Archive for May 29th, 2014

I am Not a Nurse

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”  Matthew 14:14 (NIV)

Recently we took our littlest into the doctor.  I do fine when there for a well check or my child is “medium” sick.  However, this last visit he was lethargic, pale, and being watched to determine if we needed to go to the hospital or back home.  You know it’s serious when the minute you arrive, you are ushered back to a room after one glance at your child’s face.

I’ll admit, while he was triaged by the nurse, I started to cry.  She was just taking his vitals, but I started to lose it.  Her mixture of sympathy toward him and needing details of his symptoms, coupled with seven hours of sleep in the last 48 hours did me in.  Later that day, when he was sitting on my lap as the lab technician was trying to draw blood out of dehydrated veins, I again had tears streaming down my face while my little one stayed dry-eyed and brave.

It was after that experience I realized another truth about myself.  I am not a nurse.  There is a reason God didn’t allow me to go into the medical profession.  In college, I had applied to be a 911 operator, but was turned down because of my class schedule.  I was disappointed because I thought responding to emergencies and being able to keep a calm head sounded like an exciting adventure for someone single, childless, with lots of freedom.  However, instead I took a job checking ID’s at the college gym, which transitioned into a job at a tuxedo shop, which turned into the job at the residential home where I was “mommy” to many troubled children, a job much more suited for my personality.

 I am not a nurse (Lauren)

I have a lot of respect for those in the medical field.  I also highly regard those who can respond to emergencies with a calm head.  However, I have realized over the years, someone who cries at commercials, while reading great books, or watching TV shows or Disney movies, I’m probably not gifted in that area.  My kids will pass me lounging in our special chair, sniffling, and their off-handed question is, “Is it the book?”  I also cry almost every single week in church.  My husband doesn’t bat an eye anymore…he just holds my hand and lets me wipe away my tears.

I often wondered why God created me to respond in such a way.  And then I realized that with my quick tears comes empathy.  I feel deeply for those who are hurt, mistreated, or have experienced pain in their lives.  I’m drawn to taking care of children and loving with my whole heart whether or not they are my own.  As I spoke about in the previous post, we are all gifted in different ways and each of those gifts work together to serve a distinct purpose for God’s kingdom.  I’m so grateful there are nurses out there with compassion and dry eyes to look for signs and symptoms I would miss in my sick child.  I’m thankful there are 911 operators who keep a calm head in an emergency so first responders can arrive quickly and save lives.

I have to say, overall, I’m thankful for my tears.  I’m able to teach compassion to my children, show empathy toward those who are hurting, and share a box of Kleenex during a fun family movie night.  Yes, I was the only one who cried while watching Frozen with my family.  Maybe I do need to grow a little tougher backbone.  It was a musical, after all, not a drama.

(Thank you to my cousins for supplying this picture as well.  They are firsthand first responders and I am so grateful they do what they do.  Love you guys and thanks for serving our country as well as those who are in trouble.)

© Cheri Swalwell 2014

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Here’s the Noose


“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Last week was difficult.  I had writing deadlines, part-time job demands, extra responsibilities and appointments, and the normal craziness of chauffeur, cook, and housekeeper. I woke up late on Tuesday and began running down the list of things I needed to accomplish that day, out loud. I remarked to my husband I was starting six feet under.  I didn’t know how, but trusted everything would work out.  I was filled with a peace about it despite feeling the crushing weight of all the responsibilities I had to manage.  Wednesday morning started out harder than Tuesday.  Working on only four hours of sleep, I was dealing with a very tired four-year-old and a daughter sick with the flu.  The noose around my neck kept tightening.


Thinking the worst was behind us, Thursday morning came with only four hours of sleep and simultaneous vomiting from two children.  In between one child vomiting every 10 to 20 minutes, I tried to finish my devotions.  And I realized I was peaceful.  Despite the lack of sleep and the pull between having to work but wanting to take care of my kids, I knew I could give the “noose” that was resting on my neck over to my Father and He would take it from me, no questions asked.  It was then He gave me a word picture.  I envisioned handing Him the burdens that seemed so heavy for me (lack of sleep, writing and work deadlines, sickness, finances) and realizing they felt like a feather in His.  What seems so heavy to me is nothing for Him. Not only does He know how everything turns out, He has the best solution.  He was just waiting for me to hand him my noose, the one built from worry and fear.

Just like the issues that my children face seem unsurmountable to them, as their parent, I have the wisdom of having already experienced similar problems. I know from past experience it really will work out.

When I saw that the worries I give to God aren’t worries to Him at all, but just minor inconveniences or paths to teach me something more important, it made the situations we were facing as a family seem manageable.  The peace He had initially given me was built stronger.  I wasn’t peaceful because I could give God my problems and “He’d have to worry about them.”  No, I was peaceful because I was able to hand off the worries I felt, which seemed so heavy to me, knowing they weren’t worries at all to the God of the Universe.

Having that image changed my focus.  Did it mean my day magically got easier?  No, we had doctor’s appointments, blood draws, and the threat of an ER visit, but I was able to say, “Okay, God, You got this.”  Why? Because the noose was gone.  The problems were still there, but the heaviness had disappeared.  I find that when I give God all the craziness in my life, taking my hands off, He manages to get the important things accomplished and fills me with unexplainable peace. I’m still tired, I still have to do the work, but it’s so much easier without a rope around my neck.

© Cheri Swalwell 2014

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