I'm flying out for Haiti in the morning for my third medical mission trip with Bless Back Worldwide. I woke up this morning bright eyed and excited for my last clinic day for a week. Then the joy-stealing started.
I had a conference call starting at 6:45. While on the call, I helped with breakfast, packed lunches, and got the boys dropped off in carpool, alternating on and off mute, so I could pray for them on the way to school and stay on my call. As I approached my parking deck, I was literally holding my phone out the window so that I could maintain cell service in my deck without dropping the call. I was, thus, distracted getting on the elevator to my floor. As the elevator door closed, I realized there was a woman in a corner of the elevator vomiting into a pink hospital bin.
Like me, everyone else had shuffled into the elevator paying little attention to our surrounds. We were all startled by the wretching but tried not to look, desperately hugging the walls of the elevator waiting on the doors to open. Suddenly, the woman looked up at me and asked, "Are you Dr. Teague?"! Stunned, I turned and said yes. She then exclaimed, stool hunched over hugging her puke basin, "Well, I am your next patient!"
What a way to start your day! I scurried off the elevator in one direction while the patient went the other to check in. I sent my nurse to get her (so she would not freak out every other patient in the waiting room as she had in the elevator) while I opened the EMR and her chart. I realized she had just been seen at the Emergency Room in the last 12 hours and had apparently driven straight to my office with her pink puke bin in tow! Furthermore, due to a scheduling debacle, there were 27 patients on my schedule for the day, 4 in overbooked slots. (Normal is about 20). My heart sank. How was I going to get through it?
My attitude was not great as I walked into that first patient's room. But, I resolved to move from room to room and just survive the day. Then, in typical fashion, God showed up.
Midway throughout the morning, I walked in to see one of my longstanding patients who had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. I knew from reviewing her chart that she is currently debating treatment. I was expecting to counsel her on options and discuss next steps. Instead, she counseled me. She remembered my upcoming trip and asked if she could pray for me. As she held my hands and prayed over me, I realized Satan was doing everything he could to steal my joy. This verse came flooding to my head:
The thief comes only to kill steal and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
In her prayer, this patient bound Satan, and everything he would do to thwart my trip to Haiti. It was as if she knew exactly what was going on in my heart and my head. Here was a woman with a diagnosis of terminal cancer who was living life abundantly and blessing those around her. My day changed. Instead of just surviving, I was determined to thrive!
I also realized that she embraced the truth of the Scriptures that I needed to embrace as well. James 1:2-3 says:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
I needed to be reminded that little things not going my way should not steal my joy. I'm getting ready to go to third world country. Nothing ever goes as planned there. God simply used my last day at work to remind me that attitude is everything.
May we all be reminded that God intends us to thrive in all circumstances! Stay tuned for what God has planned in Haiti.
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!