Hi, I’m Katie.
If you’re reading this we’ve probably met before, or perhaps you’ve found yourself at a place in the internet that you’re not quite sure how you managed to end up (I get it, I’m there nearly every day).
I live in hilly east Tennessee with my husband and our imaginary cat. I’m a Christian and runner. I’m currently a cardiac ICU nurse and I like taking pictures (mostly of flowers, working on people).
(I like parenthesis too)
Interesting fact about me is that I am terrible with grief.
When someone around me is grieving or working through a serious struggle, I become incredibly uncomfortable. And yes, if you’re asking yourself how the heck that translates in the nursing world, I will tell you – not very well. It’s a constant internal battle.
If a patient and family members have just received good news and they’re headed towards recovery, I’m all about it – that’s easy. But when a patient has a poor prognosis and is tearfully planning the end of his/her life, I’m a puddle, I avoid.
This week I had a patient several years younger than me, being treated for a very aggressive systemic stage 4 cancer. She is intubated (unable to speak) and mostly unconscious. Her parents were in the room constantly, neither of whom had auditory ability (they were both deaf). The mother was unable to communicate with us at all and the father could read lips and sign to her. Everything about this family broke my heart.
The first day I had her as my patient, as I was palpating for a pulse, I saw Psalm 139 tattooed on her right foot. Suddenly realizing that I was tearing up at the sweet truths of my favorite psalm written on this sweet girl’s sick body, God didn’t let me leave that room -thankfully he kept me there. Her father began to tell me about how God had done so much in their lives so far. He told me about the Make A Wish foundation giving her a chance to be Cinderella for a day and watch the new movie in the hospital dressed as a princess (tiara and all). They showed me a video and the tears were coming full force. The spirit was so plain in that father’s kind face as he told me about his daughter’s relationship with God and with them. We were able to pray together, knowing the truths of her prognosis I prayed that God would cradle her and save her- either on this earth or Home with Him. They’re praying for a miracle, they’re not ready to lose their princess. No hospice care, no DNR, just the prayer that God will keep her with them.
I don’t know how they feel, I can’t imagine the idea of losing a child. But I know how I feel about my life. I want it to go the right way, I want things to be good in my life. I want control and reassurance and honesty, I want normalcy.
That’s not how God works though. He does big things, hard things to mold us into people who love other people well. He takes our plans and makes a better plan and sometimes those plans look really great for us. But in the case of this family, his plan for redemption of this earth isn’t good for them right now. I forget that God wrote the story of everything and not just my life. This hard hard thing for this family might be something that furthers the kingdom- it has to be. Nothing is for nothing. I pray so much for her healing, that she will make it through and shine and share the sweet love of Jesus everywhere she goes on this earth. I pray for her sake and for her parents’ hearts.
The bigger plan doesn’t always look like the right plan, but it is a twig in a mighty oak tree that God has created.
If this awful circumstance is a way for this family to spread the never stopping, never giving up, always and forever Love of God, then I am glad. They’ve already changed my life, I know that. I’ll never forget this family clinging to the Cross.
I’m learning that trusting God in prayer is the only way to live. We never know the next steps, but He does.
And oh, how He loves us.
Psalm 139: 1 -14
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as day, for darkness is as light with you.
For your formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul know it very well.