As a child growing up in a dysfunctional family, I used education and learning to help me cope with the stress of daily life. I am self-motivated to set goals and achieve them for my personal satisfaction. I think of myself as an underprivileged but determined overcomer.
Before I knew I would enter nursing, God directed my steps and guided my path. At age 13, I became homeless due to family violence and drug use in my family. Through my teen years, God provided a place for me to live with two older couples. He also blessed me with a lady who tutored me and my friends, bought us books, and sent us to summer camp.
Growing up, I thought I would go into law enforcement. However, at 18 I joined the United States Army as a combat medic. After 10 years, I went directly to university where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. Finally, I had found my calling. I began to see the truth of Proverbs 3:5-6: “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 compassion I have for others makes caring for and helping people come naturally to me. I often tell people I did not choose nursing, but nursing chose me.
As I find peace in learning and achieving, it was natural to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. I knew it would be challenging. I wanted to quit many times. That journey has helped me to understand that what the enemy means for evil, God will use for good. I thank God that he saw the best in me.
God is ever present, inwardly encouraging me to pursue my educational dreams. Now, as an instructor, I encourage nursing students to seek God first and ask for his guidance. I encourage you, students, to stay focused and seek God to strengthen you no matter what battles come your way.
After spending several years pursuing my DNP degree, I came to the realization that this journey was never about me. I often became discouraged and frustrated with the process as it seemed so unfair. However, God would not let me quit. This journey has helped me to realize that what God has for me is for me. I believe the words of Isaiah 54:17: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper” (NKJV).
I wrote the following poem to help me release heaviness as I pursued this DNP degree. I am certain God has a purpose for me. Having humbly accepted my degree, I will use it for God's glory.
It Is More Than Just a Nursing Degree to Me
I come from a broken pedigree,
So achieving this nursing degree means so much more to me.
As a child growing up in a poverty-stricken home
full of strife and misery,
education and learning was my only way to be at peace.
So achieving a nursing degree means so much more to me.
My mother, may God rest her soul, worked her body to the bone to provide for me.
She had little education and definitely no degree,
but she always worked hard for our family.
I wish you could understand
that it is more than just a nursing degree to me.
I am the first in my family to achieve this high a degree,
I just needed an opportunity, you see.
This journey has never been about me
but creating a legacy for my family and friends who have supported me.
I hope it will open their eyes
and give them visions to be the best they can be.
For we live in the land of the free and of equal opportunity.
This is why it is more than just a nursing degree to me.
I pray that God will use me and this degree
for His glory as I give it all to Thee.