For Parish Nurses

Spiritual Development


Fearful and Yet Overjoyed

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and went to announce the news to his disciples. (Matthew 28:8)

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Mary of Clopas) go to Jesus’s tomb early in the morning and according to Matthew’s Gospel, there was a great earthquake and an angel of the Lord rolled away the stone.  The angel said to the women, ‘Don’t be afraid … I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said it would happen.  … And now, go quickly and tell his disciples …’ (vs. 5-7).  Then scripture says they rushed from the tomb fearful and yet overjoyed. And while on their way, they encounter Jesus.

Fearful and yet overjoyed.  These seem to be an unlikely combination of emotions. The women were at once breathtakingly filled with joy and yet filled with fear and countless questions.  Wouldn’t one think that a personal encounter with the risen Christ would take away any fear and disbelief?  Perhaps not. The reality of seeing Christ must have prompted new questions about what His resurrection meant and what would happen next.  You and I have the benefit of scripture, so we know the rest of the story.  These women were walking by faith, experiencing the incredible and unbelievable.

Isn’t this the way it sometimes is for us in life?  We experience something hopeful and wonderfully positive and still we have fears or questions.  We think to ourselves ‘nothing this good ever happens to me.  There must be a hidden agenda’.  We are convinced there is a downside to the experience and our present or our future.  Is the experience deceptive or can it possibly be real?  We are at once delighted and hope-filled and yet our questions persist. The reality seems too good to be true.  Each day, we are called to trust that God is in control of our lives. It may require a leap of faith, but He promises us a future filled with hope (Jeremiah 29:11). He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Malachi 3:6).  He is the same amazing, holy, and generous God, as He was when He created the world.  Great is His faithfulness to you and to all generations (Psalm 119:90).

Reclaim anew the joy of Easter and hold fast to the promises of the resurrected Christ that overflow with love, grace, and peace.  May your joy be complete in Him!  He is risen! Hallelujah! 

Gracious God, we give you thanks for the death and resurrection of your Son.  Because He lives we can face tomorrow.  We are grateful that you help us discover joy in the midst of fear and that your promises gift us with hope.  We pray in the name of the Risen Christ.  Amen

Written by Carol Deschepper, ELPNA National Chair

To see the three devotions in Graceful Aging series click on the following:
The Gift of Hope                   The Gift of Humor                             The Gift of Vision

God Pause Daily Devotion
Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience.

Resources for Spiritual Development
Spiritual Direction – Seeking a Spiritual Companion
Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul. (Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA)

Some of you may wish to seek a spiritual director as a way to nurture your own spirituality.  This document briefly describes what spiritual direction is, identifies common misconceptions about spiritual direction, and gives you ideas on how to find a spiritual director.  Spiritual maturity and growth is critical for the parish nurse.  As you support others wholistically, tending to your own soul is important.  Spiritual Direction is only one way of keeping yourself on solid footing spiritually.  You might have other disciplines and practices that meet this need for you.
Please Click here for a more indepth discussion of Spiritual Direction by Carol DeSchepper,
including a web site to locate a Spiritual Director in your area.

Melissa's Prayer Journal:  The Power of Prayer in the Face of Cancer
A resource for faith encouragement and development, especially for people with health issues. In her letters to God, Melissa perfectly illustrates the power of positive coping in any circumstance! Give this book to anyone struggling with faith, health, or life issues, and let them learn Melissa’s secret for thriving in spite of difficulties!

Web sites for Spiritual Renewal and Growth
This is a wonderful spiritual resource from author and retreat and conference speaker, and spiritual "midwife"".  Joyce has a B.A. in English, a M.R. E. in Religious Education, and a M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology.  She is a member of the Servites (Servants of Mary) Community and was a volunteer for Hospice for fifteen years.  She currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa.  To sign up for her monthly newsletter go to


 Updated 4/19