In May this year 9 year old Chloe (changed name for privacy) was admitted to hospital for a fortnight’s stay for treatment and tests. It was going to be a potentially demanding time but fortunately, as is often the case these days, Chloe’s mum was able to stay in the same room for the duration of her stay. To help while away the time, Chloe’s Grandma provided several sticky note blocks and encouraged her to write on them and perhaps place them on the large whiteboard which was in her room.
Chloe’s parents were determined that her room would be a haven of peace in that very secular hospital environment and prayed that both Chloe and her mum would be ‘salt and light’ as the Scriptures say.
Chloe made good use of those sticky notes. She placed them on the whiteboard and surrounding wall with phrases that she thought appropriate: “thankyou”, “have a good day”, “you are amazing”, “God bless you”, “Jesus loves you”, “Jesus is the best!” and “God bless you Dr. and nurse.” Her plate covers bore them back to the kitchen staff after every meal.
Anyone who entered the room (doctors, nurses, physios, cleaners, play staff, hospital school staff etc) were told they could choose a sticky note and take it. Photos of family and friends, a poster reading “Jesus loves me, ”another quoting Joshua 1:9 “God is with you wherever you go” – all pinned up. Some were left on the walls when Chloe was discharged.
Chloe chatted with cleaners. One who didn’t chat much got a sticky note but 10 minutes later stuck her head back in the door waving the sticky note with “Thank you – this really made my day”. Great chats and smiles with that cleaner, from then on.
One day a nurse took the “God is with you” sticky note and said she’d put it on her locker.
Sometimes there would be several medical staff in the room at one time. On one of those occasions, a doctor in front of his colleagues declared he would take a “God bless you” note from Chloe’s whiteboard.
One Sunday morning Chloe told her physio that her Dad and sister were coming in so that the family could do church together. Later the physio asked how church was and enquired:
“What did you read from the Bible today?”
“Psalms” said Chloe.
“Which one?” the Physio asked, and Mum gave the best rendition she could from memory. “That’s a lovely Psalm” she replied. Chloe, realising the physio seemed to know something about the Bible, asked “What church do you go to?”
“I don’t go to church any more. I used to when I was a kid. My brother still does.”
“Well,” said Chloe, “what’s your favourite Bible verse?”
“I can’t remember any” the physio replied.
“Do you read the Bible?”
“Not for along time”
“Do you like Genesis?”
“You’ll have to remind me. I think you have a better understanding than I do.”
“Well, I think my favourite is when Jesus was born. Because He came for a reason. To die for our sins.”
Chloe had a team of physios. Her mum thinks that one of the physios saw how Chloe’s room was decorated and must have realised Chloe was a Christian, so when Chloe went down to the gym for a physio session, the physio played the song by The Newsboys ‘Love One Another’ quite loudly while they exercised (the physio was a Christian).
Chloe began to get a bit of a reputation. As time went by staff would come into the room for the first time and say “Oh, so this is where the sticky notes are coming from! I’ve seen them on drink bottles and meal trays and other places.”
A doctor even wore his on his shirt to the coffee shop across the road for a team meeting. A nurse came in and saw the sticky note wall, commenting, “I’ve heard about this ‘affirmation wall’. It’s a great idea.”
There were several ‘code blue’ announcements made over the hospital PA during their stay. Chloe and her Mum would always stop what they were doing and pray for those involved. Chloe’s grandpa reminded them of the verse from Esther: “For such a time as this”.
For two weeks Chloe shared Jesus with the ward and encouraged the Christians who worked there. Both she and her Mum are grateful for those who encouraged them and prayed for strength, peace and opportunities. God faithfully answered those prayers.
Chloe’s mum says that Acts 17:26 was the theme verse for their stay. “God determines where we live” she says. For some reason, He determined that we lived in that hospital for two weeks.
Every season, every place we find ourselves in, and the people around us, are our Lord’s working and leading – that we might join Him in witnessing His Truth and extending His Kingdom. Go like Chloe!