Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heart Update

I've been learning more and more how God is visible in our lives. I've been seeing first hand how he's been working in my life. I'm finally realizing the fruits that God has for us when we banish fear and live by faith alone.

I have a dear, dear friend and mentor (you know who you are) who has something called God sightings. I can hear him groaning inwardly, because the analogy can get a bit hokey when you try to explain it. When ever God sightings are explained to a new person in the bible study, they're explained as the visible acts of God. Just as when the wind blows through the trees, you can't see the wind, but you can see the leaves move. God sightings are pointing out when the leaves shakes and saying "God has been here!"

If you know me or have read some of my previous posts, you know I have an aortic aneurysm next to my heart and aortic valve. You probably also know that I run - a lot more than should be possible given the heart. I had a CT scan completed in August. When I measured the scan myself, the aneurysm had grown. Which naturally prompted me to have a not-so-minor freakout. I tried getting an appointment with the heart surgeon, and eventually was able to get some time with him, but only after my half marathon on Labor Day weekend. I was able to get him to at least look at the report from the scan tech, and got some mixed news: according to the scan technician the aneurysm was stable, but he could not possibly condone me running, let alone racing a half marathon.

Of course...I ran anyway. Praised God the entire way, thanking Him for every mile. It was really hard not to praise Him when I kept passing the 413 team, with Philippians 4:13 on the back of their T-shirts. "I can do everything through him that gives me strength". Being able to run, despite it being physically impossible or dangerous, makes me feel invincible. So this is what it feels like to place yourself entirely in God's hands.
"If God is for us, who can be against us?" Rom. 8:31. I see this as tangible evidence of God. So here's my God sighting - I was able to run the race last weekend, not only comfortably, but even crushing my old record - and I'm still around to tell you about it. This is something not possible without God.

Today, I finally had the appointment with the surgeon. At this point, he had looked at the scans himself, and like me, he had found that the aneurysm did in fact look bigger than 6 months ago. He's amazed that I ran the half-marathon last weekend and that I'm just fine. The end result of the appointment...I am getting another (more detailed, more expensive) type of scan this afternoon. If this scan shows that the problem has gotten worse, we're doing surgery. Probably really soon. If this scan shows that the problem has not gotten worse, then I'll be allowed to run again. The big relief out of this appointment was that the doctor has taken away the nebulous "limbo" option where he won't perform surgery but I'm not allowed to run. It's almost a relief to know that I could be having surgery soon - it'll mean I won't have to put my life on hold indefinitely while we wait. I'm not allowed to run until I hear back from the doctor again... which should only be a few days, so hopefully I can handle that!

The whole experience of having this condition... I am constantly reminded of James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Because of the adventures I've had with my health, I've been able to live on the edge... leave myself entirely in God's hands in ways I would never have been able to otherwise. It's been quite the feeling knowing that its perfectly possible you could die at any point in time. That has really placed a sense of urgency on me to make peace with God, others, and myself. If you were going to die tomorrow - would you leaves things undone? Relationships unmended? Adventures left unstarted or unfinished? Since you should know you "can't take it with you", that things are here today and gone tomorrow, why would you not be generous with what you have? You can't keep it. Why should I toil away at a job that does nothing to help or save people when I could be doing something that does? What am I waiting for?

This condition has forced me to place myself in God's hands, and the way that Grace has been poured out on me is absolutely overwhelming. To hear that I'm getting prayers from all corners, and to be so constantly reminded that I've got people rooting for me...well it's been such a blessing. I couldn't be more thankful that there's so much love out there.

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