Surprise in Labor and Delivery! Part 1

March, 1982- 11 p.m.-Labor & Delivery

Mary Lou, our assistant nurse manager, wrote our assignments for the night shift on the large white board at the nursing station after we listened to report from the evening shift. We only had 5 women in labor so far, so she gave me Helen in the birthing room and the first admission.  Helen had 2 children at home, was 28 years old, and was dilated 5 cm (halfway). She was at 37 weeks gestation, which was technically 3 weeks early, but typically the baby would have mature lungs and be over 5 pounds in weight.

I walked into the birthing room and introduced myself to Helen and her husband, Mike. Helen was a pretty blond lady with large blue eyes. Her dark haired handsome husband seemed quite attentive to her. She looked exhausted from labor and being pregnant. As a contraction began, she began to do her Lamaze breathing as Mike held her hand. I placed my hand on her swollen abdomen to feel the strength of the contraction.

After it let up, I asked, “Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?” Helen replied, “No, Dr. J. doesn’t believe in doing ultrasounds if the pregnancy is normal. We already have a boy and a girl at home, so we’re ready for either.” I checked her blood pressure which was normal,  and then did an internal exam. The amniotic sac of water around the baby had not broken yet, so we were not yet monitoring the baby’s heart beat internally. She was further along now.

I looked at the external monitor strip which recorded a normal heart rate and variation at an average of 130 beat per minute. I wrote my assessment and initials on the monitor strip, and said to Helen and Mike, “I’m going to call Dr. J at home and tell him to come in. You will probably deliver in the next hour.” Helen groaned and began her breathing as another contraction started. I left the room, wrote my new assessment on the white board, and called Dr. J. and then assessed another patient in labor whose nurse was in the delivery room.

When I returned to Helen’s room, I found Dr. J with her. He was in his scrubs, and said he just broke her water. Since she was fully dilated, he told her to start pushing. As this was her third baby, she would probably deliver quickly. I pressed the call light and asked the tech, Theresa, to come in and assist. I removed the bottom of the birthing bed, put Helen’s heels in the stirrups, raised the head of the bed, and gave her the steel handles on each side of the bed to grip. Theresa wheeled the sterile table out of the closet and uncovered the instruments so they were all ready for Dr. J.

Helen gave 3 pushes, and the baby’s head crowned, covered with blond hair. Dr. J told her to push gently, and a perfectly formed baby girl slipped into his hands. He suctioned out her mouth, she grimaced, and let out a nice cry. The beautiful sound of that first cry never ceased to amaze me! I pulled the Apgar cord and wrote down the birth time: 11:50 p.m. Her one minute apgar was excellent at 8/10 as Dr. J. placed her in the warmer. She appeared to weigh about 5 pounds, which is slightly small for 37 weeks. I congratulated Helen and Mike on their new baby girl and rubbed her dry with the warmed blanket and put a cap on her head to help her retain her body heat.

As Dr. J massaged Helen’s abdomen to deliver the placenta, he said, “You have another baby in here, Helen. You’re having twins!” Helen immediately began to cry and said, “Oh no, how will we ever pay for another baby?” Mike turned pale. My heart quickened as twins are always a high risk delivery, especially surprise twins. I had never delivered twins in the birthing room before, but it was too late now to move her to the delivery room. I pressed the call light and told the tech at the desk what was happening and asked her to get the resident in here and the Neonatal ICU nurse stat! The room quickly filled with extra staff so we barely had room to turn around.

Thankfully, the second baby was also head down and came out equally as easily 5 minutes later. She was also a girl! Dr. J placed her next to her sister in the warmer and we quickly dried her off. She also had excellent Apgar scores and appeared to weigh around 5 pounds. We handed one girl to Helen and the other to Mike to hold, and they both seemed to relax a little as they began to get over their shock of having not one, but TWO new babies!

Surprise twin girls!

Surprise twin girls!

I silently prayed that Helen and Mike would realize that God could give them His love, strength, and finances in Christ Jesus if they would only trust Him. I thought of many childless Christian couples who would absolutely love to raise those beautiful twin girls in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Children are so precious to God because He creates all of us.

