On Returning

Recently, I thought about the demise of my nursing career. I haven’t worked in the medical field for over two years now. It’s a little frightening how fast I’ve lost the facts I had locked up in my head for so long.

Working at an OB/GYNE office for over twelve years, I had a wealth of knowledge about women’s health. I was a good resource for my daughter and daughter-in-law in their pregnancies. I knew which prenatal vitamin didn’t cause nausea. I could tell them how much fish they could eat in a week, and how to make deli meats safe. The ‘click, click, click’ of the stored information hummed along.

But now? I really have to dig to remember those things. Or sometimes, I have to admit that the information has ‘left the building’.

Before I worked in the office, I staffed cardiac floors in a hospital, cardiac cath lab, operating room, and I taught for a while. But there’s no way I could do that now.

Medicine moves fast. The drugs I gave back then are no longer in use. I used to know all the surgical instruments that lined the walls of the stock room. I don’t even want to know how many I’ve forgotten. I’d have to take a refresher course if I had to go back. Maybe I’d should take it twice!

I’m not planning to go back to nursing. I’m still going to give this writing thing a whirl. But I couldn’t help but compare the experience of returning to medicine to the experience of returning to God.

Getting back to hospital employment means school first. Then I’d hope to be hired over younger nurses, and the new graduates. If I was hired, I’d need a period of orientation, working with a preceptor who would monitor my work and decide when I could be left on my own. It’s a long process.

Compare that to being away from God. If I gave up on prayer and got too involved in a busy life, it’d be easy to wake up a few months later and realize that something is missing. Well, someone is missing. The relationship I had with my Father?  Gone. It used to be so easy between us. But now it’s a thing of the past.

How do I get back again? Do I have to take a class? Will someone follow me around and make sure I’m doing the right things?

My thoughts turn to the Parable of the Prodigal Son. That child had it all, and then picked up and ran off with his dad’s money. He cut himself completely off from the family. After spending everything, and starving from lack of food, he decides to go back. Maybe he’ll be forgiven.

There were no ‘maybe’s’. He is immediately enfolded back into the family. No classes. No parole, no ankle bracelet. All he had to do was decide come back.

The return to nursing? Really hard.

The return to God? Really easy.

I just have to decide to come back, and really mean it.

Even now, the Lord says, return to me with all your heart  Joel 2:12


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62 thoughts on “On Returning

  1. The return to God is easy. I pray that I don’t stray but His open arms are always available. I can relate to your story about nursing because getting back into teaching would be very similar with brushing up on skills, hoping to be hired, and then some reorientation to get back into the swing of things.
    I love that you are giving this writing thing a whirl because I so enjoy your stories and ability to honestly share how God is so important to you. I am always blessed when I stop by. Have a wonderful week!

    • Hi Mary! Thank you for your encouragement, I really appreciate it.

      It is funny how fast we can lose our skills, isn’t it? Of course it would be the same for teaching, I didn’t even think of that. I sure am happy that I don’t lose a step when I want to come back to the Lord. No refresher course, phew!
      Have a great week to Mary. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours 🙂

  2. Your ‘choice’ to write about your faith was the right one – probably because this was to be the next phase in your life. Your medical skills saved lives, but your writing helps save souls and guides people to think more deeply – and dedicate much more of themselves to their faith. You know that I am a ‘waverer’ but I think you also know that what you write helps me a great deal.

    If you can help someone like me – well, that is ‘success!’ Not in a financial sense perhaps; but what price can be put on spiritual guidance? Andrina xxx

    • Hi Andrina! I think you’re right, it is another phase of life for me.

      I am so touched by your comment, it’s really beautiful. Isn’t it wonderful that God arranged that we should meet? If I am helping you, well, what else could I ask for? It really is ‘success’.

      Thank you for making me feel so supported Andrina. I hope we will travel along with each other for a long time.
      Blessings always,

  3. When I worked in the hospital, I worked on an ortho/neuro floor. I knew all the common drugs given in that area. Now I know Geriatric meds and would be lost in the hospital, so I know just what you mean.
    I’m so glad it’s easy to go back to God.

