How to Keep Your Nursing Job From Killing You

I recently was working with a fella who I think is a terrific nurse. He’s intelligent, well-skilled, and compassionate to boot. He basically holds all the characteristics of a great RN, but I noticed on our last shift together that he seemed quiet and withdrawn. Definitely not his jovial self. Upon some probing by me, he admitted his fatigue. 

“I think I need a break. I’ve been working so much lately; I just feel burned out.”

 

Photo used with permission from cheapnursedegrees.com


I love my chosen vocation of nursing, and most other nurses are in agreement with me I’m certain. But while it’s a well-payed job with great growth potential, I happen to believe that unless you hold a calling and driven determination to be a nurse, you won’t last long. 

So why’s that?

Well, nursing is extremely rewarding, but it’s also extremely taxing. As healthcare advances come along we are seeing our sick population grow older. Basically, we’re really good at medicine, and the benefit of that is longer life spans for our patients. This is wonderful news overall, but has the negative effect of nursing shortages. There are more patients than nurses, by a long shot, and this leads to many problems. 

Nurses are working more hours and taking care of more people. The nurse-to-patient ratio is unfairly skewed, and there’s only so much an employer can do to fix this problem. As a result nurses are more exhausted, additionally stressed, and we’re seeing increased medical errors being made due to less than desirable work conditions.  

 

Graphic credit: cheapnursedegrees.com

 
The physical toll of the job is taking its toll on nursing. Aside from fatigue and exhaustion related to long hours, multiple shifts, and overtime, we’re also seeing physical ailments aplenty. Most nurses I know have back problems, feet problems, or knee problems, if not all of the above. 

The act of constantly pushing and pulling another person’s weight is hard on a nurse’s body. Long periods standing and walking are stressing to muscles and joints. The risk for workplace infection from communicable disease can be life-threatening, and the violence found on the job related to confused or aggressive patients is a real threat to well-being. Even if you forget about the risks I’ve just mentioned, you still have the very real incidence of illness caused by the depleted immune systems of many nurses related to their stress and fatigue. 

But aside from the physical strains of the profession you must also consider the emotional ones. These are what I see often. 

 

Graphic credit: cheapnursedegrees.com

 
I’ve joked before that most nurses are on a nerve pill, but all laughs aside, emotional illness in nursing is a real thing. The stress of dealing with life and death is huge, and depression is a common diagnosis amongst nurses. It’s easy to spend so much time taking care of others that you neglect your own health, and mental wellness is an easy one to overlook. 

Like my friend I spoke of above, it’s easy for nurses to push themselves to the point of breaking, and it’s often not even until you begin to crack that it’s noticed. A lot of good nurses end up feeling very bad, and if the physical toll isn’t enough to take them out, it will be the emotional one that does the trick. You end up with something that you love killing you. 

There is no greater feeling than saving a life or receiving a tearful hug from a grateful family member. As a nurse I thrive on feeling like I’m doing a good job and making a difference, but in the end I am only human. We all are. 

As nurses we can save our sanity and health by taking care of ourselves, not just our patients. 

Take a vacation, even if just to sit around the house. Get plenty of rest; your body needs fuel. Don’t rely on alcohol or other unhealthy habits to ease your mood, but instead find great friends, peers, and mentors to bounce your feelings against. 

Finding an outlet, a source of strength from which you may draw support is very beneficial. I personally rely on my Christian faith to help me through more difficult aspects of my job. But in the end you may find a new environment is most helpful. There are all kinds of nursing jobs out there, and finding your comfort zone is best for the longevity of your career. 

It’s also important to remember a very simple word we all easily forget. “No.” Being a team player is super important, but if saying yes all the time is hurting you, then it’s time to say no. 

Being a Registered Nurse is one of the most rewarding titles I have ever held, but the other roles I hold for my family are extremely important as well. It’s tough to juggle the roles of quality family life and that of a proficient nurse, but it just takes some thoughtful prioritization. 

Above all, the important thing to remember is that we’re no help to anyone if we aren’t healthy ourselves. So you have to remind yourself as a nurse to nurse yourself first. It will not only save your sanity and job satisfaction, but it may also save your life in the long run. 

*You may find original graphic and other articles at this link.

I’ll Never Be the Mother I Need to Be. And Here’s Why. 

This morning before I left for work I took the time to lay down beside my four year old daughter. She didn’t wake, and she never knew I was there, but it happened to be the best part of my morning. I lay brushing the hair gently from her face, tracing my finger lightly across her cheekbone, and placing my hand lovingly on her bony back while I prayed. 