Lo, children are an heritage from the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is His reward. Happy is the man who s his quiver full of them… Psalm 127:3, 5

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice, and he that begets a wise child shall have joy of him. Your father and your mother shall be glad, and she that bore you shall rejoice. Proverbs 23:24-25

After I woke up the next afternoon, I was glad it was my day off, giving me some extra time to think and pray. I continued to pray for the new twins to be healthy and receive Christ as Savior at a young age. Sometimes it’s difficult to be content and be single since most of my friends are married and having children. I wonder if God will ever give me a husband and children? I know His will for me today is to simply fix my eyes on Him and be content. I opened my Bible and read,

Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, in this to be content. Philippians 4:11

It always encourages me to read this and think of the great Apostle Paul who God used to write these words. Apparently he was  a widower during the last part of his life and had to learn contentment also. I decided to get out my cassette tape on “Social Relationships” by Dr Stephen Olford to review Biblical principles of companionship, comradeship, courtship, and singleness. I always feel better after listening to it. Especially when he says, “You dear young people, if God wants you to marry, He will NEVER allow you to miss meeting your life partner!”

Dear Lord, Help me to rest in You in sweet contentment and just live one day at a time. Thank you that I am single today and that Your ways are so much higher than my ways and that You make no mistake. Amen.

Reflection

I was thrilled to find Dr. Olford’s message at the following link:

http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/viewcat.php?cid=426&min=20&orderby=titleA

I think every single person and parent would greatly benefit and be encouraged by this message. The Lord has allowed me to continue to be single. I no longer fear being single as I did when I was younger, because God has been so kind and gracious to me over the years and has provided for my every need. I praise Him for His precious gift of contentment.

Some years ago, God guided me to the wonderful verse in Isaiah 54:1

Sing. O barren, you who did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.

After I read this verse, the Lord showed me that there was no limit to the number of spiritual children I could have. How wonderful!

Next week I will continue with the next surprise of that very busy night in Labor and Delivery.

 

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Amputations – “Thy will be done!”

Midwest, USA – 1978

The phone rang and I answered. My dear friend Enid was calling who lived an hour away. “Pam, One of my former coworkers is a patient at  your hospital and I was wondering if you would visit him and share the gospel with  him? For many years he was the chauffeur for one of the wealthiest men in the city and is now retired. He seldom has any visitors.” “Sure! I would love to visit him!” I replied.

The next day after I finished work, I knocked on Yock’s hospital room door and entered. He was a thin elderly man who stared at me with his big sad brown eyes. I introduced myself  and sat in the chair beside his bed. I told him a little about myself, and then he told me more of his story. He had smoked all of his adult life and now had decreased circulation in both his legs which caused him severe pain. He had been in and out of the hospital several times the past year as they did surgery to implant artificial arteries to bypass the clogged ones to try to get more blood to his feet. Sadly, they weren’t working very well and he was still having a significant amount of pain from the lack of blood and oxygen to his legs.

I shared with Yock how much God loved him that He had died on the cross for his sins, rose again, and lived today. Jesus Christ wanted Yock to receive Him as his personal Savior. I asked Yock if I could read some Bible verses to him, and he asked me to please do so. I then read the following verses,

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God– not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

I then prayed for Yock. As I said goodbye, he gripped my hand and asked me to please visit him again because he wanted to hear more from the Bible.

I continued to visit Yock after work every day and often after he went home. One afternoon, after we finished studying the Bible at his kitchen table, I asked him if he would like to receive Jesus Christ as his personal Savior? He said he would and he was ready. He bowed his head and prayed out loud, “Dear Lord, I come to you now as a sinner. Thank You for dying on the cross for me to pay the price for my sins. Thank You that You are the Son of God. I now receive You as my very own Savior! Amen.” He looked up and was smiling widely. His big brown eyes were no longer sad, but beaming with joy!

Jack was so happy after he received Christ as his Savior!