    • Hi Mari! You know exactly what I’m saying! Even from specialty to specialty there are so many changes and differences.

      Thank makes two of us! Thanks be to him who takes us back as soon as we want to return. Such a beautiful image, and one I have to remember when I am in a situation to forgive too.
      Have a peaceful night!

    • Hi Freda! What an interesting job! You must have a background in med tech? Or maybe biology/chemistry. Isn’t it just crazy how fast things that were so simple become so difficult to even remember? Yikes.

      Thank the Lord he always will take us back. No questions or classes, just come. What love he has for us!
      Thanks for your visit today 🙂

  4. Funny you would write about this topic today. We studied this in class this morning. The phrase that stood out to me was, “when he came to himself.” In other words, when he came to his senses. I think in life we all have times we need to come to our senses!

    I’m sure glad we don’t have to take a class to repent!

    • Hi Jerralea! What an interesting study. I hope my change to writing is a moment of ‘coming to myself.’

      It is amazing the love and forgiveness we are given, just for wanting it. Not like the world at all. It’s a great witness to me of how I should be living too.
      Have a blessed week!

    • Hi Lulu! Thank you for your precious encouragement my friend. I really appreciate it.

      I guess I’d better stick with writing, because I’d have one heck of a time getting back into the swing of medicine! Thank the Lord that he is not as demanding as the job market is…
      Happy Thanksgiving friend,

  5. Well, I, for one, am beyond thankful that you are investing in your writing. Just like nursing, you are touching lives right and left … for eternity.

    What gifts you’ve been given, my friend. And how we all gather ’round to enjoy the harvesting of heaven-sent wisdom you share.


    • Hi Linda! You have always been so supportive of me, thank you so much. From your lips to God’s ears.

      And I do give thanks for blog friendships, and shared faith. You never cease to inspire on your blog space. Let’s keep walking together 🙂
      Happy Thanksgiving week my friend,

  6. Hi Ceil! 🙂
    I just had to chuckle at “the information has left the building” hahaha! I can relate to that!
    It’s so true, when we get “out of practice” in any other area of our life, it maight take extensive training and effort to re-enter that area… but with our amazing loving Father, He is always right there waiting for us, He sees us coming back and even while we are still a long way off He runs to us! Great post! Love and blessings to you! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Hi Danise! So much more leaches out than gets back in, believe it!

      Thank you for your lovely, supportive comments. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours too 🙂 I am thankful for blog-friends like you!

  7. A friend of a friend took time off from her nursing job some years back and has encountered many obstacles while trying to return. She is in her 50s and has a wealth of knowledge but she says the jobs are clearly going to the younger generation, which sounds discriminatory to me.

    I’m grateful God is interested in our return, no matter our age or knowledge.

    • Hi Dayle! Wow, she is really going through it, isn’t she? The job market is tight for everyone, nurses included. It used to be that you could pretty much name the hospital, and work there. Not anymore. I hope she finds the right thing for her soon.

      I am grateful too…no agism with God!
      Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Dayle,

  8. I can only imagine how hard it would be to stay up to date on the latest in the medical field, Ceil! I’m glad you’re continuing to give this writing thing a whirl! I also resonate so much with the feeling that when I don’t make time for Christ–it affects my attitude and ability to be gracious to others. But yes, praise God, He lets us pick up immediately where we left off with the warmest embrace a Father could have! Thanks for coming by my place to view the video! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • Hi Beth! It was nice to connect through the blog-hop today!
      I really liked your vlog.

      Yes, staying connected to God is so important for me too, especially as I head into the holidays, which can be stressful. I hope to stay so close that my peace will stay too 🙂

      Have a good afternoon!

  9. My thoughts of returning to playing basketball? Never cross my mind. My wife has retired from the BMV after 8 lo-o-o-o-ng years and she has been asked to come back on a part time basis. It has changed so much she always (without hesitation) says No. I am so grateful returning to God after a wilderness experience is not the same hassle. In His mind, it is as though I never drifted.

