Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blessings in Disguise

We may not always understand why we have to bear crosses in this life - but what if they are meant as blessings in disguise? It is always during the times of greatest struggle, that I cling to the Lord the most.

22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine,
a fruitful vine near a spring,
whose branches climb over a wall.
23 With bitterness archers attacked him;
they shot at him with hostility.
24 But his bow remained steady,
his strong arms stayed limber,
because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob,
because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel,
25 because of your father’s God, who helps you,
because of the Almighty,who blesses you
with blessings of the skies above,
blessings of the deep springs below,
blessings of the breast and womb.
26 Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.
Let all these rest on the head of Joseph,
on the brow of the prince among his brothers.
Genesis 49:22-26

God will not permit any troubles to come upon us, unless He has a specific plan by which great blessing can come out of the difficulty.
Peter Marshall

May God pour out His richest blessings on you today and may you feel his love through the process,

Saturday, October 22, 2011

God's Provision

**Warning - LONG post ahead**

Thus far in my journey as a new nurse, I have been spending most of my time waiting. I have two new adventures ready to begin, but it has been an extremely slow process to say the least! I am trying not get too anxious about it, and am instead using the time God has given me to rest up for the busyness that is sure to come.

After a LOT of soul searching, I decided to reexamine what was MOST important to me. I needed to come to a conclusion in what direction this new phase of my life would take.

I have always been very old-school when it comes to my marriage and family. I want my husband and family to know that they come first in my heart and in my priorities. When I was in nursing school, I tried to do my best to make things as normal as possible for my husband. I tried to make sure he had homecooked meals waiting for him - breakfast, lunch and dinner. It wasn't always easy, and there often wasn't a good variety, but he knew he could count on me to take care of him and his needs.

Since I have been home these past few months without school obligations to bog me down, it has been so great to have things back to normal again! I forgot how much fun it was to sit and watch a movie with my husband or to spend my Sunday afternoons baking a large family dinner and cuddling up to watch football with him. I suddenly realized what it would mean to me to have to give that up again.

When you become a new graduate nurse, straight out of school and wet behind the ears, not many people are willing to give you a chance. It is obviously easier to hire someone who knows what they are doing and has experience working as a nurse. Graduate nurses usually have to take shift hours that others don't want - just to get their foot in the door of a facility. I really struggled with this because after school was over, I was EXHAUSTED and needed time to reflect and consider my life and what was truly important to me at my age. Yes, I want to serve the Lord with ALL my heart and soul. Yes, I am willing to step outside of my comfort zone to do so. (Frankly, I have been outside of my comfort zone since I STARTED this journey - so why stop now ~smile~) Yes, I want more than ANYTHING to do God's will. As I put in job applications, I kept ALL of my options open - so that I would be certain without a DOUBT as to the direction the Lord wanted me to go in.

That being said, in my prayers, there where certain considerations I asked the Lord for. I prayed that the Lord would use me for HIS service. I know that this journey was God's doing - every step of the way was guided by Him. I prayed that He would show me the way He wanted me to go, and I also prayed that He would help me to put my priorities in order. I thanked Him for my husband and for my family. I humbly asked the Lord to help me find a job taylored around the needs of my family. I know that the Lord gave me the desire to be home - taking care of my "nest" and that even though I believe He has a job for me to do, I know He never expects me to give up on my desire to "be there" for my family. I believe now, that the Lord has provided me the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds and I am so grateful!

Let me tell you how the Lord has blessed me. I am SO excited to share this with you because it shows God's hand in EVERY aspect of my journey and His awesome answer to prayer!

Backing up in time a little bit, let me share a little bit of history with you. When I first arrived here in Georgia, I took a job at a nursing home as an nurse's aide. The facility was lovely on the outside, but evil on the inside. The staff was HORRIBLE to the residents who lived there and at the time - just having moved to a new state and desperately missing family and friends, I regret to admit that I wasn't strong enough emotionally to "take on" what it would require for me to work there. I have such regrets about walking away from that place! No - the resident's were not abused physically or anything like that, I couldn't have watched that and not reported it, but having come from a wonderful facility in Washington State, where the residents were well cared for and loved, it was a sharp contrast and I couldn't bear it. I would come home from work every night and cry in anguish for the resident's who lived there. I have such guilt for keeping quiet about it and not reporting some of the things I witnessed. I wish I was stronger during that time! It haunts me that I wasn't. I truly did my best for my residents while I was there, but I was exhausting myself and tried to take on too much - and I felt like I failed everytime I went home at night! It is a long story - one I will save for another day.

