Writing a blog about living life fearlessly with Jesus through life’s triumphs and trials is a double-edged sword. It is fun to write about the triumphs but when the trials come is where the rubber meets the road, or in this case, where the ink hits the paper.
It seems that God has a new subject for me to write and encourage people to live fearlessly about. Some people call it Superhero Training. It is otherwise known as OPEN-HEART SURGERY!
First a little history. I have always had a struggle with physical stamina but lately I can barely walk 50 feet without running out of breath. I have attributed it to having Covid19 back in December of 2020 but after 6 months it should have gotten better. Over that six months I also began occasionally waking up in the middle of the night with my heart racing erratically for an hour or two. Over the last month it began to happen about once a week. The last time it happened a few days ago I broke out in a cold sweat and was having a hard time breathing so much that I thought I was having a heart attack. The EMT that cared for me in the ambulance gave me some kind of cocktail in my IV that eventually brought it under control by the time I got situated at the hospital.
I had actually just been to the cardiologist a couple of days before and had an echocardiogram that very afternoon. I knew that there was a problem when the cardiologist listened to my heart and then jumped back saying, “Oh my goodness, you definitely have a heart murmur!” The echo technician had a similar reaction to the things she was seeing and hearing on the monitor. I am the kind of person that prefers to have information rather than being kept in the dark so I was very happy that both of them answered all of my questions with much patience.Thanks to Dr. Google I was somewhat prepared when the doctor called me the next evening and said that surgery was the most likely outcome.She said that she was amazed that I had 9 pregnancies and had never had a serious heart issue or that no doctor had done anything about it before.
Our first step is to get a better look at the backside of my heart from inside my stomach. That will be done with a transesophageal echocardiogram this coming week. Thankfully I will be put to sleep with anesthesia and it will be an outpatient procedure. From the information we gain from that we will know whether the surgery will be to repair or replace my Mitral valve.
Am I afraid? Not so far. When I think about the what if’s I have peace. I believe that The Lord is pouring out his grace on me right now to give me spiritual strength and peace. Hebrews 4:15 – 16 says:
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. Those 2 verses are packed with a powerful message! Just a few take-aways that pop out to me right now are:
- God KNOWS our pain. There is no comfort like a sweet message, phone call, or letter from people who have been through what we are going through. When we open the scripture we can have that same comfort knowing that while being manifested in the flesh, God through Jesus, experienced every feeling with which we struggle in this life.
- When we feel weak and fearful we can go “BOLDLY unto the throne of GRACE”. We can whimper, whine, fret, grumble, moan and groan to God about our woes and he will listen but if we want to actually get access to the power we need to triumphantly walk through any circumstance in life (or in death) we can have the confidence to go to God’s seat of POWER and ask for it. Have you ever had someone come to you whining and complaining about a problem and you know that they are just subtly hinting that they need something from you? Wouldn’t you rather them be upfront and ask for it? James 4:2 says, “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”
- God does not pour out the Grace we need until we are “in time of need”. If we truly understand this we will not lay awake in bed fretting about the “what-ifs”. We can have peace knowing that we have access to the throne of Grace when we need it.
- Superman goes to a phone booth on the corner to transform into the man of steel to go to battle with the bad guys. We can go to the throne of grace anytime, anywhere, for any amount of grace that we NEED to battle the enemy that would come against us. Be sure that we do have an enemy that would love nothing more than to see us cowering in defeat but I am a fighter!
Ephesian 6:10 – 18 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
- Ironman has his Suit to protect him against shrapnel or projectiles but I wear TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS as my armor to guard my heart and vital parts of my being. As I journey through the days ahead I will be seeking TRUTH rather than burying my head in the sand. I will be making many decisions and turning to God to make RIGHT decisions.
- Flash has the fictional ability to run at great speeds and to even jump through time. We have been given the gospel of peace that is the same yesterday, today, and forever and is infinite in its ability to transcend space and time to go with us whenever and wherever we go. I realize that this trying time in my life is just a small piece of a gigantic story that is part of eternity. Eternity has no beginning or end. I truly believe that God has a plan for my life and I need to stay centered on whatever purpose he has for me that has the most impact on eternity. I need to look beyond my worry, discomfort, and pain.
- Captain America’s shield has withstood most assaults but was not impervious to some assaults from other cosmic opponents. The SHIELD OF FAITH God gives us is the best defense “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.“. If our faith is in GOD alone that shield will not break. If our shield breaks we need to ask ourselves whether we are trying to hide behind other things like worldly understanding or false theologies. We also need to keep that shield up and between ourselves and the direction that the enemies’ fiery darts are coming from. We also need to remember that those fiery darts are not just deflected but they are quenched! That shield has power! As I lift up God’s Shield of Faith against doubts and worries those fiery thoughts will be “quenched”!
- The power of Antman lies in the ability that his helmet gives him to change his size and to communicate with the small creatures. God’s helmet of salvation is for all both great and small. It protects our minds from the emotional and mental assaults that the enemy hurls against us. As I struggle against the physical infirmities and pray for healing I will carry the message of hope to everyone I encounter both great and small, surgeons and janitors, my elderly mother and my grandchildren, rich and poor, saints and sinners. Salvation is for everyone.
- When my oldest son Sean who died in 2012 was a little guy he used to love to watch The Masters of the Universe cartoon. The stories centered around the hero He-Man’s Sword of Power and the villain Skeletor’s Sword of Grayskull. Skeletor sought to unite the swords to gain more power for himself and to carry out his evil plans. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a mighty sword in our hands. The Word of God is the sword of the spirit and is the only offensive weapon in the armor of God. There is no weapon that can stand against it. Just as Skeletor had a sword that was incomplete, so our enemy has forged a fraudulent weapon by twisting the Word of God that he uses to deceive and mislead many lost souls. Facing this major surgery has made me draw closer to God’s word again. As I grip the hilt of God’s Word and feel the power as I lift the double-edged steely blade I have confidence that I can face anything.
Hebrews 4:12 says – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”.
Now as I enter another phase of fearless superhero life training I will put on the whole armor of God, ask others to pray for Grace with and for me and my family, and I will share my journey with you all! I plan to eventually run marathons with my children and we will all celebrate triumphantly when I cross that first finish line!