  
Thank you for the opportunity to learn, Lord.

I don’t always take pleasure in the pain of parental education. Honestly… hardly ever. In fact, the majority of the time I feel like a big fat failure, and instead of ending my days grateful for how I’m growing as a mother, I usually end up beating myself pretty severely for where I fall short. 

Why did I raise my voice so harshly at the two year old for peeing on the rug?! She’s two, for goodness sake. 

Why do I get so aggravated by the end of the day when they want to climb all over me? Instead of holding on to them I just want to be left alone. I’m never left alone!

I start out okay, and my intentions are good, but as the day drags on, and as my energy and patience wanes, I find myself with a short fuse. I love them more than the air I breathe, but in those moments all I really want is bedtime to hurry up and come. 

Guilt. Dirty, rotten guilt. That’s what I feel when the lights go down and their eyes close for the night. I don’t feel like I’m learning. Instead I feel like I’m lagging behind. I feel like I pray and pray to be the kind of mother my kids need, but I am left with the reality that I am not. Not even close.

I will never be the mother I need to be. 

And it’s in these silent moments of surrender that I realize I cannot be the mother I need to be for my children. No matter how hard I try. In my own strength I cannot change. I’m unable to not yell, not get angry, and not become frustrated at the difficulties inherent in parenting. And no matter how much I desire to do better, in the end I will always fall short. 

John 15:4-5

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

I will never be the mother I need to be. Not in my own strength. But through Christ I can do all things. 

There’s a lot I don’t know, but one thing I do. God called me to be a momma, and aside from being a wife, it is one of my life’s greatest callings. Because He has called me to it, I am certain He will equip me to perform it well. I will falter, mistakes will be made, but the desire to be the kind of mother God has called me to be does not change. 

I’ll grow weary, but He will give me strength. He will sustain me. I’ll fall down, but He will pick me back up. I will become discouraged, but He will renew my hope. I will fumble, but I will not fail when He is with me. Not really. And through it all, through each misstep I take, He will lead me. I will not become lost. 

As I rubbed my hand across my daughter’s shoulder blades this morning I prayed. 

Thank you Lord for this gift of motherhood, and thank you that each and every day I learn through it how to be more like the woman you desire me to be. 

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Thank you that I’m doing something special in this child’s life, and although at times I cannot not see it, and I definitely do not feel it, thank you that I am contributing to your kingdom in this little job I call being a mom. 

25 Sounds That Stop a Nurse Dead in Their Tracks

The other day I was having a rare, relaxing shift. It was that (I hate to use the word) “quiet” timeframe after you’ve discharged a patient, given morning meds, completed your initial assessments and charting, and you’re able to simply enjoy the calm that usually proceeds the storm. 

That’s the thing. You’re never completely subdued as a nurse. You’re always on-ready in case something crazy goes down, so even when you’re sitting back, maybe considering propping your feet up, you still remain alert. 

It was in one of these moments that my trusty respiratory therapist decided to use my empty room to test her equipment. I watched her walk in the room, and I knew what she was doing. Yet when that ventilator alarmed I sat up quickly, and my ears tuned in like a German Shepard. I was like Pavlov’s dog. I was conditioned over time, and that sound got my attention quickly. I almost salivated in preparation to fix something. 

I realized there are a lot of sounds like that. They get a nurse’s attention immediately. They turn a nurse’s head quickly, and they stop them dead in their tracks. Whether you’re at work, off the clock, in the grocery store, or even if it’s just a test, these sounds will get your attention if you’re a nurse. 

1. Ventilator alarm. 

Even when it’s not my patient this one always gets me. I can’t just sit there when one is going off. 

2. Screeching tires. 

Was that a wreck? I wonder if someone is hurt? They probably need a nurse. 

3. Monitor alarm. 

Nine times out of ten that V-tach alarm is not V-tach. It’s artifact. But you gotta look, right?

4. A child crying. 

This is a mom thing too. As both, when I hear a child cry I feel compelled to help them. 

5. IV pump. 

Curses. I hear you in my sleep. And you’re coming from every direction. Could be someone bending their elbow for that KVO saline, but it could be much needed Levophed. Grrrr. Better go check. 

6. The sound of an O2 tank falling over. 

If you’ve ever seen one of these shoot across the room then you’ll not only look up at the sound of the crash, but you’ll also take cover. 

