Tuesday, March 8, 2011


God works in mysterious ways. I had a pretty good day at work Monday- the NICU is full enough that they've split into two units again and "my twinkies" (the twins I'm taking care of right now) are in the downstairs unit where the 'big kids' play. There are fewer alarms and it's much quieter, which means lots of cuddle time. Hands down the best part of my job.

I was holding one of the twinkies near the end of the shift Monday, letting some love soak into her skin. She has terrible acid reflux and always winces and gags during feedings, so we were just having a calm moment. It was one of those precious times (I'm sure it's all the more relevant when you're the mom and it's your child) that you realize: all we need is love.

Of course, on the heels of such a basic realization rushed all my insecurities and current stressors. Namely, grad school. I have a nagging feeling that I want more out of my job (despite those perfect but sometimes rare moments when I can sit in peace and hold a baby) and I'm wondering if grad school is the way to go. I can and probably will write a whole separate post on that dilemma, for the few people who care about my ramblings.

But for now, I'm trying to make some big decisions: Do I get Master's of Science in Nursing so I can maintain my staff nurse job but also teach clinicals to nursing students? Do I take on the challenge of Advanced Practice and become a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Midwife? Or do I stay right where I am, make the most of it, and effectively stay where I am for a long, long time? (The mild sense of urgency I have about all this is preceded by an announcement that by 2015, Master's programs in nursing will be replaced by a 5-year Doctor of Nursing Practice Ph. D, which I can tell you right now I'm not interested in.)

So amidst filling out applications, talking to older and wise colleagues at work, and ordering transcripts, I posted this on Facebook when I got home Monday night:

Precious are the moments at work when I can hold a baby and just let the love soak in. 

Too bad they can't help me decide what I'm meant to do with the rest of my life.

Of course, Facebook friends always have more to say than my patients do, so I woke up to a few gems, including:

-Do what fills your heart with joy! Life is too short for anything else.

-Pray, pray, pray, and God will tell you in time.

A sweet patient's mother practically made me tear up by saying, "I think you are on the right track! Words can't express how much you helped and how much you mean to my family. The way you loved and took care of my daughter... it takes a special kind of person who can do what you girls do. We love you Therese ♥"

One of my favorite nursing instructors from TCU said, "Do what makes you happy to get out of bed in the morning and say 'I get to go to work today, not I have to go to work today.'"

Finally, one of my high school friends said,  "I don't think it's a coincidence that you're experiencing these feelings on the eve of Lent. Use this special time to pray, reflect on all of awesome gifts that God has given you, and decide how you can combine your gifts and a vocation into a life that will fill you and those you serve with joy. That's what this life is all about-- not just a hedonistic search to find what gives you pleasure, but to find out how you can best serve those you love with the special gifts you have been given as a Child of God. God won't let you down. He'll overwhelm you with His generosity. Sending lots of love and prayers your way, Therese."

WOW. How humbling to read this comment just after finishing a completely hedonistic post on how I want to control my life and my body and how I feel. Of course, we have the free-will and responsibility to take care of ourselves and others, but Catherine's comment goes beyond that. It reminds me of something I heard on K-LOVE radio a few weeks ago. They were talking about how parents tell their kids, "you can be anything!" But that's not really an appropriate message. Instead, parents should be saying, "there is a job out there that only you can do and you were born to do" and it sounds like Catherine is saying the same thing to me.

It's so hard to put money and future plans aside and ask, "where do my talents and the needs of the world intersect?" It's even harder for me to put aside any preconceived notions of my own timeline and sit in God's presence and wait for an answer. And to have confidence in that answer when I feel like I might know better (ha!).

So, for Lent I'm not giving up chocolate or TV or Facebook, although all of those challenges have their place. Instead I'm going to try my darndest to give up the illusion of control in my life. I'm going to complete my applications by April 1, let admissions people do their thing, and talk to God with reckless abandon. He can soak up all my pain and give me love instead, just like I try to do for my babies at work. How great the Father's love for us!


  1. Thanks for writing this! Though our lives are very different, this is still encouraging to me. so, if you're ever in tx visiting brittnye, the three of us will have to sit down and get coffee!

  2. Sounds like a plan, MIchelle! I'd love to get to know you better!