I have professed for all the years I have been a nurse : “I get to take care of my patients” and that my “patients and their families cross my path for a reason and I am to learn something that will help me be a better nurse.”
My life path has led me through what I consider really deep and dark places the last 5 years. I have been my worst critic and have let the negative thoughts about myself rise above the truth. I have not felt good enough nor have I lived confidently. My exterior is tough. I am Ann BS – or Ann full of bull sh*t. I have tried to pass myself off as a person who knows everything but I don’t. I am a vulnerable person. I am teachable. I do not feel like I have to defend myself to everyone now. I am learning to be quick to listen & slow to speak.” Many of you should be telling me to shut up. I believe God made me for His purpose and plan. At my very deepest core there is the pulse of Creator God.
Tuesday and Wednesday this week I was struggling with questions and feeling bah humbug. I wasn’t looking forward to Christmas because I was dwelling on some very sweet memories of what this holiday used to be when I was married; when my children were younger and drawn in fully by the awe of the holiday (Emma still loves Christmas and her motivation and words have brought me to write these thoughts down) and what was is definitely over. Focused on the past and not grateful for what is right in front of me.
Being close to the end of the year many people are opting for elective surgeries and my work is very busy. Wednesday I was the preop nurse to several patients who were having surgery but were scared to the point of tears. When I asked what they were afraid of, both shared they were afraid of the pain after surgery. I asked why they were having surgery and the answer is they couldn’t tolerate the bone on bone pain any longer, not being able to things like walk with their family and do simple things like take out the trash bathe without assistance, shop at the mall and grocery store etc. The similarity of the 2 patients seemed parallel to my life – only I am not having a surgery. We all have pain in our lives – patients have physical pain that affects ability to move, think and live to the fullest. My pain/fear of my future as a single person has me looking backward and focused on what will never be again. Looking backward paralyzes you and prevents you from being grateful for where you are and what you have. I love the fairy tale ending and want that for myself.
The end of the workday took me to recovery area. I got to be the recovery nurse of a total care patient younger than myself. Total care means the patient relies on others for care in all aspects of their daily life and may have multiple lines and bags from their body that feed and carry waste.
I received this patient one hour before my scheduled time off and I had plans and wanted to get off on time. I am ashamed to say I was cussing in my thoughts because this patient would require extensive charting and time…which I didn’t want to provide at the time.
I took a deep breath and turned to the patient. It took me a moment to understand what he was saying for disease limited communication. “Thank you for taking care of me!” as a tear rolled down the grateful sweet face. Tears rolled down my face in response. My patient asked me to wipe their tear and I did. Over and over in my mind I told God thank you – thank you for this patient. Thank you for this lesson. Thank you that you have kept me in a place of health where I am able to care for myself – I can move my legs and walk. I can scratch my head if it itches. I can wipe the tears from my own face.
God gave me an appointment with this patient. Sometimes we get focused on what we want and miss opportunities. I was reminded how blessed I am. The pain I have been choosing to feel is a choice – a choice to focus on my past and what will never return. I have to see what is in this moment to be grateful for. I can change what my days ahead are to be – like an elective surgery to improve quality of life – I have to embrace the opportunity of a better future and not fear pain that might not ever be there. I have to be like my patients and take the step of faith and trust others.
I find it very difficult to trust others. I don’t like to admit I am not able to do things I once was able to do with ease. I have failed to ask for help. I have been like this patient only mentally. As I prayed this morning I realized that God is at my bedside as I was for this patient in recovery. He hears my voice and tenderly wipes away my tears. He knows my needs. He knows my pain. I will trust Him.
