God’s strength comes through your weaknesses was something I was told as a child.
But there was that one day when my weaknesses flowed out of me like a river. For years, I looked at that day as an embarrassing mistake.
But today, I realize it was a reflection of the compassion I didn’t even know I had.
On that day I was working as a home health nurse manager and was preparing to visit a patient who lived several miles off of our regular patient routes.
The hospice nurse manager had asked me to deliver some supplies to another patient who also lived in the middle of nowhere, but on the way to my patient’s home.
I had no hospice training, but the patient was stable and just needed supplies.
It was not a nurse visit.
I thought I was competent.
I figured it was going to be a 5-minute detour.
When I arrived at the home, there were several cars in the driveway. I walked up to the door and heard the wailing.
I knocked on the screen door. No one came.
I knocked again. No one came.
But I could hear them.
I stood there for a few minutes. I wasn’t sure what to do.
Should I leave these supplies on the step and go?
Maybe they needed someone.
Should I call the hospice nurses?
But I was already there.
I looked inside and saw the kitchen and decided to put the supplies on the table.
I slowly opened the door and stepped inside.
The minute I did a woman came crying into the room yelling, “No, it’s too early!”
I looked around and realized what I had walked into that day.
The patient had just died.
His bed was surrounded by what seemed like 100 people.
I felt so ill-equipped.
How do I help this?
What do I do?
The family started asking me questions.
Questions for which I had no answers.
I felt so helpless.
But, then I remembered that God’s strength comes through your weaknesses.
The only thing I knew to do was to give them comfort.
And so I started holding and hugging.
And then crying.
The embarrassing, ugly cry.
I cried with his wife, his daughter and his grandchildren. Then, I finally sat down.
The hospice manager was called. By me? Maybe the family did.
I don’t know. They just came.
And I left.
I have never forgotten that embarrassing moment.
And I have always thought of it as a major failure in my career.
I believed I didn’t have the strength or composure to work with the deeply hurting.
It hurt me which meant I was weak. ‘I couldn’t keep it together’.
I felt moved to action but had no idea what to do and then decided I needed to work elsewhere.
And so I did.
But not today.
I sat with my friend who recently lost her father. Her daddy.
She shared such beauty about her dad, a young, elderly man.
She shared about the memorial and all of the beautiful and amazing things that God had done for him in his life. And how God had used her dad’s life for others.
He was known worldwide as a relationship author and speaker. He restored marriages. And he saved families.
He touched so many. He loved so deeply.
My friend shared how she spent time with her entire family and closest friends after he died. They celebrated and remembered his life.
Her father’s friend had shared how he cried. He cried in a situation that was different, but similar to mine. The embarrassing, uncontrollable cry.
He loved so deeply it hurt him. He sometimes fumbled with his actions. But he loved anyway. He followed The Lord who used his weaknesses and made him strong. And that is what made him great.
Thanks to that amazing story I now know the truth.
My tears are not a weakness; they are a reflection of the depth and the intensity of my compassion.
When we look into a mirror, we see a reflection which is the opposite of reality. The left is on the right; the right is on the left. We can view our weaknesses the same if we call on The Lord in our weakness.
No longer will I overlook the strengths I can find when I call on the Lord through my weaknesses. I will work with the deeply hurting. Yes, I will allow my weak thoughts, fumble my actions and I will choose to love, and probably, I will cry.
But with God, it will be amazing. I will see God’s strength. And that is what I want.
How about you? Where will you allow your weak thoughts? What fumbled actions will you continue? Who will you choose to love? Where will you allow God Strength to come through your weaknesses? I want to know: please comment or email me at Mylifenurse@gmail.com!