A Sacred Sorrow

In the fall 2019, I found myself once again a wreck with grief and stress. My younger brother had died of an overdose and then my 18 year-old nephew had committed suicide. These two deaths, along with stress related to my grown daughter, I was an emotional wreck. So, I dragged my husband and I into our pastor’s office for some spiritual care.

As he counseled me on self-care, which included time to rest and prayer, he recommended A Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card. The book uses David and other “lamenters” in the Bible to guide reader on various ways to cry out to God.

Being open, honest and real with God can be a challenge, especially when our emotions of anger, frustration and pain seem contrary to what we think God wants to hear. In fact, the opposite is true–God wants to hear and be part of our human experience.

I encourage you to “lament” with God. He wants to hear and “be with you” and your pain. Lamenting can be through journal (my choice), audio, and/or via video.

I am weary with my sighing;
Every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.

My eye has wasted away with grief; . . .
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.

The Lord has heard my supplication,
The Lord receives my prayer.

Psalm 6:6-9 David’s cry/prayer to GOD.

Be sure to comment if you have used this book to assist you in lamenting to God about your grief.

The Empathy of God

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the people who had come with her weeping, he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed. He asked, “Where have you laid him?” They replied, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. (John 11:33-35)

In John Chapter 11 we find Jesus traveling with the disciples, when he was notified that his friend Lazarus is extremely ill. Jesus, knowing God’s plan, purposefully delayed his plans to visit. He explicitly told the disciples his plan and even explained why he is waiting for Lazarus to die.

“Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.”

As he gets closer to the home of Lazarus, Martha and Mary, Jesus explained his purpose to Martha. 

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” . . . Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

As the reader, I am familiar with the incident and know the miracle that is about to take place. Jesus has explained it to his disciples, to Martha and to me. The narrative is interrupted, and I read how Jesus was overcome with emotion and crying, “he was intensely moved in spirit and greatly distressed…Jesus wept.

I ask myself, “Why is Jesus crying? Why is he so upset? He knows the outcome. Jesus knows in a few short minutes, Lazarus will come walking out of the tomb, risen and alive again! How can Jesus, the son of God, omnipotent, omniscient be upset about a death he is going to rectify?”  I am confused by the incident until the Holy Spirit reveals the answer–empathy!

The Merriam-Webster definition of empathy includes… “vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.” In other words, having the same “feelings, thoughts, and experience” of someone without having the same experience. 

Here in three short verses of John 11, I saw a facet of the heart of God. Our Lord and Savior reveals one of the most powerful emotions of humans—grief, sadness, and pain. Not because Jesus doesn’t know the outcome. And, not because He can’t fix it. Instead, He is overcome with the grief and pain of his friends’ who were inconsolable at the loss of their brother and friend. Jesus’ loving response is to share the experience with them. He cries as they cry.

As someone who has experienced loss and grief, I find comfort in knowing this is my God. He sat with me in my tears and pain. He cried when I was inconsolable. Not because He doesn’t know the outcome. And not because He couldn’t fix it. Instead, He cries, when I cry.

Jesus becomes spiritually distressed by the pain and suffering we experience. He laments with me, with you and with our patients and families.  This new insight into the love of God brings new meaning to Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;

What does the Nicene Creed have to do with Christian Nursing?

What does faith in nursing have to do with the Nicene Creed? I say “a lot!” To better explain myself, I need to share with you my history with the Nicene Creed. If you have read  a previous blog posting on January 2013, you will see that Tove Giske asked me to contribute four Christian nursing articles for the Journal of Faith and Profession a journal published in Norway, 2012. While I was praying and thinking about the series of articles, I thought of the 4 essential concepts to Christian nursing: Faith, Compassion, Prayer and Excellence. These topics became the 4 articles with accompanying Bible studies. After their publication, I compiled the 4 together with international edits, etc to create  Our Faithful Journey in Nursing: A Teaching on Faith, Compassion, Prayer, and Excellence in Nursing (available as an eReader through Amazon).

It was while I was researching and writing the article on Faith, that I came across the Nicene Creed. My home church and denomination does not use any creed or written prayer as part of the liturgical service. I experienced the congregation reciting the creed as a statement of faith  when I attended other Christian services, like Catholic, etc.

Also, during this time around 2011-2012, I was researching and learning about the postmodern philosophy and culture exploding in the USA and other western societies. In a nut shell, postmodern philosophy denies absolutes, objectivity, and dogmatism to one of relativism, subjectivism, and tolerance. For Christians, who hold to a faith defined by Truth (big T–God) and obedience to rules, postmodern philosophy is in sharp contrast to our faith.

I have also been a student of world religions. I came from a Mormon back ground, explored various religions and philosophies during my ‘seeking’ years, as well as live and work in a melting pot of cultures, religions, and philosophies. All this to say, I seek to understand other people and their beliefs, as well as stay aware of how a simple interpretation of words in the Bible can be the basis for different religions and sects.

Okay… I admit I am getting long winded here, but the point is when you learn how various religions say who Jesus is and how that is different then Christianity, you become a life long student of the Nicene Creed. For example, Islam views Jesus as a prophet, etc.See  World Religion Chart for more information.

The Nicene Creed was written during a time (325 AD) when there was much dispute between the scholars and theologians about the Truth of Christianity. Who is God? Christ? Holy Spirit? What is salvation? and other BIG questions. Also, remember this was before the Bible or Scripture was available to everyone. The typical Christian went to church and memorized scripture, prayers, creeds, etc as a way to live their life and teach their family.

