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“It seems when you know you’re not supposed to eat or drink you feel especially hungry and thirsty,” I thought to myself as I sat in the pre-op chair, IV taped to my hand, footy-covered feet dangling.  My pre-operative ensemble was complete with gown that opens in the back, robe over my shoulders, and adorable shower cap on my head, all hair tucked inside.  This combined with the no makeup or jewelry, no hair product guidelines made for what must have been a stunning look.  The nurses, who were very caring and kind, had me all ready to go, now we just had to wait for the surgeon to arrive.

1:20, they said, as John and I looked to see what time it was.  Should be in about 20 minutes.  20 minutes, 30, 40 minutes went by and my feet were still dangling, stomach still growling, nerves a little on edge.  We were in a small dimly-lit, quiet, room watching blurred green forms of the nurses and workers in scrubs pass by the door’s frosted full-length window.  Finally, my doctor came in!

He was friendly, confident, quick, professional, and ready to get to the task at hand, which was to perform some reconstructive work on some failed reconstructive work from my cancer episode almost 10 years ago.  I have been more than ready to have this done for several years and finally was getting to it.

Before surgery they always mark on you so they won’t operate on the wrong body part, which is totally fine with me!  It was a little awkward and funny, however, since the surgery is on my…chest…to have the doctor drawing lines, dots, and notes on my skin.  Necessary but kind of embarrassing.  I decided not to think about how, when I’m unconscious, they would be sitting my body up and maneuvering me every which way without me having the slightest idea what was happening.  Kind of like a life-sized rag doll.  Oh well, to them it’s just a body and they’re just doing their job, right?

I trust the surgeon so I didn’t give it any more thought.  I must trust him or I wouldn’t let them put me under while he had a knife in hand!  They wheeled me into the operating room, helped me onto the table, talked to me a minute, I closed my eyes and then…….

I woke up back in the little dimly-lit room, this time very groggy, trying hard to open my eyes and get my bearings.  I was a little sore and knew there were incisions, stitches, drain tubes and more I had yet to explore – all those things done to me while I was asleep and time traveled to this point.   There were new, different but still caring nurses to help me wake up and get ready to go home.

The last few days I’ve rested a lot, sat around a lot, been a little restless here and there.  I’m extremely thankful it’s done, not just that the surgery is done but that the work is done and I’m more “whole” again.  In a way it helps me turn the page on that chapter that was written back in 2003.  There is still some discomfort and my drain buddies, little plastic hand grenade-shaped bulbs attached to me by plastic tubing, will be around a few more days before I can get them taken out, but it’s worth it.

In the meantime I’ve had the opportunity to receive much love from friends, concern and caring that has really encouraged me and blessed me.  I’ve enjoyed the one on one time with my hubby who is a patient, gentle caretaker.

At various times in life, we feel the need for some big change inside of us, like something is missing, or something has gone wrong and needs repair, or something has become attached and shouldn’t be there.  However, we can’t transform ourselves or remove disease/defects from our soul any more than I could have operated on myself a few days ago.  We need someone confident, skilled, and preferably caring, to do the job.  We need Jesus.

We might have to wait a while, though, for Him to begin or for what He’s doing to have its full effect in our life.  It’s all in His time.

He will examine us, asking us to be open and vulnerable, even embarrassingly so.  It’s all important in the process.  We can trust Him.  He knows everything there is about us and knows exactly what needs to happen, and his motivation is always love.  Real love.

There will be some discomfort, maybe even pain and tears, but there will be time to rest and heal.

As I sit and rest, healing physically, I’m thinking about the things Jesus has been removing from me lately spiritually and emotionally.  I’m thankful for his skillful hand, even though it’s ouchy at times and takes longer than I wish it would.  I trust Him. Only He can make me completely whole. And I long for that.

Do you?

Lord, your discipline is good,
    for it leads to life and health.
You restore my health
    and allow me to live!  Isaiah 38:16 NLT

Shout praises to the Lord!
    Our God is kind,
    and it is right and good
    to sing praises to him…
 He renews our hopes
    and heals our bodies.  Psalm 147:1-3 CEV