A Letter to Kristina as She Graduates as a Physician Assistant

"Nursing the Wounded Commander" by Nikolai Boot (1928-1998) 1952. Russian.

“Nursing the Wounded Commander” by Nikolai Boot (1928-1998) 1952. Russian.

My Beloved Kristina,

I just wrote your sister as she became a nurse and now I write to you! I do not write to somehow equal out my congratulations, but I write out of the overflow of love, prayer, and excitement for you and for all of us who will receive your ministry of healing. But I, also, want to write you as your loving and proud Poppy. I want to give you something personal that will, possibly, speak into your life. I want to give you encouragement.

I would encourage you to use your healing gifts as an extension of the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ alive inside of you.

Cultivate those healing gifts He has entrusted to you through a life of prayer. You have studied so hard and spent your time so wisely. Consider, now, how you might cultivate a deep life of personal worship. Read the Scriptures, seek Jesus in the text—wherever you are in the Bible—and, then, meditate on Him, whispering the awe and love of your heart to Him, and praying the portion of Scripture back to the Lord.

Cultivate those healing gifts from heaven (for your sense of calling, as well as the education, and practical experience of medicene are all divine gifts) through looking for Him in the lives of others. Dr. John Kavanaugh, a Catholic priest, an ethicist and professor at Saint Louis University, reflected on his transformative experience of a 1975 sabbatical he took in Calcutta with Mother Theresa.

‘She sat right down next to this man and took his face in her hands,’ Kavanaugh said. ‘His eyes opened, and she was able to engage him in a way we had been unable to do.’ There was something else remarkable about the scene. It reminded Kavanaugh of something he had witnessed while saying daily Mass at the Sisters’ motherhouse. ‘When Mother Teresa started feeding (the dying man), it struck me that it was just like the way she received communion.’[1]

We know from Mother Theresa’s writings that she believed she saw Jesus in the eyes of the others. That speaks to what I pray for you: to seek our Lord Jesus in the lives of those you care for. This is not only an act of worship to the Lord Jesus, but has the powerful effect of ensuring that patients never become mere commodities and medicine never becomes an emotionless transaction—both being a perennial challenge for those of us who spend our lives ministering to people.

Kristina, I would, finally, encourage you to cultivate the healing gift you have been given through diligent self-care. The past preparation for this ministry of medicine is, I believe, an indicator of the way you will steward your career. That indicator points to continued diligence, expected hard work, with the possibility of giving everything, over and over again, for the sake of others. This is good, but without personal parameters can become painful. Be intentional about caring for yourself in order to care for others. Steward your life as a gift of gratitude to your Creator. See your life in seasons. Some goals grow best in Spring. Others need the quite rest of winter. Live life and minister medicene in seasons, not all at once. Recognize that stewarding your life in each of those seasons is best done by attention to the responsibility controllers before you: spiritual disciplines, relationships, intellectual discovery, professional growth in your field, and caring for the temple of the Lord, your physical body. As you practice self-care you will extend the season of growth in your career.

So as you cultivate the gift of healing through private prayer, serving Christ by seeking His life in the lives of the broken, and through intentional self-care, I believe you graduate from being a healthcare provider to becoming something infinitely deeper and more satisfying for all:  you will become a healer. And a healer is a living gift of God’s love in our midst. Yes, I pray that you will be a healer.

Know of my love, my joy, my prayers for you, and a sense of admiration that continues to grow. Always assured that I remain

Your Loving Poppy

[1] Clayton Berry, “Jesuit Philosopher Recounts Time with Mother Teresa,” Free Republic, September 17, 2007, Religion section, accessed May 22, 2015, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1898079/posts.

A Pastoral Life Cycle: Based upon the Biblical Record of St. Paul’s Ministry

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  The ministry of the Apostle Paul, as recorded in Scripture, affords one example of a pastoral life cycle. It is suggestive, and prescriptive, of how we who are called as pastors may be stewards of our ministries. One caveat: this is suggestive; certainly holding expository truths, but recognizing that God in His sovereignty could […]

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Settings for Pentecost Sunday

Interior of Wells Cathedral, United Kingdom.

On Pentecost Sunday we not only recall the Spirit’s empowering of the Church for worldwide mission, fulfilling the redemptive vision of the Lord, but our own en-grafting into this eternal kingdom. The Ezekiel 37 vision of animated skeletons coming to life most nearly describes my own sin-infected person being baptized by the power of the […]

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“In Jesus Name I Pray:” Exclusivity In Public Prayer and The Restrictive Contours of Civic Pluralism in the early Twenty-first Century

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“In Jesus’ Name I Pray” seeks to examine the increasingly challenging goal of faithful, authentic Christian public prayer in the antagonistic arena of a civic culture committed to the cult of pluralism. While attempting to answer practical questions about the changing nature of civic expectations for public prayer in the West, this paper will also […]

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Sunday after Ascension

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Today is the Sunday after Ascension Day, which was last Thursday. The day commemorates the day in history when Jesus Christ our Lord ascended into heaven. The day may be one of the most overlooked in the entire Church calendar. It is a day filled with splendid liturgical opportunities. I cannot awake to this day […]

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Statism: The Shadows of Another Night

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I am honored to have a chapter included in this new book on the increasing threat of an age-old antagonistic spirit against the Church of Jesus Christ: Statism. The book includes chapters by John Frame, George Grant, Tim Keller, Peter Lillback, Jerry Newcombe, R.C. Sproul, the late D. James Kennedy, the late Francis August Schaeffer, […]

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Seventh Sunday of Easter Readings and Commentary

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The Gospel lesson presents one of the most intimate and compelling passages in the Word of God: the “high priestly prayer” of our Lord Jesus. While I understand the frequent description of “high priestly” in this momentous point in our Savior’s earthy ministry I think the text would, also, encourage us to relate to the […]

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A Letter to Breanna on Her Graduation from Nursing School: And a Note of Gratitude to All Nurses

Portrait of a Nurse from the Red Cross by Niscolet, Gabriel Emile (1856-1921); French.

My Dearest Breanna, Mae gave me minute-by-minute updates of the beautiful graduation service for your nursing school. My heart and spirit were so moved by this accomplishment. Indeed, as I learned of your convocation prayer and of the kindly Roman Catholic sister praying for healing in your hands, I lifted my prayer, also, to seek […]

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Preaching Hard Passages

French School, (14th century); French. Medium: vellum. Date: 1317. By the studio of Honores's Successors; Provenance: Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, France.

All Scripture is inspired by God. All is to be given as God’s message to mankind. This is the work of the preacher. Yet there are some passages that are hard to preach. Some parts of the Holy Bible are hard to preach because the message is hard. Others are hard to preach because the […]

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Why the Special Relationship Remains Special: America and Britain in the 21st-century

An American and English soldier in Afghanastan.

Recently, political commentator George Will opined that the British elections did not matter.[1] I disagree. My rejoinder is given with the greatest respect for Mr. Will, whom I hold in high regard. I respond with this article because I do admire him. And I am certain that there are many others who sympathize with him. […]

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