Nursing school, mourning, and where is God?- A Personal Davidic Lament (Psalm 13)

NOTE: This is not to be read as a “pity Jonathan.”  I would like the reader to read the faith struggle and doubt. For the tone I wish it to be read you can listen to it here:

Psalm 13 

1 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?

How long will you hide your face from me?

2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts

and day after day have sorrow in my heart?

How long will my enemy triumph over me?

3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God.

Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,

4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”

and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

In my previous training as a Counselor and Minister I was taught of how to listen to those who are hurting, suffering, and mourning.  I was taught about trusting God and helping those who have lost all hope in humanity and in God.  I even took a class titled “Providence and Suffering” and read books like Philip Yancey’s Disappointment with God.  What I did not learn was how to mourn; how to live with hurt.

I have heard Nursing School often compared to Boot Camp and giving Birth. Very painful, however when you are done there is great pride and a reward. I didn’t get that reward.

Two weeks away from doing my internship.  Two classes left.  Four weeks from taking graduation pictures.  Two months away from sitting for boards to be an RN and my school has had close 100% pass rate on boards for nearly a decade.  Three tests changed everything.

Now I have close to $50,000 in debt and 3 years of school with nothing to show for it. I have contacted 4 schools about transferring since I have passed 90% of what most bachelors of nursing programs require to graduate.  The answer from all 4 schools has been and I quote “Although you may have completed a significant amount of coursework towards a BSN at UTHSC, you would have to retake all nursing classes if you are accepted into the BSN program due to the necessity to follow the curriculum to ensure that all aspects of nursing are covered.” It doesn’t matter that the program I was in was a Bachelors AND a Masters in Nursing program and a top 30 in the nation according to USA today. Translation: “Sir, you have run 25 miles of the 26.2 miles of this marathon but you must go back to the start line and begin the race all over.  No, Sir there are no other options.”

            God where are you in all of this?

Over the last month I have found myself punching walls and banging my head against walls out of frustration, out of anger, out of hurt. I have cried.  Boy have I cried. God only knows how many times I have cursed at Him; something that my younger faith would have thought would equal eternity in hell.  Sometimes the only relief I have found has been cussing. It hurts. God can handle it.  God wears Bigger Big Boy pants than I could ever dream of wearing.  He is God.

But what in the world God.!?!?! . . . Where are you God? Why aren’t you coming through?” 

I am tired of hurting and tired of mourning. It sucks. Most days I feel empty and without a compass or road map. All I know to do is go to my job.  I feel like a zombie. I am trying to find meaning, hope, or something out of all of this.

I am mourning. I don’t like mourning. I trust God even though I am doubting Him. I believe in God, just tired of Him “making things out of broken things” with my life. . . Not that I have any control over it.

All I wanted was to work as a nurse, provide for my family, and work with one of the two church plants that I was in conversations with. May 30, 2014 was graduation and moving shortly there after to pursue those hopes and dreams.  I wanted to work as a medical ER nurse after finally experiencing a taste of the work in my last clinical.

Instead, I have had multiple vivid PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) dreams according to a counselor friend of mine.  The lucid dreams are about accidentally hurting a patient in the hospital, not getting accepted into another nursing school while all my other friends do, or getting accepted into another nursing school and then getting kicked out after the first day of clinical because of doing something wrong.  I see my dreams in my wife, two sisters in law and mother in law who are all nurses.  I see my dreams in my friends who graduated last year and those who are doing their internships right now.  I see my dreams in my coworkers who are nurses. I hear it when my 3 year old says “Daddy needs to go upstairs and study” when I don’t or when he says “Daddy has to go to school today” when I don’t.

            “I am tired of wrestling with my thoughts God!”

I had aspirations to be a part of two to three medical mission trips a year in which I could combine my love for helping those hurting, bilingual abilities, and nursing skills like I just did in June in Ecuador.  Where was there any evil intent?  Where was there a lack of hard work on my part to accomplish my goals?  Where was I being selfish?!

I have doubts.  I question God and his purpose.  I feel picked on by God.  My faith is messy.  I don’t know how to mourn. I find comfort in that it is ok for me to feel and think those things because David did the same in this Psalm of Lament.  It embodies my life right now, my spirit, my emotions, and yes even my faith. It too is my Psalm of Lament.  My Psalm of Mourning.  My Psalm of Trust in God.

                                    “When Has God Not Been Faithful?”

Psalm 13:5-6

5 But I trust in your unfailing love;

my heart rejoices in your salvation.

6 I will sing the Lord’s praise,

for he has been good to me.


May the ending words of this Psalm be ever evident on my lips, my heart, and my faith.  Even in my mourning.

Maranatha! Come LORD Quickly!

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One Response to Nursing school, mourning, and where is God?- A Personal Davidic Lament (Psalm 13)

  1. Keith Shepherd says:

    It may not be much comfort to know that you are growing in honestly crying out to God. Just honest feelings and thoughts. I am not saying you did not before, but this is an honest cry to God. Which means you are growing to where some people never get.. Think about Bible Characters and what happened to Joseph, or David, etc. Now you feel the pain in those stories and some others in your Bible. As I said it may not bring you comfort but you are real.
    My heart has hurt very several times in my life. In my grief I describe it as my world going from color to black and white. And O yes I know, those of us who graduated from the Grad school, or Harding, or other degrees are not suppose to hurt and struggle like this, or so we think. It is not true. It maybe helpful to consider in your pain, the pain of the cross and Christ’s love to go through that pain for you!
    One thing I have learned in pain is this: walking with God means keep walking. Easy to say when your child is healthy, your wife loves you. Not so easy at other times. . I pray that you will see what Paul means in his own life in 2 Cor 1:3-11 . May you learn what Paul meant when he said I despaired of even life itself. Kinda hard for me to get my head around Paul being that down.
    But let meI leave you with Paul’s word here, obviously written later when he was doing better. My hope and prayer for you today is that this scripture will be true for you in your time of need.
    – 2 Cor 1:3-4 May “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles,” comfort you today

    Keith Shepherd

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