    • Hi Bill! Yes! We are always in God’s heart and mind. He wants his sheep back in the fold with him always. What a great Father he is!

      Were you a professional basketball player? Wow. That’s pretty fun! And I know that your wife is feeling, as I do, that it’s so easy to lose the information that came so easily in the past.

      Have a peaceful afternoon!

  10. Lovely post Ceil. Sometimes we drift but I think we feel it quickly. The absence of time with God really resonates and is hard to deal with. Thankful He’s just what the doctor ordered *wink*.

    Wishing you well my friend! The mailman delivered my book today… I can’t wait to read your section Ceil (and thank you for the lovely card). You are a treasure my friend.

    • Hi Jennifer! Good one with the ‘doctor ordered’! If you feel the loss of God so quickly, that is a true blessing. Many people are far away until they realize it.

      I’m so glad you got the Chicken Soup book, phew! I hope you like it. It was my pleasure to send it 🙂
      Happy Monday!

  11. There was a time in my life when I wandered far from the Lord. Though my heart still loved Him, my life did not reflect it. There came a time when I knew it was time to return. And, lo and behold, I was greeted by a Father who had waited for me with open arms. Sometimes the biggest impediment to returning to Him is in our own minds. We musn’t let guilt or shame or any other feeling impede us. We just need to come back, with the gift of our hearts. He’s there…waiting…as He has been all along.


    • Hi Sharon! Boy, do I agree with you. I know my own worst enemy is often ‘me’. How close our Father wants us to be to him, and how much is hurts when we are away.

      I’m so happy that you felt so loved by God when you returned. I think I am lost and found a lot in my life. I wish I could be more constant. Well, as you say, he’s there. Waiting. I just don’t want to be gone so much.

      Thank you for your honesty, and your thoughtful comment too.

  12. Such a wise analogy, Ceil. I am grateful you’re “giving this writing thing a whirl.” I truly enjoyed reading this post, and you’ve encouraged me today. Just this morning, the Lord spoke something straight to my heart during my time in the Word, which just reinforced to me how important is it to stay connected to him. Thank you for commenting on my post today so that I could find your site as well! Blessings!

    • Hi Becky! I’m so glad you came over for a visit! It’s so nice to connect through the bloghop.

      I want to stay connected always, I am so much more peaceful when I am. But, I am not always putting in the time I need to keep up a good relationship. I want to be much more constant! I am so thankful that he will always take me back. What a love he has for us!

      I look forward to getting to know you better 🙂

  13. Such a great analogy, Ceil. I’m so glad God welcomes us always with open arms no matter how much we have forgotten of His love and goodness. I wish you much success with your writing!

    • Hi Trudy! I am so glad God takes us back too, because I sure do stray myself. So constant, so loving. What a witness for me to follow too.

      Thank you for your good wishes with writing. I think we are both working on that, right? 🙂


  14. This is really a great post. Such a great analogy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are an awesome writer – really you are. Thanks for turning your readers thought back to God. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • Hi Deb! How nice to see you today!

      Thank you for your encouraging words, that’s really generous of you! I hope to turn myself back to God in the process too. I know we both love our faith and our God.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours 🙂

  15. Oh, my dear Ceil, how you have blessed my heart on this Monday afternoon. I have always loved the story of the Prodigal Son.

    I am so thankful to have a Savior that is always there for me with His arms wide open. Beautiful post, my friend.

    Have a blessed Thanksgiving with your loved ones!

    • Hi Stephanie! May you have a wonderful holiday too my friend. As Jesus welcomes us with open arms, we should do the same. And welcome with good food and fun too 🙂

      Have a peaceful evening,

  16. I agree with you that once you leave a job or a profession you quickly get out of touch with events and forget what you’ve learnt.

    I hope when I get to meet St Peter he does not ask me Catechism questions. All I can remember is that you must not eat meat on Fridays, take off your hat when you enter church and wear a veil or scarf if you’re a woman.

