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“I don’t know when we will be able to get you help or even if this job will survive the hiring freeze,” said my boss. “There are two other positions I can offer if you don’t want to take the risk.”

It was 1984 and I was in a newly created position, that of patient representative, and I loved my work. The job of helping patients and families with concerns and unmet needs had proved highly successful with hospital staff and physicians. There were two of us hired to establish a patient representative program based on best national models and the other person had resigned right before the hiring freeze. I had no idea how I would manage this alone—or even if should try. I was a single woman dependent on a regular paycheck.

My heart had always been for the one who felt overlooked or not respected and I enjoyed breaking down problems and finding answers. Having once worked as an office nurse, the involvement with caregivers came naturally. My mother called it my mission field and that was how I saw it, too. But I couldn’t ignore the risks involved.

My boss said to take the weekend and think about what I wanted to do. I knew the first thing was to make it a matter of fervent prayer. As I prayed and searched scriptures, my Bible seemed to fall open to Jeremiah 42:10-12: “If you will indeed stay in this land, then I will build you up and not tear you down, and I will plant you and not uproot you; for I will relent concerning the calamity that I have inflicted on you. Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon, whom you are now fearing; do not be afraid of him,” declares the Lord, “for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hand. I will also show you compassion, so that he will have compassion on you and restore you to your own soil.”

I felt the strong presence of God and that He was speaking to me about my job dilemma. I interpreted it this way: Stay where you are. You will survive and the program will grow and be strengthened beyond what it is now. Don’t be afraid of the hospital administrator’s ability to snuff out the job entirely. You are where you are meant to be; don’t see this through human understanding (risk of no job or temptation of better pay).  Trust me.

And so I did. I stayed, I trusted God, and I had total peace about my decision. The position wasn’t cut, the program became a department with adequate staff to cover seven days a week. We took on new responsibilities through the years and I retired in 1998 as corporate director of Patient Affairs.

Are you looking for answers in your own life? There is One standing ready to help you find those answers. Dedicate yourself to daily reading of His word. Make yourself available to hear the Holy Spirit’s gentle but sure direction. Give God priority in your life and He will not fail you. He is the giver of peace and joy for those who love Him.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NAS)

Chaplain Bob Howerton, Sr VP Methodist Health Systems, and me, about 1985

Chaplain Bob Howerton, Sr VP Methodist Health Systems, and me, about 1985. He believed in my potential and hired me to be a patient representative. I will be forever grateful.