Never Once


UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

Recently, as I listened to Matt Redman‘s Never Once, the Lord reminded me of several situations I have gone through over the last few years.  In particular, He reminded me of his faithfulness to “‘never leave [me] nor forsake [me].’  So [I] can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5c-6, ESV).

I will never forget the first time I cared for a terminal patient as she began the dying process.  She was from Eastern Europe, only spoke her native language, understood very little English, and had no one at the bedside to translate for her.  By the time I came on shift, she had already lapsed into a coma.  I spent most of the evening in her room talking to her because I hold the strong conviction that no one should die alone and without someone holding their hand telling them how precious they are in God’s sight.  Whenever I care for an actively dying patient who has no one at the bedside, I always ensure that either myself, another nurse, or a tech/unit secretary is in the room talking to the patient and holding their hand.

At one point during the night, I started singing various hymns.  She never responded to anything I did or said… until I began singing Abide With Me by Francis Henry Lyte (1793-1847).  The woman who hadn’t responded to anything I had done or said–even painful stimuli–and was very clearly near death opened her eyes, looked me straight in the eye, and feebly began singing along with me in her own language before lapsing back into a coma.

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Knee Pads


UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

Recently, my dad shared a link on Facebook to a YouTube video regarding the 2011 Children’s Miracle Achievement Awards.  This program sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals recognizes outstanding pediatric caregivers for their commitment to and impact upon children’s health.  One of the recipients, Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh, was Matthew’s primary cardiac surgeon until this past year.

Whenever someone receives this award, the program creates a video featuring the recipient and a family impacted by the person.  The family in the video talked about their daughter’s surgery.  They went in anticipating a five hour surgery; it ended up lasting 15 hours instead.  When Dr. Nikaidoh greeted the family afterwards, his first words were to say, “I’m so sorry it took so long.”  As the mom in the video said, “He had been in surgery for 15 hours.  What a man of character to look at a family and to be so humble to say, ‘I’m sorry it took so long.'”

The summer after I graduated high school I did an internship at Children’s Medical Center.  At one point in the internship, I had the opportunity to sit in on the Cardiac Grand Rounds as people from the various healthcare disciplines came together to round on children and work on coordinating their care.  I didn’t notice Dr. Nikaidoh’s presence until near the end.  In two years of nursing school and nearly two years of nursing, I have rarely known a surgeon to possess such an unassuming presence and humility of spirit.  Experience has given me different expectations and has taught that the surgeon is almost always the first one noticed.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.  It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.  Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD (Proverbs 16:18-20, ESV).

After Matthew’s birth, every doctor gave us dire predictions on his chances of survival.  Dr. Nikaidoh was no different.  However, in one conversation after he explained the situation to him my dad said to him, “Dr. Nikaidoh, my wife and I are Christians… we don’t know if Matthew will live seven days, seven years, or 70 years, but we understand that we may have to let him go…”  After the discussion ended, Dr. Nikaidoh got up and quietly walked to the door.  He stopped on his way out, turned back to my dad, and said, “I Christian too.”  Two weeks later, as my parents walked with Matthew’s medical team as they wheeled his bed down the hallway towards the OR for his first open-heart, Dr. Nikaidoh told my parents, “I go do best job, you go pray.”

Is anyone among you suffering?  Let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.  And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be heard.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:13-15, ESV).

Several years after this, my dad took the day off of work to take Matthew and I on a field trip to the Science Museum in Fair Park.  While we waited to tour the museum, my dad struck up a conversation with a woman in the crowd.  She had come with her 16-year-old granddaughter for the same reasons Dad brought us. While we waited she had noticed Matthew’s outward physical challenges.  After a few questions about Matthew, she told my dad about her granddaughter’s own medical challenges.  The girl had been born with a rare heart defect.  She told Dad about how the girl’s cardiac surgeon at that point in time attended a bible study with his wife, but did not believe in Jesus.  She spoke about how she and her family witnessed to him many times.  Up until this moment, the grandmother only knew about Matthew’s visible medical problems; she knew nothing about his multiple, rare heart conditions.  After dad asked the surgeon’s name, my dad had the privilege of sharing with this grandmother the news that not only did Matthew share the same cardiac surgeon, but that the seeds the woman and her family had planted more than 15 years before had taken root and, by the grace of God, bloomed into a faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior.

