“When pain is to be born, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
Almost three weeks ago, I had surgery to remove my thyroid. My surgeon is an expert in this sort of thing. All she does is teach at the University about it and then do the surgeries, so I was in great hands. The surgery is minor (only two hours) and has minimal risks, but the fact remained that this was my first real surgery. Ever. And I was nervous.
As I got closer to the day of surgery I had concerns over the usual things, but the truth is that God is good, all of the time, and He was taking care of every single detail as it came up. I was okay. This surgery was the right choice and even though going under the knife is scary I knew I was going to be okay. Even with nerves, I was at peace for most of the month leading up to surgery, but the day of the surgery was a different story. I don’t know if my husband or anyone else knew (I don’t think I said anything until afterward), but as the minutes ticked down and I sat on the hospital bed in my clammy gown…I was scared!
I wasn’t scared of the surgery going wrong or not waking up again. I was very specifically afraid of being asleep in the kind of way where I had no idea what was being done to me and wouldn’t be able to wake up and stop things if I needed to. I was terrified of having no control over my own body. My husband has had several surgeries and at one point I asked him if it ever bothered him; not knowing what they were saying or doing while he was under and he said he had never really thought about it. So why couldn’t I stop OBSESSING over it?!
About 10 minutes before they wheeled me back, one of the nurses casually mentioned that it was going to be an all-female surgery team. In that instant all of the fear that had been building up began to drain out of me. I felt much more at peace with everything and though I still had a few jitters I was okay to do the surgery and only a few minutes later was sleeping through my procedure. A few days later, when the anesthesia and pain meds had all worn off and I was mostly back to my right mind, I started processing through my feelings before the surgery.
This is my truth. This is what I discovered.
A long time ago I was hurt. My body was not my own and I didn’t get to choose what did or did not happen to me. I didn’t have control over anything but my thoughts, my responses and my attitude. But that was a long time ago. I have worked, and struggled, and wept, and yelled, and prayed, and worked to overcome that past. And I have overcome. God healed my hurt and my heart and I am better for it. So, it took me by complete surprise to have such fear overtake me at the thought of giving up control. I didn’t even think to mentally prepare myself in that way. I just didn’t know…
But God did. He knew. He knows my past, and my heartaches, and my deep down hurts and He knew I would struggle with this. He made sure I would hear that nurse mention my all-female surgical team because He knew I could only give up control and be at peace with other women. He had everything covered; even the thing I hadn’t thought of that would scare me the most, and He took care of me. I need to mention that in the last moments before I blinked into sleep, I saw a man walk into the Operating Room and I asked about him. My surgeon mentioned he was there to observe, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t mind because I already knew I would be okay, and no one would hurt me, and no one would take advantage of me. There was no fear; only acceptance and then darkness.
My life has not always been easy. I have lived hard things. I have known deep hurts. I have deeply hurt others, but my story goes on. My life has been one long love song; one between me and God and that day He was singing the sweetest notes to me. I just had to listen. I encourage you to listen for the notes He is singing to you. In your heartache, in your pain, in your fear…stop and take a moment to look around you and see and hear the little things He is doing. The big things are easy to recognize, but the little things are harder to find. Those little things are the reminders that He cares about the little things. He knows and He cares and He loves you.
“We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest ‘well pleased’.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
May You Rest in His Love,