Yes, I’m a resident... No, I’m not in College

Hey y’all! My name is Morgan and I’m a second year resident working with women’s ministry.

There are so many different stories woven into why I’m in my second year of pursuing a career as a part-time-Women’s-Ministry-resident-part-time-nurse.

My experience with residency has been kind of a weird one. I had been working as a nurse full time for 2 years before going part time to do residency. Since starting, I’ve gone from leaving the hospital at 3am after taking care of a kid ejected from a car to walking into a 10am meeting about lifegroups the next day. I’ve left meetings about sermons and how we’re praying for our church family to walk into the hospital and bicker with parents about how “I’m so sorry ma’am but I have absolutely zero power to get your x-ray shot faster.” I’ve gone from discussions on theology, lifegroup health, the person of Jesus with my Midtown coworkers immediately to a work environment that is drenched in death, cynicism, and a desperate need for Jesus.

In a lot of ways, the two professions play off each other. The hospital reminds me of the world’s great need for Jesus; ministering to women reminds me that Jesus is impacting families and offers redemption in a broken world. It’s the balance of motivation to serve and hope in the finished work of Christ.

I absolutely love serving in both contexts and each definitely have their own set of challenges…the hospital environment, however, seems to more readily lend itself to cultivating cynicism and despair. I don’t know that I can fully capture in a few words where I was emotionally/spiritually when starting residency. Coming out of my first few years as a full time Pediatric ER nurse, I was done. I’d lived a fairly sheltered life growing up and the ER had successfully removed the wool from my eyes. I saw how terrible and awful and deeply twisted the world can be. Not only in theory, but in practice as I held those tiny victims of sin in my hands.

When I started at Midtown I realized that the men I was working with were no strangers to trauma. Most of them were walking through their own difficult circumstances but even outside of that: as pastors these guys got to see the same caliber of depravity that I was experiencing at the hospital.

Except they weren’t jaded. 
They weren’t ruled by anger. 
They weren’t alcoholics. 
They had vibrant relationships with Jesus. 
They loved people. 
They laughed. 
It was weird.

Getting to work alongside these guys and getting to know their families started teaching me, unknowingly, how to deal with a fallen and broken world. Getting to hear the gospel spoken overtly each day has created a constant reminder of the hope we have in Jesus. Working in the hospital provides benefits (literally-like health insurance), most of my paycheck, opportunities for intellectual and professional growth, and ministry opportunities to love kids and families and tangibly care for them.

I would say, however, that what I’ve gained through the residency is even more valuable and worth the money and time forgone over the past couple years. I’ve gotten to meditate on who Jesus is and who I am in him. I’ve gotten to establish something from the ground up—women’s ministry—and have gained all of the professional training that comes with it. I’ve gotten to learn and grow in work/life balance, boundaries, and how to process dealing with trauma.

All in all, I was hesitant to enter residency having already established a professional career. I was somewhat established, made decent money, knew how to budget, was getting benefits, had opportunities for professional advancement, had figured out how to balance my time. My prideful mind protested for a while with: “Why the heck would I sacrifice all of that to work as low man on the totem pole alongside college kids in a currently nonexistent area of ministry?!”

A year and some change in, however, I’d attest that:

  • Residency has been incredibly beneficial to my growth in unexpected ways. (Professionally in management techniques, delegation, teamwork, and planning/presentation skills. Personally in fortifying boundaries and work/life balance, learning to deal with anxiety before it starts.)

  • Residency has required sacrifices I didn’t anticipate making; such as time, energy, and serving in unforeseen ways.

  • Residency has blessed me with a firmer theological foundation, deep friendships that feel like family, and gentle reminders to meditate on the cross of Christ.

Being a part of residency has reminded me that security in budget / benefits / job is nice, but not ultimate. 

  • Having a set work schedule is great, but not ultimate.
  • Getting to live off of a non-support raised budget is helpful, but not ultimate.
  • Satisfying my performance driven mind is nice, but not ultimate.

Getting to learn more of Jesus, growing to love him more is ultimate. Getting to grow in relationship with Jesus and fostering that relationship in the lives of others has been incredibly rewarding, sanctifying, and a huge blessing. I would strongly encourage anyone who is considering residency but might be deterred by feeling “too old, too professional, too established, etc.” to prayerfully and carefully explore the options residency presents. 

Maybe it’s not the time; that’s fine and there is no need for guilt. But also, maybe the Lord is presenting an opportunity for growth and sanctification that will require sacrifice. That’s fine too. That’s actually great. If you ever want to talk, I love walks and coffee and would love to share more about my experience.