7. Someone crying “help!”

Is that a citizen in need that I hear? Where’s my cape. I. Am. Batman. I will help you. 

8. An ambulance siren. 

Where, where?! Could be an MI. Could be a trauma. Could be the common cold. A nurse goes through twelve different scenarios before the siren fades. 

9. Code button. 

Ahhhh. It’s on! Run. Grab the crashcart. Please don’t let that be mine!

10. Door buzzer. 

I don’t wanna hear this one, but I do. Over and over, and over. Sorry, no one under twelve. 

11. The sound of a rolling crash cart. 

Sometimes we go ahead and grab that cart in anticipation of doom, don’t we? It’s a distinctive sound that gets your attention for sure. 

12. Call light. 

Yes, I hear you in my sleep also. Coming. 

13. A scream. 

What’s that?! Run! 

Oh, you need your blanket. That’s not the boy that cried wolf at all. Sigh. 

14. The sound of the bathroom pull string. 

No! Don’t stand up on your own. You have zero venous access left if you pull out that right AC. 

15. A police siren. 

I’m not in the mood for a gunshot wound. Man, I hope it’s not a gunshot wound. 

16. The sound of something, or God forbid, someone hitting the floor. 

Please don’t be a subdural bleed! No incident report, please. 

17. An overhead intercom. 

For real, I’m so conditioned that even if I’m in Walmart I tune in to the overhead announcement just to make sure they don’t need me somewhere. 

18. The sound of running feet. 

Ahhh. What’s going on?!

Subsequently, try not to run unless it’s an emergency. It saves the nurse a heart attack. 

19. The bed exit alarm. 

See #16 for details. 

20. A helicopter. 

Flying in? Or flying out? Is that room clean?!

21. The sound of a Bipap being removed. 

Oxygen is our friend. Let’s keep it at a level compatible with mentation, Mr. Smith. (Or we may end up referring to #16.)

22. Someone yelling, “hey!”

I don’t want to answer to “hey,” but I always look up anyway. 

Who, me? How may I help you, ma’am?

23. When someone says, “we’re getting a patient?”

Internal battle. Do I go hide in the bathroom and pretend I didn’t hear?

Is it really my turn?

24. The sound of a gurney rolling up the hall. 

Here they come. Ready or not. Get your game face on. 

25. (My favorite) Y’all wanna order out lunch today?

Uh, yeah. Duh. 

I’m certain I’ll hear most, if not all of these on my next shift. I hope I definitely hear #25. 

So, yeah, all these sounds will get my attention in a hurry, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, I’m a nurse!

Now where’s my cape? I swear I just heard someone cry out “help” in the distance. 

  

Come On, Follow Me

Like most parents of young children, if I am not awakened by an alarm clock, then I am roused from slumber by my children, and this morning was no different. Afterwards I held my toddler in my lap, and she chirped energetically while I fumbled blindly with the remote control searching for a show to catch her interest. Coffee, beautiful coffee, was on my mind, and I knew I must obtain a cup at any cost. 

As my two year old bounced happily in my lap I noticed she wasn’t pulled by the cartoon on the television at all, and I watched amused as she stared right back into my sleepy eyes. A smirk played across her perfect, pouty lips, and she made sing-song noises as she traced her hands along my face, as if she was memorizing my features by touch. 

“Get up.” I said with a smile. “I gotta go make some coffee.” And I lifted her quickly from my lap. 

But she answered, “I want to come with you,” in her musical tone, the grin never faltering from her face. 

So I answered, “Come on, follow me.”

As we walked hand in hand towards the kitchen I couldn’t help but notice her excitement, and I felt that happiness swell within me that had started from the moment I held my first daughter. I felt needed, loved, but also more capable of love, more able to give of myself where needed. The thought then flitted through my mind, she won’t always want to follow you to the coffee maker, you know? Enjoy this. 

“I wanna help!” She chimed as we entered the kitchen, pulling me from my thoughts, and she quickly set to work retrieving her pink step-stool.

Three pink step-stools. We currently had three pink step-stools scattered throughout the house, and they were constantly in high demand. A frequent cry around my house was, “I wanna help you, Momma,” and as I watched her scoot her stool to the counter my heart said, let her. She won’t always be so eager to help. Enjoy this. 

Days around the house were often long, repetitive, and frustrating. Evenings after a long day at work were even worse, and the absolute last thing I needed or wanted was tiny bodies underfoot, getting in the way, making more messes, and distracting me from the task at hand. 

Watch out! Don’t touch that! That’s hot!