Yock was so happy after he received Christ as his Savior!

The road ahead of Yock was not an easy one as he went through numerous surgeries over the next months and much pain. The grafts were not successful and they had to amputate his left leg below the knee. His right leg continued to be very painful and his doctor told him that he needed to also have it amputated. The day before his second amputation, we were reading the Bible together and he said to me. “Pam, I read this morning how Jesus Christ said to the Father before He went to the cross, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matthew 26:39. That is what I told God today also. “Thy will be done!” he said with steely determination and tears in his eyes. His growth in the Lord was a great blessing to me to behold!

Several months after Yock’s second leg amputation healed, he received two new prostheses (artificial legs). I visited him in his apartment a few days before Christmas, and he said, “I have a surprise for you!” He wheeled himself into his bedroom. After about 15 minutes he WALKED out of his bedroom on his two new legs while leaning on his walker. He was grinning from ear to ear as my tears of joy flowed.

Reflection

The Lord took Yock home to heaven several years later. It was truly wonderful to watch how the Lord transformed him from an angry bitter man into one full of joy and peace as he grew in God’s grace. The memory of his sweet testimony of submitting his life to God while going through very difficult trials with his health continues to bless me today.

Since then, I have worked with quite a few patients who have amputations. Those who have done the best in handling the trauma are those who trust in the Lord for the grace and strength to adjust to this major change in their life. Others who do not trust in the Lord usually become very bitter and say, “Why me?” Only Christ can transform us when we receive Him as personal Savior!

Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

II Corinthians 5:17

Babe of Bethlehem

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” Matthew:2:1-2

Bethlehem, Israel – March, 2013

25,000 people now reside in Bethlehem, Israel

25,000 people now reside in Bethlehem, Israel

Our tour group boarded our bus outside our hotel in Jerusalem and traveled 20 minutes to the city of Bethlehem which now has 25,000 residents. We drove past the huge cement wall built between Palestinian controlled Bethlehem and Jerusalem to prevent the Arab snipers from shooting them. At the checkpoint, the security guard waved us through after our driver told him we were American tourists. Our day to visit Bethlehem changed since President Obama was scheduled to visit here in three days. We parked in an underground garage and walked several blocks uphill to the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site where Jesus Christ was born in a cave. We passed Muslim women dressed head to toe in black, brown, or gray burkas.

Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity

Construction began in 326 A.D. on this oldest church in the Holy Land which is still in use. It is separated into three different sanctuaries of the Franciscan Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox.

"Mouse hole" entrance to Church of the Nativity!

The tiny entrance to the Church of the Nativity prevented intruders!

We entered through a four foot high door with a foot high wall at the bottom. Our guide told us they built it this short purposely as a deterrent to any enemies! When an enemy entered all bent over, he couldn’t shoot anyone, but the person inside could knock him over or kill him easily.

Then we wandered from one sanctuary to the other. It was quite interesting to compare the different architectural styles, the Armenian one being the most ornate. We waited in line about 20 minutes to see the glass covered hole in the floor that is supposed to be the actual birthplace of Christ.

Traditional birthplace of Christ.

Traditional birthplace of Christ.

Our Hebrew Christian guide, told us that in 1948 when the State of Israel began, Bethlehem had all Christian residents, but now there are only about 40 families remaining. The Muslims won’t hire them, so all the Christian young people are leaving.

We went to a gift shop that an Arab Christian started to support these remaining families. The believers carve nativity scenes out of olive wood which are very intricate. I treasure the one I purchased that portrays Mary and Joseph gazing at the Christ child in the cave. I also learned the typical manger was made of stone, unlike the wooden mangers usually portrayed in America.

My olive wood nativity scene carved by Christians in Bethlehem.

My olive wood nativity scene carved by Christians in Bethlehem.

