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Late one spring semester during a period of career boredom as a nursing faculty member, I prayed for God's intervention. Almost immediately the answer came, but in an unexpected way. God gave me the idea to guide the students in developing a puppet show, Clarence, the Firehouse Dog. The students were to design a puppet set and to write a script and a song to teach preschoolers about fire safety.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.
Figure. Ready to giv... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Ready to give program, "Clarence, the Firehouse Dog"

Convinced that this funny, yet simple, idea was from God, I proceeded with the plan. Over the next six months, everything fell into place. Puppets were sewn, objectives for student learning were written and an award-winning poster presentation was presented. Simultaneously, the students busied themselves with accomplishing their learning objectives by designing the set and writing the script and the song.


Finally, the day in late October arrived to present the puppet show at the large outdoor fall festival sponsored by Prestonwood Baptist Church in Piano, Texas, which annually draws about 13,000 people. Rain was in the forecast. The rains did not come, but the strong winds did. A gentleman who walked by as I was beginning to put up the set (designed by students Erin Vittetoe and Amanda Schrade) confirmed my fears. He predicted that the wind would blow the set down.


As I prepared to leave the grounds, disappointed but hoping that the winds would subside, a woman walked by and pointed to a tree. She said, "Look, there's a tree; you can anchor it to the tree." I looked, and indeed there was a tree: a puny little tree held straight by two strong stakes. After thirty minutes, the set was securely anchored to the tree. That evening the nursing students successfully performed their puppet show nine times. The set stood firm.


Again, God spoke but in a different way, saying, I gave you a tree.


Reflecting back on eighteen years of nursing experience, the strong winds have come. Yet with each experience, he has given trees to anchor me from nursing's storms. During nursing shortages and what has, at times, seemed an unbearable workload, God has sent calm in the midst of the storm. He has given appreciative words and cards of thanks from parents of children under my care. He has given enthusiasm in the eyes of my nursing students, excited about learning. He has given supportive nursing faculty colleagues. As I have caressed the hands of dying children, he has given the hope of the resurrection.


Nursing is currently facing its most intense storm ever. New-age mysticism and humanistic philosophies have infiltrated our profession. We face our most intense work force shortage. However, in the midst of it all, I am reminded of two things. The first is his promises. God has not promised to take the storms away, but he has promised to be our "shelter from the storm" (Is 25:4 NIV). If we remain anchored to him, even in the midst of the storm we are facing, we will not fail (Mt 7:25).


Second, I am reminded of the reason I am in nursing-to provide kind, respectful, compassionate care to the body, mind and spirit that will serve to point others to the tree he provided 2,000 years ago. Thank God for the tree!!