Kim Eckenroth, MS, APRN, FNP-C, our co-founder and vice president overseeing patient care, often writes devotionals for our staff. We thought you might also appreciate them, so we created a special section on our blog to share them with you. We hope they touch your heart too.
“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
For 20-some years at this same time in late spring, I am visibly and beautifully reminded of God’s faithfulness in our lives. Almost 25 years ago when we had just started Gentle Shepherd, life was overwhelming. We had a new baby and were beginning to visit patients day and night. The journey was rough and rocky. What the future held only God knew. All we could do was be faithful to what we knew we had been called to do, put one foot in front of the next and keep on keeping on.
Our third patient, let’s call him Mr. Trinity, lived up on the top of a mountain on the south side of 460 near Blue Ridge. You turned at an old gas station onto Webster Road, turned to the left and up you went for about five miles. The road was steep and curvy. Near the top, the paved road turned to dirt and gravel. The last few miles were dusty with sparse houses dotting the landscape. It was a lonely road, and at that time, an even lonelier life for me.
Every week as I went to see Mr. Trinity that late spring, a sea of wild flowers began to dot his road. When the state surveyors came to visit for Medicare certification that spring, the pink wildflowers at Mr. Trinity’s were in full bloom. The surveyor joined us on patient visits and needed to ride with me since they were unfamiliar with the area. As I drove to our patient, chatting and making small talk, the journey up the windy road passed by quickly. Before reaching our his home, there was a tiny white frame cabin with a patch of tall pink wildflowers beside their mailbox. The surveyor remarked how pretty they were as the sun glistened on the deep pink petals.
We arrived at Mr. Trinity’s and he and his gracious wife answered all the surveyor’s questions — about his plan of care, did he know when I was scheduled to return to visit, was I punctual, when he called at night did I answer in a timely fashion, how long did they wait before I came to visit? We concluded the visit. It was successful and we returned to our office. I breathed a silent prayer of thanks.
The surveyor granted our request for certification. Don, Bonnie and I were elated. It had been a long process. We applied for licensure in December of ’94, were licensed at the first survey in March of ’95 and certified that June. We had yet to see our first penny for reimbursement. It would be another two months before our first few reimbursement dollars arrived by mail.
After the surveyors left, I continued to see Mr. Trinity through the summer. One day after leaving his home, I stopped at the neighbor’s house and asked what type of flowers were growing by her mailbox so we could purchase some for our flowerbed. She was very kind and said, “Honey, you are taking care of my friend. I see you coming and going past my house every time you see my neighbor. Pick you some seed pods off those plants and throw them in your dirt. Next year you’ll have some of your own flowers. No need to buy nothing. Take ’em. They’re free.” I thanked her and came home with seeds in hand.
I told Don about admiring the beautiful pink wildflowers on the way to Mr. Trinity’s house and my conversation with the neighbor. I took those few seeds and threw the tiny brown specks by the sidewalk near our front door.
The following summer, four small shoots came up from those seeds! They had beautiful tops of pink flowers. You could see them every time you drove up our driveway. They were just as beautiful as the ones by Mr. Trinity’s.
The next summer a few more flowers came up, followed by more and more each following year. Don tried to contain them but it soon became impossible. Last year, he let them go wild, letting them spread.
These pictures are of those flowers from our third patient’s neighbor. Every summer I have a striking beautiful reminder of God’s tender watch-care over our lives. How his mercy and grace have covered us, kept us safe, allowed us to grow and help others. It is a visible testimony to being faithful to do what we are called to do, serving those we are called to serve….not worrying about results but being faithful day in and day out, doing what we know to be right.
Seeds of faithfulness, hope and mercy line the path to our house. Hope and grace bloom every late spring reminding us to keep on keeping on.
These seeds of faithfulness continue to spread like Don’s mission in Africa. They symbolize how our work and lives, blessed by God, are meant to help others, to encourage them and point them to Jesus. It is because of his love and mercy that we can have the courage to face another day and walk the steps he has set before us, to bless our world.
What flowers line the steps to your house?
Please join me today in praying for Don and the success of this trip to Uganda this week. They are launching a huge public school project. More on that soon.
Have a wonderful day and Happy CNA week ladies.