our hope and our joy even in the most dire of circumstances.

"Peace is not the absence of trouble but the presence of Christ." — Sheila Walsh

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
 when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me
Psalm 23:4

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