A year ago I was in a rough place. I had begun a study that would eventually lead me to huge healing, but the pain I was to go through was great. On Labor Day last year I was one week into this study when I had an emergency surgery to repair a strangulated hernia. I had had the hernia for several years–it had gotten worse with each pregnancy and with too much lifting of heavy things (50 pound bags of soil and peat moss come to mind)–and I knew it had to be repaired at some point. I just figured that point would come after we had another baby.
Sometimes I think the Lord watches me figure out things and chuckles at the plans I have made. Proverbs 16:9 says essentially the same thing–man plans his ways, but the LORD directs his steps. We were expecting company to celebrate Labor Day. I was up early cleaning the house and making finishing touches to the picnic foods. And then the pain hit. I was in so much pain. And that is saying a lot considering I delivered two babies over 10 pounds at home! The Handy Man made the decision to take me to the hospital. I was reluctant to do so, but I was in so much pain that I realized something was majorly wrong. A quick trip to the ER, a valiant but vain try at forcing the intestine back into place, and a call to the surgeon on call sealed my fate. I would spend six days in the hospital–five of them eating no food and allowed no water but 6 oz of ice every 24 hours–with a horrible NG tube up my nose and down my throat. It was more awful than it sounds. I was in pain, vulnerable, weak, hungry, and eager to leave that place! On Saturday they let me go. I was sent home with instructions not to lift anything over ten pounds and to rest.
I did not follow doctor’s orders exactly–I was still nursing the little guy almost exclusively. He had started eating more food in my absence, although the Handy Man had brought him to me in the hospital three times each day. We would nurse when he arrived and nurse before he left each time. Good friends came to make sure I was okay: one brought me a good pump, which did make a huge difference, although without any fat (or for that matter, food!) in my diet, there wasn’t much to pump. It was a discouraging time in my life. The good news is that once I got home and started eating good food again, the little guy’s food source was right back to normal. But that meant that I had to hold him so he could eat, and he weighed a lot more than the ten pounds with which he had been born! In time, I healed.
More than the physical healing, last fall was a time of emotional healing. While I was doing the Making Peace With Your Past study at the center, the ladies in my church began a Tim Keller study on Galatians. These two studies worked in ways I could never imagine to secure for me the absolute assurance that God loves me. And that He accepts me. And that His grace is more than I will ever need. It was a time of amazing emotional healing (emotional sanctification as it is called in church circles) for me and ultimately for my family. We finally finished our study of the book of Galatians over the summer.
The ladies in my church recently started a new Tim Keller study on the book of 1st John. I have noticed that Keller goes back to other more famous and revered teachers quite a bit–something for which I am grateful. We started reading J.I. Packer’s Knowing God as part of our homeschooling in part because Keller quotes him so much. A refrain reverberates through what we have read so far…and in fact through all I have learned over the past year…knowing about God is not the same as knowing God. And wanting the blessings of God is not the same as wanting God himself. If I have learned anything over the past year, it is that I do not know God nearly as well as I know about Him, but I also know that my desire is to know Him more. And all I can say is I am excited about where that desire will take me.