That’s what often came out of my tired mouth. 

Get down! Be still! Leave me alone!

That is what frequently escaped my frustrated, exhausted self. 

Come on, follow me. Here, like this. Let Mommy show you how. 

That’s what they needed to hear. 

Get into my lap. Let me hold you. Let’s play. 

Those are the words I would cherish having uttered when they no longer sat transfixed in my lap tracing their tiny, pudgy fingers across my puffy eyelids. 

One day I would look down at my feet, and no one would be standing there looking up. One day I would look behind me to say, “come on, follow me,” but no one would be waiting to lend a hand. And as I watched my toddler excitedly spilling coffee grounds across the counter, I smiled through happy tears. I placed my hand upon hers, steadying her work, and I said softly, “here, let Momma show you how.”

The fact remains that motherhood is a tiring, draining, and difficult practice in continuous endurance, patience, and perseverance. It’s exhausting, frustrating, and worrisome. But it’s also rewarding, wonderful, and sadly, fleeting. 

  
Too soon little footfalls would become the stomping feet of teenagers, and then fading echoes as they disappeared after a visit during the holidays. Tiny bodies that currently demand so much of me would one day become strong, adult women who called occasionally to ask my advice on cooking a roast. 

For now, while I still could hold little squirming bodies there needed to be less “give me a minute’s,” and more “come on, follow me’s.” One day all I would have of their childhood was memories, and that’s what I wanted to remember. 

One day the house would be beautifully, wonderfully clean, but also eerily, deafly silent. I would have all the time alone I needed. All the time in the world. 

So until then I was determined to say, come on, follow me. While you still want to. 

Come on, and follow me. Let me show you a shining example of God’s love, that your time is precious to me, and what is important in this life. May you always remember what you have learned, but especially one day when you too are weary. May you always know, no matter how old you get, that you are always welcome to come on and follow me. 


A Letter for the Post Abortion Survivor

Yesterday I wrote this post where I described a dream I had about abortion, and in it I also described my opinion on abortion. My words were very descriptive, and today I received feedback from a reader who as a post abortion survivor was offended and hurt by my words. Since I never wish to harm anyone with the words I speak (or write) I responded back immediately, but I also decided I wanted to share a response here. It likely won’t reach as many as the original post because that just seems to be the weird way blogs work, but to the surviving victims of abortion, I do pray this post will find them. And to anyone else hurt by my recent words, I am truly sorry. I will always remember to be sensitive, even as I share my strong beliefs, but this is why I do it. 

Dear Post Abortion Survivor,

I have to be completely honest with you, and I just cannot in good conscious hold back the truth. I am Pro-Life. I believe life starts at conception, and because of that heartfelt belief I have some very strong convictions about abortion. But that’s not what I want to discuss at the moment. What I really want to say is that while I am Pro-Life, I am also pro you. 

As a child of God, above all I wish to walk in love. I desire the love and light of Jesus to shine from me like a beacon. So even though I hate abortion, I love you. 

I’m not just one of those people with an opinion on the matter. I too have been personally affected by abortion. Anyone who has followed my blog for years will know exactly what I mean by that. I am a victim also, just not the same as you. 

Many years ago my mother gave me her blessing to share her story if it might help others, and a few times I have. But mostly I hold it inside much like I’m sure you hold your own story of abortion within you. Because it hurts. 

When I was four my biological father left my mother with three things: a hungry preschooler, an empty bank account, and a baby in her womb. When faced with the anxiety and fear of raising her daughter (me) penniless and with no other support system available, the idea of adding an infant seemed impossible. She made the decision to abort. 

For over twenty-five years I watched her struggle with that decision. She felt regret, remorse, and pain. Through a relationship with Jesus she found some healing, but it was never brought to completion. She often told me that she knew God forgave her, but she couldn’t forgive herself. She died still feeling the pain of a past decision, but I find hope that now in Heaven she has finally obtained peace as she holds the child she gave up to abortion. 

When I wrote my post yesterday I considered if it might cause harm to others. Someone very dear to me also is a post abortion survivor, and I worried if my detailed dream might cause her remorse. But in the end I decided to share because of my love for her, my love for my mother, and my love for you, the post abortion survivor. 

I saw the pain abortion causes, and as I mentioned in my previous post, there are many victims of abortion, not simply the unborn child. After the pain of holding my mom as she cried about her abortion the thought of another person suffering that loss breaks my heart. And that was why I wrote what I did. That is why I share my opinions about being Pro-Life. I don’t want to see the murder of innocent children, but I also hate the pain it causes for the mother afterwards. If something I say can prevent that then that is why I speak out. Not to hurt, but to prevent hurt. 