Reflection

As I recall my days in Labor and Delivery helping those babies into the world on Christmas morning in 1981, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone assisted Mary during her labor other than Joseph? It simply states in Luke 2:7  And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger. This is what the midwife or nurse would typically do who assisted the mother.  Midwives are mentioned in Exodus 1:15-22 who feared God and preserved the Hebrew male babies from Pharaoh’s wrath. “Therefore God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied, and became very mighty.” I do not think God gave any details about Mary’s labor or delivery because He wanted all the emphasis upon Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Shepherds of Bethlehem.

Shepherds of Bethlehem.

The common shepherds were the first ones who learned of the Savior’s birth and came to worship Him, their Creator, who “took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And, being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7-8. Emmanuel, God with us, who left heaven above, and came to earth to be my Savior. Born to die. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You love me so much!

Charles Wesley captured this thought beautifully in the fourth verse of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”.

Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.

Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!

I pray you all may have a Christ centered celebration of the birth of our dear Savior!

Christmas Babies!

December 25, 1981 – 2 a.m. Labor & Delivery Staff Nurse

I finished my night shift orientation in September and am feeling much more comfortable in my skills as I don’t need to think so hard about every little thing. Since it is my first Christmas in Labor & Delivery, I am required to work. Management designated me as charge nurse since the Assistant Nurse Manager is off tonight.

I glanced at the large white board in the nurse’s station which listed all the patients by name, stage of labor, and doctor. We still had six women in labor with four empty labor rooms. We had already done four deliveries since I was called in early at 9:30 p.m. to help the busy evening shift. I glanced at the fetal monitors which displayed each baby’s heart rate. All of a sudden, I saw one baby’s heart rate go dangerously low to 50 and stay there. A normal full-term baby’s heart rate is 120-160 beats per minute. Cathy, another nurse, stuck her head out the door of the woman’s room and yelled, “Call the doctor and nurse anesthetist, Pam! We have to do a stat C section (surgery). This baby is in trouble!”

The operating room technician, Teresa, ran to the prepared operating room (OR) while I called the two doctors. The nursing assistant helped Cathy wheel the huge bed down the hall to the O.R. Cathy had the mother lie on her left side to try and take the pressure of the baby’s body off her mother’s blood vessels so the baby could get more blood.

Newborn Baby!

Newborn Baby!

We worked quickly. As soon as the anesthesiologist nodded that the mother was asleep, the resident doctor cut her abdomen and lifted the baby out of her womb. He  cut the cord that was wrapped tightly around the baby girl’s neck, and carried her to the warmer. Her own cord had choked her as she came down the birth canal. The baby girl let out a weak whimper.  I suctioned out her mouth and placed the oxygen mask over her small face. I dried her off quickly and she took several gasps of air! I silently prayed, “Dear Lord, Please touch this baby girl’s body that she may live.”  She let out a louder cry and the delivery room staff exhaled a sigh of relief. Her tiny body began to turn pink. The Neonatal ICU nurse wheeled the baby girl down the hallway to keep a close eye on her until she stabilized.

I returned to my other patient, Marie, and checked her progress internally. She was ready to start pushing the baby out. She was totally exhausted after 16 hours of painful labor. After an hour of pushing, I saw a patch of the baby’s black hair peak out! We wheeled Marie in her bed down the hall to the delivery room, helped her transfer to the narrow delivery bed, placed her heels in the steel stirrups, and her hands on the steel handles. I had her husband, John, sit on a stool beside her.

She gave several more pushes, but wasn’t making much progress. Dr. D. instructed, “Pam, give fundal pressure during the next contraction to help her out.”  I looked at Marie over my mask and warned, ” I’m afraid this is going to hurt you.” As I felt her large abdomen harden, I reached across her, grabbed the steel handle with both my hands, and pressed my forearm into her belly with all my strength. She screamed and I felt like screaming as my back went into a muscle spasm. At last the baby’s head popped out and his slippery body slid into Dr. D’s hands.

“Congratulations, Marie and John! You have a nice big healthy boy!” announced Dr. D. I pulled the string on the Apgar clock and wrote down the time — 3:03 a.m. Christmas morning.  Dr. D.  quickly suctioned the mucus out of the baby’s mouth with the blue rubber bulb syringe, and the baby let out a loud strong cry. Dr D placed two clamps on the umbilical cord and laid him on Marie’s abdomen so she could see him. “John, would you like to cut your son’s cord?” “Sure!” grinned John as he took the sterile scissors in his hand and snipped the cord.

