Welcome to Kendra Graham’s online Bible study. Our prayer is that you will grow deeper in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word and His promises for you.
“Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:19b
What Does it say?
What Does it Mean?
Jesus calls each and every one us corporately with the same call, FOLLOW ME, but singularly and personally to different places.
This summer has been a whirlwind, and here I find myself landing at the feet of fall! Where in the world have I been? Some of you have not missed the blog, others are probably questioning if I fell off the face of the earth, and some had no idea I ever wrote a blog!
My computer was just unpacked a few days ago and I could not wait to get back to you. So much TRANSITION, my heart is still processing daily. In May, I officially stepped away from the hospital I had been working at for 20+ years in the labor and delivery unit in Raleigh, NC. For over 13 years I have been traveling 250 miles from Asheville to Raleigh to go to work on holidays and weekends. I have loved my job, my co-workers, my patients and all that God has taught me on the training ground of 4BLD at WakeMed Hospital.
I always worked hard, 12 hour shifts, but loved it. I felt God begin to nudge me last year that it was time to transition away from WakeMed, and then, unbeknown to my friend Michele Asad, God continued to confirm that call. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to walk away from.
God used my friends at WakeMed to intervene in my life in the deepest period of darkness that my soul has ever known. My friends there on that hospital floor loved me and ministered to me in ways that they will never fully understand; and so, to walk away felt like part of my heart was being severed. The ache that I still feel today shows me that perhaps that my heart will always ache in a grateful, joy filled deep way that the words on this page fail to explain.
God tenderly called to my heart, “Follow Me”.
I asked in return “Where Lord”?
The response came back, “Where I lead. Follow Me”
I of course wanted more explanation. I wanted a hand written page, or something so that I could weigh were He was going against where I currently found myself. I liked where I was. I loved my job, my people, and my personal pride in being a high risk labor and delivery nurse.
God said, “Follow Me.” “Do you trust Me?”
I was quiet. I wanted to trust Him; I truly did, but then that word, “BUT” just kept rising in my throat. My tears threatened, as they still do today, looking back to that moment.
It took me almost 3 months to make the call to my manager, Donna, and when she picked up the phone, I just started crying. The words were struggling to form around the big lump that was in the way. Donna didn’t need me to say anything. She knew. She knew it was time. Donna encouraged me, and prayed for me, and promised to continue to pray for me as this time of transition and obedience played itself out.
May 25, 2019 I worked my last 12 hour shift. I cried all the way to work. I cried when I saw my friend Liz. I cried when I saw the night shift pack up. I cried when I walked into my patient’s room. My patient was a current Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse that I would not see come to my high risk deliveries again. I was a mess. God was tender.
I had the best two deliveries that day. My last delivery happened about 2 hours before shift end, and my patient named her baby boy “Graham”. I really lost it then. The couple was a military family from Ft. Bragg and the burly army dad broke down with the best of us when that baby was born. It was a beginning for baby Graham and Kendra Graham, but it was also an ending.
My friend Liz in loud confident declaration said, “Well done, good and faithful servant! It is time to go, KG, and it is ok, God is in all of this.”
I packed up my bag for the last time, put my scrubs in the hospital laundry and opened the door to the locker room to take the stairs, one last time.
I heard a still small voice, “Come, follow Me.”
I find comfort in routine. I like things staying the same. I don’t like the pain that often comes in times of transition. Here in John 21 Peter was feeling that same pain. It’s easy to hold on to the past. Peter had just denied Jesus. Jesus had died, and Peter went back to his comfortable job of fishing. Fishing was not bad, fishing was what he knew. Fishing was fine and good. Fishing was where He saw Jesus the first time. Fishing was a time of preparation for Peter. Jesus, from the start called Peter to be a fisher of men. So many things happened from that first call though. Jesus died for one. Peter found it easy for a time to follow Jesus, He was right there! Now, things were transitioning, and Peter was not sure he could do it.
Jesus, did not stay in the grave! Jesus appeared to Peter and the disciples here on the shore of Galilee and cooked breakfast for them, very much alive. The same call from Matthew 4 found its way again to John 21, “Follow Me.” Jesus was still going to lead Peter, but it would look different and would not smell of fish, it would have the scent of sheep.
Peter had a choice to make. It was time to walk away from those nets and follow wherever Jesus led. That is hard. That is unknown. How would he provide for his family? Would he know what to do? Where to go? This is where faith hits your feet and your heart. This is where a testimony is forged. Your calling is your calling, no one else’s. God will never tell you what might of been, or what would have been, He just wants to lead you where He is, today.
I know that God does not lead where He isn’t, He leads where He is, and that is where I want to be with my whole heart, head and feet. So if away from WakeMed is where you lead, Lord, help me to follow. Focus my eyes on the next step not on the explanation of benefits, and how provision will be made.
Since my last day at WakeMed, we sold our house, my eldest graduated high school, we went on mission for 3 weeks abroad where we encouraged the saints and they likewise encouraged us, (seeing how God is moving all over the globe is exciting), we moved out of our house into a rental leaving most of our things in storage, we dropped our eldest off at college, we bought a house and moved in, and as of 4 days ago, unpacked and began settling in. My computer is back on my desk, and was fired up for the first time since June!
TRANSITION, or the summer of insanity as it will always be known to me, has been difficult, but good. My eyes are open and my feet willing to see where He is leading. I hope you join me.
What Does it Mean to Me?
If Jesus calls each of us to follow Him, have you made that choice to follow Him or is it easier to just stay with what you know and tend to your nets and fish?
When has that still small voice been so clear to you to follow? Was it hard or easy for you? Did you have to leave something you knew or embrace something you knew?
Are there stipulations that you have given God, like where He is allowed to lead you and where He is not?
When have you followed Him and saw God work in a way you would have never seen otherwise? Will you share it and encourage others?
LIVE IT OUT
Personally ask God where He is today, and to give you eyes to see Him and where He is working. Ask Him to show you where He wants you to follow. The call is the same for me as it is for you, “Follow Me”.
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