So to you the post abortion survivor I say a few things straight from the heart. I love you, and I am so sorry for the pain you feel. No words I speak can make it better, but God’s healing grace can comfort you. When I, and other Pro-Lifers share our convictions on the subject of abortion it is not to cause you pain. It is to prevent future pain in other women. It’s Satan making you feel any condemnation you feel. 

For anyone who has judged you for your past decision, I apologize. To anyone who reads this post and judges my mother, shame on you. You really must walk in someone’s shoes to know why they make the decisions they do, and since you can’t really do that, you just love them. We’re all sinners in need of a Savior, and we are all wounded in one way or another. We all need healing, and we all need love. This can be found in Jesus. 

  
So to conclude, I want to apologize if my words have hurt you. This is a difficult subject to discuss because it does wound so many. My intention is only ever to prevent harm, and my desire is to show the love of God. Yes, I am Pro-Life, but I am also pro you. 

Sincerely,

Your Sister in Christ

My Worst Nightmare and Best Gift All in One Day

I could still feel the sticky residue of recent tears dried upon my cheeks, and I was reminded that it was the second time today that I had cried uncontrollably. Each time I had been unable to control the emotional outpouring from my spirit, and my feelings had escaped the only way they knew how. Right through my eyes. 

My early morning tears hurt. Bad. The kind of tears you can feel burning in your throat, that take your breath away, and make your chest ache. Those tears had been so raw that they became real. They had begun as sobs within my dream, but had painfully pulled themselves from the recesses of my nightmare, and had transformed into wrenching, tortuous cries that forced me to wake up gasping for air. 

I had been working at the hospital, and that wasn’t surprising to dream about my job. But in this particular scenario I was taking care of an expectant mother, and that was unusual. She was the same gestational age as myself, nineteen weeks, and I was happy for her. I gazed, smiling through the window at her rounded belly, and suddenly I was sure I had heard my co-worker incorrectly. 

“Well, it’s time to get started.” My nursing co-worker said matter-of-fact, and it was in this moment I realized we were to terminate the pregnancy. 

The realization came to me then that we had given the young lady something to soften and dilate her cervix, and now my peer was going into the room to do her job. Because dreams contain an unrealistic quality, in this situation the nurse would literally be pulling the unborn child cruelly and prematurely from the woman’s womb with her hands, and although medically inaccurate it seemed to fit right in line with the actual barbaric nature that was abortion. Whether a vacuum tube, sterile forceps, or the more painful to think about, nurse’s bare hands, the fact remained that in this procedure a young life was being cut short. 

Why? I screamed to my dream self. And when did this become so commonplace that we were performing it where I worked?!

I watched in horror as the nurse set to work, and I cringed at her face. She was simply performing a task in her mind’s eye. She didn’t see it as murder. And the mother. The mother laughed and smiled, oblivious to the travesty occurring, and my heart broke. It broke for the three victims I saw in that room. 

So I ran. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me, searching for a place to hide. I had to hide from this job requirement. I had to disappear from the scene that burned my eyes. I had to shut myself away from the pain of blatant death cloaked in the normalcy of just another medical procedure of convenience. 

What was my Father thinking of this? 

And my heart broke more. I cried and cried until the torment of my tears woke me, and even then they flowed painfully. 

I thought of them all as I watched the screen today. I thought of the three victims of abortion as I watched the miracle of life flash across the monitor. As I sat in the ultrasound room gazing at my baby’s perfect profile and amazing, four-chambered heart beating away I sobbed. My heart was so happy and celebratory for my best gift of motherhood that grateful tears leaked from my eyes, but I also remembered the grieving tears my heart had felt that morning. They mixed with my joyful ones, and I couldn’t keep either of them at bay. 

  
If that young woman could have watched in awe at her own baby’s perfect feet would it have made a difference? Would it have transformed her uncertainty and fear of the future unknown to hope, the hope that springs forth victoriously in the face of miraculous life?

The pain of abortion is beyond even what I felt when I woke suddenly this morning, and for its surviving victims I only feel sympathy. I’ve been blind also to things in my life, but none that would torment me so. For them I pray peace. Yet my heart still grieves for so many tiny lives cut short, and I can only imagine how my Savior must feel. 

A part of me desired to go back to my dream, and to tell that young woman there’s always a way. There’s always hope. There’s always hope in life. 

