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Just Nine Days

We are ecstatic to introduce our first “God Story” from within our own Women Engaging community.

Joanna Sherman shares a bit of her story:

This past year has been one of growth for me. The Lord has challenged me, provided for me, comforted me, and encouraged me. I am a night shift RN at a local hospital here in North County and also a single mom with majority custody of my elementary-aged daughter.

Covid hit, forcing my daughter to do full-time school at home, while my stress at work skyrocketed. Additionally, because I work the night shift, I typically sleep during the day. With my daughter now home all day and needing assistance with school, sleep was not really an option.

I was thankful to have a job, knowing that so many people were struggling because they were unable to work due to the pandemic. However, with my extremely demanding work and lack of quality sleep between shifts, I found myself emotionally and physically exhausted. I felt like a zombie as I tried to parent my sweet daughter, help her with online school, and also care for patients at night. To put it bluntly, I was drowning and running on fumes.

Very unexpectedly, during one of the busiest seasons at my hospital during the pandemic, I received a phone call from the HR department as I drove into work one night. They told me that effective immediately, they had placed me on a mandatory sixty-day furlough without pay. I explained to the gentleman that my manager had called every day I was off work asking if I could please come in to help as we were so short-staffed.

He confirmed that “yes, we would continue to run short-staffed but the hospital did not have enough cash flow to pay us, so many RNs would be placed on furlough.” This meant that the ones who were still working would have to suffer with unfair working conditions and unsafe staffing ratios in the already very stressful time of Covid. He told me to work my shift that night and then not return for any of my further scheduled shifts until HR reached out in sixty days.

I was confused and completely bewildered. But at the same time, I felt a unique calm and peace because Jesus had been so faithful to me, providing me with His strength, His endurance, and His compassion to get through this crazy time.

Suddenly, I had time to sleep again, time to spend with my daughter when I wasn’t completely exhausted, and time to give to others in need. I signed up to volunteer for a food drive at church and was also able to help different friends experiencing difficult times. Money would be tight, but I felt alive again! I was no longer constantly operating in survival mode, but instead, enabled to thrive!

Just nine days into my mandatory furlough, I received a call from HR telling me to return to work immediately. They couldn’t continue running so short staffed. What was supposed to be sixty days of unemployment became just nine!

I am exceptionally grateful for that unexpected furlough. Those nine days opened my eyes to something new that God wanted for me. He didn’t want me to function in survival mode any longer. He wanted me to trust Him with my finances completely. To cement this new level of trust, He put it on my heart to switch from working full-time to part-time to have more time available to serve Him and to have more quality time with my precious daughter.

This would be a big step to let go of the financial security of full-time employment. My work as an RN provides my only source of income for myself and my daughter. Moving from full-time to part-time would cut one third of my income and also nearly triple the cost of my monthly health insurance. Would this really be feasible? When the opportunity arose for me to apply for part-time, I prayed and the Lord confirmed this as what He wanted for me.

Amazingly, I got the position and have watched Him provide for us time after time. During this transition, these words encouraged my heart: “Living in dependence on Jesus is a glorious adventure. When you depend on Jesus continually, your whole perspective changes. You see miracles happening all around.” – Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

esus knows my needs, He knows my heart, and He wants me to continue to depend on Him. Because I have more quality sleep, my relationship with my daughter has become even more special as I’m able to be more creative and intentional with our time together. Additionally, it has made me a better nurse as I have more energy and compassion to give to my patients. 

I have always relied on the Lord to get me through my job, but this past year, I have grown to truly hand it all over to Him. Listening to worship music on my drive into work, I pray for the Lord to help guide and lead me through the next twelve and a half hours. 

Throughout my shift, whether it’s something as simple as starting an IV or something as scary as rushing to an emergency c-section, I am asking for Jesus to use me to bring Him glory, to help me do my best work, and to be a light to all those I encounter. I definitely stumble and fail at times, but I know that I can ask for the Lord to help me start again, and He always does.