Diagnosis Terminal

Diagnosis Terminal


Stage four.

No more.

I will be no more.

Surgery removed much

In an effort to buy time.

But the cost was high.

A feeding tube was inserted

No more eating.

No more.

How much more time?

No one could tell him.

Forty-eight seemed so young.

And he had a sixteen year old at home.

He wanted to see him graduate, no less.

But no more.

Too much pain.

Too much sickness.

Too much.

No more of this,

But more of that

Which he struggled to say.

As he spoke of God

Heaven and hope.


Written By: David Martin



When Helping Literally Hurts

When Helping Literally Hurts

Pulling a double shift at the hospital wasn’t a habit Nurse Gambol wanted to develop, but the comp time was nice.  Heading out to the parking garage, Wendi heard the screams of a female.  What she saw sent a jolt through her body.  Two young men were beating a grey headed woman.  Wendi never hesitated, and yelled at the two perpetrators, “The police are on their way!”

Later, in the hospital room, she admitted this wasn’t the best idea, for the attackers turned their attention to her.  The ensuing assault ended with a stab wound, a split jaw, and the fracture of her fourth and fifth vertebrae.

Fortunately for Wendi, someone else had witnessed the crime and called the police.  Her life was ebbing onto the concrete floor, but the emergency room was only steps away.  Though Wendi survived, she lives in constant pain, clinging to life for her three grandchildren, whom she adores.

In addition to her physical scars, she lives in fear that her attackers will be released someday to revisit the horrors of the crime.  Violence does it work on the mind as well as the body.

As a chaplain, I feel that if the patient’s spiritual resources can be identified and brought to bear, healing can begin.  While listening to this woman’s story for twenty minutes in jaw dropping silence, I wondered.

But I drew a deep breath, and felt my body relax.  One cannot not undo history, nor can I heal the deep psychological scars from such a horrific crime.

However, I could listen and offer to pray.  How does one describe the holiness of Wendi’s tears as I prayed, her hand trembling in mine?  Such moments can only be experienced when the Great Physician is invoked.

The power of that experience is sacred ground.  LifeLine chaplains bring the healing of Christ to the broken body, and the wounded spirit.

It will change you…for the better.  II Corinthians 1:5 – “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too.”

WrittenBy: David Martin


injured nurse.jpg

Lord, Help Me to Choose Gratitude

Lord, Help Me to Choose Gratitude

By Tom Nuckels, Director of Spiritual Care, Central Texas



My friend, Joe Baisden, doesn’t send Christmas cards, but he does send out Thanksgiving cards to his friends. That somehow seems more appropriate…to share reasons for thankfulness for all that God has done throughout the year. He always includes an updated picture of his family and words of encouragement.


I was struck with the thoughts inscribed on the back of a card sent several years ago which included a quote from Colossians:


“Be ‘abounding in thanksgiving,’ Paul encouraged the Colossians (Colossians 2:7). It’s the picture of a river overflowing its banks during flood season, spilling out not in seeps and sprinkles but in gushing waves, scattering everywhere, leaving no section of ground untouched by the surging waters. Except this flood—this flood of gratitude—far from being a torrent of destruction, flows forth as a steady stream of blessing. Helping. Healing. Giving life.”—from Nancy Leigh DeMoss in Choosing Gratitude.


I don’t know what difficulty life is throwing at you right now, but my prayer for you is that you find something for which to be thankful…that you might choose gratitude.


Blessings on your day,






Lifeline Intern reflects on a summer of Learning


by Nicole Gates, Intern for Austin Hospitals


After the first day of training for my internship with Lifeline Chaplaincy in Austin, Texas, I wrote this reflection,

“I’ve never seen ministry carried out this way before. This kind of service emphasizes listening rather than problem-solving and admitting to ‘I don’t know’ rather than attempting to speak for God. This kind of ministry draws a clear line between what God’s job is, and what our job is. In this kind of ministry we are charged with the responsibility to come alongside those who are hurting, rather than burdened with the impossible task of forcing people to love a God they haven’t met. This ministry encourages us to empathize with those who are suffering because we also know what it’s like to suffer. In this ministry I am me and God is God. This is a ministry I can invest in.”

That was my very first impression of Lifeline and I grew to believe in those sentiments more and more as the summer went on. I felt a freedom when I was approaching strangers that I had never felt before. I learned that it is much easier to love people where they are at than we have been making it. I learned that I am well equipped to meet a big need in people’s lives, just the way I am. I also learned to be curious. Asking the right questions and giving someone your undivided attention instantly gives validity to their suffering and, all of a sudden, they are no longer alone.

Overall, what I learned this summer during my internship with Lifeline Chaplaincy is that we, as members of the body of Christ, are out of excuses. We have been given everything we need to reach out to each other and to support one another through suffering and loss. We have a loving God who shows Himself through community and interpersonal connections and it is so exciting to get to choose to be involved in His work here on earth.images.jpeg

Summer Intern Article

Take a look at the write up about Lifeline Chaplaincy and our intern program.

Used by permission, Heritage Magazine, York College.


Words Aptly Spoken to Me at the Bedside!

Words Aptly Spoken to Me at the Bedside!  