If only I could tell her…

*If you live in the Corinth, MS area and are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, or know someone struggling with this uncertainty please know resources are available. There is always hope. You may find more answers by clicking here.

A Letter for the New Docs From Your Nurse

Dear Residents,

It’s that time again, the new season of change where we bedside warriors watch with pride as the doctors we’ve come to respect and love graduate their residency program. Like a proud parent we wipe a moist eye and wave farewell to the well-learned physicians we’ve fought tooth and nail with as they finally earn their wings to fly. Some will stay, and some will move on, but all will be remembered by the nurses who served alongside them. 

And then new doctors arrive in their place. New, first-year residents come on board to complete their long journey toward obtaining their career goal, and we struggle to learn new faces and match them with new names. We also strive to mesh with new personalities that are beginning to emerge confidently. 

First off, congrats. I’m happy for you, and I’m proud of the career path you’ve chosen. We need new doctors to pick up the reigns and drive this horse of healthcare. But as a seasoned bedside caregiver I wanted to remind you of a few things to help make our partnership a pleasant and effective one. 

So here goes. 

  
I am fully aware of your educational level, and yes, I’m impressed. You have attended school at a higher level of learning than myself, and much longer. Your knowledge is extensive, and I respect that. You’re a doctor, and I respect that too. I do. You have chosen a path different than my own, and I admire your determination. 

But I only ask for some mutual respect and acknowledgement of my experience, education, and personal sacrifices. While you do hold a positional title above mine it so happens that I’ve been doing this patient care thing much longer than you have. In that time I have observed a lot. I see what response occurs in relation to specific interventions, and I’ve even seen the oddball reactions that hardly ever happen. I have book knowledge too, but I also have bedside experience that can only be gained with time. In other words, been there, done that. So perhaps my suggestion is worth entertaining without disdain. 

Here’s another one. I’m here all the time. I’m here with the patient from the moment they arrive, and I hold their hand as they cry in pain and frustration. I possess a lot of useful information in my brain about that person lying in that bed, and it’s stuff you can’t get from their medical record. 

I hear the stories, I hear the complaints, the symptoms, and the stuff they forget to report to the ER physician. And the other thing is that when you arrive you’re like the third doctor to come by in a thirty minute period. They’re kind of tired of repeating “what brought them here,” and they leave out a lot for sake of brevity and their own sanity. I can help fill in the missing pieces if you’ll give me the chance. 

Of note, what you see on the monitor when you breeze through the unit might not be the whole story. Patient presentation is a big picture, but it’s easy to forget that when faced with a full patient load. I get it; just ask me, and I’ll be glad to share my knowledge of the patient’s entire clinical presentation. That’s kind of a big deal, you know?

As a nurse, being at the bedside the duration of the patient’s stay, I am privy to information that is highly valuable to our team approach. I know how they’re reacting to the orders you’re putting in, and I understand how they might react based on my prior, extensive experience. I don’t mind if you put a little trust in me. I won’t tell. 

Above all, we’re a team, you and I. I need you, and I hope you’ll see that you need me too. We have a plethora of sick folks who are counting on us to to make a difference in their future health so we better get to it. 

Those who have gone before you have proven themselves well, and together we’ve rocked it out. We’ve caught problems before they became travesties, saved lives, and discovered the qualities we each hold in this great, liquid machine that is patient care delivery. 

So here’s to keeping a good thing going! Just remember what your nurse can bring to the table, and we’ll do fine. 

Good Luck,

Your Partner in Care, Your Nurse

P.S. Remember, your nurse is always right. 

P.S.S. Sorry about waking you up. Again. 

Thank You for Hot Showers and Hair Conditioner

Beep, beep, beep. 

The sound of my alarm jolted me awake in such a way that I immediately could feel the pounding lub-dub of my heart beating through my chest, and my hand flew blindly to silence the cruel shrieking. 

I had slept like a rock, a really good, sound sleep, and in the face of pregnancy insomnia I was almost as ecstatic for my deep slumber as I was disappointed that it was time to drag myself out of the comfy and alluring indentation my body had made overnight in my aging mattress. 

I was not a morning person, not at all, and for me the only way to pull myself out of the early hour fog was to hop in a steamy shower allowing the water to pelt me awake. I didn’t look forward to going to work anymore than I had celebrated climbing out of bed. And I wasn’t sure if it was pregnancy fatigue, the exhaustion of being a mom to littles, or simply awakening before the cock crowed that made it hard, but my motivational level was lacking big time. Huge. 

