Monday, May 22, 2017

Nurse Tonya

Last week, I had a minor procedure done in conjunction with a series of tests to rule out some issues I’ve been having with severe nausea and eating difficulties. I know grief can cause a host of things to take place in our bodies, and I just assumed that’s what was happening. However, I met with my nutritionist a couple weeks ago, and she was a bit alarmed after some lab results and referred me to my doctor’s office for further evaluation. And…thus the tests began!

I was in the outpatient area of a hospital in Asheville, being prepared to be put to sleep briefly. My nurse, Tonya, was extraordinary…on so many levels. I could tell she spent more time than normal with me, and I couldn’t put my finger on the “why”, however at some point in our conversation…the fact I lost my precious husband in February came up. When I shared the news with her, you could see she was genuinely touched and her eyes welled up with tears.

She knew I was traversing a difficult journey, as it was, but to add in medical testing compounded the problem. He should have been the one there with me that day…my driver to take me home post an anesthesia appointment. Instead, a lovely new friend volunteered to be at my house at 5:00 am that morning to drive me to Asheville and stay at the facility until time to take me home. What love from someone I barely know! And yet…I grieved my Joel that much more, knowing it should have been him.

As a result, I was weepier than normal. I was in the prep room with my nurse and not my husband, and when she got the story of my husband’s death…we both cried. But that wasn’t the end…she asked to pray for me. That happens a lot in hospital settings from chaplains and visiting pastors but from my nurse…that was a new one for me! She was interrupted twice by medical professionals needing to talk with me prior to my procedure, but she pressed on, and eventually she prayed the most beautiful and powerful prayer over me! I was so blessed that day to be her patient, and I commend her for trusting her instincts and the Holy Spirit guidance she received that morning to spend more time with me and to ultimately pray with me.

Last week was “Nurses Week”, and I was blessed by Nurse Tonya. She’ll probably never read this, as I don’t even know her last name. But, she impacted my day in a large way, and I pray God blesses her mightily for her obedience!

As for the tests, I know nothing yet. So, I’ll keep on keeping on…


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Arrow Prayers

Target with arrowI was what you might consider an average athlete when I was growing up…at least in most sports. Some sports, like track and field events or swimming, I would say I was above average in skill. However, basketball and golf (to name a couple) were sports that I didn’t quite tip even the “average” scale. But…all-in-all…I wasn’t all that bad in most sport-related activities. But, there was one area I shockingly excelled in. I had no reason to really be good at it, because I had never practiced a day in my life. My physical education teacher taught me the skills necessary to get started, and somehow I did well from the get-go. The sport? ARCHERY! Who woulda guessed? Certainly not me. I don’t know if it was just good aim or my precision with a bow or simply my ability to maneuver the arrows in such a way to get them to the middle of the target. Whatever the case…I was fairly good at shooting arrows.

As I learned in a staff devotion this week at work, I’m pretty good with shooting out “arrow prayers” too. Mike shared with our team that arrow prayers are those quick little prayer snippets that we toss out, often on the fly, when we find ourselves in need of quick help…

Heal me Lord!

Protect my children!

Save my marriage!

Take this cancer!

Give me a job!

Send money!

Help my breaking heart!

I bet you’ve tossed out a few arrow prayers of your own if truth be known. Am I right?

One of the most desperate arrow prayers I’ve ever prayed came within minutes of learning of my previous husband’s suicide. I simply prayed, “Help me Lord!” Those were the only prayer words I could muster. I prayed those same three words each day for what seemed like forever.

Gradually, those three words grew into longer sentences…then paragraphs…then even lengthier times of prayer with the Lord. But, it’s not the duration of the prayer that God is concerned with, it’s the heart from which the prayer comes. Are we using it like a bargaining tool with God, “If I pray this, then He will do this.”? Or is this simply all that our heart can mutter in prayer at this particular time? For me, it was the latter. I was a broken, new widow, still in shock over the loss of my husband. In the days and weeks that followed, I didn’t have the strength to pray anything else.

But, God met me right where I was at in that moment. My “arrow prayer” reached the Target! God heard my “Help me Lord!” My prayer was purely from the heart…even if broken.

You might not be suffering the same loss, but for whatever reason, you may similarly be able to offer brief arrow prayers right now in this season of life. Don’t let length stop you from talking to God. He’s not looking for wordy, fleshly prayers. He’s not asking for perfection. You don’t need a seminary degree. Just talk to Him…from the heart! He loves and hears and responds to all of our heart-launched prayers…even arrow prayers!

The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. ~Psalm 6:9 ESV