A Time to Heal
For those of you who are kind enough to read my musings, you’ve probably wondered if I’d fallen off the face of the earth over these last two months! Truth is, the void has served as a time of healing for me…specifically physical healing but along with the physical came a time of spiritual peace and acceptance.
I’ve been blessed! Oh I know that claiming “blessings” can bring up emotions and thoughts such as, “well why haven’t I been blessed?” I don’t have the answer but can address why I’m feeling this way.
Having successfully recovered from three major surgeries in one year’s time I cannot help but give all glory to God! Enjoying the benefits of a healed body, has simply brought out the best in my spirit! Perhaps it’s my age, but more so I’ve felt the Lord’s presence throughout this last year more than any other time in my life.
That peace may have come from the confidence (more like surrender) that I had no choice to make but to place with my neck, eye and knee surgeons. However so, more than the science of restorative surgery or the surgeons experiences, more than all of these necessary elements for physical healing, I give all thanks, praise and glory to my Lord, The Lord God Jehovah Rapha Who heals!
Throughout this last year The Holy Spirit’s presence was undeniable beginning with my neck surgery-July 2022. As I lay waiting for my neurosurgeon’s team to wheel me back for a second neck fusion (yes, second) I lay ready in a pre-operative bed, while my husband along with our church’s Worship pastor had a good laugh on my behalf! Keeping in mind I had an IV in one wrist, monitors everywhere else and calming drugs flowing through my veins, our Pastor said, “Well, you get to know someone a lot better in a hospital gown!” It may not strike a chord with you, but it sure did with me! That young Pastor and I have led music together for a few years and on this particular day the Lord called him into action to come alongside this old gal! He knows my sense of humor and was /is comfortable with Bob and I. More importantly, he was led by The Spirit to bring light into such a precarious situation. Praise God for this young man as well as my husband during this scary time! And so away I went with a smile on my face, all trust placed in the skilled hands of the surgeon and without a doubt, guided by The Great Physician!
A few months after neck surgery an annual visit to the eye surgeon would lead to the next surgery. (Check out my post, “Best Days, Be Thou My Vision”). Little did I expect the decision to replace my (second) cornea would be made on that Autumn day. Hearing it was the ‘right time’ I felt game ready as my first transplant in 2016 was such a wonderful success!
Unexpectedly everything that could go wrong during that October cornea transplant…went wrong. I lost sight in my left eye. Two months passed wearing eye patches and dealing with the possibility that I would never be able to see again through that eye. About a week into grieving, The Holy Spirit...timely as always, reminded me that I actually could see. I could see with 20/20 vision through my right eye, so why worry about what I didn’t have and instead focus on what I did have!
I remembered how the blind man in Mark 10:51 asked Jesus for his sight to be restored, and how Jesus answered his prayer. So I began to pray Bartimaeus’s prayer asking the same…”Oh Lord, please restore my vision”. I prayed these words over and over again. My Pastors, family and friends came alongside praying the same. November and December passed with very little change. A darkish shade of gray covered my left eye’s field of vision. As I began to accept the change I realized that my focus became more about gratitude rather than lack.
Then in January more and more light began to filter in! My “fixed” pupil…the one that wasn’t ever expected to heal… grew smaller, and my vision began to return in small increments. Double vision was definitely a problem however despite the lack of clarity, I was seeing through that eye once again! The Lord heard my prayers and the prayers of many! I was beyond grateful hearing from so many of you who prayed for restoration of my sight! It still isn’t perfect but I’ll take what He’s given me! I’m humbled to say that throughout that journey, my heart grew in compassion for those who are handicapped by blindness, as well as other disabilities. This was and is The Lord’s work, praise His Holy Name!
May 2023 would bring about the “trifecta” of surgical repairs. Years of living with a bone on bone knee condition made the decision to go forth with a knee replacement necessary. It was my second ‘total knee’ and may I say, I’m grateful that I only have two knees!! You must be wondering why I’ve had so many surgical restorations. It’s a lot, I know, but all necessary to resume and enjoy a healthy life!
Once again, while in a pre-operative surgical room, I lay in a hospital gown, covered with a warming blanket, hair in a pony, no makeup, and blessed to have our Lead Pastor by my side lifting prayers of comfort, hope and healing. While awaiting the surgical team he addressed and calmed my fears and readied my heart and soul. He made sure to pray over and calm my husband’s fears as well!
If nothing else has ever made you cry out to the Lord (and if you know me, I’ve cried out plenty of times), total knee replacement will take care of that on day one! For the next three weeks, I cried out to the Lord, to my husband (who held me in his arms day and night), to my friends who called, texted, and brought meals for weeks, and to my Great Jehovah Rapha, The God Who heals!
I prayed, cried, begged and said things like this:
“This is too much Lord!”
“Please take this pain away”
“ I can’t take this Lord”.
“ Please God make it stop.”
And He did. He did make it all stop, but it was in His time. His time, not my time. He healed my neck in His time, and a year later, the surgeon said upon my postoperative visit, “you’re healed Hilly, you’re done here”.
He healed my eye in His time and shocked the eye surgeon who had very little hope for my eye sight to return. Nine months after that unexpected loss of vision, I’m writing this post while sitting next to a beautiful mountain river rushing by in cascades of water like diamonds gleaming in the sunlight, all being captured by not one but two eyes!
And like my neck and eye, He is healing my knee in His time too.
Great is thy faithfulness, oh God, my Father. I love you, thank You!
Thank you for hanging in there with me! Physical pain can really put a damper on creativity. Emotional pain can do that too. But healing comes in His time in His way by His will. Look for it, even in the smallest doses, glimpses of healing are there. Like a pinhole at the end of the tunnel that grows larger and larger as you grow closer, your healing will come.
Oh my God, my Lord, my Healing Savior I give you glory and praise and thankfulness for guiding me to the right physicians. Thank you Lord for giving me a husband who exemplifies Christ-like care and love. Thank you for friends who truly love me enough to pray for me.
And for you alone, God. You alone are worthy of all praise! Amen.