be strong and courageous.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
This is PinkGirl’s new memory verse. Not assigned by school, mind you, but given to her by her brother when I asked him if he knew of a good verse to help her with her fear. (I told you he was a walking concordance.) Her fear was born the night of Hurricane Charlie as our family sat in our laundry room with flashlights and no power, listening to the storm and the local Christian radio station, which was reporting on the storm. When we ventured outside, this impressionable four year old discovered that her house wasn’t as strong as she thought. And the fence around her backyard playground wasn’t as strong as she thought. And the giant tree, which landed on her swing set, wasn’t as strong as she thought. Fortunately, the daddy-built swing set WAS as strong as she thought or the back porch would have had a big hole in the roof.
So last weekend, she came pounding down the stairs, “MOM! There’s a storm coming! I heard it on the radio!” She was not calm. She did NOT want to leave the house and we were supposed to go to church. So, I made a decision. We stayed home and did a family devotion on fear. And then FavoriteSon led another devotion on not giving up. And PinkGirl read a poem and explained her interpretation – that being a Christian doesn’t mean you’re perfect, but covered by grace, and then I led a devotion about generosity and giving to others. (FirstHusband was at work or he would have gotten one too.)
So we didn’t go to church. But what an amazing time together, listening to my children talk about their faith they way they never do when we are rushing through our day and our week. PinkGirl even forgot about the storm. Now, we can say: “Have I not commanded you . . . ” and she will repeat it and continue through the end of the verse.
I need that verse too. I mentioned that I am FINALLY going to get rid of my fibroids by having a hysterectomy this year. Things are progressing and the realization that I’m going to have another surgery and go under general anesthesia – which is scarier to me than any pain resulting from the surgery – is settling in. I HATE going under. See when I’m under, I have NO control over what’s happening. I have to trust OTHER PEOPLE with my LIFE. I’m continuing through the process, taking action one step at a time, but I know the night before the surgery is going to come with some Ambien.
What I need to see is GOD working through those people. Let me tell myself that again. I need to see GOD working through those other people. He’ll be there in the operating room with me because he loves me. He’ll be there in the operating room. He’ll be there in the operating room. He’ll be there . . .
What I also need to do is to stop feeling guilty about having this surgery. Thoughts creep in and out of my day – I could just live with the daily iron pills and frequent bleeding. It’s not like I have a “real” problem. I’ve had a pap smear, an internal and external sonogram, a cervical biopsy, and two different kinds of endometrial biopsies. There is no cancer, there are no polyps, nothing suspicious. Just annoying bleeding and low iron that can be treated with a daily supplement. But. I know that life will be better if my iron levels are normal. I know I will be more active if I don’t have to deal with the bleeding. I KNOW the surgery is the right thing to do. My hormone levels are completely normal – no sign of menopause. So if I wait for menopause to stop the bleeding, I’ll be waiting a very long time.
“Have I not commanded you . . .”
So here’s the step of faith. I’m going to have the surgery. Because He’ll be in the operating room with me, guiding the surgeons, the anesthesiologist, and the nursing staff.
And since I’ve decided to have the surgery, I decided to have a consult with a plastic surgeon to discuss removal of the pannus I’ve had since PinkGirl was born. The crease is right at my c-section scar and it’s very uncomfortable, especially during the summer months. FirstHusband is very supportive of both surgeries. He knows what I deal with.
I originally asked my GYN if she would consider working with a plastic surgeon to remove the pannus and she immediately said yes, that she had done it before and gave me a referral. I was very surprised because she is over the top conservative. I called the referral and he was no longer doing “tandem” surgeries, but his son would consider it. His son. But. That’s not the referral I got. I was nervous. His son doesn’t have as much experience. I researched the son and his credentials are impressive, so I went to the consult, praying all the way there: “God I want to do this if it is okay with You. Please guide me by either easing my fears or making me even more nervous.”
I get to the plastic surgeon’s office and discover it is located INSIDE the hospital. I walk into the reception room and there are two people seated in the waiting room, one scheduling another appointment and one waiting to pay. I waited less than 5 minutes to turn in my paperwork. The receptionist validated my parking ticket, I sat down, pulled out my book and was called back before I even put on my glasses. I went into the examining room, explained my situation to the nurse, she left and I changed into my paper dress, sat down, pulled out my book and the doctor knocked before I even put on my glasses. He spent a good 20 minutes with me, first listening, then explaining everything. He suggested a full abdominoplasty and showed me that my rectus muscles, were separated. He said he could tell they were strong (all that ab work is paying off), but that no amount of crunches would ever bring them back together. All in all, I left feeling very confident in him. On the way home, I prayed, thanking God for easing my concerns. When I finished praying, I didn’t turn on the radio. In the silence of the car, I consciously asked for and then listened for God’s response. A few minutes later, I glanced over at the car next to me and read the bumper sticker:
“Gene’s Law: If anything can go well, it will.”
Thanks God. I don’t know who Gene is, but I get the message.
Then yesterday afternoon, I had a flash of fear again. Strangely, the fear was about the hysterectomy, not the plastic surgery. The hysterectomy is the more invasive surgery.
“Have I not commanded you . . . “
So I continue. My iron levels are still low and my GYN changed my iron supplement to something stronger. I’m supposed to take it for 1 to 2 weeks, bank a unit of blood, wait 2 weeks or so, bank a second unit of blood and schedule the surgery. Right now, looking at FirstHusband’s work schedule, mid to late April seems good.
“Have I not commanded you . . .”
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”