There I stood, mouth gaping open, heart pounding, head starting to throb as I listened to the words coming out of his mouth: “The practice is closed, we can’t see any more patients.” In disbelief, I stood stunned.
In 2008, after almost sixteen years in nursing, with three and a half of them spent as a nurse practitioner, my career came to screeching halt. The events of that day are forever burned in my memory. The pain management practice I worked for was shut down, and the provider who supervised me suspended from practice. Within weeks, I would be not only jobless, but also swept up into a malpractice claim that made absolutely no sense.
It made no difference that the facts of case screamed innocence. In essence, I was guilty by association. Career finished, reputation smeared beyond repair. After years of higher education, not to mention the cost of that schooling, it was over.
To add insult to injury, I would bury my father a few short months later after a sudden car accident. And then, just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, a year later my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
And in the depths of my despair, I would cry out to God from the innermost parts of my heart: “Where are you?”
No one ever plans for their life to include the heartbreaking interruptions like the kind I found myself bombarded by so many years ago. No, we choose to focus on the beautiful pieces and parts that bring us joy and peace. But Christ plainly warns us, life is not without heartache. However, at the end of His warning, He provides comfort.
“…Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
Yet in the day-to-day struggle of a trial or temptation, we don’t really feel like praising Him, do we? And yet, that is what we are called to do.
Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. Job 13:15 NKJV
I want to encourage you today that there are three keys to going through a trial and coming out a better person afterwards.
- Learning to REACH for the Savior.
- Ensuring that you are in a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus.
- Seeking true REVELATION from God concerning what our purpose is here on earth.
I believe God allowed the things I experienced to happen not as a way to punish me, but to bring me back in line with His will. He does this out of love. Having been a Christian all my life, I realized that somewhere along the way I was letting my relationship with Jesus go to the back burner. It is really hard to serve Jesus and yourself at the same time, wouldn’t you agree?
And so God took me and brought me to a point that I would finally look up at Him and reach for Him. Once my career took a nose drive, once my father passed away, and once my husband was diagnosed with cancer –I reached.
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:3 NLT
As I worked through what was confronting me, God would pull things out of me that were earthly minded and start replacing them with eternal viewpoints. Even in the deepest of my struggles, when it felt like I was losing –I was winning!
And in a moment of clarity, I realized my relationship with God had not been a relationship, but an acquaintance. Instead of turning away, I decided to dig in my heels and asked God to lead on.
Once I focused on my relationship with Christ, God reveled Himself to me in undeniable ways. I would see Him as He provided for my husband and I week after week while I was out of work. I would hear Him speak to me through sermon messages and time spent in church-based small groups. I would feel Him all around as I traveled to Nicaragua to do missions work with the church. And with each step I grew stronger, with each step I would heal.
I am here to tell you that I should have never found work again. I should have never recovered financially. I should have never survived the loss of my father. We should have never found my husband’s cancer when we did and be able to say today he is cancer-free.
Transformation, not transference of information, is the key to winning our life battles.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this word, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
How do you get past the tough times and learn to trust Him? You must draw a line in the sand and stand on your faith. You have to choose to follow regardless of how you feel.
Can you say to Jesus: “I know You are great. I know You are awesome. You can handle my issues, questions, and doubts. In fact, You can handle all of me at the same time You handle everything else in the world! It is no match for You. Here I am, use me.”
Toward the end of my journey, through this period of chaos in my life, God reminded me of these words penned by David:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 NLT
In good times or bad, let nothing stop you from turning to Him. When we reach for the Savior and walk in true relationship with Him, He reveals our true purpose. Then as we face new trials and temptations, we find a strength we never realized we had.
Elaine is an author, blogger, and speaker. Elaine’s book, Love Echoed Back: I Cried Out; He Answer provides more detail to the story above as well as the life lessons God imparted to her during these tumultuous time.
As a long standing member of Believers Church, she serves as a small group leader, a member of the prayer team, and co-organizer/co-lead of the Nicaragua missions team.
Professionally, Elaine has been in the nursing profession for over twenty years. She dedicated the first half of her nursing career to the field of Oncology and the second half to the area of Pain Management. In 2005, she became a certified family nurse practitioner. In the last several years, she has transitioned out of the clinical arena into a nonclinical advisory role in the area of medical record documentation, coding, and auditing.
Elaine was born and raised in Suffolk, Virginia and continues to reside there with Darrell, her husband of 23 years. They have one son, Nicholas, who is currently a senior in high school. They also enjoy the company of their ‘adopted’ grandson, Bradley.
It is Elaine’s greatest desire that everyone attain the kind of life Jesus has called us to and that they come to know the depths of the Savior’s love. If you cry out, He will answer!
In July we will be doing an ongoing series – More Than A Conqueror Blogging Series
We are looking for writers to join us and share their stories.
Please watch the following video for more information and if you are interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org