While at her bedside, an elderly woman speaking to me about injustices and the challenge to trust others said this to me, “He who sits high, looks low, – – – and takes inventory.” It was short, but expressed strong feelings in our country today. Her quote gave me courage and hope and reminded me to trust the righteousness of God when I am mistreated.

On another day I entered a patient’s room. The patient was out the room, but his wife was in the chair by his bed.

“My name is Jesse, a chaplain with Lifeline Chaplaincy.”

She said, “I am Diana.” “I remember you from Patrick’s two month stay in the heart hospital.”

I thought I remembered her. As our conversation was winding down, I said, “This is a passage that means a lot to me. May I recite it?”

“Sure,” she said.”

“A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit, who can bear?” Proverbs 18:14

Her husband returned and was transferred to his bed. We talked and then Diana said, “May I quote Psalm 139 for you? It speaks to my heart and sustains us.” She began “Oh, Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. . .” and on she went for twenty-four verses. In a difficult circumstance this person used her time to prepare herself to speak God’s Word. And she was willing to share it with me!

I had prepared myself to minister with words, but in these cases, I was the one blessed by people who had prepared themselves with words and aptly spoke them to me. I was encouraged and gained insights in both circumstances; and I think they were too.





Camp Star Trails was my first non-Christian camp experience. I felt relieved by the counselors in my cabin. In the span of almost a week, I became really close to them. That should be expected since we lived together, but there is definitely a friendship there that extends beyond camp. My cabin girls were wonderful for the most part, considering the fact that their ages ranged from 12-14. Their complaints and questions started with “When are we going to _____?” or “What time is it?” and “Can we go do this?” To which we would respond accordingly with, “I don’t know,” “I don’t know,” or “No.” As cheesy as it sounds, every girl’s relationship with each of the counselors was unique. I made my closest bonds with a pair of Spanish girls and Reyna. I saw myself reflected in Baylee, Stella, and Cadence. Baylee is a go-getter. She always takes on a challenge and cares deeply for her siblings, to the point that she would disappear so frequently we sort of knew where she would be. Stella was the smart, sarcastic, and insightful book worm who took her Harry Potter book, that she claimed to have read “68 times because I have no life”, to every activity. Let there be no confusion, she would always dominate the activities and continue reading her book after their conclusion.  Cadence was quiet and sweet, somewhat how I remembered myself at her age, mixed with Stella.

My role as a chaplain was not so much a spiritual one; I was more of a listener. I bonded most with the girls who felt like they needed to be heard. One special experience I had was with Reyna. She has the quietest demeanor, but after a couple of days, we found out she is fluent in Spanish. After some days into camp, the girls really enjoyed the late night cabin time before bed. They spent the time to make bracelets or play cards with each other. It was the ideal picturesque image of a camp for everyone, except Reyna. I was translating the idea of sororities to one of the Spanish girls, which took a long time, but at the corner of my eye I saw the Counselor-in-Training, Rosalie, comforting Reyna who had been crying and looked distressed. Rosalie came over and whispered to me that Reyna had been crying about her brother she had lost to cancer. Reyna had mentioned this to me sweetly earlier that day, and how she couldn’t hang out with all the girls because she was feeling extremely sad about him. Rosalie asked me if I would go over and talk to her, since she knew we had bonded, to which I replied, “Of course.” I walked over, invited myself to sit on her bed–which was the bottom bunk and stood in a dark corner of the cabin– and told her that I could see she was upset. I told her it was okay to miss her brother, and that it is a painful loss. I also told her that if she wants to cry right now, it is perfectly acceptable. I told her that we understood if she wanted to be alone but that we cared and loved her a lot, so we wanted to invite her to hang out with us. Then, I asked her brother’s name and she told me and I asked her if we could make a bracelet with his name on it so she could wear it and remember him. She nodded and picked her head up a little. I went with Rosalie to get the beads for her bracelet, keeping in mind that this was for her brother and for her as well. Rosalie looked relieved and we went back with the beads and started the bracelet for her and gave it over to Reyna to finish. She worked quietly, sort of in her own world, as Rosalie and I talked and sat with her. Once we finished, I asked if she liked it and she nodded happily, despite the tears on her face. I asked her if she would give me a hug and she grabbed me and I told her I cared a lot about her and that she should never forget her brother. Touch is not necessarily my instinct for comfort, but in this moment, it was perfect.

I felt my Spanish steadily progress as the days went on and I became closer to the Spanish girls. It is amazing how much people will tell you about their pains, in an attempt to be saved or understood in their pain. They talked to me about the strains of their household, which I related as typical Spanish-speaking family household struggles. It’s funny how comical people are when they think no one can hear them, which is exactly how the Spanish girls acted almost every day. I told the counselors how I felt they were like my younger cousins and how I was disappointed with how the camp did not allow us to remain in contact with the campers. It definitely felt like the opposite of Christian camps, where relationships with leaders were promoted as mentor-mentee friendships.

Overall, I met a lot of interesting people, with whom I connected with differently. Camp was relieving and stressful all at the same time. I definitely enjoyed it, but I was happy for its conclusion.


A camp memory by Rita Rodriguez, 2016 Tarrant county intern.