And I am sure of this, that He Who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6, ESV).

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him (Psalm 126:5-6, ESV).

Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.  Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.  For here the saying holds true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor.  Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor (John 4:35b-38, ESV).

I firmly believe that if Dr. Nikaidoh had not come to believe in Jesus and listened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Matthew would not have been allowed to have the surgeries he so desperately needed to survive.  The medical community viewed these surgeries as simply a cruel method to provide false hope to the parents of a child incapable of surviving.  I believe that Dr. Nikaidoh did what he did because the Holy Spirit led him to do so and take the necessary leap of faith.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God!  Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground (Psalm 143:10, ESV)!

For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry.  As soon as He hears it, He answers you.  And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide Himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.  And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left (Isaiah 30:19-21, ESV).

In the interview for Children’s Miracle Achievement Awards, Dr. Nikaidoh spoke about a mission trip to Cuba.  Dr. Nikaidoh served as a “seating specialist” where he helped to fix wheelchairs.  Before he left for Cuba, a friend suggested he take knee pads with him, since he would spend a lot of time kneeling on the ground during his time in Cuba.  He then spoke about a lesson he learned while kneeling down: “And then I learn when you get down on the knees, that is a servant position.  And in whatever you do, that you are on the same level as a person sitting on the wheelchair.  That position is extremely important.  And that we should start wearing knee pads in our heart.”

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.  And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him (Colossians 3:12-17, ESV).

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  ThereforeGod has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:3-11, ESV).

The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor (Proverbs 15:32, ESV).

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life (Proverbs 22:4, ESV).

As Dr. Nikaidoh said, we should all take to wearing knee pads in our hearts.  I have learned in my practice as a Registered Nurse the effect pride and humility in the caregiver have upon the ultimate outcome of a patient.  Pride can blind the caregiver from recognizing subtle changes until too late to prevent permanent injury or even death.  Likewise, humility opens the eyes and ears to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and so early warning signs can be caught and acted upon.  I pray every time I walk into work that God will give me knee pads in my heart, so that I might glorify Him as well as provide the best care for my patients.  May we all learn to wear knee pads in our hearts every day and everywhere we go and in everything we do to the glory of Christ Jesus.

Dancing With Jesus


 

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

Today marks my Papa’s fourteenth birthday in heaven.  On December 5, 1997, Papa stopped by our house on his way to visit a client.  He always made a point of stopping by our house for a quick visit anytime his job brought him into the vicinity of our house.  Those visits were one of the highlights of my early years.

Later that day, my family went out for the evening and upon returning home found several voice messages left my Nana and my aunts.  We learned that a bus rear-ended Papa and he was in the ER.  During the accident, Papa hit his chest on the steering wheel.  The force of the impact unbeknownst to himself or the ER physician caused serious damage to his heart.  Unfortunately he did not experience the typical symptoms of such an injury and when the ER staff could not find anything wrong, they discharged Papa home.  The next day Papa returned to the ER where they admitted him to the Cardiac ICU.  After two weeks, God took Papa home.

On December 24, 1997, we celebrated Papa’s first birthday in heaven.  I remember one of my uncles asking me a question about Papa and responding with “I miss Papa, but I’m glad he’s with Jesus because I know that I will see him again when Jesus comes for me.”  Even at the age of nine years old, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the knowledge that because Papa and I share a Savior I have the assurance that death will only serve as a temporary separation.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Behold! I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.  For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’  ‘O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:50-58 ESV).”

As I listened to the radio this Christmas season, I heard a song called “Dancing with Jesus”.  I too, like Mary, hold onto Hope and dream of Heaven’s day when I will dance with Jesus.  In this world of ours, we too easily forget Hope and the coming of Heaven’s day.  I challenge you to remember how fleeting this life is and to not put off making your peace with God because “in the twinkling of an eye” the last trumpet will sound and the opportunity will have flown.

“Dancing With Jesus”

“A mother’s watching her newborn

A smile of joy upon her face.

She can’t believe the day is here

The angel had proclaimed.

Little eyes are opened and the baby starts to cry.

She picks him up into her arms and sings a lullaby.

Now she’s dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

She’s dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

A mother watches in despair.

Tears well in her eyes

For the path of pain her son would take;

The way He had to die.

But standing underneath that cross,

His life begins to fade.