Before I left work yesterday I heard that a friend had won her long battle with breast cancer – she got promoted to heaven. When I got home my electricity was out. It was dark in the house and a little stuffy . I found a flashlight that had a very dim light. I checked my breakers and got on the computer (it had a fully charged battery) to see if there were outages and there was. So I sat in the darkness thinking about my friend and how our lives had been woven together for a season. At the age of 12 I joined a group for young girls called Rainbow girls and had a connection to many ladies who are no longer part of my daily walk but remain part of the very structure of my character and soul. Several in that group were Facebook chatting and my phone was depleted to 10%. I wanted to be part of the chat but every use of the phone sent it down a !%. The dark and the silence were too much. I didn’t want to be alone so I went and checked on some neighbors and then drove around in my car to charge my phone enough in case I might need to call 911 or something and to buy some batteries for the flashlights and some candles. Was out about 2 hours and returned to the dark silence and tried to sleep. My memories of Brenda danced through my mind reminding me of a time where I learned how to be a friend, how and why to keep one’s trust by not sharing their secrets, but mostly how to love and live with other people outside my family. People have seasons in your life. As much as I would have liked to visit Brenda one more time to tell her I love her and thank you for being a friend to me when I needed her that wasn’t to be. I am grateful she was loved by so many and leaves a legacy that will continue for generations. So to the friends of my youth and my teens and all phases of my life till this moment – thank you for helping me find my way to who God made me to be. I am grateful!
Growing up I remember my mother always had something to say and it just made sense. Now I am the mother and you would think that I have sensible musings but they are lacking and seldom make sense. I find my sentences and thoughts disconnected and incomplete. I often wonder why I said something because it failed to be relevant to a topic being discussed. I sense time is changing my thinking and sometimes I talk just to hear myself. Kind of vain isn’t it?
We are all broken Jars…God works from the inside out mentally, physically and spiritually!
A cracked jar! I know we have all seen broken jars; however, on Sunday night while at church during worship the Lord put an image in my heart. There was a large urn sitting on an alter. At the base of the urn were several cracks, slowly through the cracks liquid was oozing out of the cracked jar. I saw myself putting band aids all over the jar. The jar had band-aids on it trying to stop the leaking of the fluid oozing out. At this point the Lord said I needed to quit trying to fix the leaks on the outside, it is an inside job. I needed to allow Him to reglaze my insides to quit the oozing of my cracked job.
There had been so much going on in my life I was truly overwhelmed. Deanna’s surgery yesterday, homework is abundant and at times question what I…
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I have lots of dents. My clothes aren’t in fashion. I don’t know really how to apply makeup or understand current trends. But God is at work and I have peace with who I am.
Fears have tormented me for most of my life and some I am working on in this moment. Growing up there were many things said and seen that effected how I perceived myself and if I was normal and accepted. One overheard comment from a classmates parent in 1st grade. Blaming myself for my parents divorce. Taunted by classmates for crying if someone looked at me. Not being included & invited to parties like the rest of the class. Being the stinky kid whose mom smoked.
Layers of instances and comments left me questioning am I good enough. Questioning my value to my community and even to my family. Self doubt, lack of confidence and fear of rejection….
Growing up my actions and words were consistent with my thoughts that I wasn’t acceptable and things that unpleasant things happened were my fault. I thought if I was good enough and showed my value I wouldn’t be rejected I would be accepted.
I spent the majority of my life attempting to prove my value to others and living out “I’ll show you” – please look at me “I’m important”. Please someone just love me right now unconditionally.
My aggressive personality and need to prove my value pushed others away in the same way my thoughts paralyzed me. But somehow I functioned in life and God brought people into my life to enlighten my heart and draw me to Him.
This week I have been thinking about fears in my life and how those fears currently affect my relationships with friends, family, coworkers, my community and with God. I maintain boundaries of safety for me with people because I fear rejection and ridicule. God has been working in me, before me and around me. God has brought comfort to me through several verses:
Don’t panic. I am with you. There is no need to fear. I am your God. I will give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady and
keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 The Message
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will
direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid! Don’t be discouraged! God, your God is with you every step you
take. Joshua 1:9 The Message
Right now – this very moment – I am loved. I am accepted. Unconditionally. God is with me. He loves me despite the fact that I have dents and my clothing isn’t in style, & with or without make up. He doesn’t look at the scale when he loves me. I am His beloved and I am okay.
7 Others were planted among thorn bushes. The thorn bushes grew up with them and choked them out.