Dr. D. carried the baby to the warmer and the Apgar timer buzzed at one minute. I gave him a score of 8 out of 10 which was excellent! His trunk, hands, and feet were still tinged blue. I suctioned the mucus out of his mouth again, wiped off his body with the soft, warm, cotton blanket and put a little hat on his head to keep him warm. The 5 minute Apgar time buzzed and I scored him 9 out of 10. His body was now pink, but his hands and feet were still slightly blue. I wrapped him tightly in another clean warm blanket and greeted him, “Merry Christmas, Timothy! Welcome to the world!” John watched his new son with amazement.

A woman, when she is in travail, has sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. John 16:21

I carried Timothy over to Marie and placed him in her arms. All the fatigue vanished from her face as she gazed at him tenderly and kissed his forehead. After Dr. D. delivered her placenta and stitched her up, I put a warm blanket on her and wheeled mother and son to the recovery room.

The remaining hours flew by as we did two more Caesarian surgeries and two more normal deliveries. Eight babies were born that  Christmas night shift! I sat down twice for ten minutes during my ten hour shift. I was so happy to see the day shift staff walk into the nurse’s station at 7 a.m.! We gave them report, went to the locker room to change out of our blue scrubs into our street clothes, and walked wearily out the door into the bitterly cold Christmas morning sunshine.Christmas morning

Reflection

My severe back pain continued, and I was diagnosed with two injured back muscles. My doctor ordered me to take a month leave of absence while I went to physical therapy to heal and strengthen my muscles. He said I was in poor shape physically and needed to exercise regularly if I wanted to continue to work in labor and delivery. So I joined the local indoor pool and began swimming four times a week. I happily discovered that swimming was also a great stress reliever and helped me sleep better!

The babies that were born that early morning will celebrate their 36th birthday this Christmas and likely have children of their own by now. I wonder what kind of choices they have made in life? They share the same birth day when we annually celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I pray that each has chosen to receive Him as his/her personal Savior.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:11-12

Graduate Nurse Banding Ceremony

Febuary, 1977 – Senior in College of Nursing

It is hard to believe I am in my last quarter of nursing school before I graduate in March. This quarter my clinical site is the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at University Hospital. I truly thank God that everything I learned the past 4 years is finally coming together! I am receiving a good review of anatomy and physiology as I spend many long exhausting hours making my care plans for these complex patients. I go to bed at 1 a.m. after finishing the care plan, and arise at 5 a.m. in order to get to ICU ready for report at 7 a.m.

I have a very nice instructor, Miss B. She corrected me last week after I gave a medicine Intravenous (IV) push without her or my preceptor being present. Earlier in the quarter she told me to work as independently as possible, but I guess that does not apply to IV meds yet! Thankfully, no harm came to the patient.

At the third week, I became filled with anxiety that I would not make it through the quarter because it was so difficult. I pleaded with the brethren to pray for me and claimed Isaiah 40:29.

He giveth power to the faint; and to those who have no might He increaseth strength.

The Lord gave me victory and lifted the horrible depression and sense of defeat. From then on the quarter was fine.

The end of January, my class had our ceremony where we received our black velvet band to attach to our nursing cap. I thanked God for his mercy and grace to me these past four years as I pinned the band on my cap .  I know I only  arrived at this moment  with God’s help. My family traveled two hours so they could share this special time with me.

Approaching the podium to receive my band.

Approaching the podium to receive my band.

banding 2

Pinning on my new black velvet band.

banding 3

I almost feel like Cherry Ames with my black band!

Reflection

Nurses no longer wear caps in the clinical setting. It was optional to wear mine in the hospital where I first worked after graduating. I wore it very proudly at first, but as I bent over a patient to do his dressing change, it fell into the middle of my sterile field and I had to start over. I also knocked it off sometimes on the over-bed trapeze bar. There was no good way to clean it since it was made of stiff cardboard like material.

