Pastor’s Column: Hospital Chaplain

My name is Rev. Nicole Smith and I am a chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC).  Hospital ministry is not something I imagine doing when God called me into full-time ministry. 

I did not believe I could handle being in the hospital, especially at a trauma 1 hospital…
I did not believe I could handle being in the hospital, especially at a trauma 1 hospital like HCMC.  God won’t give you more the you can bare. He equips us with what we need, at the time we need it.  This is something I have learned as a hospital chaplain because a medical emergency can happen in a moment notice.  God has gifted me with a heart to see, hear and touch the broken hearted. 
be present with people in the most vulnerable time of their life…
This is what I get to do as the hospital as chaplain, to be present with people in the most vulnerable time of their life and in the life of their family.

I do not always know what to say or do in my interaction with people. One thing for sure I depend on the Holy Spirit to lead me and work through me in every situation.  The most powerful tool I have when visiting someone who is sick is my ears.

It is okay to allow people to feel what they are feeling in that moment…
Yes, your two ears! When I choose to listen to people first, people need to feel heard and cared for before they will listen to you.  This is not always easy to do, because sometimes you have to wait in the silence. The silence can be uncomfortable, but it is empowering for that person to break the silence when they are ready.  It is okay to allow people to feel what they are feeling in that moment, even if it is lamenting or questioning God.   One of the most powerful things you can do while in the presence of someone in the hospital, is to be a presence of hope.

It is okay to mourn with those who mourn.  In John 11:35, “Jesus wept,” after he was moved by the grief of Mary and the people who was with her.  We cannot control the results, but we can trust that God is working.  One last word, do not hesitate to pray because prayer can bring comfort.

 

Rev. Nicole Smith is a Chaplain at Hennepin County Medical Center. She has her MDiv. from Bethel Seminary.

 

 

 

When Tears Fall

Poem by Rev. Nicole Smith

When tears fall,

Down the hills of your cheeks,

Rolls down sorrow, pain and joy.

It is more than raw emotions.

Tears is a healing balm,

A balm in Gilead,

That rolls into the valves of your heart

That reaches deep into your soul.

In each tear drop there is a story,

A story that is caught into His hands,

The hands of the creator who gives careful attention to each one.

Not one tear is lost.

When the tears fall,

The tension can release and

You can be free to be.

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