On Loving Others

Part 1

Two months ago, I started having periodic back pain. I chalked it up to the fact that I was turning thirty this year and falling apart. A month ago, I started having level-10 stomach pains accompanied with the back pain, and I though it was probably due to eating too much junk. Then one morning, the pain forced me to go to urgent care. The kind, kind doctor thoroughly checked through all possibilities and determined that I had gallstones. I hugged him when I left because he had given me an answer. That same week, I just happened to have an appointment with a fantastic internal medicine doctor that I had scheduled 6 months earlier (for my 30 year-old checkup). He was wonderful in talking me through all of my concerns, referring me to a surgeon and determining that i would likely need surgery relatively soon. I had an appointment with “the best surgeon in town” in 4 weeks. Well, no. I didn’t make it four weeks. And last Friday night I had a completely debilitating attack that had Eric rushing me to the ER at 3am.

At the ER, there were no lines. I went straight to the check-in desk, and then straight through the double doors. Within an hour and half, I’d had a CT scan, ultra sound, IV hookup, morphine, blood tests, and had met with several nurses and doctors. The care I received was outstanding (GHS downtown for anyone who needs to go to the ER). And then four different surgeons, came several times throughout the night, to review my case and talk through emergency surgery. They were all the on-call surgeons over the weekend, and they all worked together to determine that I needed surgery asap. These guys were brilliant and I felt so blessed that they were all coming to work on me.

We checked into a hospital room, then waited all day Saturday. I had the laparoscopic gallbladder surgery first thing on Sunday morning. I came home around 8pm on Sunday evening. Eric is off work all week to take care of the kids (and me), and I’m going through some pretty intense recovery. This recovery process has been a beast, to put it nicely. I would much rather do childbirth than go through this miserable surgery recovery. This week has been a nightmare of pain.

Part 2

Last week, before the crazy weekend events, I was talking to one of my dearest friends while our kids played in the yard. We were sharing our struggles and encouraging each other in our walk with Jesus. I told her, “sometimes, when I analyze the basis for all of my struggles and fear and doubt, I think it is that I am doubting that God really loves me. Like actually, me.” It’s the oldest lie that has ever been told, and I still fall into believing it. And she said, “Well, what does someone who God will love, look like?” That night, I meditated on God’s love and on the people He loves. And you know what? None of em are pretty. Abraham, Jacob, Judah, Rahab, David, the list goes on. And that He would love this world? The sin-diseased people? That is what makes His love so completely unbelievable – and has humbled followers over the ages to worship and surrender to Him. Because He does love us.

The night before the trauma happened, this is what I wrote in my journal: “Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.””Stomach Flop. Tears Streaming Hot. Hands raised in surrender…Yes, Jesus really does love me…Change me, God, to live your love to my husband, children, family, friends and community.”

“Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life my all.” (When I Survey The Wondrous Cross – Isaac Watts)

And let me tell you how He has completely overwhelmed me with His love in the past few days.

Part 3

In-laws that answer their phones in the middle of the night, and rush over to take care of the kids – and took care of them all weekend. An empty ER and awesome ER team. Fantastic surgeons on call. My OR nurse was someone I knew! A friend who rarely works on Sundays, and just happened to have scheduled to work that Sunday. And my patient care tech in my room was a friend from my Shepherding Group. Who got us extra pillows and blankets and took superb care of us. And all my nurses were complete rockstars. And another sweet friend who is a Peds ER nurse was working that day, and just happened to have a few minutes to come encourage me greatly. And 2 friends came to sit with me while Eric ran home for a shower and clothes. One brought flowers and another brought Kombucha. And they helped me keep my mind off of fear. And one sat with me for hours! And cheered me via DubSmash (but seriously, its addicting). Then one of my dearest friends immediately planned dinner for us for the week. And every single night, someone has dropped by with dinner for my clan. I mean, just an abundance of delicious, amazing food! And this has been a tremendous blessing to Eric – who is being mom, dad and nurse (to me) this week. The man is awesome. And exhausted. Every day around 5PM, he starts looking like Cameron from Ferris Bueler’s Day off when he totals his dad’s car.

Cameron

I’ve had friends bringing by essential oils, lunch, special bone broth jello, kombucha, and and a Strossner’s delivered pastry basket and flowers. These people have gone above and beyond the call of loving others. And they are outpouring it on my family.

There are COUNTLESS people who have messaged me, called me, texted me to ask how we are, what they can do, and that they are praying. People are volunteering left and right to come over to love my babies and me while Eric goes back to work next week. My sweet office has taken over doing my job, and they are smiling as they do it. And you guys, through it all, my eyes are seeing Jesus. This outpouring of love has been completely sudden and overwhelming – and it’s like He is saying to me, “I’ve loved you even when you doubted. Even when things were dark. And let me show you this in this tangible way.”

Because right now, I’m completely helpless. And people are loving me, my babies, my sweet husband – and it’s breaking me. I’m actually a wounded person right now, with nothing to offer, and people are going out of their way to love me in big ways. Jesus’ love manifested right here in my face, and it is so kind and sweet – and just a small picture of how deeply He does love me. And you. What a kind Father and what good gifts He has given.

I specifically asked Him to help me love. And He, in His kindness, outpoured His love onto me.

This song has been playing on repeat in my house.

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2 thoughts on “On Loving Others

  1. Melissa, what a story! You had me in tears! Thank you for sharing this! So happy for you that you are getting to experience GOD’s grace in such a real way! Praying you heal quickly and wholly from your surgery! You and your family will be in my prayers!

  2. Oh Melissa. Tears as I read this, what a precious treasure for you to see His love so evident in such small & big ways right now. One of the most powerful verses in scripture to me – the one that can punch me in the gut when I get into the “I can do this” mentality I’m prone to – is Romans 5:6-8 “[Christ] didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. … But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” (MSG here for emphasis). Love that’s most powerful at our weakest!

    Loving you from a distance, and praying for you all often right now.

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