But there were some advantages in wearing it. I could easily identify which nursing school the person had attended. I still am fascinated when I look at old pictures of the wide variety of nursing caps! It also set us apart from the nursing assistants so the patient knew at once that I was a nurse when I entered the room. During a code for a patient emergency, it was easy to recognize who the nurse was because of the cap.

A variety of nursing caps!

A variety of nursing caps!

I still have my slightly yellowed cap tucked away in my bottom bureau drawer. Occasionally, I gaze at it fondly and recall that proud moment when I received my black band.

Home Care in the Cemetery

Fall Quarter, 1976 – Senior in College of Nursing

I had a really wonderful quarter of working in Public Health with the County Board of Nursing. I was assigned to a family of ten Laotian refugees and a pregnant lady who needed prenatal care. The first visits were with my RN preceptor, and then I visited them weekly by myself the rest of the quarter.  The Laotian family had three generations who had escaped from the communist takeover in Laos and were sponsored by the Catholic Church. They were placed in the empty caretaker’s house at the rear of the large Catholic cemetery outside the city in the country.

Laotian Refugees coming off the boat in the 1970's

Laotian Refugees coming to the USA in the 1970’s

I had to visit them at night after the father came home from work since he was the only one who could speak some English. I have to admit, it was a little spooky to drive through the huge dark cemetery to their house which stood isolated in the woods. When I entered, they were all gathered around a large dinner table eating rice and vegetables. They appeared tired and looked at me suspiciously. I examined each one of them and took each one’s history using the father as interpreter. They all had parasites and were quite malnourished when they first arrived in the USA. The grandfather was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was being treated for it. At each visit, as they became more comfortable with me and their health improved, they became more relaxed and looked happier. I was never able to find out too much about their story due to the language barrier. I wish I could have shared the gospel with them, but none of them could read English.

Home care in the Cemetery at Night

Home care in the Cemetery
(photo by R. Spearrin-used with permission)

The Lord has laid a burden on my heart to minister to German speaking people in some way after I graduate. I asked the Army Nurse recruiter to come to my dorm room to explain what it was like to be an Army nurse as a way to go to Germany. But she said there were no guarantees as to where I would be stationed. If I was sent to Germany, I would have to live on base with the other nurses, and work rotating shifts in the base hospital. A Christian friend who is in the Air Force and stationed in Germany wrote a long letter to me discouraging me from joining the Army. So after praying about it, I decided not to join.

Then I heard about a scholarship to Germany where the University chooses one student a year to study abroad. I applied, but did not get an interview, so another door was closed. I’m learning to wait on the Lord! I was encouraged by Isaiah 30:18 – And therefore will the Lord wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you; for the Lord is a God of justice; blessed (happy) are all they that WAIT for Him. 

Dear Lord, Help me to wait patiently upon You as to where You will have me to work when I graduate. I trust in You to provide a job and guide me to a place where I can be used by You. Amen.

I also took a German history course which was interesting and helped me to understand the culture better. For my third course, I decided to audit German Scientific Writings which was a good grammar review for me. Mr. G, the professor, was a hardened proud older man who made many sarcastic remarks about being “born again”. One morning I awoke at 5 a.m. thinking about him and knew I would not have any peace until I went and spoke with him about his soul. So after much prayer and reading in II Chronicles 20:15  that “the battle is not yours, but God’s, ” I went forth in fear and trembling to his office. I shared the gospel with him, and he then proceeded to rip apart the Bible and Jesus Christ verbally for the next 30 minutes. He gave me no opportunity to say anything else, but I had great peace when I left his office knowing that I had obeyed God. I leave the results with God who convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgement. Remembering how much the Apostle Paul hated Jesus Christ before he received him on the Damascus road encourages me. (see Acts 9)

It is rather a strange feeling to think that I only have one quarter remaining before I graduate and this part of my life will be completed forever.  Quite truthfully, I am not exactly looking forward to a 40 hour work week grind, but I know God will always provide for me and strengthen me.

