I've worked as a nurse in the NHS for a number of years and I have experienced God's guidance on several occasions, directing my career down a certain path.
I believe that God has given me a real sense of love and compassion towards those I am
called to cared for and, as with many other Christian healthcare professionals, I hope that I am able to reflect something of the Lord Jesus in how I nurse my patients and their families.
That doesn't mean things have always been easy and anyone who's worked in the NHS will understand the pressures that we can often face.
I previously worked in end-of-life care and had a senior role training staff to improve
standards of care. At the time I thought this might be my ‘calling'; as God had opened several doors for me to step into this role. However, after a couple of years the contract suddenly came to an end and I was faced with the uncertainty of finding a new job.
One Saturday night I couldn't sleep and felt prompted to check the NHS jobs website where
I noticed a position for a chronic pain nurse. (This caught my eye because of the wonderful
chronic pain support group run by Jenny at GCA!). I didn't meet all the criteria for the role
and the deadline for applications was only a few hours away, but five days later I was
interviewed and then offered the job that afternoon. I was so thankful to God for His
provision, proving yet again His love and faithfulness.
However, this does not mean that the path since then has been easy. Changes at work and
keeping up with admin have proved challenging at times. I fell behind with my admin, which
led to a series of meetings with my managers.
I felt that I had let God down, and became depressed and anxious, questioning whether I had heard Him correctly in taking this job.
Then, perfectly timed, Karen Kircher (author of “Called to Influence”) came to speak at our
church about bringing a kingdom culture into our workplace. (I highly recommend listening
to the podcast!) She brought a team from her church who offered to pray with people after
the service. I went up and received prayer and was also given a Word of Knowledge.* The
person didn't know anything about my situation, but told me that God said I had not failed
and He was telling me “Well done!”
Over the months God reminded me of the verse in Exodus 14: 14 “The Lord himself will fight
for you. Just stay calm.” (New Living Translation) or “The Lord will fight for you, and you
have only to be silent.” (English Standard Version). It's not very easy when you're being criticised and my natural tendency is to defend myself in these situations. I had the option of taking a union rep into the management meetings, but I decided against this and held on to God's promise that He would fight for me ...and He did! Somehow He has resolved things in ways that I didn't think were possible: “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55: 8-9, NLT)
I've been wanting a better work-life balance as it's difficult when working full -time to have much time or energy do anything for yourself or to get involved at church. One of the outcomes of the meetings at work was to choose to step down to a lower band role; this had not been an option before and some new Band 6 positions had just been created (again, perfect timing!). There was only the issue of a drop in salary and my pride.
When Ben Goodman came to our church earlier this year, he gave Mark and I a prophetic word, that God would provide for us financially. Since then, God has reminded me of all the names He calls Himself in the Bible, in particular “Jehovah Jireh” – meaning “The LORD will provide” (Genesis 22: 14). The Bible says God cannot deny Himself – He cannot change His character or go back on His Word.
Once I had accepted the change in role, I then found out that my salary would not be affected – due to an overlap between NHS banding and pay scales. I don't believe this is just a coincidence, but is God's provision and a fulfilment of His promise to provide financially for us. "Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Deuteronomy 7: 9).
The only other issue was my pride and that nagging voice in my head telling me I had failed.
I realised had a decision to make – either to listen to myself and others OR listen to God? As children of God His favour is continually upon us and He does not set us up to fail! If He has told me I haven't failed, then I choose to believe Him and silence the other voices that tell me otherwise. “Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17). “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favour and honour. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Psalm
I've also learnt an important lesson about how God views success. Our culture and society
places greater value on senior roles and climbing the career ladder. But God calls us to serve Him and to be diligent in whatever role He has called us to be in.
“For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16: 7)
My new role still enables me to do what I love and do best – to care for my patients; but it
has also given me the better work-life balance I so desperately needed. God is so good and
faithful. If you put your trust in Him, He will never let you down.
*Word of knowledge: a spiritual gift listed in 1 Corinthians 12.8. It is a God-given ability,
given to one person so that they know what God is currently doing or saying in the life of
another person. Usually used by God to encourage the faith of that person to receive the
healing or comfort that He is offering.