One of the things that God has been reinforcing with me lately is that He has a plan for everything, not just the good circumstances. I know that this sounds like a cliché for Christians, but it’s difficult to put into practice.
Some days at work I feel fine. Other days… not so fine. Annoyed, frustrated, or just in a dark mood for an unknown reason. These are the kind of days when every little thing annoys me, and I feel a bit like a walking thundercloud.
The other day at work I was in a bad neurotic/OCD mood, and I felt like I was going crazy. Everything seemed to be going wrong (even if it wasn’t), and I wanted nothing more than to go home and watch Netflix while drinking hot cocoa.
But God had other plans…
Near the end of my shift (right when I was planning on stocking up on supplies and charting), I was told that I was going to be admitting a new baby. It was between me and another nurse on my hall, both of us had things we were doing at the time, but for some reason the admit fell to me. I sighed, put on what I hoped was a good face, and soldiered on. The child wasn’t extremely ill, but did have some issues that needed to be resolved before sending her home. The mother, on the other hand, was an emotional wreck. I could tell from the start that she wasn’t thinking clearly; arguing every little point of her child’s care, tearful, and a bit angry, even.
While I assessed the infant, another nurse was dealing with the mother. She explained things very well while also being honest (and a bit blunt at times). This mother needed lots of validation and reassurance, along with explanations and rationales for every little thing that needed to be done. Was it frustrating at times? Honestly, yes. But looking at it from the perspective of an exhausted and scared mother, it makes more sense. Looking at something from someone else’s perspective can make all the difference in the world.
During report, the oncoming nurse and I went into the baby’s room, where we found the mother in the beginning stages of a tearful anxiety attack. Through her gasps and sobs, she explained that it looked like the baby wasn’t breathing properly, like she was gasping for air. After a quick glance at the baby and her monitors, we assured the mother that her baby was in fact simply sleeping, and that sometimes babies (and adults, too) breathe differently and do funny things while we sleep. Our explanation didn’t work, and the mother was spiraling further into an anxiety attack – at one point she was inches away from hyperventilating.
In one of the few times I’ve ever made physical, comforting contact with a mother, I put my hands on her shoulders and reassured her that what we told her about her baby was the truth, and that her daughter was doing just fine. It took a lot of repetition and reassurance, but eventually the mother calmed down enough that I wasn’t worried she was going to make herself sick.
This has happened a few times in my career – times when I am able to diffuse a stressful / tense situation without realizing how I did it. I firmly believe that God speaks through me, and gives me the exact right words to say to calm the situation. As I walked out of the room, I was hit with a huge sense of “what just happened – was that really me saying all those things?”
During the time I spent in the baby’s room, I learned that the parents were Christians, and that their faith was the only thing holding them up at that point. We talked about Bible verses and such as I worked, and I could see that the mother was relieved to learn that her daughter’s nurse knew Jesus.
As I was walking down the long hallway to leave for the night, I spotted the mother in the family waiting room, halfheartedly eating the hospital food on the tray in front of her. I went in to talk to her, and ended up sitting with her for about 30 minutes, talking about her daughter’s situation and constantly reassuring and teaching. We ended up talking about faith and hope, and being a Christian in today’s troubling times. At the end of the conversation I asked her if we could pray. Such a profound look of relief washed over her face as she eagerly agreed, and together we prayed for her new daughter and their family. When we finished she gave me a hug and said that she was grateful that I took the time to talk to her.
As I walked out to my car (far later than I had originally hoped), I started to cry. It hit me – God puts me in certain situations for a bigger purpose than I can see. And in His mercy, He allowed me a glimpse of why He had me in that stressful assignment that night – to minister to a hurting mother, to let her know that she was not alone.
What a comfort – we are never alone.