  
But as I stood there rubbing top-line hair products through my frazzled mane I found myself smiling despite my weary, sore body. My slick hands slipped through my softened hair, and the heat of warm water cascaded over my aching back. 

Thank you for hot showers and hair conditioner. 

My smile broadened. Something about the act of appreciation, it changed everything. A reminder of the little things, the perfect, tiny gifts that splashed brilliantly throughout my day. 

I was tired, but I had slept well. 

I was sore and achy, but it was temporary. A temporary pain to gain my prize. 

I had to work, but I could work. I was able to work, and able to work a part-time schedule. 

My house was dirty, but it was mine. It was tiny, but only because it was crowded with so much love. 

Pregnancy was sapping the nutrients straight out of my hair, but good conditioner was easy to find. 

And that hot shower. It felt so good. 

How many times did I miss out by focusing on the wrong thing? How often did I grumble over waking, and forget to be grateful for sleep? How many times did I complain over my circumstances, and miss the opportunities, the pleasures, and the sweet kisses of grace on my life?

I wondered how often I missed the blessings because I was too busy cursing?

It’s so easy to complain, to fret, to feel like life is lacking. But I suppose what’s easy isn’t always what’s best. Sometimes it’s harder to pluck the beauty from a heap of trash, but something about holding that gem cannot be compared. Finding something lovely in the midst of muck is most rewarding indeed. 

It’s a hot shower on a blurry-eyed morning, and the knowledge that all the tiny gifts of life are just waiting for me to find. Waiting for me to take notice, and hold them tight. 

There’s something refreshing and invigorating to the soul about discovering good news, and something rewarding about enjoying the mundane. For in the middle of busy schedules and lost sleep there’s a world of little nuggets waiting to be claimed. Waiting for us all to just say thank you. 

So thank you for the little things, the big things, and all the things in between. Thank you for the things I see, and especially for those I do not. Thank you for the good, and thank you for the bad. Thank you that they all work together for my good. But for this morning, thank you in particular for hot showers and hair conditioner. 

I Miss You

  
My Dearest Love,

I miss you. 

I miss you from the moment your lips brush mine in the early morning, and I watch in disappointment as you leave the solace of my sight. 

All day, every day, I miss you when we are apart. 

We send fun text messages back and forth, which I love, by the way. But even the most clever of emojis cannot convey the playfulness I feel in your presence. Even the best-crafted, typed out phrase is unable to express the longing my body has for you. I need to hold you. 

I need to hold you, and while nothing sets my skin afire like your touch, even just a simple embrace after a long day is enough to give me wings. When you are gone, I miss our hugs. 

I miss talking to you. And although I love the in-depth, thought-provoking conversations we’ve been known to have, sometimes I just like someone to listen. Someone to nod their head, hold my hand, and if necessary, wipe my tears. You’re good at that. 

I miss sharing my day with you. Every time something wonderful happens you’re the one I want to tell. When something hilarious happens, I think of you right away. When I’m angry, flustered, and especially hurt, your ear is the one I need to bend. You’re the person I want to share it all with, every joy, every struggle, and every sorrow. 

I miss your presence. We’ve always been that comfortable couple who could enjoy one another’s company without ever saying a word. And there’s just something warm and relaxed knowing that you are there, knowing that if I look up from my book I will see your face. I feel safe in your presence. I feel at home. I feel at peace. When you’re not there it’s like a part of me is gone, and I miss us. 

I miss your laughter. I miss your voice. I miss your silly jokes, and your warm compliments. I miss serving you, and you serving me. I miss your kiss, and I miss the way you smell. When I catch a sniff of your leftover cologne in the bathroom it’s a sweet and perfect, yet aching reminder of your lacking presence. 

I miss holding your hand, gazing at your handsome face, and brushing up against you when we pass in the hall. Everything, every single thing, I miss. 

I even miss the silly things, the little idiosyncrasies that let me know that while we are so much alike, we are also very different. That even though we are joined, that we are a fluid unit, we are still our own person. And somehow in our separate identities we come together to make an amazing team. I guess you could say I miss watching our everyday magic in action. 

I miss you, and when we’re apart it’s that deep longing, that anticipation of eventual connection that inspires me. In your absence I’m inspired to be a better me. Missing you makes me stronger, makes us stronger, and I never want to stop missing you. 

