Many of you know that I’m a school nurse—more specifically, a high school nurse. If you didn’t know that, well now you do. I’ve been in my current position for four years, but this is my first full year in a high school. I spent the last three years working primarily in elementary schools; as you probably know, those two experiences are quite different.
Someone asked me this weekend what it was like to work in a high school. They said, “I bet it’s easier since you can talk to them.” While this is true, I found myself saying, “I work with a lot of kids who have a lot of adult problems.” That really struck me--but I’ll come back to that.
I should mention that when I got the call over the summer that I would be moving from my beloved elementary school of the past three years—where I was part of a tight-knit community—to a high school that has been considered less affluent, I was nervous, I was unsure, but mostly, I was ANGRY. I was angry that I would be taken from my home without any consultation from me. I was angry that I would no longer have kids drawing pictures for me (that I still have, by the way) and giving me hugs that would make me smile all the way home. I was angry that they were going to put someone who is frequently mistaken as a high school student with high school students. I was angry that I was going to be thrown into a world I wanted to keep at arm’s length: teenage pregnancy and STDs, drugs and substance abuse, and kids beating the snot out of one another—just to name a few. In fact, I remember looking up the sky with my best scowl and letting God know exactly what I thought about this whole thing. I was hoping to change His mind.
On August 24, 2015, I went back to high school—as an adult.
This school year has been interesting, to say the least. I have to be vague, but I have seen kids at their highest (take that however you will), and at their lowest. I have seen physical scars of a life that’s really hard and there doesn’t seem to be another way out but to self-injure. I’ve seen fighting, and kids who want to fight more—even after they’ve been separated from their original target. I’ve had people ask me questions for which I don’t really have answers. Like I said before: kids with adult problems.
My breaking point came last week when I was approached for help for one matter, but it turned into something completely different that could have had some pretty serious ramifications. So there I was, in a position I don’t like to be in: the bad guy.
My office is often used as the counseling center, but that day, I found myself looking for a counselor. In fact, I barged into the office of one with whom I have a pretty good relationship, shut the door, and did something that comes off as a big no-no for nurses: I cried. Before I knew it, I was pouring out my feelings and doubts of the school year:
“They really messed up by sending me here. There’s nothing I can do to help these kids. These kids got the short end of the stick. Why didn’t they send someone here who knew how to deal with all this?” Inside, I was crying to God, “Why? Why? What can I possibly do to fix all of this? Show me why You want me here!”
When the counselor was finished consoling me, I realized I was thinking about one of my favorite hymns growing up—“Here I Am, Lord”. I’ll get into the lyrics in a minute, but the song is based on 1 Samuel 3—the story in which Samuel hears the Lord call to him three times. The first two times, Samuel answers with “Here I am”.  However, Samuel thinks it is Eli who is calling him. Each time, Eli assures Samuel that he did not call him. After the second calling, Eli tells Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” On the third call, Samuel said as he was instructed, and the Lord gave him a prophecy.
In the morning, Eli did call Samuel, and he answered, “Here I am.” Eli asked Samuel to tell him exactly what the Lord told him—and he did, leaving nothing out. And he added, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”
Samuel submitted completely to the Lord. At no point was it recorded that Samuel scowled at the Lord, or begged him to go seek someone else. Samuel accepted that this was the Lord’s will and submitted: “Here I am, Lord.” I take this as, “Okay, Lord—I heard you and I’m here. Tell me what you need or want me to do, and I will do as you say.”
So how does this help me, or anyone who has ever found themselves in my predicament? Here is a verse from “Here I Am, Lord” that gets me every time:
I, the Lord of snow and rain,
I have borne my people's pain.
I have wept for love of them, they turn away.
I will break their hearts of stone,
Give them hearts for love alone.
I will speak My word to them
Whom shall I send?

When I look at it that way, I am deeply humbled—and somewhat embarrassed. I’m embarrassed because God is pretty passionate that He needs someone to hold His hurting people in their hearts. Who am I to say, “But you don’t need me”? Let me tell you: I see hearts of stone all the time. God needs His people to know that he has—and does—bear their pain. He weeps at their hurt. He knows there are kids who don’t know what it’s like to have parents who love them, food on the table, clothes to stay warm or even basic safety. He knows there are kids who thought they might have found the love and closeness they so desperately want in sex, drugs, violence, or any other number of sources that aren’t from Him. For various reasons--some of which only He knows right now--He thought the person who should hold this group in their heart should be me.
And my answer should be this:
Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

To answer my earlier question “What can I do to fix all this?” The fact is: I can’t fix it all. I realized that isn't that the role He has for me. However, I can pray. I can bring Him into my school every single day (and I’ve been doing this more) by saying, “Lord, please be in this school today. Please have me go where you would want me and do what you would want me to do—especially if I don’t think I can do it.” And if you don’t think I keep a Bible in my desk for more of His presence, you are mistaken.
I want to close out with this: there is a reason you are wherever you are in life. Where you are may be really hard and you may be wondering how He could use any of what you’re going through to disciple someone else. I’ve had some pretty tough life circumstances, but I’ve found that when you can look someone in the eye and say, “I know how that feels, but I know He is with you” you’ve witnessed in a way no else can. Likewise, He has used where I’m at to allow someone else to minister to me. In some ways, these kids are ministering to me--I definitely didn’t expect that. I have learned that if I say, “Here I am, Lord,” things more powerful than I could ever have imagined begin to happen.
Here I am, Lord. Thank you for calling me.