19 years ago, I was a resident in Family Medicine in Western Kentucky just finishing my second year of residency. It was a Friday afternoon and I had had an emotionally and spiritually exhausting week. I was ready for my weekend when I was finally NOT on call and did NOT have any babies due. But, a patient and friend called that afternoon and asked my husband if we would like to go to a revival service at a church in a nearby small town since she knew we "were into that church stuff". Patrick waited to call me before declining the offer. But, what could I say? Here was someone I had been praying for! So, we got a sitter and went to a country church revival service.
You should know what exhaustion looks like for a medical resident. I had been up all night Thursday night delivering a baby. I was looking forward to a free weekend, but that still meant going in to the hospital for rounds. I was on an OB/GYN rotation so I had been doing clinic for 8 hours a day plus hospital rounds before and after clinic every day. I was emotionally and spiritually exhausted from the problems that I saw every day in the clinic. I hadn't had time to get used to the parade of domestic violence, STDs, and promiscuity that came through the clinic daily. And then there were the unplanned pregnancy conversations. Just that Thursday, I confirmed pregnancy for a young woman and she walked out planning to get an abortion with no room for discussion of other options. Add to that the happy stress of delivering a baby earlier in the week to a mom who had planned to abort the pregnancy early on, and I was strung out emotionally!! By Friday afternoon, I didn't know which way was up, but I let Patrick drive and went along with the plan.
The revival service was at Charleston Baptist Church, which I will never forget because the town of Charleston was a church, a school, and a bar. Not even a post office, unless it was in the bar. But, people must have come from several towns over - hey, we came from Madisonville! I had no idea what to expect. This place was as country as I'd ever seen - and my family hails from the sticks of Mississippi!!
Well, they brought in their revival team from Bowling Green, so we got praise choruses as well as hymns! That was fun. And the music really helped to break down a lot of my emotional barriers. And the preacher was good. He spoke on the parable of the paralytic whose friends brought him to Jesus. His tagline was "Just bring them to the feet of Jesus". Dear God, that is what I needed to hear that night.
I had driven home crying that afternoon after the woman left the office after refusing to consider any alternative but abortion. I felt so helpless. I couldn't do anything. All of the sudden, that night, I felt like God was saying, "Just bring her to the feet of Jesus." Everything that had happened that week, and all the way up through residency, that made me feel so inadequate (yeah, so breathing!), all I had to do was "Bring it to the feet of Jesus."
It was so freeing to realize that my responsibility ends when I bring the person to Jesus. I can't fix their problems. I can't fix anything. Only Jesus can. This is a freeing understanding to a perfectionist like me. Yes, I have to come back to it over and over and over. But, this was a true "God Moment" in my life.
When they gave the invitation, I just got on my knees and sobbed. I saw the faces of all kinds of women I had been praying for and I almost felt God whispering, "It's OK. You laid them at the feet of Jesus." What amazing peace I felt. This kind of thing has rarely happened to me. And I don't expect it. But, it was truly blessed.
And, then, Patrick touched me on the shoulder, to show me that my friend had gone up to rededicate her life to Christ. It was an excellent night!