Okay…here is the point…The Nicene Creed is the basis of our Christian Faith and is a spiritual questionnaire of what each one of us truly believe. Here is the best online version I have found with scriptures supporting each statement Nicene Creed w/ Scripture .

So what does the Nicene Creed have to do with Faith in Nursing? Everything! stay tuned

A Different Response to Gay Marriage

As I continue to watch the media regarding Christian businesses boycotting selling cakes and flowers to gay couples getting married, I wanted to provide a different perspective. Besides, when the Lord continues to tap on my heart and spirit, I know I need to say something.

To properly discuss this, I need to share some personal stories. For this issue is more than just about an institution, or sin it is about people.

As a nursing instructor I take nursing students into hospitals and teach them how to care for patients. Many years ago I met a wonderful nurse manager who was supportive and caring to my students. She was warm, friendly and that wonderful person you want to collaborate with for the best learning opportunity. She was also a lesbian. The year is 2008, and as a California resident, I was grappling with the issue of gay marriage head on. As a Christian who participates in our nation’s democratic process, I was not only praying for the election I was truly seeking God for his wisdom of how to respond to both Christians and non-Christians. The incident brought back a time when I first came into academics and met a professor who shared with me the “gay-bashing” him and his partner had faced. It was so horrible. They had uprooted their lives and moved to the Bay Area. All of this was stirring in my spirit and I was at a loss of how to respond, how to vote, and even at times how to pray. What could I do? What would Jesus do? How can I be a nurse and teach students about non-judgmental nursing care in the hospital, yet be hateful and rude in the community. I was dazed and confused and continued to pray, seeking the Lord’s wisdom. Since that time two things have spoken into my life and faith, that I use today as a barometer for these ethical and moral dilemmas:

–What if I am the only Jesus they see? In other words, what if Jesus Christ reflected through me is the only opportunity gays, lesbians, or anyone else have the chance to see him? What will they see? Judgment? Hate?

–The second was humility before God and his Word. When I stand before God and give an account of my life, I would rather say, “Lord, where I erred in following your ways, I erred in love.” When I am confronted with the challenges of living during this time, I have chosen love. From this simple, yet complex mysterious word comes kindness, gentleness, and other loving attributes of the Holy Spirit. Many times I fall short of being a caring, loving person and depend on the Holy Spirit to teach me how to walk and reflect his holiness.

Which leads me to my next perspective–I think the Christian Church, body of Christ is missing the boat. We are to be holy, not the world. I am not a theologian, nor do I have an M. Div (Pastor degree), but I have extensively studied the scripture. The Epistles, the New Testament letters, were written to the the Church. Here we see the apostles/disciples exhorting, encouraging, and guiding Christians in living out our faith. We are called to be holy, blameless, and loving; not the world. If there is a bandwagon to jump on, it is cleaning up the church. I will use my husband’s wise statement, “How can we expect the ungodly (those who don’t know God) to behave godly?” Even those who know God, don’t do a good job.

Final notes:

1. Don’t leave me a hateful message–I will delete it, for obviously you have missed the point.

2. As brothers and sisters in Christ embodied by the Holy Spirit, let’s commit to pray about the issue. I am not writing, because I am right. I am humbling seeking the Lord through prayer and scripture.


Verses: 1 John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 6:11; James 3:13-18; Galatians 3:26-27


Music Therapy

Music is therapy. Familiar hymns resonate comfort for Alzheimer’s patients void of recent memory; and perfect lyrics sing of hope and grace to the downtrodden. We feel our spirits lift with a song that gets our toes-a-tapping or even our hips-a-wiggling. Sounds goofy and it can be. For music has the ability to change our mood and brighten our day.

Christian music has always been part of my faith journey, and especially during challenging time.  When I was feeling alone and afraid, the right hymn or contemporary Christian song would touch my heart and remind me of God’s love and security.  Recently, the Lord used music and lyrics to reach through my grief and speak comfort, peace, and joy when I needed it most.

All of this to give a plug for another venue for healing music. Through my involvement in West Coast Christian Writers Conference I had the pleasure of meeting Wanda with His Healing Love Ministries. The Lord uses her talents to write lyrics and music to not only soothe the soul, but to bring healing into the deep recess of our hearts and minds

His Healing Love: The Collection

NCFI Cares: The Shelter of the Most High

NCFI Cares: logo

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is a song of trust and hope that guides us in understanding our God and the protection he provides. It is not a guarantee that nothing bad will happen to us. Instead it is, as one bible scholar states “no fear and no fall”. This spiritual covering is a protection from the elements outside the Lord’s hand. We do not have to be afraid of what comes our way in this life.

Our God is the Almighty, the Supreme Being and Ruler of everything on earth and in heaven (1 Chronicles 29:11-13). And we have a choice to dwell with Him. Not just a onetime choice at salvation, but a daily surrender to the Most High. This choice brings the assurance of abiding with the Lord (1 John 4:15).Yes, pain and suffering may befall us, but we rest in the confidence that our Lord is in control and we can rest in the shadow of his presence.

During recent personal events, the Lord opened my heart to the wisdom and blessing of His security with Psalm 91. As the Lord continues to encourage me, I will encourage you with the strength and assurance each verse provides. My prayer is that His blessing will spill over to your colleagues, patients and family; for truly our cup runs over (Psalm 23:5).