Part of the healing process is sharing with other people who care. -Jerry Cantrell
I started to work on some workshops and sermons that I needed to develop for my time in Europe, when it dawned on me that this New Year’s weekend was the beginning of Wake Up (European Winterfest Youth Conference in Germany), and for the first time in almost seven years, I was not able to attend. I look forward to seeing my friends, and people I consider family every winter when we spend close to five months in Europe. Unfortunately for me, 2015 was not very kind, and the events of the last four weeks of my life have definitely affected my plans, my schedule, my routine, and well, pretty much my entire life.
I had already prepared my sermon for Wake Up, and was extremely excited to share what I believe was a fitting message for this year’s theme of; “Faith, Hope, Love”. However, God had different plans for me this season. Honestly, I don’t always agree with God’s way of doing things, but I do know He is sovereign, and so I trust his leading in all areas of my life. This time, however, He definitely left me dumbfounded and confused. To be truthful, a month later, I am still trying to process what has happened to me, and I am working hard on my attitude, as I learn to suffer well.
As many of you know, a few weeks ago I underwent a triple by-pass coronary surgery. This was unexpected, as I had never had any heart problems before. In less than four weeks, my entire life has been impacted forever. I’m not going to lie, this season has been hard. Let me tell you, having an unexpected open heart surgery at forty-six was scary, but the recovery period, without a doubt has been my biggest struggle. I just don’t do well with pain, and I have had to cope with a lot of it.
Silence has become a great friend through the process. I have found much peace in solitude and stillness. God has been near-so near…I am listening to God speak purpose into my life, but not thorough answers as to why this happened. Believe it or not, to this day, I have not asked why?; there’s no need to. I belong to God; I am His and He is mine, and that’s that!
While at the hospital awaiting surgery, I thought a lot about my father. I remembered how quiet he was on his last months on this earth. I finally understand why the silence. When you are confident of your eternal destination, and have no unresolved issues, somehow talking seems so unnecessary. You just want to hear your loved ones, and pay close attention to the voice of the spirit. I found much comfort in all the messages I read on Facebook from friends and family around the world, constantly praying for me and wishing me well. I cannot put into words what it has meant to me. You all have made me feel important, valued, and loved!
My mother has not left my side since the whole ordeal began. I know this must have brought memories of her taking care of my dying father, but she is such a strong woman. I’m more than blessed to have her near me, and so glad this happened here, where she could find peace in taking care of me. What can I say about my husband? He has been my anchor, and a great source of strength. The day they were about to me get me for surgery, we had a moment alone, to talk. It was precious, and I will forever carry that conversation deep in my heart.
I left messages for my boys, and called all my sisters. I wanted to encourage all of them, because I truly believed God would be with me in the operating room. I am grateful because I felt God’s strength when I could have fallen apart. I held on to every promise he’s ever made to me, and I quoted scriptures to myself. Is funny but right before the anesthesia was administered, I wondered for a few seconds if I would be seeing my dad again that very day-and I smiled overwhelmed with peace. That, however, will have to wait for later, because God is obviously not done with me yet.
I am now well into my recovery period, experiencing all kinds of strange changes in my body, and learning to eat healthy, think positive, and working hard to get strong again. I’ve had a few set backs with my long battle with diabetes, an infection, and a persistent cold, as well as some other issues, but I am alive and that keeps me going. I’m supposed to be back to my “new normal” in six to eight weeks. But I am determined to beat that goal. I’m already walking 3 miles daily, and feeling stronger each day.
My lowest point came, the first time I looked at my body after surgery. My highlight or highlights, however have been many, including waking up every morning with a sense of gratitude for another day I get to breathe. There was also a surprise visit from my oldest son Matt, on christmas morning! reconnecting with childhood friends, getting to spend so much time with my mother, my sisters’ visits and care…God is good!
If you were to ask me what I’ve learned through this journey I am on, I would have to say, I am still digesting, and pondering. I can tell you this though; I am having some interesting conversations with God, and I am learning to be still and know that He is God in the silence, as well as in the storm. I’m learning that life is precious beyond human understanding, and that my temple is fragile, so I must handle with the utmost care, And I have also learned that God strategically creates amazing global connections with both believers and non-believers in order to show us his unfailing love. I am so blessed!
11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. -2 Corinthians 13: 11 (ESV)