There are many of you who have greater testimonies to tell, but I am grateful for my little testimony. There is SO MUCH I want to share. I chose just a few things.
This entire illness has been a journey unlike I expected. In fact the eight years, since I found out I was sick leading up to this, has been a whole journey on its own. But that is for another time.
Two nights before my operation, I asked God what I am to make of all this, as the rapid deterioration of my valve came suddenly and unexpectantly and to be honest …… at a very inconvenient time as my husband had a mission trip to go on which took us months of planning. God’s word says that He instructs us even in our sleep, so I always ask Him to do just that, should He so wish.
That night I had a short but profound dream. I dreamed I was standing in a valley when I heard this shrill noise cut through the air and echo into the mountains. I asked out loud:
”what was that!” and a voice answered :” it is the cry of the fish eagle” That was it.
I told my husband and he immediately said it made him think of the verse in Isaiha 40:31
”those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not get faint. They will rise up as on wings of an eagle.” I found the word choice in the verse very interesting as I have not been able to run for eight years as I got extremely tired. And the week before my operation I kept wanting to faint and was so exhausted that I could not even lift up my coffee cup as it was too heavy for me. I could not walk a few steps without being exhausted.
This verse was sms’ed to me from various people, unaware of my dream throughout this seven week post op journey.!!
The night before my operation I dreamed the following:
I came out of church and our entire car was stripped bare. Their was no steering wheel, no tyres, no seats. All that was left was the engine and the body of the car. I said to my husband in my dream:”how strange to steal like this. One should think it be more beneficial to steel the whole car”. That was my dream.
When I woke up I told my mom about my funny dream and she said: ”yes, the car has to be built up again from scratch.” At that moment I knew I was in for a long journey. This was confirmed when I came out of hospital and had various complicatios like water on both lungs, thrush, bladder infection, severe pain etc. I could not eat, walk, bath myself, dress myself or do much, due to pain and weakness. I surely had to be built up from the bottom again. But having been warned in a dream gave me hope that God knew, and he allowed me to be stripped bare, yet not be taken out completely.
During the days after the operation, I felt an old familiar “friend from the shadows” creep up on me: depression. Each day was long. Each day started with a wilfull decision to be courageous and just pass the time in order to “clock off” the days, as day number so”post operative”. I watched a movie, tried to read, but i was so sore and uncomfortable, that that which was supposed to be relaxing activities, became a “mission to complete”. No matter how I sat or lay, I was sore and stiff. I just could not relax and enjoy anything! I could feel my familiar friend from the shadows, spitting his poisonous whispers into my mind saying: ”you have been robbed of so much time. Weeks of lost time, of standing still and accomplishing nothing. No personal growth, in fact you have been set back, having to build yourself up, learn like a baby. Your burden on your family slows them down too.This entire event has set everyone back! Spiritually this is a vacuum for you………..
For a second I fell for it! I allowed the poison to have effect!
But then the Spirit of Truth shined into the dark pit I was slowly falling into: “that’s a lie!!” I heard the Spirit’s voice pierce like a sword through the darkness.
“the THRUTH is, that you have been given a lease on life, a second chance. Without this operation you would have been not just halted but removed completely. You have been GIVEN LIFE. Yes, it comes attached with a painful and slow process, but the truth is, you have been given life and a richer one for that. That sounds very different than “being robbed”.
I needed to choose…………….
I chose life! I chose truth!
I can not tell you HOW MUCH I have learned. God revealed so much to me during this time, that I actually now firsthand understand how Paul could say he rejoices in the suffering he underwent. The weight of this could have dragged me down into the depths, but instead, I felt my soul securely anchored by it. There is a settleness and a deepness inside me that could not have come, without me going through this journey. As sure as the sun rises every day over believers and unbelievers, everyone suffers in this world, whether believer or unbeliever.
The difference is, as an unbeliever, the road of suffering is dark, lonely, senseless and hopeless. But as a believer, although it is still dark, there is a light to guide you through when you feel lonely. All you need to do is call out His name. When you get to the other end you bring with you gifts to share and weapons to yied valiantly. Your body may have entered broken and emerged changed, but your spirit and soul comes out stronger and renewed.
Before I end off, I want to share one last thing that applies to EVERY BELIEVER, not just me. And if you take nothing from my testimony, I hope that this picture will get burned into your heart.
That day before the operation, a group of friends came to pray. One girl who has a prophetic gifting shared with me that she saw this angel with huge wings walking into the hospital with me with his arm around my shoulder. As I was thinking about that I was reminded that my friend in Australia sms’d me a verse early that morning before the group came to pray.
ONLY in hindsight did I realise that the two (my prophetic friend’s vision and my friend in Australias’ verse) were confirmation of each other. As I realised it, it took my breath away as the two give each other such weight and richness!!! I want to share it with you as it is so beautifull.
Now, remember the vision of the angel with his arms around my shoulders……. And then listen to the verse that was sent to me: 2 Timothy 2:19 “God’s solid foundation stands firm sealed with this inscription;’ The Lord knows who are His’“
The Lord knows who are His!!!
As I walked into that hospital, the angel of the Lord had His arm around my shoulders, because the Lord knows who are His! This is a solid foundation that stands firm.
Stunning hey!! And that’s not just for me, but every believer entering a territoty of the unknown…..
Then lastly I want to share one more thing.
After the op, I was walking up the hills of Ridge Road as part of my exercise to get better. I was pondering and thanking God for the testimony I have through this “period of suffering”. I was asking God to give me the courage to share with people, as the opporunity arises, that they must not despise their times of trials. Because if they are willing to look for God IN it, they wil arise with so much richness as I did.
I felt God’s Spirit interject:
“you so easily assume that this was a two way deal, that your faith and My goodness and faithfulness was what afforded you to have a “spiritual experience”. You forget that you were covered by multiple prayer warriors. Do not make the mistake that this journey was ONLY an attack on your body, but it was also an attack on your mind and spirit. The fact that you arised out of this stronger is because of My promise that stands true: a cord of three strands is not easily broken”. In this case the strands were:
1) God’s faithfullness
2) the one prayed for’s faith (me)
3) and the self-sacrificial prayers of other people
You see, I came out of this so strong, because yes, I had God and yes I had my faith. But I was not easily broken because of the third element: the prayers of other people – you guys!!! Thank you sooooo much.
And remember when you have to enter a territory of the unknown:
“The Lord knows who are His”