She reaches up and holds to hope

And dreams of Heaven’s day.

Where she’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

Glory, Hallelujah in the highest.

Glory, Hallelujah in the highest.

We’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

We’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.

We’ll be dancing with Jesus,

Dancing with Jesus.”

~ Daniel Doss and Sam Mizel 2010

My Grace is Sufficient


UNDER CONSTRUCTION

I have found that creating a blog is very easy.  However, creating a post to a blog is a completely different story!  This situation reminded me of my junior year at The Potter’s School when I studied under Nikki Troxell in her Grammar Review & Composition Course (G&C).  Mrs. Troxell has a gift for writing as well as teaching.  Long story short, her class kicked my butt!  As a result, I learned how to write effectively and this skill has greatly benefited me in the years since I took that class—particularly during my collegiate career.

As I thought over what subject I would use for my first blog post, I wondered why I struggled to write this first post.  I remembered wrestling with the same issue when I first began G&C with Mrs. Troxell.  At that point, I recalled why I had found writing so difficult: I sought to write with my strength, my wisdom, and my thoughts and rejected the idea of leaning upon God for these things.  Proverbs 29:23 states, “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (ESV).  When I eventually recognized my folly in trying to separate God from any part of my life—even my school work—I humbled myself and sought His face in all that I did.  My writing and grades improved as a result, my stress dissipated, and my work glorified God (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, ESV).

2 Corinthians 12:9 by Theologigal, 2011

2 Corinthians 12:9 by Theologigal, 2011

In much the same way, I recognize that pride acted as my stumbling block in writing this post.  I forgot my new identity and instead reverted back to the old habits of my past life; I forgot “My Grace is Sufficient” (Ephesians 2:1-10, ESV; Ephesians 4:17-24, ESV; Proverbs 16:18, ESV; & 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).

My whole purpose in starting this blog is to make public the stories of God’s grace in my life and to provide examples of God’s power made perfect in my weaknesses.  I am a Christian.  I am also far from perfect.  God did not adopt me because I earned the right to the name “Christian” (Romans 5, ESV).  He made me His own in order that His glory might shine brightly in spite of my shortcomings.  In this way, He ensures all creation bears witness to His all-sufficient grace and omnipotence (Matthew 19:16-30, ESV; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, ESV).

“But He said to me, ‘My Grace is sufficient for you, for My Power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10, ESV).

Godspeed,                                                                                                                                                   Kaitlin O’Hearn, BS, RN

References

James, B., Lindsey, H., & Sampson, G. (2013). Jesus, take the wheel [Recorded by D. Bradbery]. On Jesus, take the wheel (The voice performance) – single [Mp3]. Universal Republic Records.

Ledner, M. J. (Lyricist/Composer). (2004). You are my hiding place [Recorded by Selah (A. Hall, T. Smith, & N. S. Sponberg)]. On Hiding place [Mp3]. Curb Records.

Maher, M., & Tomlin, C. (2004). Your grace is enough [Recorded by C. Tomlin]. On Arriving [Mp3]. Six Steps Records.

Morgan, R., & Fielding, B. (2006). Mighty to save [Recorded by L. Story]. On Great God who saves [Mp3]. Fair Trade Services/Sony Music Distribution. (2008)

Morgan, R., & Fielding, B. (2006). Sólo Dios puede salvar [Recorded by En Espíritu y en Verdad]. On Luz y salvación [Mp3]. En Espíritu y en Verdad. (2008)

Mosley, S., Schultz, M., & Wood, T. (2012). All things possible [Recorded by M. Schultz]. On All things possible [Amazon Mp3]. Columbia Records/Fair Trade Services.

Theologigal. (2011, October 19). [2 Corinthians 12:9 by theologigal]. Retrieved from http://theologigal.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/bible-verse-2-corinthians-my-grace-is-sufficient-for-you-for-my-power-is-made-perfect-in-weakness1.jpg

Watts, I. (Lyricist), Funk, J. & Thomson, V. (Arrangers), Resignation (Southern Harmony) (Tune Name), & Anonymous (Composer). (2010). My shepherd will supply my need [Recorded by The Choirs of Washington National Cathedral]. On America the beautiful [Amazon Mp3]. Washington, District of Columbia: Washington National Cathedral. (October 7, 2004 – November 12, 2004).