1. Schoonover-Shoffner, Kathy

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Recently, I've been focusing on how to seek and receive God's direction; to find and stay in that place where I hear his voice. What I want is to understand God's leading, right action, words, or decision for everyday situations. This can feel like instinct or intuition. But as Christians, it can be the leading of the Holy Spirit. Most often, this comes from studying God's Word, the Bible.

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In everyday nursing practice, we need this leading of the still, small voice of God-at the bedside, in the classroom, leading an organization. A simple responsiveness to God in everyday events can create significant moments.


The summer after I became a nurse, I traveled from Texas to Iowa to help my grandparents move. Mom and Dad said, "When you drive through Tulsa, Oklahoma, check out the campus of Oral Roberts University. It's beautiful!" (they had wanted me to do my undergraduate work there). I took their advice, parked the car, and walked around. A thought hit me to find the nursing department and see what it looked like. I was walking down the hall of the mostly empty office area when a faculty member (the only one there!) asked what I was doing. I think she listened to the still, small voice of God and stopped to talk with me. She heard my passion for nursing and envisioned something great for my life. I had absolutely no inclination toward further education, but an hour later I was applying for the master's program in nursing. Two months later, I began an adventure that changed me forever! Responding to God can create significant moments.


Once I had a patient with Bipolar II disorder, who had been difficult to manage since admission earlier in the day. He was extremely anxious about the loss of his state-issued identification (ID) card. As I introduced myself, he immediately begged for help. I told him I knew this was important, and I would look into it with him after I assessed all my patients. He persisted. I started to get irritated, then a still, small voice said, "Kathy, you'd be anxious if you lost your driver's license (my ID card). Talk to him." So I sat down and asked him to tell me step-by-step what he remembered about the card. He mentioned the hospital safe where we keep patient valuables, but he said he'd already looked there.


He then said, "Do you think God would help me? Would he? I don't think he would..." The still, small voice said, "Ask if he wants you to pray with him." I cringed. He's so manic: is that going to be helpful? I'll check to see if he has medication for anxiety. He kept spitting out words, then exclaimed, "Lady, please, you've got to pray with me!" I thought, How would I pray? If we don't find the ID, then what?


Jesus' words came to mind, "If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven..." (Matthew 18:19-20, NIV), and having faith, even as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). I prayed, asking God to help us locate the ID card. Silently I prayed, God help me know what to do. I know you know where that card is.


As we finished praying, I noticed a security guard at the nurses' station. I asked him about the ID card, and if he would check the safe. He said no, he'd already looked. I countered, "It would help him calm down if I could tell him you'll check the safe one more time. Take your time so I have something to tell him for a while."


In less than an hour, the guard came back with the card in hand. He'd found it in the wrong patient envelope. I grabbed the card and ran to my patient. We hugged, and he cried as we realized God had answered our prayer.


Responding to the still small voice of God can create significant moments.