Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them. Rabindranath Tagore
The Importance Of PrayerPrayer is essential to Christian life. We pray for strength, for help, for forgiveness, we are quick to turn to God in times of trouble. Sometimes our prayers are to complain and ask to be delivered from our troubles, sometimes they are self-centered as we pray for gains. We pray to give thanks, to seek guidance, to ask what path we are to take. Hopefully, in prayer we reaffirm our dedication to God, our total and complete willingness to follow Jesus, our desire to serve.
Then we come to the really hard part.......We Must Listen............we must wait patiently, wait for God to answer in His time. AND we must also understand that His answer may not be the answer we were hoping for, we were counting on, we were so sure we would get.
The problem with prayer, with declaring that you will follow wherever He leads you, is that He may lead you in a direction in which you do not immediately wish to go.
Then what? You have a dilemma. Do you use your free will to go in the direction you wish to go, even though you are certain He is leading you elsewhere? Do you wait an inordinate amount of time debating which you will do, paralyzed by indecision, until both the path to the opportunity He was leading you to and the one you preferred are closed, and now you are left with neither? OR do you take a deep breath, offer up a prayer saying "Heavenly Father, I hear You. You know that in my heart this is not the path I wanted, You know my fears and anxiety, but I trust in You. Thank you for the blessings You continue to bestow on me. I know that You have a purpose for sending me down this path and I will follow wherever You lead.
My Own Prayers For Guidance, and God's AnswersOver the course of the past two and a half years my career has involved moving quite often. Make no mistake, I did pick this career path. Truthfully, I picked with very little prayer at all. I was eager to make some changes in my life, and this career choice definitely involved change.....lot's of change, and often.
My first assignment was at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, NY. At that time I did not pray so often, and I selected this job on my own. It was far enough from home to be a fresh start in life, but close enough for an easy drive home to visit on days off if I wanted. I loved St. Peter's. I loved the place, loved my co-workers, it was an awesome experience and I stayed there a year. If St. Peter's had not been such a good experience, my career as a travel nurse may have ended right then and there. There are staff and patients there who made a lasting impact on my life. I miss my friends at St. Peter's Hospital, and would gladly work with them again.
In this position, I am faced with a possible move every three to six months. I do have some choices to make each time, I do have some say over where I will, or will not, go. With each impending move I start to pray, A LOT. I seek guidance from Him, and I try very hard to listen attentively. As I pray, I tell Him that I want to serve, that I want to go where He leads me, and I also pray about what I think I need from the upcoming job.
In the late summer of 2013 I was praying for His guidance, I would go wherever He sent me. After a misstep, when I thought the right job had come along and then it feel through, I asked that He make it crystal clear what He wanted me to do. I did have needs, besides a need to serve, I needed a job that would pay enough to prevent me from going further into debt. I asked for one that would allow me to start to catch up from some time I had had to take off. Along came Calvary Hospital, in the Bronx, with a job offer. I had not interviewed with Calvary, and they were offering a rate above my stated minimum. Calvary Hospital is a very special place. The hospital provides palliative care to cancer patients, a whole hospital dedicated to giving excellent care to end of life cancer patients. Offering patients and their families comfort, compassion, dignity, and excellent nursing and medical care. I did not want to go there. I had never cared for cancer patients, not beyond the occasional cancer patient on a medical/surgical floor that is. I had never worked in palliative care either. AND my mother had been diagnosed with stage III inoperable lung cancer. I really did not want to go, but I did.
In the spring of 2014, as I was preparing to leave Calvary Hospital, I prayed for a job closer to home. I sensed that moms health was going to get worse, and quickly. I wanted to be close to home, I wanted to spend more time with mom. My only prayers were: Please God, get me closer to home. Get me as close to home as possible. The rest of my prayers during that time were focused on comfort and peace for mom, strength for mom and family and friends as we faced whatever was to come together. Along came Glens Falls Hospital, in Glens Falls NY. In the time I had been working for my agency, they had never had a med/surg job posted for Glens Falls Hospital. It was a 45 minute drive from my moms home. There was no way I was going to get a job any closer to home. It was clearly a blessing from God, an answered prayer!! I did not want to go. It was a day shift position, I had not worked day shift in a long time. What if I couldn't keep up with the pace? It was also float pool, I didn't want to do float pool. Never knowing what floor you were going to be on, what if I wasn't up to the challenge? I really did not want to go, but I did.
