Wednesday, May 22, 2019

"I can hear you!"

11 years ago tonight I woke up to an argument.  The argument wasn't between loud neighbors or kids fighting over the bathroom, it was with two nurses who couldn't agree.  Both were poking and prodding at my face as I was waking up from brain surgery to remove a giant tumor that was pressing on my brain stem.  The fight broke out in the recovery room of ICU in San Diego on May 21, 2008.  It went like this: "Her face is moving" to which the other responded "No it's not."  They went back and forth for a while until I chimed in with my first groggy words filled with annoyance and pain...I can heeeeaaar you!  I wanted to remind them I was in the room, and awake.  I decided to believe the first nurse who noticed my face was moving.  She was positive and kind.  I wasn't thrilled with Negative Nelly who couldn't see how my face was moving.  Well, turns out Nelly was right.

The doctors had prepared me for the disabilities I have, but not for facial paralysis.  As I looked in the mirror for the first time I let out the familiar "ugh" that I often did when I looked in the mirror.  Now, it was as if my face matched how I felt on the inside, stuck.  Stuck in distortions of what I believed about myself, comparisons, fears, limitations.  Somehow with half a functioning face I felt as vulnerable on the outside as I had on the inside.

The first night home my husband Shane prayed for me at bedtime.  As we were talking afterwards a  thought dropped into my mind.  A thought that was heaven sent - full of curiosity, anticipation and wonder, not fear or dread.  The thought was this:  God must want to use my paralysis for His glory.  He gave me a gift that night, a treasure trove that has spilled out and shifted the course of my life ever since.  He gave me the gift of perspective in the midst of my pain.  To have His perspective right at the beginning of a painful journey was a gift, a treasure that only God can give.

For the past 11 years I've also come to understand that my paralysis has been for my good too.  For my good, and for His glory.  The surgeons removed the tumor they could see, but the Lord is the Divine Physician.  What He did in the course of the years after the surgery was remove the tumor those doctors couldn't see, the tumor of depression.

I am deaf in one ear now, but I can hear the Lord better than ever.  It always amazes me what the Lord does when we listen, even to those who give us the painful truth.

Thank you Jesus for 11 years of renewed life where I get to live fully alive, not weighted down with tumors anymore.  Keep my ears attentive to your truth, for my good, and for you glory.


  1. Thank you for sharing! It's encouraging.
    By the way, I love the title of your blog!

  2. Thank you Helen! So glad you are encouraged. That's what I'm hoping for. Blessings to you many months late. Maybe you needed it today though? Marty


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