I hoped this week to be leaving for the upper Midwest. Instead I’m headed for heart surgery this week barring some kind of incredible healing. Time, however, is running out for that. Unfortunately my heart is broken. I’ve was born with a defective valve in my heart and it has taken me about as far in this life as it could. Doctors are telling me that now is the time to replace it. Tomorrow morning I will have an angiogram at 8:00 am and then surgery decisions will be made from there. I could have open-heart surgery as early as Thursday.
I’ll admit that this doesn’t thrill me. I have an aversion to pain and all things medical. I’ve made it through 63 years of life without so much as an overnight stay in a hospital, broken bone, or even stitches. I’ve been very fortunate medically and have always been grateful for my good health. Now, however,r we are entering a different season for Sara and me. So for the next few weeks (months?) I’m going to take the time to deal with this and walk my family through it. I’m not going to be doing a lot of medical updates or details. We’ll let you know what we can when we can, mostly through my Author Page on Facebook. If you want those updates “like” that page and use the menu under “liked” to check “See First”. That way you won’t miss those updates.
I know many of you will be praying for us and it is deeply appreciated. We don’t lack for friends and family that care deeply. I will get more of that than I deserve, but I do want to share it. So if you want to pray me through this would you do me a favor? Find someone around you who may not have as many connections as we do, but also has a deep need in prayer, and pray for them every time you pray for me. That would be awesome!
And please give us some space here. I won’t be answering emails and I pray they don’t build up to something unmanageable. Of course visits, calls and well-wishes from close friends will be welcome as I begin to mend! I’m sure I’ll get pretty bored staring at the ceiling all day. But I’m not going to be doing much writing or updating websites. We have a couple more podcasts to air, one of them recorded just before my surgery.
We talk about this on the last podcast, but I also want to share it here. A few days go, Dave Coleman, a good friend and co-author of The Jake Book wrote me a note about my impending surgery. It brought such encouragement to my heart at so many levels. I’m not sure I’m going to “Relish it!”, but I am going to relish God in this experience and see how he makes himself known to me.
I know it will probably sound strange, but these times are a real opportunity to meet Father in ways not possible in everyday living. It will teach you among other things, the meaning of “vulnerability” and to understand how we serve a God who made himself vulnerable on our behalf so that He can identify with our need as we understand his heart as well.
At times like this, we tend to feel that He is throwing us under the bus, but in reality, it is an opportunity to take part in the growth process in which He continues to make “all things new.” He doesn’t always protect us from these kinds of situations, but inhabits them to draw us closer to Him. In religion we think we are being punished, but we know differently. By allowing us to embrace even the brokenness of the human experience we can know him better and others can see and understand the power of a restored relationship that was lost in the garden.
On the fourth night after my surgery, I knew I was going to die due to a medical mistake which caused severe convulsions, and I was afraid my 20 inch incision would open…. desperation thinking took over and I said, “It is up to You.” I don’t remember if I actually heard the words, but somewhere in my mind, I heard “thank you,” and slept quietly through the night. Relish this experience. Do what you can by insisting on the best surgeon, hospital, staff, etc. You plant, and He will give the increase. Peace and encouragement, comfort and joy to you and family…
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken…. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge… One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Gotta love that!