Thursday, December 26, 2013

Guest Post: Ministry in Nursing

Editor's Note:
I met Becki through the Navigators in college (how else would I have any friends?!). She is a joy and cares deeply for others. Becki is a registered nurse in Eau Claire and is currently working in oncology. She loves drinking coffee, playing Scrabble, and dancing. She hopes to be able to travel the world, meet interesting people, and become a wife and mother someday. Becki can do almost any impression of Kristen Wiig and she has seen every episode of The Office multiple times. Whether for a laugh or a good cry, she's your girl! -HB

Ministry in Nursing

When Heather asked me to be a guest blogger, she told me to write about something I’m passionate about. My first thought was, “Would anyone really read a whole blog post about how much I love coffee?” 
[I’m sure there would be a few interested readers.] 

But the thing I am really passionate about is my ministry in nursing. I say ministry in nursing because I decided a while back that I never want to view nursing as just a job that pays the bills, or as a career that runs my life, but as a ministry that God has chosen, prepared, and designed me for. While many of my fellow RNs would say that they chose nursing (for the patients, for the intellectual challenge, for the job security…), I would say that God chose nursing for me. 

I am thankful that in months of applying for nursing jobs and waiting, God corrected my mistaken identity. You see, for a while I thought my identity was in being a nurse. I felt like if I didn’t do what I had gone to school to do, I wasn’t living out my calling. But then I realized, I would only ever live out my calling if I understood my identity as a beloved daughter of Christ. 

We can choose to live in God-centered identities that pursue His mission or we can choose to live in self-centered identities that wear a “Jesus is my homeboy” t-shirt. 

I have been an oncology {cancer} nurse for about two months. Being a novice at anything is unsettling, but especially so when it revolves around other people’s lives. When I tell people I work with cancer patients, most people’s first response is:

“Oh, that must be so sad! Isn’t it difficult?”[To this question, I have no easy answer.
If I’m being flat out honest – yes. It is extremely difficult. But it is also extremely rewarding. One day I might be holding a patient’s hand while they cry and the next I might be singing Christmas carols with a patient who loves to sing. One day I might see someone on the edge of death and the next day I will send a patient home ready for another day of life.  

It is a rollercoaster of emotions and a mess of mercies. 

In the short amount of time I have worked as an oncology nurse, I have learned so much from my patients. 
One man gave me this simple advice on his 87th birthday: “Be honest. Work hard.”As a dying woman wrote her own obituary, she told me the best thing she ever did was ‘marry a good friend’. 

Each patient teaches me the value of life. Every person deserves dignity in life and in death. [After all, Christ died an undignified death so we might have LIFE!]

They are teaching me to live a life that is worthy of the calling I have received (Ephesians 4:1). A life that brings hope, peace, and unconditional love. A difficult but eternally rewarding life. 

So while I know it is difficult, I would challenge you to live this kind of life. Remember who(se) you are. Allow God to show you why you’re here. And as my good friend Heather puts it,

Live Loved. 

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