The pain I felt over this horrible facility, caused me to actually run away from healthcare for a time. I convinced myself that I was justified in doing so and prayed that the Lord would find me something ELSE to do that would bring glory to Him. I was RUNNING from His Will, just as Jonah had run from Ninevah and ended up in the belly of the whale.

I applied for nanny jobs and the Lord gave me a job working with a family of three children. I worked for this family for a year, and also worked for four other families in my neighborhood. Remember - I had convinced myself that God wanted me to get out of healthcare and do something else with my life- unbeknownst to me I believe my new middle name was Jonah at that time :)

Sometimes God gives you the desire of your heart to prove to you that it really wasn't what you wanted after all :)

I absolutely LOVED all of the children I nannied for, but my heart was restless - God was calling me back to healthcare and the pull on my heart was tremendous. I would go to bed thinking about it, and wake up thinking about it - I couldn't get it off my mind. I wasn't happy and I knew I needed to make a change. I applied to another facility, was hired as an aide, got back into school to continue pursuing nursing, and now we are back to the present time - a new graduate nurse, looking for work, filling out applications in ALL areas of healthcare, to see where the Lord wanted me to serve.

Hopefully you are still reading this, and I haven't totally bored you to tears, because the BEST part of the story is about to be revealed - God's ultimate answer to my prayer - He STARTED me on this journey long ago, He has been there ALL the way through, and He has used EVERY LITTLE DETAIL of my life, bringing me full circle to the point where I am right now...

I applied absolutely everywhere I could think of to apply including a school district where I had done my clinicals during nursing school - at these clinicals we were required to follow a school nurse. She happened to be a beautiful Christian and I struck up a friendship with her. After my clinicals there were finished, she told me that I could use her as a reference because she thought I would be a natural for the job. Well, LONG story short, I applied to this school district, I got the interview, and GUESS WHAT I was able to present to my interviewer as my references....not ONLY was I able to use my school nurse "friend" as a reference, but I was able to use ALL of the families who I had worked for as a nanny! As a result of this, I GOT THE JOB!!! It is very unheard of for a graduate nurse to get a school nurse position but because of my experience working with children, and my excellent references, they were willing to give me a chance!

As I called the families to ask if I could use them for a reference, It became crystal clear to me that the Lord's hand was in ALL of this. EVERYTHING happens for a reason - and the Lord had used my time (even though I was running from Him like Jonah) to bring Him Glory! As the scripture verse says "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:27-29
I know this to be true - I am a prime example of this - even though I ran from God's ultimate plan for my life - He used that time to bring me to the place I am right now. The proud owner of a job perfect for me and for my family! My days will be filled working with children, and I will be home every evening to spend time with my husband. I can enjoy my weekends at home with him, and have the whole summer and holidays free to work my schedule around my family, my home and my husband - which is my greatest heart's desire!

BUT - my story isn't finished yet - because my heart was still yearning to continue to work with the elderly. I have such a heart for them and knew that the Lord wanted me to continue working with them. I was able to get my old job back - I had to quit working there when I was in school because my grades were suffering and I needed to devote all of my energy to my schoolwork, but I always had full intention of returning there when I finished. The Lord allowed me to go back there - this time as a nurse. I will be working PRN (as needed) so I will be able to make my own schedule - around my husband and families needs. I can work as much or as little as I want to - I have complete control over my life again and I couldn't be happier!
I have been completing the Orientation process, and will start both positions on Monday. It will be hard for the next month as I get used to both jobs, I will be working more than I want to at first, because I need to go through the training process. After the training is finished, I will be able to plan my own schedule, but for the next month, I am going to be surviving on VERY little sleep. My schedule will consist of going to the new school nurse position from 8:30-2:30, then leaving there and going straight to my nursing home job - and working from 3:00pm - 11:30pm. I will then turn around and do it all over again the next morning - and so on, for one month until my training is complete!

Please pray for me - that the Lord will give me the mental and physical strength to do both jobs well, and that I am able to prepare enough meals this weekend so that my husband can easily warm up home cooked meals for himself every night. Remember - HE is my top priority and I don't want him to suffer during this time of adjustment.

Thanks for reading this LONG post - I will keep you updated on all aspects of this new journey I am on, and I promise to make my posts shorter :)
Blessings on your day today,