Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11th

Three years ago this morning I was sitting on a bed in Los Angeles, with my Bible in my lap, desperate to read something that I needed to hear at that moment, a few hours away from brain surgery. I sent up a little prayer, and did one of those let-your-Bible-fall-open-to-wherever things, in hopes that God would direct me to what I needed to see. On that morning, I opened to Psalm 138, and my eyes were immediately drawn to a verse I had underlined years back.

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Thy lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting.
Do not forsake the works of Thy hands.
It was exactly what I needed. The two months leading up to surgery, from the initial diagnosis of a brain tumor, up until that morning, I had struggled. I was scared. My biggest fear that the little 4 1/2 year old, 2 1/2 year old, and 8 month old I had left back at home with grandparents wouldn't have a Mommy anymore. All I wanted at that moment was a simple and uncomplicated life, where I could care for them, take them to the zoo, play in our backyard, and basically just live. And even though the statistics said I would come out of this surgery just fine, "What ifs" had loomed in my heart bigger than life. But that morning, that verse gave me peace. I realized everything had already been decided. God would do what He had planned to do, in his great mercy, what was best for me.
And after six hours of surgery, I remember the first moment of realization that I was alive. I was in a dark, private, ICU room with a "guard nurse" as Josh likes to remember. The room was a total blur and I was completely and utterly exhausted, it seriously hurt to think. But little thoughts of survival flitted through my head thrillingly. The next few days would bring with them extreme fatigue--it took incredible effort to even carry on a conversation with anyone, extreme nausea, and a lot of sleeping. When I got out of the ICU, I had to begin physical therapy to retrain the remaining balance nerve to takeover. Getting from my bed to the bathroom involved gripping walls, and anything sturdy to get there without falling over. ;o) And there was the whole deaf right ear to deal with.
While recovering out in Los Angeles I didn't think too much about the fact I had lost the hearing in that ear. It hit me more when I got home, and everything sounded different--higher-- or something, my kids' voices, my pastor at church, and music just didn't have the same dimension it once did. I couldn't locate people in my house. I was sad and I was frustrated. Josh reminded me that instead of focusing on what I had lost, to focus on what I HAD--I could still hear. And those words have been my perspective ever since.
Last week, I taught my first grade Girls of Grace girls about grumbling and complaining, or rather NOT grumbling and complaining. ;o) As I prepared the lesson, I thought to myself, "What can I tell them to replace grumbling and complaining with?" And the answer hit me solidly, THANKFULNESS. I shared with them about my ear, how I could complain and feel sorry for myself that I can't hear like I used to. Instead, I choose to focus on how thankful I am that God has still blessed me with the ability to hear. And not only that, but the thankfulness extends out, and makes me thankful for all the senses I possess, I can SEE my little kids grow and change, I can WALK and HOLD the people I love in my arms, I can DO the things I love still, sewing/reading/etc. I have found over and over that the more God strips down and pares away the unimportant in my life, the more thankful I have learned to be for what I still have. I am so very blessed.
And so I sit here this morning, a bit teary but with a full heart, so thankful for the life God has given me, so thankful for second chances. I'm listening to "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" my "theme song" from that time, and staring at the date written in my Bible next to Psalm 138:8--May 11, 2006.


Kathy said...

Wow! Don't know what to say but Wow!! A beautiful testimony to how the Lord has used (and continues to use) this in your life!! Thank you for sharing this and encouraging/exhorting me to remember to be thankful!!

Anna said...

What a great encouragement, thanks for sharing, Janna! It's great to hear your testimony through this big trial, and how the Lord used it for good. You are a blessing!