So on I go not knowing;
I would not if I might;
I'd rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith with Him
Than go alone by sight.
Mary G. Brainard
The ladies on the front desk gather their purses and go out for lunch. The secretary for the surgeon takes us into a little exam room.
I have been waiting for this appointment for a week and a half. Fighting fears for what seemed longer than that. And seeking the One whose presence will rid any fear.
I sit down on a blue vinyl chair beside the blue exam table. My husband sits in the matching chair. The tall blond secretary asks me, ‘So when do you think you would like to have the surgery.’ I stumble for words. I can’t seem to answer her question.
‘Well, when would you typically schedule it?’ It is the only thing I can come up with.
She tells me since I am young, that I would probably be booked for the middle of November. That would be enough time to get all the tests done that need to be done. And with a young family, I should be feeling better by Christmas.
All morning I had been operating with a nervous energy.
But, with a strange sense of peace to hear whatever was to come.
My daughter had got up early to make breakfast for us ~ to send us off with a full tummy of brown sugar-sprinkled porridge served with buttered toast cut into triangles and fruit dipped in chocolate.
I left a note on the table for my children, reminding them as much as me, that this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Now we are left alone in the room with yellow walls.
We wait almost an hour before the surgeon comes in. He has been studying my files.
He asks me about my symptoms.
I notice his hands. They are so clean and soft.
He tells me he does not believe that my heart is the only thing that is causing my symptoms. Because I have only one functioning lung and have always had shortness of breath he is not sure that doing surgery will really alleviate my symptoms.
He also tells us that it is not just my aortic valve that is narrow. There are actually a number of abnormalities due to the scarring from the treatment I received for cancer 33 years ago. He is not sure when these abnormalities happened, most likely not just recently and most likely not immediately after the cancer, but somewhere between the two.
He feels that the risks involved in open heart surgery far outweigh the benefits right now. Because of my past medical history I am at increased risk. He is one of three transplant surgeons in the city and he says it would be more complicated and more risky to do what would be needed to fix my heart than to do a transplant.
He assures us that there are others who have even more narrow valves and they are able to still carry on with their lives.
I wonder if I ever will be able to handle open heart surgery if it comes to that.
He admits that I am borderline ~ I may or may not be able to handle it on one lung.
An hour later we leave the hospital with a strange sense of relief.
I am glad that he has decided to not cut me open and take my heart into his hands.
I am thankful that my heart ~ my life ~ is in the tender care of the One who has engraved me on the palms of His hands.
The hands that took the nails to redeem me back to himself.
The hands that bid me to come and rest and abide in Him.
The hands that have written my name in His book.
The hands that hold me and will not let me go.
My sister shared these words with me months ago: ‘Look to Christ in all things and make beautiful of what is broken, making much of Him who has purchased you with His blood and given you an everlasting heart.’
I don’t know the end of my story here.
I don’t know how to cope some days with a young family.
I don’t know what the next doctor may report to me. What my next appointment may result in.
I do know God has a purpose.
I do know that God is my comfort.
I do know that He is with me even in the dark places. Where His amazing grace may relieve my fears.
And I will give thee the treasures of darkness,
and hidden riches of secret places,
that thou mayest know that I, the LORD,
which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
For I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
So we go on with a sense of peace. A joy in His presence. Choosing to see the mercies that are new every morning. Believing that He is transforming me into His likeness. Even when I am short of breath, I am thankful for the breath that is in me, the spirit of God in my nostrils.
And know that we live the story He has written for us
and it is all for His glory.