Do Not Judge

There were only 2 of us, nurses, working last Saturday night in this big detention facility. It houses 3,000 something inmates so that's a big number if something goes wrong. But we did our best! Without complaining, we just did the best we can. It felt great to overcome this trial. That morning when everything eased up a bit with our workload, we were even laughing our hearts out. We had sharing of some funny experiences and doing so, lightened up our hearts instead! What a joy to have a co worker who would be there to help each other out despite the chaos!

One female inmate came, complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath, requested to be seen. Crying in front of me, complaining of feeling dread, I asked her to sit on the chair and try to calm down by taking deep breaths. I had reviewed her chart and noticed that she had prior episodes of "panic attacks" and was not treated by anyone from mental health services. So I offered and she gladly accepted. After talking to her with a soft voice and giving her positive encouragements, she started feeling better. It would have been different if I had dealt with her with anger, knowing that there was not any true heart problem. I owe this to God Who changes our hearts when we open our hearts to Him! And I'm glad that He's there to guide me and remind me that it's wrong for me to judge. Matthew 7:1,2 says, "Judge not, that you be not judged. For the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you."

After the Storm

Nursing shortage is happening all over the healthcare system. That also affects us in correctional setting. When some coworkers call in sick, the ripple effect starts right away and affects just every duty we have to perform or accomplish in every shift. We have little man power to finish gigantic tasks.

This past weekend is one of those days when there was only a few of us. Many inmates wanted to be seen middle of the night, that even a minor symptom, to them, felt like an emergency. The doctors' orders were piled up high on some of the bins. It makes it even harder when the system we are using in the computer goes down.

It's easy to get frustrated. It's easy to get angry. It's easy to commit mistakes with decision making. But if we commit all of our ways to God, nothing will go wrong. Proverbs 16:3 says, " Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." It is the Lord Who gives me strength at nights like those...One of my coworkers told me, "You never seem to stop working. Take a break! Everyone else seems lazy and slow but you just keep on working."

I told her about Colossians 3:23, " Whatever you do, work heartily as for the Lord and not for men." That's what gives me strength - to know that the Lord is watching us 24/7, no matter where we are.

Yes, the night was chaotic and overwhelmed the medical staff with unscheduled sick calls and doctors' orders, with man downs necessitating urgent care, with numerous diabetics, some who needed their morning insulin doses before eating breakfasts...But at the break of dawn, tired as we [nurses] were, slumped on our seats in front of every computer monitors, next to phones that constantly rang before, with achy backs or necks, we get our satisfaction to see that we had survived that storm! The bins were empty and all of the doctors' orders were put in, all the unscheduled sick calls were seen and treated and given appropriate medications, all questions were answered from whoever rang our phones...I was tired and felt beaten! But I knew God was the One Who gave me an extraordinary strength to overcome these trials! "I know that I can do everything through Christ Who gives me the strength."[Philippians 4:13].

After the storm, the sun does come out...

Jury Duty

I got called to report for jury duty today. There was already a long line by the time I got to the court house before 8am. We were scanned prior to going downstairs where we were all kept in a big room. Down there, we were offered free hot drinks and there were lots of t.v. sets and reading materials to keep us awake? Everyone waited patiently on who would be called to go and see the judge presiding over a trial, either hoping or not to be selected to become a juror in a criminal trial. They called 65 names after a few hours of waiting. I wasn't called. Thrilled as I was not to be called, I knew I still have to endure few hours more in this waiting game. Jury duty is everyone's responsibility as citizens of United States of America. There's no excuse not to serve except if serving as a juror would cause financial hardship or there are health issues with potential jurors. I get called every year.

Death is inevitable. I can't imagine when each of us is called to face the Only Judge, Jesus Christ. Unlike in a jury service where jurors can serve once a year, when we die, once called by our Creator, there's no more turning back. From 2 Corinthians 5:10, "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." Revelation 20:12-15 - "I saw the dead [John's vision], both great & small, standing before God's throne. & the books were opened, including the Book of Life. & the dead were judged according to the things written in the books, according to what they had done. The sea gave up the dead in it & death & the grave gave up the dead in them. They were all judged according to their deeds. & death & the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death- the lake of fire. And anyone, whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire."

We are not saved by our deeds but deeds are seen as clear evidence of a person's actual relationship with Christ, confessing Him as Lord. Have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ? If you are summoned to face the Judge, would your names be in the Book of Life? Would you be confident to say that you had completely placed your trust in Jesus Christ and that your life's deeds would reflect a life living God's way? Romans 10:9 - "If you confess wiht your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."

Seek the Lord

I have been working as a correctional nurse for many years now. I have seen many people from all walks of life, young or old, that are trapped in the cycle of substance abuse. Despite the many efforts and war against not using drugs or alcohol, most of the jails now are crowded. Coupled with that is an increasing number of people who have mental health needs or problems. I saw Mr. X brought by the unit deputy down to Infirmary where we can treat sick inmates. He was just housed after being booked and few minutes later, started having tremors and his breath still reeked with alcohol, despite the many hours they had kept him in a sobering cell. He could walk but his face was flushed and his blood pressure was high. Asking him to raise his arms to his side, his shaking was noticeable. Earlier that afternoon, a nurse had already given him a medication to prevent alcohol withdrawal. It wasn't enough perhaps. Mr. X admitted to daily, heavy use of alcohol. The doctor just advised us to give another dose of this medication. Few hours later, the blood pressure remained high and he started throwing up. We ended up sending him to emergency room to be evaluated and be monitored. Many of the nights I had worked like these make me think how sad it is to see people unable to get out of this kind of nightmare from substance abuse. Many tries desperately to seek medical help because they are not able to get that when they are not incarcerated. But they end up doing the same things over and over. We are all the same. Spiritually speaking, we are entrapped with having sins in our lives. We do them over and over even if sometimes we don't want to. When we are tired, when we want to be helped, when we want to stop, we can confess our sins to a good God Who never fails to love us. "Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord that He may have compassion on him and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." - Isaiah 55:6,7.
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