Guided by the Spirit

IMG_0854Lorren Lemmons is an Army/dental school wife, bone marrow transplant nurse, and mother to a very energetic 8-month old. A country girl from Idaho, she is now learning to love city life in Los Angeles. In her abundant spare time (ha!) she loves to read, write, watch Dr. Who, and eat strange and exotic food. She blogs about books at http://thestorygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com and about everything else at http://whenlifegivesyoulemmons8.blogspot.com.

I listen to the voicemail, tension hunching my shoulders. I’ve been waiting for this call for two weeks, but I’ve still managed to miss it. The HR representative’s introduction seems to last minutes rather than seconds. Finally she says, “I have good news. Bone Marrow Transplant would like to make you an offer.”

My first reaction is joy. This is my dream job – a nursing position in the area I am passionate about, located in a prestigious hospital with an award-winning training program. Our bank account is growing emptier, and my husband and I have been praying that I would find a job for months. The fact that those prayers have been answered with this job is a blessing that I hardly dared ask for.

However, as I watch my son smiling and giggling because he sees that I am happy, I pause. For the last six months, I have been with him every waking moment. We’ve experienced the greatest trials of my life, including emergency room trips, hospital stays, and postpartum depression. Becoming his mother amplifies all my joys, too – my marriage, my faith, the simple beauty of the world, all are more powerful as I experience them through the paradigm of motherhood. How will taking this job alter our relationship? Am I a bad mother for leaving this beautiful baby for a full-time job?

Almost immediately, remembrance nudges against my fear. Personal revelation led me to this choice. While I didn’t originally understand how my life would unfold – while I still don’t understand entirely – I have been guided, step by step.

Nursing was not part of my plans. I wanted to be a pharmacist. I’d envisioned my career for years, and my life was meticulously planned– the final course requirements, the admissions exam, the schools where I would apply. However, my plans were not Heavenly Father’s plans, and I was about to be humbled as He made them clear to me during a session of General Conference.

“Do not go to pharmacy school. Go to nursing school instead.” The words were as clear as if they had been whispered in my ear. My eyes filled with tears as the rest of the talks went unheard. I knew instantly that the prompting was from the Lord. My initial reaction was resistance; still, I went to my computer and began rearranging my course schedule for the upcoming semester when I reached home. Within half an hour, I had replaced my pre-pharmacy courses with nursing prerequisites.

Only a few weeks later, I was engaged. I thought that this change of plans was to facilitate the standard “Mormon American dream” – marriage and the ability to stay at home with my children. I wasn’t sure how I felt about staying at home – I thought it would be challenging for my achievement-oriented personality – but I thought the Lord must want me to pursue nursing firstly to divert me from my graduate school plans and secondly to give me a back-up plan in case my husband was ever unable to work.

During the next year I graduated from BYU and began an accelerated nursing program at the University of Utah. I had been bitter about changing my plans to become a pharmacist, despite the fact that I knew it was the Lord’s will. However, as I began nursing rotations, I wondered if nursing was more than just a fall-back plan. I found myself falling in love with one clinical area in particular – pediatric oncology.

When my husband was accepted to dental school, I began researching programs near our future home. I found what seemed like the perfect hospital, with one caveat – I couldn’t start until six months after my husband began school, and I would have a two year contract. We’d planned on starting our family after I had worked for a year, but to get this job, I would have to wait almost three. As I prayed about the best decision, my answer again quick and unexpected – I felt that we should get pregnant immediately.

I still planned on working, applying for the job I wanted while still pregnant. People responded with surprise when I told them my plans. “Full time?” they would ask, eyebrows raised. I began to doubt myself. Maybe I needed to stay home. After all, motherhood was my most important role.

Watching the Relief Society general meeting one day, my mind wandered as doubts about working again churned my mind. The voice of one of the speakers called me back as she mentioned the death of her seventeen-year-old daughter. As this beautiful woman spoke with tears in her eyes, I was overwhelmed with the Spirit as a voice clearly spoke to me once again, “You need to take care of these children and help their families.”

I still don’t know the logistics of how my family will adjust to my full-time job, but I am comforted by the knowledge that my Heavenly Father asked this of me. This is what I am supposed to do. The reminder that I was spiritually called to work comforts me, despite my apprehension about the way my life will change. I turn to my family. “Guess who is going to be a bone marrow transplant nurse?”

10 thoughts on “Guided by the Spirit

  1. I really enjoyed this. Sometimes we forget that we have received answers–at least I do–and this reminds me of the inspiration in my own life that I doubt at times. Good luck as you go forward.

  2. Yes–I think it is so important to remember the answers we have received so that later we can have confidence that we are doing the right thing, especially when what we know is right for our lives might not seem like a logical choice. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. If you are following the Spirit then you are doing what you should do. So ignore anyone who gives you flak about your choice. You are in a position to save lives, and anyone who has faced a scary illness is ultra thankful for the people who help them face it. Congrats on the job.

  4. I really enjoyed this piece. Congrats on your baby boy, your new job, and all the adventures ahead. And thank you for your courage to follow the Spirit. It is an inspiration to anyone who reads this!

  5. I really liked this post. My daughter returns home from her mission in Chicago, Spanish speaking and is unsure what she wants to do. I will remind her of the strength the spirit gives when we seek it humbly.

  6. Really beautiful post and a great reminder that our lives are not all meant to look the same or be the same. Congratulations on your dream job!

  7. This was interesting. Thanks for sharing. I had the opposite experience. I was planning on a ph.d. (in place of marriage/children) when the Spirit said “You will be a mother.” THAT was the biggest understatement of my life! :)

  8. Your post really inspired me. When you described your first reaction of joy to the job offer and then your subsequent doubts and hesitations, I thought, “Oh, no, go with your gut feeling (your heart/the Spirit) because it won’t lead you astray.” And you did, and you were doing that all along, or you wouldn’t be where you were. I am a mom of 4 and just now figuring out how to trust my heart and to not doubt the spiritual promptings I receive. I still get confused all the time, but I am realizing that when I am filled with doubts and fears and negativity, what I am really doubting is my ability to trust in the revelation I’ve already received. I know I’m off track when I feel terrible inside. I know I’m on the right track when I feel God’s love for me and his Spirit guiding me. Then I need to stick to that no matter what other people think or say. This is helping me through some major life changes, and amazingly enough, things are falling into place.

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