I never want to see a day where I don’t miss you like crazy the second I hear the door latch after you leave. I never wish for a day where I don’t long to tell you about the nightmare that woke me, the clerk who angered me, or the amazing thing our youngest child said to me. I never want to take for granted the gift I gained when God gave me you, the partner for my keeping. 

And I never, not even for a day, want to stop missing you. 

So, I miss you. 

Forever Yours,

Your Pining Love

How Satan Steals a Woman’s Identity

Overall I would say I like being me, and I like the hats I wear. I go by many titles in this world, I hold many callings in my life, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to carry out several roles. But it’s easy with all that to lose track of who I am, what’s important, and which things define me. In fact, it’s common for the enemy to steal my identity, sew seeds of confusion, and trick me into believing absolute lies. 

Are you falling for it too? Here’s what I’m talking about. 

For example, I am a wife, and it’s one of my favorite callings in this world. I enjoy my role as my husband’s helpmate, but I think sometimes I could do better. I get tired, I get cranky, and I’ve been known to blow a gasket over minor details. My moods swing, my patience isn’t always present, and I absolutely cannot understand all of my husband’s behaviors. Seriously, I don’t know why he does some of the things he does, and in my confusion I get frustrated. 

I may say things I don’t mean. I certainly think them at times. Or I employ the dreaded silent treatment. I fall so short of the shining Proverbs 31 woman! Sometimes I am certain I’m a failure as a wife. 

But at least the children adore me, right? Well, most of the time. I love being a mom, but it’s also so hard!

I yell too much. I really should clean less and play more often. I’ve got to start reading them more books. And don’t get me started on Biblical lessons. I really need to step that up if I want them to be warriors for God. While I’m at it, I need to stop giving them so much junk food. I know ramen is easy, but I saw on Facebook that it causes cancer. So great; I’m giving my kids cancer. 

I love staying home with them, but as frazzled and short-tempered as I can get it’s really best that I do go to work some. I work as a registered nurse, and I know I really have the opportunity to positively impact lives in that field. Except a lot of the time I don’t. 

Nursing is difficult, and I get flustered at time constraints, personality clashes, and the physical and emotional toll the vocation takes on me. In the stresses of the position I mess up, slip up, and honestly sometimes just straight up slack. After all these years doing it you’d think I’d possess more knowledge or better skills, but I feel like a loser many a day on the job. 

And heck, between my home life and work I have absolutely zero time to commit to my other relationships. I’m a terrible friend, and my closest ones happen to be family. I guess they’re the only ones who could dare put up with me long term. 

I try to be kind always, and to be open to how I might be able to touch the lives of others, but honestly, I don’t know if I’m able. I don’t know if I’m capable, and I certainly don’t think I’m worthy. I desire to let God use me, but how can He? My past is so tainted I’m not sure why anyone would listen. 

So basically I’m a subpar wife, my children are forced to put up with a temperamental mother, and my patients are stuck with an average nurse. I stink as a friend, and my witness is that of a dirty sinner struggling to live up to the reputation my Savior has set for me. I’m a mess!

  
Or maybe, just maybe I’m more. Perhaps I am known by the title of wife and mother, but that’s not all that I am. And I’m certainly not defined by my worst moments in those roles. I am more. 

I’m a busy friend and a frazzled nurse, but I am also the kind, loving heart the Lord has placed inside me. So even when I fall short, I am not my shortcomings. 

Life in this world is a challenging one, and in my moments of stress or self-doubt Satan will try and steal my identity. He will tell me I’m a bad mom or an undesirable wife. He will find where I feel my most weak, and he will pick at that slowly like a tender scab. He’ll often do it so quietly that I’m unaware of his schemes, unaware until I wake up one day certain that my failure to obtain perfection makes me less. 

But I am more. 

I am more than where I fall short, where I try to succeed, and in all the varied roles I possess. I am more because God says so. 

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

If God’s word is true, which I believe it to be, then I am more than my past mistakes. I am new. I am redeemed. And I am free. Yes, I’m a wife, mother, nurse, and friend, but above all things I am a child of the King. Above all things I am forgiven, and in Him I am brand new, white as snow, and precious. I am precious. 

So when I fall short, and I will, I can learn from my mistakes, but I will not feel defeated. I will remember that I am more than my failures; I am His. Those things do not define me; Jesus does. 

Rather than feeling I am less because of my past or what I fail to do, I can know that I am more because He lives in me. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I can feel peace. Instead of feeling defeat, I will be overcome with joy. I will remember that my identity rests in Him, that He died so that I may live, and live abundantly.