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Department: Student TXT

Keeping God in the Center

Arneson, Kathryn

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doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000730
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Have you ever felt a need to change your life's path, but ultimately realize that it is not your path to change? Does fate or faith sit at the steering wheel? I thoroughly believe that God has a predetermined path for us; it is up to us to listen to those subtle cues and follow his path that is leading us to a new beginning.

After 15 years as a bedside nurse in an ever-expanding intensive care unit, I chose to take a huge leap of faith: It was time to listen to where God was calling me. I opened my heart and mind toward becoming a nurse practitioner. In addition to the many weekends, holidays, and significant family time that I sacrificed to support my family as a working registered nurse (RN), the additional stressors of 3 years of graduate school to attain a master's degree weighed heavily on me, my family, and my spiritual life.

Due to my hectic home life, work, and school schedule over the years, I have had to find ways—sometimes different from the typical methods—to keep my soul filled up with Jesus. One strategy that has worked is receiving daily devotionals via a phone app, such as d365 Daily Devotionals. In this quiet moment, I find solace. I also subscribe to a daily email devotional, Standing in Daddy's Strength. Additionally, seeking out and embracing relationships with others who share my love for God encourages me in my spiritual life.

The power of prayer lives deep within my soul and is a continual source of comfort for me. As a wife, mom, and graduate student, I have continuously prayed through the day for patience, guidance, and strength. While in school, I asked God to show me how to serve others within my clinical rotations, provide awareness of his presence during exams, and enable me to exemplify his love every day. Prayer is within every thread of my being. Talking to my Father in heaven gives me peace. When I have felt that a clinical situation or an exam has been too difficult, I have prayed, asking God to lift my heavy heart. And he has.

I have experienced every emotion on this wild career and educational journey: happiness, sadness, grief, acceptance, denial, overwhelming anxiety, fear, lack of confidence, uncertainty, and finally, humility, self-acceptance, and a sense of God's never-ending love. Proverbs 3:5-6 has proven real: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (NIV).

The cross I wear around my neck symbolizes my faith and sparks conversations with my patients, some of whom believe in Jesus. Most importantly, I follow the Word of God by serving others as an RN and nurse practitioner.

Being grateful has been another element of spiritual practice and discipline. Recognizing how God has led me, I have a greater appreciation for my family. I am motivated by love for my patients and admiration for preceptors who have graciously given of themselves by teaching me how to succeed as an advanced registered nurse practitioner.

Altogether, this educational path has been tough; it also has been gratifying and humbling. God's work in me has brought me to this point as I have held onto his words: “Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD'S purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21, NIV). He has lifted me and carried me when I questioned myself. Completely faithful, God has never failed me in any way. My role has been to listen and stay on track, though sometimes that has been hard.

My future pathway is driven by God's purpose for me, as well as those surrounding me—my family, friends, patients, their family members, and my coworkers. I feel privileged to humbly serve, guide, and support each patient who has been placed into my path. May I challenge you? The next time you try to control every moment of your life...don't. Instead, follow your faith in Jesus Christ, because within him all things are made possible!

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship