Monday, July 10, 2017

God, Hospitals Make Me Angry!

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
James 1:19-21, NIV

Confession: I have a very hard time being Godly in the hospital.
This became evident to me a few weeks ago when my 11 year old daughter was in the hospital for a planned surgery. Let me begin by saying that parenting Jaycee has caused me to be familiar with the way hospitals work. This surgery marked the 30th admission for a surgery or an illness. I can let many annoyances and inconveniences that happen in a hospital go. However, there are some things that are hard for me to look past.
During Jaycee’s short time in the hospital after her most recent surgery, I found myself angry multiple times. Things happened that should not have happened. More than one staff member did not know the correct surgery my daughter had when they cared for her. A few staff were adamant that Jaycee should do certain things (like swallow pain medication versus getting it through an IV), which she was not able to do immediately after surgery. One nurse felt the need to give my husband and I a long speech on how Jaycee needed to drink as if it was in my power to make the child swallow. A few described Jaycee as “stubborn” for spitting medications out when I felt it was a response to her pain. All of this added to the stress that my family was already feeling.
So, you see, I got angry. I got very angry. (My husband did too, but I’ll leave him out of this story for his sake.) I didn’t lash out at the people who made me upset. I tried to hold it in and bore my soul to my husband. I told him how I wanted to “slap” a few people. That’s real Godly, right? I called some staff members names behind their back to my husband. I complained to a few close friends about Jaycee's treatment. I let the pressure and the stress get to me. But just how should a Christian parent in this unfortunate situation? Probably not like this…
The first night we were home, I felt convicted of my anger. I spent extra time talking to God about all the problems that we went through and my agitated state. I honestly felt justified in some of it. Some people didn’t do their jobs well. Some people were rude to Jaycee and didn’t consider the whole picture with her. Clearly there was a lack of communication at the hospital as well. I prayed and reflected.
God showed me that I have some trigger points that automatically cause anger. Hearing my sick child referred to as “stubborn” is one of them. Even though I tried to tell God some of the anger was understandable, I was led to James 1. Ouch!
From this passage, I learned I need to: 
  1. Listen and ask for clarification from hospital staff. 
  2. Know it’s ok to respond to the person who may not be meeting my child’s expectations, but I need to choose my words carefully and provide my own clarifications by providing examples from Jaycee’s previous admissions. And 
  3. Recognize anger rising and respond Biblically.
I want to be more like God. I want to walk in His righteousness, and I certainly don’t want to be considered to have “moral filth.”
Perhaps, your child doesn’t have hospital scenarios that challenge you spiritually as a parent, but I’m sure there is some situation (IEP meetings, challenging behaviors in public) that is your equivalent. I hope and pray that next time, we all find it easier to be Godly in these times. 

Your word is challenging but true! I recognize that I’m not always walking in your righteousness, especially in stressful situations. I confess my anger and shortcomings before you and ask for forgiveness and help in future situations. Help me to be an example of moral goodness instead of filth. Give me ears that hear, a mouth that speaks words you approve of, and anger that is not easily provoked. Amen!