God is in the O.R. (Operating Room) (Part 4 of 4: Do You Know Where God Is?)

A mere twenty-seven years ago, my sweet husband John and I were expecting our first little angel.  It’s fair to say we practically floated into a classroom one evening full of other expectant parents.


Eager to learn how to have an easy labor (!), we naively tuned in our ears. Our ultra cheery Lemaze Instructor began to teach…

“YOU can do this…” She insisted.

“It’s all in the breathing.  You can breathe right through your labor pains by using the following techniques.” She added.

“Future Fathers, YOU are your wife’s Coach. This is a very important role, not to be taken lightly.”  She implored.

Sharing numerous massage techniques to make us future Mothers comfortable, tube socks filled with tennis balls seemed to be a favorite for potentially throbbing lower backs.  Goodness, surely not


Overly confident, let’s fast forward to the wee hours of one morning when what we realized was labor, began.  Searing, vice-like pains parked themselves relentlessly in my lower back.  “Coach John” began implementing the many techniques our teacher had taught us.

To be tactful, let’s just say I was uncoachable.  Those hours spent in Lemaze class swiftly flew out the window.  When offered an epidural after seeing my contractions go off the chart on the monitor, I screamed “yes!” before the doctor completed the question.


Nurses suggested John leave the room while the blissful epidural was administered.  After only a few minutes, I was sitting up, smiling, watching TV, oblivious to the pain and contractions.

Nurses allowed John to re-enter the room.  Upon viewing my countenance, he quipped, “Oops, wrong room, this can’t possibly be the same wife who just nearly clawed my watch off my wrist!”

Alrighty then….

By God’s grace, along with the skills and talent of our  OB/GYN, Dr. Louis Kirtley, along with the Anesthesiologist, and the room full of excellent nurses, our firstborn son, John Garnett Hoagland, Jr. entered the world on October 29, 1986, at 11:20 a.m.

Louis Kirtley, his wife Olivia, their son, Chris and their grandson, Rhett

Louis Kirtley, his wife Olivia, their son, Chris and their grandson, Rhett

God was most definitely in our O.R. (Operating Room) that day as He is with you and me today.

(Let’s stop for a moment to praise God for the Kirtley family in the above picture as their son Chris is a cancer survivor.  God was most definitely in their O.R. when Rhett was born with Chris and Katie being proud parents instead of cancer patient and spouse!)


So what’s our challenge?  We keep forgetting to look for God in our midst, too busy motoring along our merry way.  

Please allow me to show you some people who are in tune with the Lord and let’s see what we can learn from them…

My brother-in-law, Billy Hoagland, is a phenomenal General Surgeon.  Many of you have either been operated on by him or have relatives who have.

Over the past several years of his practice, he has made the beautiful habit of praying with his patients and their families prior to their surgery.  If any of you who ever doubt the power of prayer, just ask some of his patients. I can’t begin to estimate the number of people who have told me, not to mention countless others, of his prayer and how it greatly touched their lives.

Doc Hoagland is pictured here with their first grandchild, Caroline.

Doc Hoagland is pictured here with their first grandchild, Caroline.

During a recent radio interview with three women who had recently lost their spouses, my very brave friend, Gwen Paten declared, “My survival has been thanks to the daily reading of God’s Word…

His Word is Holy Anesthesia to me.”


For about the most shallow comment you’ll ever hear, may I say that if an epidural can be that good of an anesthesia when in horrific pain, how much more can Holy Anesthesia be? (Remember Gwen’s husband, Mike, was diagnosed with cancer in May and died thirty-three days later in June of 2011. We still cannot quite grasp this, but praise God Mike was a believer and is in the arms of our Heavenly Father).

In particular, Gwen cites Psalm 46 as her favorite go-to Scripture/Anesthesia:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth  give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God  is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  (Emphasis mine.)


My Life Application Bible says the THEME of Psalm 46 is:

God is always there to help,
providing refuge,
and peace.
God’s power is complete
and his ultimate victory is certain.

He will not fail to rescue those who love him.”

Eliz and Gwen

May we recognize and savor God’s Word, Holy Anesthesia, which is waiting to comfort us.  God is not only in the O.R., He is with you and me always.

‘Til next time!

(This post has a four-fold dedication:

1 – To my doctor and our friend, Louis Kirtley who, thanks to God’s orchestration, delivered all three of our boys!

2 – To my ever patient brother-in-law, Billy Hoagland,  who has the dubious honor of being the only doctor in our family–lo, those bazillions of phone calls we are still making to him for whatever ails us!!!

3 – To my dear friend Gwennie, whom you’ve heard me talk of so often, who continues to press on and encourage all of us in her path.

4 – To all you brave souls out there who delivered via natural childbirth!  I commend you.  I saw our Lemaze Instructor at a wedding recently.  She looks the exact same all these years later.  Not sure I ever admitted to her I was a flunkee….)


1 Comment

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One response to “God is in the O.R. (Operating Room) (Part 4 of 4: Do You Know Where God Is?)

  1. Lisa Zaring

    Wonderful sweet friend – so thankful God is always waiting patiently for us to notice his presence in every moment of our lives.