    I’d better start revising now. What other questions is he likely to ask?

    God bless.

    • Hi Victor! Oh my, I hope I have my wits about me at the Pearly Gates… probably won’t though. Hmm..what will he ask? That’s a good question.

      How about “Did you point out all the masters of art, and celebrate their talent?” WOW! You can say ‘Yes’ with confidence!! Looks like I’ve got some work to do 🙂

      Have a restful night my friend,

  17. Oh, what a comforting thought…that our Father is always there with open arms to receive a wayward child home again! Isn’t it wonderful that there is isn’t a test we need to take or a course that we must pass before are allowed to re-enroll!
    Great post, friend!

    • Hi Debby! Isn’t though? Just beautiful. I think of the Father in the Prodigal Son leaving the house and meeting his son on the road. We don’t even have to walk the whole way back.

      Thank goodness there are no tests to get back to God. I know I’d be so nervous I’d flunk just from that!
      Thank you for your encouragement too, I really appreciate it.
      Have a peaceful night 🙂

  18. Working in clinics most of my adult life gave me a grasp of medical terminology but it went in to overdrive when I began medical transcription. I would often go to bed with medical jargon swirling in my head. I also learned a lot by typing the doctors notes and even tried out a few home remedies they would prescribe on myself : ) But having been away (about 2 years for me as well) it is amazing how I have lost most of what I have learned and although I could probably spell many of the words, the meanings have long since “left the building”. Thankful that God accepts me back time and again when I fail. Thankful for you Ceil!

    • Hi Mindy! Wow, you have had a rich medical background, I had no idea. I don’t know how you transcription people do it. I was there on the hospital floors when the docs would dictate. Man, they were fast!! I understand completely about the loss of spelling and meanings.

      Aww, I am thankful for you too my friend. You were one of my first readers at Evangelize. What a blessing that we are still connected. God is good! And he welcomes us back every time 🙂

      Have a peaceful night,

  19. Returning is hard since so much has changed. Like going home again. But once a nurse always a nurse I say. I still think like a nurse – the nursing process is such a great way to discern. And once a child of God always a child of God – we all keep evolving and being called to serve in new ways. You’ve given lots to ponder today, as usual Ceil

    • Hi Nurse Jean! I like your attitude about keeping the heart of nursing close to you. I think I will always be that way too. Just don’t ask me the names of all those instruments…

      May I always be with him, and when I stray, what a joy to know he stands ready to enfold me in his love again. We are all truly his beloved children.
      Thank you for your supportive comment Jean, you know I appreciate you always 🙂

  20. I love this Ceil. I just need to turn around and return. He is always watching and waiting. Perfect love. Wow, at the top of the list of things for which I am thankful.

    My go back to thing would be playing the keyboard. I can still play, but since I don’t perform anymore I don’t practice as often and my fingers just can’t keep up with my brain.

    • Hi Deb! Wow, I didn’t even think about musical instruments, that is really true! You used to perform too? I bet that was such a joy.
      I used to play guitar, but that’s long gone too.

      Thank goodness God always welcomes us back. He is the best Father EVER 🙂
      Have a peaceful night,

  21. This is such a great reminder, Ceil. Sometimes we do, like the Prodigal Son, worry ourselves about all the reasons God might not be anxious to see us return. But he’s not like that at all, praise Him. Thank you for linking up at Unforced Rhythms.

  22. Hi Ceil,
    lovely post. I have had so many different jobs in my working life, care work, working with people with altzeimers, office work and growing tomatoes and prize chrysanthemums ….. and lots of other jobs, all of which I enjoyed. I have to admit that all of them were beneficial and interesting but what I have gained from all of them that has continued to be used most now is my ability to touch type. I love being able to easily communicate with brothers and sisters in the Lord on blogs, and read and share testimonies. Those jobs and times are my past that I appreciated. God and eternal life is my goal for the future, something I appreciate more than anything else in my life.
    God bless.

