The phone rang mid-afternoon. Usually ignoring it, I decided I’d better answer it, as it was from our surgeon’s office.
A very matter-of-fact nurse asked for my husband, John. “He’s at the office. Would you like his number?” I asked.
“Are you his wife?” She quickly inquired.
“Yes, I am.” I replied.
“I’d rather speak with you. Seems you-wives listen better.” Alrighty then…
I began jotting down our marching papers for John’s upcoming knee surgery for a torn meniscus. Friday morning came all too fast. The next thing I knew the doctor was ready to see me, surgery already complete.
Doc smiled and reported the surgery was a success. He gave me pictures, sending us home with a DVD of the procedure. (Now there’s a “Future Family Movie Night” if there ever was one!)
For a huge change, I wasn’t fearful of the surgery because I trust our extremely brilliant and gifted orthopedic surgeon. He’s a dear friend as well. He’s put many of us back together again.
Don’t miss this parallel: There’s no fear when you trust the one who’s in charge of your loved one. Hello?…As my friend Liz keeps reminding me, “God’s got this!”
We got John home, on crutches, fed him, iced the knee, and even got him up the stairs on crutches, ready for bed. I was more than bleary-eyed as John never napped, all day…
Amazingly, next thing I knew it was morning time and John was about to get up. The next phrase that came out of his mouth is not what you’d want to hear: “Oh, no!”
Lump in my throat, I could barely utter, “Wwwwhat’s wrong?”
“There’s blood everywhere!” he groaned.
Very official-like, I ordered, “Don’t move!”
I whipped on my glasses, and ran around to John’s side of the bed to assess the situation. Trying to make us both feel better, I said, “Well, the instructions did say the bandage may ooze.” Eesh.
Ill-prepared for what I was about to witness, I tried to put on a happy face. Blood was all over the sheets, all over his ace bandage, everywhere. It did appear to be dried blood, however, not fresh blood. But to me, blood is blood.
Blind as a bat without my glasses for distance, I can see up-close pretty well. I guess I kept looking over and under my glasses, getting way too close to the wound.
I unwrapped it and just as the bandage unraveled and fell to the floor, I realized things were becoming very, very dark, as if someone had dimmed the lights.
“Oh man, I’m goin’ down…” I said. John could tell I was weaving and this time he barked the orders, “Sit down!”
But…I knew if I sat on the bench at the end of the bed, I could crash and burn, fainting head first onto the floor. So, I pushed it and ran back to my side, hurriedly diving back in bed. Flat. Whew!
John quipped, “Well now, we are quite the pair!”
“Just give me a minute, I’ll be fine.” I said in a rather faint voice, yet forever grateful I did not faint. What a total wimp…. A tailspin of toxic conversation ensued…
Now how funny is the timing of this series on fear?!!! I had to have quite a conversation/prayer pleading with The Lord. I kept quoting Psalm 56:3 – “When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” And Psalm 46:1 – “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” (NIV)
This week, we’ll explore more of Debora M. Coty’s wonderful book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolates–Wit and Wisdom for Sidestepping Life’s Worries. One of many chapters I especially relate to is “Toxic Voices-Detox for Negative Self-Talk.” Another deals with”Soul-Suckers”. I once heard Erwin McManus call such folks “emotional leeches”. They are those who suck the life out of you. (Bet you’re making a mental list….)
Debora not only addresses our own self-talk, she addresses others’ toxic tirades. One of a gazillion laugh out loud instances involves a gal who approached Deborah and pretty much pulled the rug out from under her, spewing a not-so-nice venomous statement.
Debora says, “I don’t know why some people think that by blowing out someone’s candle their own burns brighter. My point is that we get enough negativity from the world; we don’t need to pile any more on ourselves.”
She expounds on this in another one of her books, Too Blessed to be Stressed in the chapter called “Can I Hear Me Now?” She offers tips on how to control our inner soundtrack. (Yes, that book is next on my nightstand.)
Debora shows us several Biblical characters who struggled with this crazy self-talk: Saul (See I Samuel 19), Jonah (See Jonah 4), Peter (See Matthew 14), and my future BFF in Heaven, Martha (See Luke 10). Ditching toxic self–talk is the “same principle in dealing with fear.”
She adds, “By remembering what Papa God has already done for us through Christ, we’ll develop miracle memory. He’s defeated the instigator of fear at the cross, and He’ll do it again.”
“With practice, our miracle memory will kick in, and we’ll automatically default to faith rather than fear when difficulties come our way.” (Debora recommends journaling our many blessings to boost that “miracle memory”.)
She gives us, the readers, twenty-five emotions that are potential triggers to those toxic voices. (These are found on page 202.) We could spend weeks on this valuable chapter! Here are just five of the twenty-five to be aware of: anxiety, doubt, resentment, needing to be right (oh, I sooo wanted to skip that one!), and our biggie: fear.
Bottom line: Jesus is not glorified when we paralyze ourselves in fear. And worse, Satan is delighted. We do not want that!
Finally let’s close with a plaque Debora saw recently. Tell all your friends about this: “I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I’m to die for.”
She adds, “Understand you are wanted,
and loved without limits.
At this moment, you may feel abandoned,
but feelings are not trustworthy.
NOW is the time to overrule your heart with your head.”
Notice Debora says, now is the time. Not next week. NOW! What a gift of encouragement you and I have just received. I’m praying we all get this.
Let’s close with an excellent reminder from Psalm 139:15, 17-18:
“You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb…How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (NLT)
I pray you and your families have a Most Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving! And safe travels if you’re in the air or on the road…(Might as well throw patience in there too…)
This week’s chocolate recommendation comes from Trader Joe’s. Try their Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds. Checkout the description: “Roasted almonds drenched (love that) in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt and turbinado sugar.” (Ours have a safe hiding place in the back corner of the pantry. Shhhh, don’t tell…)
‘Til next time!
This week’s post is dedicated to our favorite orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Scott Kuiper. I wasn’t kidding when I said he’s put many of us back together again and some of us more than once. As we age, I’m tempted to ask if Louisville Orthopaedic may offer frequent visitor discounts….Scott is blessed with a fantastic family, has virtually adopted our Gordy, and I’ve had a blast with his wife, Mary Jude, in Bible study. You all have really blessed our lives in so many ways. Hugs across town!