I have been reading a book called “Compassion – A call to take action” by James and Michal Ann Goll. It is part of their “Women on the front line series. It is amazing! One of the chapters is about Florence Nightingale. Most people have heard of Florence Nightingale. But I doubt they know how awesome of a woman she was. I sure didn’t know. I didn’t even know she was a christian! Here is a little back story.
She was born to a wealthy english family. She was well-bred, attractive, educated and was expected to marry early and well. In 1837 she heard the Lord call her to ministry. She felt the Lord wanted her to help others. So without the support of her family, she served wherever and whomever she could. She turned down many suitors (even one who she loved) and would study health books instead to going to parties. In her time, the act of nursing was done by prostitutes, drunks and others, NOT women of Florence’s status. In 1844 she was convinced that her call was to help the sick and become a nurse. She had some health issues and was sent to Egypt to recuperate. While she was there she wrote many journal entries about her encounters with God.
From there she went to school to learn all she could about the health professions. Women nurses were not openly accepted, even at hospitals, but she pressed on and made so many life-saving changes to hospital protocols. In 1854 she volunteered to nurse in a Turkish hospital during the Crimean war. She wrote that the conditions were appalling. There were sick, dying and dead everywhere! They were dirty, unfed and had no access to clean water! No wonder more men were dying of disease than of their war injuries! Florence changed so much (not without opposition from the doctors, who still didn’t want them there) She used her own money to buy clean gowns, socks, blankets, utensils, plates and more. She and the other nurses scrubbed to wards, washed and fed the men, read them letters and books and even looked after their families by ensuring their wages were sent to them. She worked herself into exhaustion and illness in the most appalling and disgusting conditions. There are so many things I could write about her! She changed so much in the health profession that we benefit from today.
When she returned home after the war, she was asked about her service in the war, and about longevity, her reply was this:
“It matters little provided we spend our lives to God, whether like our blessed Lord’s they are concluded in three and thirty years, or whether they are prolonged to old age”
She lived until she was 90 years old! And most of her life she was quite ill. She truly loved the Lord and served Him in every way that she could. She believed that everyone needed to set apart times to pray, that was her strength. She is an inspiration to everyone on how we need to be. Put ourselves aside and answer the call. This is the quote that inspired me to write this post:
“Life is a hard fight, a struggle, a wrestling with the Principle of Evil, hand to hand, foot to foot. Every inch of the way must be disputed. The night is given to us to take breath, to pray, to drink deep at the fountain of power. The day, to use the strength which has been given to us, to go forth to work with it till the evening”