When writing about the events of the past four weeks, it is easy to keep retelling the story and not pause to give thanks for the many blessings in the midst of trauma. Even though that first week and a half, in both hospitals, had its serious low points, even in some of the most painful moments, I found myself being thankful. I think it is a misnomer to believe that we have to be happy and healthy to give thanks; it is often when life unravels, our freedom hindered, in the midst of pain, that we realise what we are thankful for because those things stand out starkly, light in darkness, in contrast to what we are experiencing. In the first couple of weeks in hospital, here is what I found myself incredibly thankful for and for me, I am very grateful to my God for these blessings.
I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in Christ who have been praying for me, upholding me before our heavenly Father and before his throne of grace. From the women in my prayer triplet, to our staff team at College, to my local church family, and friends and family in the UK and in the US. I am grateful for their prayers and I’m even more thankful that God has honoured and answered those prayers. The rate of nerve recovery has far exceeded the expectations of any on my medical team. Yet more than this, I have been thankful for the opportunity to be praying for others. Another Reader and his family in the Tyndale House Community have been experiencing heartbreak and anxiety in another unforeseen situation. I count myself privileged to be one of a community of brothers and sisters across the world who are praying for them and seeing how God is upholding them in their distress at the moment.
I am thankful for my brother and his family who have taken such good care of me and who generously agreed to open their home and lives to me as an outpatient. Matthew tirelessly chased shoes, has done some shopping for me, and my laundry. They have visited and kept be laughing throughout. And in the same way, I’m thankful for my two housemates who were driving me to places, packed my suitcases, who also did some of my laundry, and who have taken care of my beautiful dog while I have been away.
I am thankful for others who have visited me from every sphere of my life. I will write another post later about visitors and the difference they make. But when life shrinks to a room, and that room is far removed from the rest of life, visitors are a window into normal life. Its been a blessing to have people visit whose first question has not been about bowels or about wanting to see the wound on my lower back. In a world where you are continuously meeting new people whether it be nurses, doctors, physios, other patients, what visitors offer is a relational depth that is not present in the rest of the day.
I am thankful for the level of healthcare that I have received. To be able to access high level surgical expertise so quickly is an extraordinary blessing. I recognise that not everyone has access to this level of care and I wish they could because I know the difference it has made. I’m writing this three weeks post-op and since being transferred to rehab, I have a team consisting of a doctor, of two physios, and an occupational therapist. Each member of my team invests a session with me towards my rehabilitation each day, including a daily session of hydrotherapy. This is not to mention the three shifts of nurses each day. By the time I will be discharged as an outpatient, I would have been in hospital for a month receiving this high level care. I am thankful for the expertise I have access to, but I am even more thankful that God has used the healthcare I have received to bring about recovery.
The final thing though that I have given thanks for is that through this entire mess, I have never once questioned my faith and my convictions about the gospel. A mentor and previous research supervisor wrote to me when I was in the pre-op phase saying that he was praying for my perseverance both in faith and in sticking to the treatment plan. God certainly heard his prayer. I’m very thankful that God has sustained me and has enabled my perseverance throughout this entire ordeal – spiritually, physically, and mentally.