Inviting Jesus Into My Everyday Reality
By: Brenna Esparza
Brenna has lived in San Francisco for 6 years and has been a part of Reality SF since 2010, attending the Alamo Squared (Alamo 2) Community Group. Currently, she lives in the Lower Haight with her husband, Jake, and works as a pediatric ICU nurse at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco. She enjoys taking trips overseas, and last spring she spent three weeks in Rwanda, instructing nursing students from Biola University in caring for children and infants. In the city, she loves going out for pho with Jake, learning new songs on her guitar, and running in the park. This fall, she’s attending graduate school at UCSF to become a nurse practitioner in pediatric acute care.
How is The Lord speaking to you through the gospel of John?
During the months we spent in the first half of John, I felt Jesus asking me, “Do you really know me?” This question, asked then, and still now, always brings me to a halt. It invites me to approach my plans for the day for the sake of being with Jesus. Do I have laundry to do? Grocery shopping? How can I invite Jesus into those tasks? Or, can I move them to the next day if Jesus is calling me to something else?
For me, knowing the Lord is spending time with Him in a beautiful place where I can be alone. Once a week or so, I am drawn to our city’s “forest”, Golden Gate Park. Sitting on a green bench at Lloyd Lake, I wait for Him as I watch various ducks, geese and turtles scuttling about. Often, I’ll say in my heart, “Hello, Lord, here we are. Thank you for this day. It’s great to be with You right now. Open my ears to hear Your voice and my heart to Your presence.” And then, I’ll talk to Him about whatever comes to mind, thank Him for some good things He has done, or sit silently enjoying His creation with Him. Just the simplicity of being in a beautiful space with Jesus has been an incredible nourishment for me. Knowing Him, finding joy with Him as a daughter or a friend, without an agenda–This, to me, is my bread and water.
I have also thought about Jesus reaching out to the woman at the well in John 4. She was going about her regular chores, and then she met Jesus. He knew that she was looking for Him, thirsting for Him, even if she didn’t realize it herself. It encourages me that even when I am busy, Jesus knows my thirst for him, and meets me where I am. Thirst is a good sign. It means that I depend on Him, that I need Him. And my hunger is a result of Him calling me to Himself (John 7:37-8).
What does “Jesus Is Reality” mean to you?
Right now and for a long time, my challenge has been inviting Jesus into my work. I am a pediatric ICU nurse, and during my 12-hour shift, I struggle to stay aware of Jesus between preparing IV fluids, drawing labs, assisting with a patient admission or documenting tasks in the computer. As Jimmy Spencer encourages in his blog, we should “embrace the busy.” It’s practically impossible to do this, especially when I’m caring for a patient with an illness I’ve never heard of and my free minutes are spent scouring webmd.com for quick answers.
Yet, I take comfort in what Oswald Chambers says, “We look for God to manifest Himself to His children: God only manifests Himself in His children. Other people see the manifestation, the child of God does not. We want to be conscious of God; we cannot be conscious of our consciousness and remain sane.” (Utmost For His Highest, April 21). As I try to invite Jesus into my consciousness at work, I release to Him my busy moments. I receive His Spirit, trusting Him to speak through my actions: In my patience, my joy, and my love that subconsciously infuse every task.
“Lord, be with me, with my patients and co-workers,” I pray as I ride to work. Entering the hospital doors, I take the elevator to the ICU and the whirlwind begins. And the Lord is there. Then on my bike ride home, “Thank you, Lord, for helping me to have patience with this family, who were so rude as I tried to care for their child. Please minister to them in their sadness and confusion as they process his illness.” I’ll share with Him my feelings of inadequacy when I struggle to get an IV in a patient. “Lord, this is so hard for me, please help me to release it, to move on.” I get home from work, I eat and I watch an episode or three of Friends or whatever is light and silly. And Jesus is in that, too.
Has this series stirred any hopes or dreams in you for your life or the life of our beloved city?
Like the woman at the well, I hope to meet Jesus in the midst of my day-to-day “drudgery” as Chambers calls it (Utmost For His Highest, February 19). I strive to make my daily tasks open to His presence, often praying, “Come, Lord Jesus. I invite You. I want to be ready to sit and talk with you, Lord, even in the middle of work. When are you coming? I want to know the sound of your voice. What do you know about me and how can I walk with You better in the city? I want to increase the percentage of time I respond to Your call.”
As long as I live and work here, I want to perfect the art of knowing Jesus in the big city. I want to be adept at finding the stillness and quietness with Him on a more habitual basis and allow Him to awaken me to His presence and care for people at my work and in my neighborhood. I have a long way to go! The hospital is just as challenging to sharing my faith as any other workplace in the city. But I know the Lord can transform even these short encounters with coworkers and patients into a space of bearing fruit and bringing glory to His name, maybe without me even knowing it. That is my hope.
This piece is a part of our Journey Through John blog series, that invites our community to share their personal reflections through our study in the book of John. For more posts, visit our table of contents.