In late February 2017 things were going well for me, I was getting my real estate feet under me and that was going well. I had picked up some part-time hours at my former job, and that was keeping my brain happily engaged. We were finishing up some long over-due projects around the house. I was in my groove at church and had found some really awesome people to share life with in my small group. Everything was going along swimmingly, except my health. My health was not tip top. I was nearly 300 pounds. It was tough to walk up stairs, exercise, or fit in my already extra large sized clothes. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin and every day it was an effort to face the world. I was trying to make healthy food choices and exercise but I wasn’t gaining traction over the long haul. And still, it wasn’t the center of concern for me. All in all, I would say, when I went to bed, I felt accomplished and rested pretty easy.
Then one night, out of a dead sleep, I woke at 3am and was on FIRE to find a bariatric surgeon. Now, this “Job moment” as I like to call it, had happened to me only one other time in my life. When I went to sleep and woke the next morning knowing with every fiber in my being I needed to move to Phoenix from Chicago. I heeded that call and things turned out pretty darn good (met and married Frank, started our family, bought our first house…) Job 33:15-16 reads: “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon men, while slumbering on their beds, then he opens the ears of men, and seals their instructions…”
So, I grabbed my computer and began researching. I didn’t know why that was my moment. Why I needed to find a weight loss surgeon with such urgency, but that’s the only way I can describe it. Urgent. Like right NOW. After searching through a few doctors, I found Dr. Long. Watched his videos, fell in love with his story and his compassion and his love of God, because he didn’t hide that part of him at all. A week later Frank and I were in his office and a decision was made. Several months later I was waiting in preop with Dr. Long praying over both of us. Never once did I waiver, never once did the urgency or dedication through the process wane.
Post surgery, I had some tough days, but every day seemed to get better than the last, and a little more than a year post-surgery, I’ve lost 100+ pounds and I no longer struggle the way I used to. And I really thought that was a happy ending to a difficult 15-year part of my life. Turns out, it was only the preface to a much bigger story.
That night back in February, that Job moment was indeed God speaking to me. I say often that when people reference this “still small voice” I have to giggle. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a whisper from God. I’m loud by nature. Booming almost. If God wants my attention He knows He has to be louder. So He generally comes to me cymbals crashing. He has to be loud enough to wake me from a dead sleep with a mission planted deep in my soul. I am thankful I have learned to heed the message and worry about the reasons later.
See, God knows the whole picture. We only know the part we’re in, or have just traveled through, and the past if we care to analyze it. We do not get the luxury of knowing the future. That’s so we learn to lean on Faith. Faith that He’s “got this”. That He knows the way if we just let Him lead us through. That takes a little bit of surrender. Not my strong suit, but I’ve gotten more comfortable with it as my Faith has grown…especially these last several years. God knew that I needed to heal myself. In the moment I thought surely it was because I was on the brink of getting really sick — pancreatic issues like my mom or heart issues like my dad. God knew that though those would be bonuses to heal away from, that the bigger fight was up ahead. That Cancer was in the cards and I would need to be in the best health, the best shape possible to fight it and win. He is a good, good God. And I am thankful to be called His.
I sit here not really fully knowing or understanding what is ahead of me. Surgery surely, some radiation definitely, but I don’t have a full picture. But I can with assurity look back and understand what has transpired behind me. The Grace God has granted me. The love He has bestowed upon me. I feel His embrace as clearly as I remember feeling my own father’s arms around me. I am ready to face what comes next. I don’t like what I am about to walk through. I am not thankful for the experience I am about to have, but can appreciate there will be lessons I will learn, but I am very aware that I have been prepared for it. God is good.