Nurse, mental health resource specialist, and Bible study creator Skip McDonald reaches the milepost of 45 years in nursing this year. In this continuation of last week’s blog about her life and professional journey, Skip inspires us as nurses and followers of Jesus.
Q. When did you decide to follow Jesus?
A. Great question! I grew up going to church. My mom told me that as a baby lying in the basket at church, I would respond to the preacher. Imagine that for those who know me! At the age of seven, one Sunday morning during the altar call, I got up from my seat and went forward. My pastor, who later became my spiritual dad, led me to the Savior. Several weeks later, I was baptized. I was terrified to go down into that pool, but I did. I went to my home church for many years until I moved away. While on his deathbed, my spiritual dad at age 97 exhorted me to stay faithful to the Lord. I promised him that I would. The Lord has kept me; I am grateful.
Q. How has God met you during difficult times?
A. Fortunately, I never felt abandoned by the Father. I knew he was there. I prayed to him a lot and felt seen and heard. I’m so thankful my faith was active and growing, so I knew how to call upon him!
Q. What led you to become a part of InterVarsity and NCF?
A. Boy! That’s a loaded question. Let’s see. I had heard of InterVarsity, but knew very little about it. Several years after graduating from nursing school, during one of my hospital shifts, I worked with a seasoned nurse, Veronica Warner. After a couple of shifts working together, she told her husband, Tony Warner (who was with InterVarsity at the time) that he should hire me. And, … here I am.
My first five years on staff were not specifically with NCF. After five years, I went back into nursing for 10 years. The next time around, after volunteering with NCF, the Father made his call to me clear, beautifully using [NCF staff and former director] Mary Thompson to clarify this. That was in 1998! My years with NCF have been wonderful. After traveling through all of the rough terrains of nursing, I never dreamt that the Father would lead me to care for other nurses and students. To God be the glory!!
Q. What encouragement do you have for the difficulties that students, faculty, and nurses are facing today?
A. Learning to keep my eyes on the Father has carried me through. I had to learn to embrace what he thought of me versus letting the voices all around me, and sometimes within me, define me. Jesus really is a good, good Shepherd. I encourage each one of us to learn for ourselves what it means to derive life from Christ alone. Learning to keep our eyes on him is an anchor for the soul.
Skip McDonald, BSN, RN, ThB, serves with InterVarsity/NCF in the Southeast and has written Bible studies and books. She’s a certified Mental Health First Aid instructor and founded Integrative Grace, a discipleship ministry.
Find Bible studies Skip has written (including the new Rest & Renewal study) and some of her mental health resources on the NCF website.