Reflection

Home care was one of my favorite quarters in college. Twice in my career I have worked as a home care nurse which I will tell about later in my blog. I enjoyed the autonomy of home care nursing and getting to know the patient within the context of their family. The most difficult part was driving in all kinds of weather, dealing with safety,  traffic, and road rage.

After not speaking German for many years, I met a delightful German couple at church. The wife is also a nurse about my age and learning English. I went to http://www.Duolingo.com to brush up on my German, and was happy to recall it fairly quickly. Duolingo is a wonderful free web site to learn over 17 languages. They say learning a foreign language is good to prevent memory loss, so enjoy! Auf wiedersehen!

Jesus – Born in Bethlehem

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” Matthew:2:1-2

Bethlehem, Israel – March, 2013

25,000 people now reside in Bethlehem, Israel

25,000 people now reside in Bethlehem, Israel

Our tour group boarded our bus outside our hotel in Jerusalem and traveled 20 minutes to the city of Bethlehem which now has 25,000 residents. We drove past the huge cement wall built between Palestinian controlled Bethlehem and Jerusalem to prevent the Arab snipers from shooting them. At the checkpoint, the security guard waved us through after our driver told him we were American tourists. Our day to visit Bethlehem changed since President Obama was scheduled to visit here in three days. We parked in an underground garage and walked several blocks uphill to the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site where Jesus Christ was born in a cave. We passed Muslim women dressed head to toe in black, brown, or gray burkas.

Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity

Construction began in 326 A.D. on this oldest church in the Holy Land which is still in use. It is separated into three different sanctuaries of the Franciscan Catholics, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian Orthodox.

We entered through a four foot high door with a foot high wall at the bottom. Our guide told us they built it this short purposely as a deterrent to any enemies! "Mouse hole" entrance to Church of the Nativity!

“Mouse hole” entrance to Church of the Nativity!When an enemy entered all bent over, he couldn’t shoot anyone, but the person inside could knock him over or kill him easily.

Then we wandered from one sanctuary to the other. It was quite interesting to compare the different architectural styles, the Armenian one being the most ornate. We waited in line about 20 minutes to see the glass covered hole in the floor that is supposed to be the actual birthplace of Christ.

Traditional birthplace of Christ.

Traditional birthplace of Christ.

Our Hebrew Christian guide, told us that in 1948 when the State of Israel began, Bethlehem had all Christian residents, but now there are only about 40 families remaining. The Muslims won’t hire them, so all the Christian young people are leaving.

We went to a gift shop that an Arab Christian started to support these remaining families. The believers carve nativity scenes out of olive wood which are very intricate. I treasure the one I purchased that portrays Mary and Joseph gazing at the Christ child in the cave. I also learned the typical manger was made of stone, unlike the wooden mangers usually portrayed in the USA.

My olive wood nativity scene carved by Christians in Bethlehem.

My olive wood nativity scene carved by Christians in Bethlehem.

Reflection

As I recalled my days in Labor and Delivery helping those babies into the world on Christmas morning in 1981, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone assisted Mary during her labor other than Joseph? It simply states in Luke 2:7  And she brought forth her first-born Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger. This is what the midwife or nurse would typically do who assisted the mother.  Midwives are mentioned in Exodus 1:15-22 who feared God and preserved the Hebrew male babies from Pharaoh’s wrath. “Therefore God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied, and became very mighty.” I do not think God gave any details about Mary’s labor or delivery because He wanted all the emphasis upon Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.Nazareth shepherd

The common shepherds were the first ones who learned of the Savior’s birth and came to worship Him, their Creator, who “took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; And, being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7-8. Emmanuel, God with us, who left heaven above, and came to earth to be my Savior. Born to die. Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You love me so much!

Charles Wesley captured this thought beautifully in the fourth verse of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”.

Mild He lays His glory by, Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.

Hark, the herald angels sing, Glory to the newborn King!

I pray you all may have a Christ centered celebration of the birth of our dear Savior!

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