The Day After


Books and workbooks unearthed from a box in my daughter’s closet. Overflowing with information.

Lots of information.

Information I did not imagine or predict I would use again, really. I suppose I saved it because you don’t just discard such a chunk of your life. You might pack it up and move on, but you don’t throw it away.


I’m watching the green leaves slow dance on a gentle breeze in my backyard. I hear the buzz saw (I think you call it that?) as my husband works  outside. Oh, wait. I just looked and I think it’s a sander.

I glance over from my perch at the table and see my oldest daughters and their friend Molly playing Uno in the middle of the living room floor.

It’s July 4th and my family lives in freedom. I am thankful for a day that makes me stop and remember. Appreciate those who sacrifice…their lives, their limbs, time away from family.

We live in the sweet flow of liberty.

And today this stack of books is reminding me of another freedom. One that means more than I will ever fully grasp or articulate.

Spiritual freedom.

Liberty from the lies of an enemy who looks to kill, steal and destroy.

At 18 I decided, somewhat haphazardly, to go to nursing school. I wasn’t sure I was smart enough to make it through, but I did. I got a job and learned and absorbed and gave. Eventually I realized others respected me as a good nurse. My superiors asked me to help orient and train new nurses. I guess others accidentally convinced me I was smart enough for what I was doing.

In time the words critical care floated into my life. Again, I thought no way am I smart enough for that! But again, the opinions of others convinced me that maybe I was.

So I went.

I was there only a short time due to challenges my shift presented for my family. But I never forgot those months…how my supervisor called me “one smart cookie.” I remember being so thoroughly surprised. Me? I still didn’t see it.

Looking back, I can see the hold this lie had on me.

Fear is a lying prophet. When we believe the lies, we make choices that limit us…and God.

One thing I took away as I left my time in critical care was that God wanted me to know I was smarter than I thought.

Many years later, after packing up my nursing paraphernalia for a lifetime, more words floated into my life. Words about ministry and leadership at my church. You have to understand, I did not believe I could lead. I did not see myself that way. But this time it was my Creator who spoke the words…helped me see myself as He saw me.

Very hard to ignore.

Smile…my time in that role was shorter than I expected, as well. But it was glorious in many ways. I experienced Jesus, people, love and the stretching of my faith in beautiful ways. What I believed about myself crashing into and being swallowed whole by my God.

I did not consider He would ever do anything else with me. Like, this is it, girly. Settle in.

And yet today, the day after, I’m looking at these books on my table.

This time…because of much prayer and listening and waiting…because I dare to believe He is in fact leading me…because I’ve learned most often the Word He speaks is not what I was expecting to hear…I say yes with a brilliant liberty I’ve hardly known.

I do not believe the lie anymore.

I know now that wherever God leads me His provision, in every way, will be more than enough. I am made in the image of God! What He calls me to be, He makes me to be!

Another kind of freedom.

And so yesterday I said yes.

I’m going back to nursing part-time.

Back to that same critical care unit.

For a little while it has to be about me…the things I need to study up on. Things I will re-learn. Policy and parking and patients. The stuff I left behind. But my heart sees past what I can do to what God will do. The broken, suffering, hopeless people I will have the honor to touch, encourage and help heal.

Maybe on this Independence Day we will recognize an even deeper freedom. Not just from tyrannical governments, but from tyrannical lies we might have believed all our lives had Jesus not come to set us free.


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