Towards the end of my assignment at Glens Falls I started praying again. I want to go where you send me God. I want to serve. But I also am further in debt again and would like to catch up. My health is feeling the impact of little or no sleep, stress and worry. I need to get back on track so I can be there for my patients and my family. I feel so weak and drained right now, please help me. Please guide me. Along came Mayo Clinic Health System - Franciscan Healthcare in La Crosse, WI. It's not anywhere I had ever considered going. My agency contacted me, knowing I needed more pay, and asked if I would be interested in going to Wisconsin. It seemed that I would be able to get my license quickly and the job paid much better than any of the others that were currently posted that I was qualified for. I am smart in some areas, geography is not one of them, I had to look at a map to see where Wisconsin was. It was God directing me again. I did not want to go. Mom had died just over a month prior. I did not want to leave family and friends so soon after. I did not want to go somewhere so far, knowing I would not be able to come home for a visit, but I did.
How Gracefully Did I REALLY Follow When HE Lead Me Where I Did Not Want To Go??I see no point in being anything but honest. That I went kicking and screaming is what comes to mind. Clearly, He was not physically dragging me, and I was not physically kicking and screaming.....but I was complaining......lots!!
The entire time I was preparing to go to NYC, for my assignment at Calvary Hospital, I complained. I admitted I felt I was being called there. I admitted that it was actually the only option I had at the time, but I told my entire family that I didn't want to go............repeatedly! I told them I didn't want to work somewhere where they did palliative care oncology. I hadn't done either before, maybe I wouldn't be any good at it. Plus, I felt it would be too hard emotionally considering moms diagnosis.
As soon as I met the staff, and saw the interactions between the staff and the patients, I started to think this is a wonderful place and I am blessed to be here. I became excited to learn the routines and protocols for the hospital, I was eager to do a good job, to provide the best care I possibly could for each and every one of my patients. And then the inevitable happened, there was a night when two patients died, and then another night when three died. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I held it together at work, but when I went home I could not sleep. I could only sob. Through prayer, and through counsel with my Reverend at home, I was able to develop ways to cope with the loss. I still felt it deeply, but I was no longer incapacitated by it. In the end, I LOVED my time at Calvary Hospital. I learned so much, as a nurse, and as a Christian. I was deeply touched by patients, their families, and by staff. I don't know if I made any lasting impact on their lives, but they certainly did on mine!! I miss my friends at Calvary, and would gladly work with them again.
So, the move to Glens Falls Hospital went smoother.....right? After all, I was getting a job close to home, the only thing I had asked for. Wrong..............more complaining. I complained about working day shift. I have severe allergies, some foods I have a reaction to just being around them. I complained about the increased risk of reactions working days. I fretted over keeping up with the pace, as I had been working nights for quite some time. I fretted and complained about being in the float pool, and there were other complaints as well. In the end, I floated to the T3, the oncology floor, a couple of times and loved it, I also floated to the renal floor a couple of times. The rest of the time I was on T6, the cardiology floor, and 3E the Rehab floor. Both were busy floors, in much different ways, and I loved both. The staff on both floors were great to work with, and staff on both floors exemplified team work. On the rehab floor, the doctor, mid levels, nurse and therapists all worked closely together to maximize patient outcomes. The Scheduler and staff in the staffing office were pleasant and easy to work with. Nursing leadership was supportive and available. I loved my time at Glens Falls Hospital. Again, there are staff and patients there who made a lasting impact on my life. Again, I miss my friends at Glens Falls Hospital, and would gladly work with them again.
Then there was my move to WI..........yep, I complained. Working for Mayo was going to be a great opportunity, so what's to complain about? Well, mostly that I didn't want to be so far from family after the emotional upheaval of moms death. Honestly, if I could have, I would have convinced family members who have moved away from home to move back. I felt the need to be surrounded by family, to try to keep everyone I love safe, and healthy and well. As if that is even within my power. I know now, and knew then, that the very best thing I could do for them is/was to pray and to have faith that God would be with each and every one of them. I cannot explain my irrational need to have them all close, but feelings cannot always be explained. Know what? I have met some great people here! Staff I really like, patients who have touched me deeply, and people outside of the hospital too.
Notice The Theme?
I pray for guidance and direction. God answers my prayer. I go, but complaining all the way. Once there (wherever He has lead me), it turns out to be a great experience that changes my life or my perspective for the better. I end up loving the people I am working with, and the place I am working. Each time I have experiences that make me feel closer to Him. Repeat............