My dear friends, I wanted to write to you this evening to share with you the wonder that was this day in my life. I have experience such the sweet presence and blessing of the Almighty God today- his blessings are abounding.
I had my ninth surgery today on my ears. For those of you who may not know, I was born with a deformity that meant I was without middle ears and had unformed outer ears. Since 1992, I've had nine surgeries in effort to repair this. Needless to say, it has been quite the process. I've had the incredible blessing of being surrounded with powerful prayer warriors and church family who have devoted themselves to loving me in and through this. In addition, God provided access to the absolute best doctors in the field, ensuring that these procedures were done excellently. My life story, in this regard, is filled with blessing and provision.
Today was the first surgery I had as an adult. It was a different experience, of course, as the surgeon addressed me, rather than my parents, I had to sign the papers, the surgery was my decision. This entire past weekend/week has been saturated with brutal attacks from the enemy. He's been relentless in effort to discourage and distract me from this circumstance. Even yesterday, during the first pre-operative appointment, my family and I met with the previous surgeon (he did the last 3 surgeries), who has since retired. The actual surgeon was unable, at the time, to meet with us, which gave great tension to both my parents and me. Sparing details, we left that appointment emotionally distraught, tense with each other, and discouraged. However, later that evening, the actual surgeon made time to meet with us, describing the actual procedure, allowing me to fully understand what was going on. Peace began to come.
The surgery was scheduled at 12pm this afternoon. Prior to checking in, a family friend met us in the lobby of the hospital and shared with me that she had had vision. She saw the glory of the Lord encircling my head, recognizing that the Lord's protection and power was (and is!) present. Blessing #1 of the day. After getting up to the waiting room, I had some time with my parents, talking with them about all of this. Blessing #2. But after the IV nurse came in, the reality of the procedure set in. I began to sadden as I recognized that this was really going to happen. It's tough stuff-never fun. Tears poured down. But as if on cue (Blessing #3), two dear family friends- my second set of parents, if you will, came into the room. Mark came over, anointed me with oil, placed his hands on my head, and began to pray. He shared that in his dreams the night before, he saw Jesus with his hands over a man's ears speaking Aramaic, "Be open". As we waited for the doctors and anesthesiology team, Mark began stroking my hair (a great source of comfort for me) and we all began to talk. Mark and Yolie are children of joy and laughter, which began to fill the room. So when the other physicians came in, I was in such a place of joy and peace. The sadness and mourning had left, replaced by the Holy Spirit's presence in His people.
I woke up around 6pm, after being in recovery for an hour. I was groggy, of course, but I realized I felt very different than the prior 8 times. My throat was dry, but not in pain, my head wasn't throbbing, and I wasn't nauseous. Within 20 minutes of being "awake", I asked the nurse if I could use the toilet, rather than the typical bedpan. She was surprised, but wheeled me to the restroom, which I used with ease. Over the course of the next hour, the groggy feeling completely left. I drank 3 cans of ginger ale, used the bathroom again, and ate crackers with no problem. And again, no pain, no nausea, and I was completely coherent. The surgeon came to meet me around 7:30 and told me, based on the way I was looking and feeling, that I could go back to the hotel! I know this may not seem phenomenal, but this was the FIRST time in the 18 years of surgical experience that I had this option. I would always stay the night to monitor pain and nausea. It's about 1AM right now, and I feel wonderful. I ate a full dinner (complete with coffee ice cream!) and have been able to walk around with no dizziness or pain. Miraculous.
My heart is overflowing, right now. I can't really explain with words the peace and joy that has come with this day. But, I know that this whole process serves as testimony to the greatness of my God. I pray that in your struggles and the frustrating times, you would see them as preparations for great joys set before you. It is so easy (and I know this!) to get bogged down by the harsh reality of the enemy and his despicable attempts to destroy children of God. But it is just not possible when we are in the strength of Yahweh.
This song has been the echo of my heart today. I pray it blesses you as it has me.
With love and such rich joy,