It was a beautiful morning in February 1991. I was sitting on a church pew, listening intently to my pastor deliver his sermon. Suddenly, as if a mallet hit me atop my head, the Lord whispered to me, “I want you to go in the ministry.” Accepting the call solely and completely by faith, I then shared this incident with my family and friends. However, I did not expect the responses of disbelief and lack of support due to my young age of twelve years as well as having never had anyone in my family serve in ministry. Despite the isolation of remaining in my faith at this time, this period offered growth and strength in my walk with the Lord.
Several years later, while making a decision on what internship to pursue for my Masters of Divinity, I spoke to both a professor and the director of Career Services on separate occasions but on the same day.
They both inquired, “Have you considered hospital chaplaincy?”
Having had at least thirteen surgeries and over twenty hospitalizations, I responded to both of them, “Are you nuts?! All of my life I have been trying to get out of the hospital. Why would I want to work in one?!”
Finally, after some consideration about chaplaincy, I applied and served as a chaplain intern during the summer of 2002. This has been one of the best opportunities to which both my professor and director could have guided me! Not only do I share with others my gifts of caring and writing, the Lord has availed me multiple chances to empathize and understand patients and their families by reflecting on my own experiences as a patient.
This journey of entering the ministry has, overall, involved taking a stand in two ways—one where making the “right” decision resulted in separateness from others and one where, despite my own desires not to do so, following another’s lead proves to result in a great outcome.
So, in what personal experiences have you had to take a stand? How about professionally? As caregivers here in the ICU, not only do you have to take a stand in numerous difficult circumstances but, as President Abraham Lincoln described, you have to “be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” However, when uncertainty presents itself, how do we make the appropriate decision? In Jeremiah 6:16, God instructs, “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Thus, consider all the options, seek the wisdom from another associate with experience, and then carry it out. Even though you may not always see the results of your perseverance and faith in providing proper care for our patients and their families, may you sense the Lord’s assurance and peace within your own spirit as you always remember that He is in control.