"How very little can be done under the spirit of fear"
-Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)
Florence Nightingale was born to wealthy English aristocrats in Florence, Italy on May 12 1820. During her studies to become a nurse and her time serving as a nurse in London she had first hand dealings with a cholera outbreak and experience with the effects of disease and infection in highly unsanitary conditions.
Her care, approach, and ingenuity proved most successful and her reputation became such that during the Crimean war she was called upon for help in their field hospitals. At the time more soldiers were dying as a result of infection and deplorable conditions than they were on the battle field.
Nightingale and her nurses changed the situation there and saved life after life based upon her nursing practices. Because of her time visiting the sick soldiers during the night she became known as the "Lady With the Lamp". Her work, writing, and teaching went on to revolutionize nursing to become the highly respectable field and need it is today.
Fear could have ruled and the story could have been quite different. However, it is not a fear of war and danger, but a fear of calling that would have been the cause. During the 1800's aristocratic women did not have careers. They were called to be little more than social mantle pieces, socialites, and elitist. To do something other than what was expected by family and society was unthinkable. Nursing and hospitals did not have attached to it a good name and would have been considered a scandolous endeavor for an aristocrat.
Florence, however, experienced a call from God while visiting in Egypt. It was a call to the sick, the weak, the broken, and the poor. She experienced great stress and isolation from her family, especially from her mother and sister. Her family forbade her to pursue her calling and said she must marry a certain suitor. Against it all, she overcame fear, rejected the notions of societal expectations and family guilt and followed God instead.
Her work was so extraordinary, that by the time she returned from the war she was heralded by the country, honored by the Queen, and had turned the reputation of nursing from a stench among the wealthy to a worthy pursuit by all.
Where is God calling you?
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