    • Hi Brenda! Being thankful for your blessings and gifts is one of the best things to be in the world. How God loves to see us use what he has given! You have certainly had a wonderful history of all kinds of things, you have been richly gifted!

      It’s really lovely that you enjoy what you are doing in blogging, and feel it’s a real passion and goal. That does come out in your writing, that’s for sure. May God continue to inspire you as you work to communicate and spread your love and faith in Him. You are a powerful witness for him!
      Have a peaceful afternoon,

  23. I had the privilege to preach about the Prodigal Son to a group of prisoners in Mongolia. It’s a very moving passage, especially as we think about the mistakes we’ve made in our lives. It’s never to late to return. And I imagine God still gets excited and kills the fatted calf each and every time.

    • Hi Loren! I think you are right. The capacity for love and forgiveness in him is so deep and wide that I could never understand it. He keeps taking me back, day by day, minute by minute.

      What an amazing opportunity it must be to teach this parable. It is so rich in meaning, I’m sure you could speak forever! Have you ever read The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen? I just love that book.
      Nice to see you! Have a peaceful afternoon,

  24. Returning to God is easy because He’s already waiting for us. He’s always been ready. Great post, Ceil. Very reassuring and encouraging.

    I hope your road will be so much smoother moving forward.

    • Hi Lux! Oh I do think that God makes it easy. No tests, no refresher courses! I’m glad you liked the post today.

      Thank you for your good wishes on the writing path. I hope it goes well too!

      Have a peaceful afternoon,

    • Hi Stephanie! Oooooh. I like that comparison!

      Maybe you’re right, but let me tell you, it would be definite time and learning. But I really like the idea that with God we have the basics. Always. That’s really a great image, thank you!

      Have a peaceful evening my friend,

  25. Ceil, this is so very true. I am grateful to our God Who loves us so that He waits and then, with open arms, takes us in, dusts us off, and holds us in His powerful arms.
    I have felt similarly to my teaching career. I taught in the public schools for years but have been away awhile and am now tutoring the primary aged-child. The homework they bring to me to help them with baffles me sometimes. I have to figure out what they are looking for in an answer. I would also have to return to school to get a state license, take a state test, and pass it, plus learn how to teach in the world of these required tests.
    Praise God that He provides a place for my love of teaching and a way to earn a bit of income.
    May your Thanksgiving be filled to overflowing with God’s richest blessings, Ceil.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Hi Linda! You are the second person to bring up teaching. I never even thought of that, but of course it’s very true. Isn’t it amazing what primary grade children are being asked to do these days? Makes me glad I’m past those days!

      I am so glad that you can use your gifts to help your family. I know you would be a very gifted and patient teacher.
      May God bless you too, and bring you and yours his grace on Thanksgiving Day and all days,

  26. Hi Ceil, there is a peace in knowing He is a loving, patient God. Best of all, He knows the day and time we will return. It’s never a surprise to Him, so He waits for us. The bible says that all of our days were written before one ever existed. He always knows and He’s always there waiting…patiently.

    • Hi Marilyn! How nice to see you today!

      It really is beyond my comprehension…how he knows every move I’ll make in my life, and yet leaves me free choice. But in the end, he is always there to take me back when I stray. Phew! That is the greatest gift of all.

      Have a great Thanksgiving Marilyn! God bless you and yours,

  27. I find a LOT of things I once knew has left the building (lol…love the explanation) I find the world moving and changing so quickly…it am constant learning and relearning. I find I still need to stay in scripture daily to stay reminded how easy it is to fall into an old habit. I pray your Thanksgiving day is filled with blessings and I want to thank you for being my blogger friend. Dee♥

    • Hi Dee! Yeah, no kidding! My son just told me to ditch Pandora and change to Spotify. What? Oh well, I will never be hip, will I?

      I think your way of prayer and Scripture study is the way to keep centered and on track. Love that! Thank you for inspiring me, and for inspiring everyone with your photos.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours 🙂

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