I completed nursing school with honors and secured a job in my dream position, the reason I went to nursing school - Maternal/fetal medicine. I was an OB labor & Delivery, OR scrub and Newborn nursery nurse. Our life was reduced to running to and from jobs, child care, messy home, fast food meals and very little family life. But we loved our son, we had a home and we were living the "American" dream. Yee haw.
But inside I was a mess. It was that Christian upbringing. I was fully aware that I was playing with my own eternity. I knew that I was in willful defiance of His will, and I believed should I die in that state, my eternity was not going to be heavenly. That scared me. It scared me a lot. I became obsessed with my health and wouldn't you know, my blood pressure went up, my cholesterol wasn't great. I was starting to notice signs of diabetes, and I started having flashing blinkers in my vision. The doctor put me through all the work up for a brain tumor.
That Mother's Day, I held my son and cried, wondering if it was our last one together. Would he remember me as a 3 year old? I did not dare ask God for deliverance. His answer was going to be "no." The tests were negative for tumors. I was having "optical migraines" and it was easily treated by drugs. I was smug as I told God, "See? I did this without you."
However it's important to note that my personality did not change. I did not pick up cursing. I didn't start drinking, I didn't run around on my husband, I did not party all night. I didn't do any of those things that the pastor of my childhood church warned us would happen to those who turn away. Basically to those who did not know better, they would not know anything had changed.
My husband also fell away during this time. His was not a decision, it was just a "life got in the way" period of time. But even though he was not faithfully attending church, his heart was still tender toward God. He did not have the anger in him that I did. He still loved his contemporary Christian music and bought new cd's as they came out. He would put Petra, Whiteheart or Dallas Holm and urge me to come listen to the songs. I did not WANT to listen to songs about God's goodness or faithfulness. In fact, I would react to anger at his suggestions and he would look confused. He did not have a clue of how far I had pulled from God.
I enjoyed my job as an OB nurse. I dripped tears, and sniffed each time a new life was born. I worked to stabilize them and return them to the arms of the doting, anxious patient. Although I did not want God in MY life, I did acknowledge his goodness with each healthy delivery. Even when we had mommas in high risk, I would pray for that momma and that babe, believing that God COULD spare them if he WOULD. Nothing is more difficult than placing the body of infant into the arms of the grieving parents.
At the time I was hired, another new graduate nurse joined the unit at the same time. We learned side by side, and although Tammy had lived a rougher life than I had. She was divorced but had custody of a young son. She had a boyfriend and a job. She thought her life was great. She talked of buying a house. As new Ob nurses we worked the same shift and often our teams intersected. We were not best friends, but nothing bonds you together like crash learning OR instruments and C-section protocol together.
For three years we all worked together. Because of my PERSONALITY, many assumed that I was the "good Christian woman". The fact that I did not use crude language, party with them, or share in their hysteria over dirty jokes, they decided I was one of "those" Christians. The fact was that I was just a homebody who was in love with my husband, didn't like alcohol and couldn't bring myself to curse publicly. My priority was there at home. But everywhere I turned it seemed that God was there.
It was April 1st that turned my world upside down. I arrived for my shift as usual, and changed into my scrubs. I noted a definite subdued atmosphere in the locker room. I walked into the nurse's lounge and quickly noted the same quietness there. I walked up to an RN and checked into my assignment for the night. We talked briefly about who was in labor, which doctors were "on". Then my coworker looked at me and said, "You heard about Tammy didn't you?" Thinking this was an April fool's joke I played along. "Nope, what's up with Tammy." The woman looked at me like I had a third eye when she answered, "Tammy's dead. She hung herself." I rejected the news. I told her that was a sick joke, even if was April Fool's. But she went on to tell me it was not a joke. Tammy was dead. She did not show up to pick her son up from the ex-husband, so concerned he broke into the house and found her dead.
I had a hard time with this news. Tammy had been talking about buying a house, and she was fighting her husband's suit for full custody. I had a hard time believing she just killed herself, knowing her son would go to the man she was fighting. But it did not matter. Tammy was gone.
I could not wrap my brain around this idea. Here I was terrified of dying, and she leapt into death's embrace. I couldn't process this and the entire unit was disrupted. I remember, working in the newborn nursery and so distracted by Tammy's death, I inadvertently stuck an infant's Vit. K injection into my own forefinger. Three years without a med accident, but the night Tammy died - I stuck myself.
I had some problems with the memorial service that the hospital chaplain held for Tammy. These crude coworkers with their potty mouths, sat crying and talking about Jesus like they knew him personally. Then in the midst of my judgmental ravings, I was reminded I was no better. Despite the outward conduct they exhibited, I knew that my inner defiance against God put me in the same category as they were.
Tammy's death shook me. Everywhere I looked, I saw signs of eternity waiting. I was terrified of dying and ending up on the wrong side of eternity. I was becoming more and more frantic and running from God. I felt chased. I felt hunted. Someone was after me and I was scared.